When it comes to adaptable harnesses, the Blue-9 Balance harness is definitely up there.
Harnesses are a really important part of how our dogs live their lives, so it’s important that we get a harness that suits our individual dog, and that it fits appropriately. (A guide for fit can be found here). But some dogs are odd shapes and can struggle to find a harness that fits properly.
What I love about the blue-9 is just how flexible and adjustable it is, to the point that it works for most dogs.
But let’s get into it!
This is not a sponsored post, however, this harness was provided free of charge by Blue-9 in order for me to review!
Introducing The Blue-9 Balance Harness
Pros & Cons
The Blue-9 balance harness is a ‘bare minimum’ harness, but, a bare minimum harness that’s considerately constructed.
It’s structured more in a Collar-style, with a chest strap and running down to a girth. It does have a very spartan design, but that’s not necessarily bad! It means that there are less things that can go wrong – and that? That I love.
Very Adjustable (6 points)
Two Points Of Attachment
6 Points Of Adjustment
Do you see the structure here? The top part is virtually a collar! Do excuse Shelby’s excess skin though. The one thing I don’t like though, is the cinch (Slide glides) points around the neck, don’t ‘balance’ – and are deliberately misaligned because of the buckle on the right hand side of this picture – it’s strange! It works, but it’s instinctively strange to put left and right straps at “different” lengths
What I Love About The Blue-9 Balance Harness
Steel Joints & Attachment Points
The straps are the obvious part, right? But what about the other bits? Something that doesn’t get discussed all that often, is the materials used for the bits and pieces that fasten the harness together. One of the things that I love about the Blue-9 Balance is that all of the fasteners are steel – which is just about as tough as it gets.
Which means that if you’re concerned about safety? This one is definitely up there.
Second to the perfect fit, this is probably the easiest and most adjustable harness on the market. It has all the right clips to allow you to not have to make this an overhead harness, you can use it in a longer-body harness, or a slightly shorter one because of the flexibility it offers.
The only big difference between this and Perfect Fit Harness is the change in width in the nylon, and the fleece lining.
At 250g (just under half a pound), the Blue-9 is a one of the lightest weight harnesses on the market currently. And yet it doesn’t compromise strength or fit. It’s definitely a contender if your focus is on the weight of the harness.
I’m actually really impressed by how light this is. It’s slightly spartan design means that every gram or ounce this harness gives, is all functional, it’s all strength-giving, and it’s possibly one of the least imposing harnesses on your dog.
Two Attachment Points
Now, it’s no secret that I love a two-point harness – particularly for training a loose leash – and this is something the blue-9 offers (with very strong attachment points too). Meaning that training will be nice and easy too. I do love a piece of considerate design, especially when it’s simple and strong (I really want to make a joke about Mr. Rebarkable here, but I won’t!)
Freedom of Motion
One of the things that I love about this harness is the lack of restriction it gives. It’d definitely greater than a lot of it’s ‘close’ competitors (such as the front range), you can see from the picture below that it goes quite far down the body, allowing the shoulder a full motion for a stretched out sprint to a casual trot.
I love how much room this harness gives Shelby behind the shoulders – but it still fits her chest too. Shelby has some pretty astonishing measurements (20 inch neck, 30 inch chest, 20 inch waist – I kid you not) so sometimes I can be hard to find something that works for her deep chest – but this actually works quite nicely for her.
What I Don’t Love About The Blue-9 Balance Harness
I’m Not Sure If It Compromises Trachea Protection
Due to the position of the chest strap and the ‘collar’ basis this harness pivots on, and how high this goes on the shoulder, I think if your dog is a puller, that it may still impinge on the trachea? Shelby has a pretty sensitive neck and when the leash is clipped to the front attachment point she does cough a little. So, may not be for you if your dog is sensitive here like Shelby is.
Whilst there is a hunter-orange colour available, it’s also not got any genuinely high-vis or reflective options – which is sad. Because this is a wonderful option for every day walks, but if you’re intending on walking roadside or at twilight or anything like that, this harness would need to be coupled with a high-vis jacket or similar in order to keep your dog visible in low light conditions – which is kind of sad.
So, chafing happens when a harness rubs on your dogs skin in a way that is going to create a sore. And, whilst the blue-9 is quite elegantly designed, it can twist if the fit is off just a smidge – which can result in the harness rubbing. Because it’s so narrow, and there is no padding or buffer built in for this – it does mean it can create some rather nasty friction sores.
Of course, I would always encourage monitoring and checking and adjusting fit as you go.
The branding on these clips is nice – but the one around the neck means that if your dog is sensitive about over-the-head harnesses – you can definitely use this one. The back strap here is lifted a little – but it’s because Shel’s head is up-up and I’ve fitted it to fit when she’s in a ‘relaxed’ position.
Do I Recommend Blue-9 Balance Harness?
Yep. I might seem disparaging in places, but the blue-9 balance harness is really nice. It’s just spartan. In all honesty? It’s incredibly flexible and functional – and I totally recommend it for some dogs.
My main problem with it, Is the lack of finish. Instinctively I know it’s strong, I know it fits really well, but I would like to see a little more structure in the harness, a little more attention to the points where it might rub, or chaffe.
It’s great, honestly, it just isn’t my favourite on the market and I think it works perfectly well for what it is! I just don’t love it as much as others.
Not sure the Blue-9 is for you, or would you like to find the perfect leash to go with this? Why not go see how it ranks compared to other harnesses?
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Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!
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