Dog Hunting Vest

Waterfowl hunting or even upland hunting have their extreme and tough conditions, and thanks to leading outerwear and footwear brands we as a hunter can stay protected and warm while hunting. However, when it comes to our four-legged hunting buddies we often forget to protect our gun dogs when they are running through brush, grass, marsh, water, rivers, and all types of conditions. Therefore, finding a dog hunting vest is one of the best pieces of equipment you can provide for your dog. Dog Hunting vests are designed for specific types of hunting and benefits. Therefore, to understand which one is best suited for duck hunting, upland hunting, and other types of hunting, we have put together the ultimate hunting dog vest guide.

Top Related Article – Best Duck Hunting Waders


Types of Hunting Where a Dog Hunting Vest Is Used –

When it comes to hunting with dogs, dogs can be one of the most useful tools of the trade. They essentially can be trained to hunt and help numerous aspects of a hunt. However, when it comes to the different types of hunting. The dog training can vary as can the conditions. This is why a dog hunting vest has different purposes for different hunts.

Waterfowl Hunting –

One of the most common hunting conditions for using a dog hunting vest is waterfowl hunting. First and foremost the conditions and elements of duck hunting can be quite extreme. When the early season starts, temperatures can be in the 70-90° range. However, when it comes to the late season the temperatures can reach below freezing and hunting over icy water is always possible. Additionally, when early season hunting the vegetation in marshes and fields can be overgrown with thick abrasive grasses. Whereas, late season can have a lot more dead dry grass, and fields tend to be harvested leaving stubble behind.

As a result, our gun dogs have to encounter some very tough and extreme conditions when it comes to retrieving ducks and geese. Therefore, a dog hunting vest has to help protect, keep them warm, and sometimes add flotation for them.

Upland Hunting –

dog hunting vestThe second most popular time to utilize a dog hunting vest for a gun dog is when upland hunting. Whether you’re quail hunting Idaho, pheasant hunting South Dakota, or Grouse Hunting Wisconsin. The prairies, woods, and fields of upland hunting have some of the toughest conditions for setters, pointers, and flushers. Plus if you include the numerous miles a dog can put on while hunting in a single day, they can encounter cuts, abrasions, and scratches if they aren’t properly protected. Additionally, depending on where you are hunting visibility of your dog can be difficult. This is why so many upland hunters prefer to find a dog vest that is highly visible and protective.

Hog Hunting –

The last type of hunting most common for using a dog hunting vest is Hog hunting. Not only are the conditions dangerous which can hurt your dogs, but hogs can also be dangerous, unlike waterfowl or upland game. Hogs can be very aggressive and when using dogs for hog hunting the dogs can come in close contact with a hog. Therefore, to help protect and ensure your dog is safe. A protective dog hunting vest is one of the best options.

Dog Hunting Vest For Waterfowl Hunting –

1. Browning 3mm Dog Hunting Vest

Type of Hunting – Waterfowl
Top Quality – Durability
Rating – 10dog hunting vest

Browning was founded in Utah nearly 140 years ago as a American firearm manufacture. Today they make a wide array of outdoor hunting, fishing, and camping equipment. One of their most successful product lines is their apparel and clothing lines, which helped pave the way for their dog hunting vest.

Construction –

The Browning dog vest is constructed of a 3mm neoprene fabric that gives the vest not only flexibility but insulation for added warmth. The chest plate that Browning has used for this dog hunting vest is a durable and flexible material that not only provides puncture protection but mobility as well. On top of the vest is a handle that allows you to help your dog into your truck, boat, or blind. The handle is made of a lightweight webbing material.

Dog Hunting Vest Fit –

One of the most important factors that is necessary for dog hunting vest models is having a comfortable and snug fit. Browning has designed this dog vest with five different sizes, small to XXL. However, what also gives the vest some added fit features is that it can be trimmed in the neck, and shoulder region where many dog hunting vest models tend to rub or restrict your hunting dog. This Browning dog hunting vest has adjustable neck fit as well where it fits with velcro.

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Pros – 

  • The dog hunting vest is designed and made with 3mm neoprene. This adds plenty of insulation, yet still provides plenty of flexibility for a dog to run. The vest isn’t too thick where dogs would have issues overheating.
  • Low-cost price point
  • Multiple camo patterns to choose from.

Cons – 

  • The custom fit is a great addition, however, there are some concerns with needed to cut the neoprene and having it remain intact.
  • The handle isn’t very ergonomic for assisting your dog in and out of your blind or boat.

2. Avery Boater Dog Hunting Vest

Type of Hunting – Waterfowl
Top Quality – Comfortable
Rating – 9.6dog hunting vest

If you’re looking for gun dog training supplies Avery Sporting Dog has kennels, blinds, stands, vests, and bumpers. Avery Sporting Dog is a parent company to Avery Outdoors. Therefore, with the help of understanding what waterfowl hunters need for hunting, they have created the Avery Sporting Dog brand to help supply hunting dogs with the proper needs for training and hunting.

Construction –

The Avery Boaters dog hunting vest is made of a tapered cut neoprene that is designed to keep your dog insulated in when the temperature reaches those below freezing temperatures.  Each of the sewn seems are double-tacked to prevent unraveling or tearing. Instead of an attached handle, the dog hunting vest has two cutouts on either side of the vest which provide a handle for yourself. The entire vest is constructed in the same flexible neoprene which allows for plenty of unrestricted movement.

Dog Hunting Vest Fit –

Due to the dog hunting vest being made entirely of neoprene the vest is very forgiving when it comes to the fit. Additionally, Avery Outdoors offers this vest in six different sizes. Ranging from a neck size of 15″ to a XXXL neck size of 21″. As a result, you can find a vest that will fit your dog comfortably.

