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Behind The Design: The Switchbak™ Leash

The inspiration for the new Switchbak™ Leash came from our partners in the UK, where double-ended and three-ring leashes (or “leads” in the UK) are well-loved and the go-to. Ruffwear has long offered harnesses with multiple clip-in points – so they kept asking us, "How about a leash with multiple clips?"

With plenty of double-ended leashes already out there, our designers set out to put a Ruffwear twist into a classic design.

Ruffwear's new sliding V-rings and silicone-dipped webbing stand apart from the typical fixed rings and leather. Together, they create a smooth-adjusting leash that can be worn in several different configurations (Product Designer Monica and Giles show a few of them off below), and a soft, supple hand-feel often described as “dreamy” by our wear-testers.

Speaking of wear-testers, there was no doubt we needed to send the Switchbak Leash across the pond to be put to the test by the folks who know these types of leashes best. 

It received a lot of love for its adjustability, versatility, lightweight construction, and performance when double-clipped to a harness. Let's dig a little deeper into what our UK wear-testers reported back after putting in the miles and days to put the leash to the test.

Mark, Meg, Jess, Max & Fenix

Dog in front range harness with Switchbak leash.

What did you think?

It’s a top-quality version of the standard double clip training lead that performs faultlessly & better in so many ways. Also very stylish. Good for puppies. 2 clips make it ideal for the Front Range Harness. Gives more control than single point of attachment.

What did you use it for?

Dog training. Training with current police puppy I have living with me. The lightweight and double clip for the Front Range Harness make it perfect for this. It was exceptional. It does everything it should do and it all very well. Extremely well-thought-out design.

Will likely use it for everyday use. Adventurous walks but maybe not mountain where I'd use a Doubleback Harness and more sturdy lead with handle for use with gloves.

Ali & Lola

Dog in front range harness with double ended leash attached

What did you think?

I use the double-ended training leads in my work with assistance dogs. The double-end really makes the lead more practical for use with a Front Range® Harness and will help with loose lead walking training.

The moveable [V-rings on the Switchbak]- this is a great addition to a training lead, fixed clips would have been very limiting and this gives this lead something that other double-ended leads don't have. The flexibility to have the lead at your chosen length is great.

What were your favorite features?

Flexibility of lead length is a real bonus for me at work and play - being able to easily adapt how the lead is used is a great tool for my work. It’s lightweight and easy to carry when it’s not on the dog. I have a lot of extra equipment to carry on operational searches and a lead that is easy and lightweight to hang on me is great.

I combined the lead with the Front Range [Harness] - is a really good combination. The two together make a great team in promoting a force-free method of managing a dog’s lead walking behaviour and enabling loose lead training.

Chris & Oran

Chris & Oran in the woods

What did you think?

It is a really smart looking lead that offers a wide range of uses. I would recommend it for long walks due to its overall look, weight and ability to use the lead hands-free. The softness of the material will be more comfortable when walking with Òran at heel.

I tried [clipping] both in the front, and then [clipping] one at the front and one at the back. It certainly felt like I was more attached to Òran, and he responded really well to changes in direction.

What are your favorite features?

When Òran is not required to be held directly to heel but still needs to be leashed, it will be great to have a bit more distance between him and my feet. Currently, when wearing the Crag™ Leash around my waist there is a very short taught/stopping distance between us. The extra length and ability to wear it around the waist will allow the use of walking poles for those that require them during walks.

Andria, Scrappy Nelson & Duncan Pickles

Andria walks Scrappy Nelson & Duncan Pickles on switchbak leash

How did you use the Switchbak Leash?

On walks where the boys are off leash and minimal leash work is required, but I want more versatility than the Quick Draw™ Leash allows. [It's] lighter weight and less bulky than carrying 2 leads.

What did you think?

It was great to throw in my small crossbody bag and gave more flexibility than the quick draw leash as there was more length to it. For me with two dogs it would be a ‘emergency lead’ to carry in a bag or pocket. I wasn’t keen on it not having a suitable handle, as the webbing moving through the hand could issues with 2 strong-willed dogs.

Want to take a closer look? Hear more about the design and inspiration from Product Designer Monica and her dog, Giles.