Pugs may come from China, but the princess Meredith is owned by a family deep with British roots, and it's those roots that make this review so appropriate. A long time ago before pink was a color you'd even think of using on a dog, royal Brits would have their dog's accessories hand-tooled by craftsmen using the finest leather and findings available. Then, suitably outfitted in walking gear, the dogs would stroll the grounds with their owners, regal in their handmade finery.
(You can just feel the tweed and smell the fog, can't you?)
It is with this same care and attention to detail that MJ Leatherworks crafted an adjustable walking dog harness and matching leash for the princess. The results were, quite simply, breathtaking.
Both pieces are made from fine bridle leather, and the leather itself is sourced from Sedgewick curriers (producers of top quality leather) in England. All the findings and hardware are made of solid brass (stainless steel is also available if you prefer, but personally we thought the brass made it so much more elegant).
You can tell the kind of care that goes into this design by just looking at how carefully each piece is measured (we had to provide several additional measurements to the fine folks at MJ Leatherworks just to get the harness fitted correctly) and also in how it's adjustable to the body. Two buckles on the top strap and two more on the bottom strap ensures a perfect fit, while keeping the buckles small enough so that it doesn't chafe while walking.
Another clever feature that you don't often think about is the placement of the d-ring to attach to the leash. So many harnesses attach this d-ring to the bottom of the harness, which is usually too low - it throws off the center of gravity and if you need to tug the leash to move your pet along, it seems (for lack of a better word) wobbly. Placing the d-ring squarely in between the shoulder blades eliminates this imbalance and ensures a smooth walk. It's one of those things you never really notice until you try it and then you wonder how you ever got by without it!
The workmanship is - well, it's nothing short of incredible. It has a quality and longevity that you just don't see very often in this fast-food, mass-produced world. Everything in this set is made by hand - cutting the leather, beveling the sides, hand dyeded and finish with arabic gum and beewax. These pieces are entirely hand-stitched with waxed linen thread to ensure not only solidity but precision. And the traditional luxurious leather finish is hand burnished. You will not find this kind of workmanship very often, but its quality comes through from the moment you touch the leather.
All this care in fitting and creating a fine piece of leather meant that it slips over the pug's body like a soft velvet glove. I've never seen a better fit, nor a better quality piece of leather, on the pug.
If you're looking for incredibly high quality, incredibly reasonably well priced dog walking accessories, I can't recommend this company more highly. Merry is all set for a walk on the moors (oh yes, she's already begging for a trip to Britain) and it will be tough to coax her out of such supple, fine walking gear any time soon. :)
You can find out more about MJ Leatherwork from their web site at www.mjleatherwork.com.