Working dogs and their human partners have been part of Ruffwear’s heart and soul since we launched the first collapsible dog bowl in 1994. From mountain snowstorms to urban disaster zones, working dogs and handlers have put our gear through rigorous testing in every type of environment and have provided invaluable feedback on fit, durability, and performance.

As a young company in the nineties, these partnerships and learning experiences helped to shape our journey toward who we are today – and where we’re going next.

Picture Credit: Jaymi Heimbuch

Collaborating with working dogs like Conservation Canines and Avalanche Rescue Dogs helps us to better understand the work these dogs do and to provide the gear they need to perform.

If it works for them, we can be confident –and you can trust – it’ll work for you.


Avalanche Rescue Dog teams are made up of dedicated handlers and specially trained dogs skilled at locating victims buried in and under the snow. They train at their home mountains every day during ski season to help keep skiers and snowboarders safe.

Using input from rescue teams, we designed the Web Master Pro™ Harness and the Patroller™ Leash to withstand the extensive wear and extreme weather conditions encountered by avalanche rescue dogs.

In work and in training, most avalanche rescue dogs enjoy a play session with their handler following a successful search. That training method inspired the resilient Huck-a-Cone™, which was put through its paces by avy dogs across the country before being released this year.


Picture Credit: Jaymi Heimbuch

The dog-handler teams at Conservation Canines put our gear to the test in the harshest environments for days or even weeks at a time. It accelerates the wear testing process, and they end up providing valuable feedback to our product development team on things like harnesses, boots, and bowls.

The scat detection dogs of Conservation Canines are intensely focused and have an insatiable urge to play. They’re happy to work all day traversing plains, climbing up mountains, trekking through snow, and clambering over rocks and fallen trees, all with the expectation of reward – playing with their ball – after successfully locating wildlife scat.

Who better to test the durability of toys like our Turnup™, Huckama™, and the Pacific Gnaw-west series? Their testing and feedback resulted in toys that perform and last among even the most zealous work-hard-play-harder dogs out there.

Picture Credit: Jaymi Heimbuch

Sniffing scat for scientific research in remote wilderness and locating and digging for avalanche victims in the backcountry – these are just two examples of how the value of these teams extends into society through the critical roles they fill. We hope you’ll join us as we continue developing gear to meet the needs of working dogs and their human companions – and sharing the stories of their diligence and invaluable service along the way.

Give a shout out to the incredible work these working dogs are doing in the comments below or on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. If you have any questions, feedback, or ideas, please don’t hesitate to bark.

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