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Pros – 

  • The Avery dog hunting vest is very inexpensive and offers the two most common needs for waterfowl hunting dogs, insulation and flotation.
  • Avery offers three different patterns of camo.
  • Better as an all season dog hunting vest.

Cons – 

  • Limited additional chest protection.
  • The overall fit isn’t very customizable

3. Alps Outdoors Dog Hunting Vest

Type of Hunting – Waterfowl
Top Quality – Comfortable
Rating – 9.2dog hunting vest

Alps Outdoors was created in 2007 with the main goal of providing affordable and durable hunting gear. Very quickly Alps Outdoors has been able to expand and grow offering packs, sleeping bags, hunting blinds, clothing, and bags. However, one of their lines that seems to sell very well is their waterfowl hunting equipment.

Construction –

If you are looking for a dog hunting vest that is the best of both worlds after looking at Avery and Browning. The Alps Outdoors is a combination between the two. Made of 5mm neoprene the Alps Outdoors Delta Waterfowl dog vest is designed with a thicker chest material providing added chest protection from stubble, sticks, or brush. Which is found in the Browning dog hunting vest.

However, if you also want a handle that is more designed and built into the vest, this has a similar style to the Avery Outdoors vest. The one thing this vest has built into the sides is some added flotation in combination to the 5mm neoprene foam flotation. The last thing built into this vest is a leash clip to harness your dog since at times a vest restricts the access to a dogs collar.

Dog Hunting Vest Fit –

Offered in four sizes the Alps Outdoors dog hunting vest is a designed to fit a wide array of dog breeds. It doesn’t offer complete customization, but it does fit most adult duck hunting breeds. If you are looking for a vest that can fit some larger breeds, the Alps Outdoors has plenty of sizes that are perfect for larger sizes.

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Pros – 

  • Integrated additional flotation to the 5mm neoprene.
  • Built-in handle cut out for easy access to helping your dog in and out of your duck boat or kayak.

Cons – 

  • The overall customizable fit is very limited for some dog breeds.
  • Thicker neoprene compared to other models so it could leave to overheating in the early season hunts.


4. Rig’Em Right Dog Hunting Vest

Type of Hunting – Waterfowl
Top Quality – Modern
Rating – 8.9duck hunting vest

Rig’Em is one of the first companies to start creating and mass producing texas rig style decoy setups. They can easily be found in just about every sporting goods store. Along with finding them is a pretty decent price point as well. However, Rig’Em Right has also been able to make many quality bags, blinds, and gear such as dog hunting vests.

Construction –

The Rig’Em Right dog vest is made of multiple layers with a combination of neoprene that sits next to the coat or surface of your dog, this provides the insulation. The next layer is a thin flotation layer that helps to aid a dog when swimming. The last layer is a thick canvas that adds protection from stumps, sticks, and marsh grass.

Dog Hunting Vest Fit –

The Rig’Em Right dog hunting vest is offered in four different sizes from medium to XXL. As for a custom fit, the dog hunting vest doesn’t offer as many options compared to other brands.

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Pros – 

  • Unique three layer design.
  • 3mm Neoprene material and 5mm neoprene material for added warmth and flotation
  • Modern look and Optifade pattern.

Cons – 

  • Tends to hold water in the handle and some other construction.
  • Camo pattern isn’t on the top.

Top-Rated Upland Dog Hunting Vest Models –

1. Mendota Orange Dog Hunting Vest

Type of Hunting – Upland
Top Quality – Comfortable
Rating – 9.8dog hunting vest

Mendota Pet company has been around since 1994 creating top quality pet care products. If your dog needs a walking leashing, a shoe collar, or a hunting vest, Mendota seems to offer it all and more. With a focus on quality Mendota strives to find durable products for hunting dogs.

Construction –

Known as the “skid plate” this orange dog hunting vest is perfect for upland hunting dogs who are running through thick vegetation. If you are an avid upland hunter you know the common occurrences with sticks, brush, or even barbed wire is all too common. Therefore, finding a dog hunting vest that protects your dog’s vitals is important.

Constructed of two layers of 1000 denier Cordura nylon, the heavy duty material gives protection to your dog’s chest. However, there isn’t much material that goes up the sides or back of your dog ensuring that it keeps them cool and prevents overheating. The buckles that are selected for this vest are made of strong webbing and plastic break-resistant plastic.

Dog Hunting Vest Fit –

One of the benefits of the Mendota dog hunting vest is that it offers a potential fit for dogs of 25-105 pounds. Therefore, offering a total of four different sizes that have the ability to fit snug around your dog’s chest. Further preventing any rubbing or lose areas.

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Pros – 

  • Heavy duty nylon material to protect your dog’s chest
  • High visibility orange.
  • Numerous straps to ensure security.

Cons – 

  • Doesn’t offer a full range of visibility.
  • Buckles could be more fitted to provide better comfort.

2. Browning Orange Dog Hunting Vest

Type of Hunting – Upland
Top Quality – High Visibility & Protection
Rating – 9.5

Browning is a leading outdoor hunting brand and a staple in the upland hunting shotgun market. Hence, it’s no surprise that they create some of the best upland hunting equipment for dogs as well.

Construction –

The dog hunting vest is made of lightweight water-resistant material. As for the straps they are made of neoprene. Hence, these tend to be much more flexible and comfortable compared to the Mendota orange dog hunting vest.

Additionally, Browning uses double the stitching to prevent and seams from tearing or lifting up after extended hunting use.

Dog Hunting Vest Fit –

The Browning orange dog hunting vest is one of the most comfortable based on the material selection. Offered in three different sizes it can fit most small to medium sized dogs. The adjustable straps allow you to fit it around your dog’s chest and neck to their specific size and width.

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Pros – 

  • Extremely durable chest material designed to prevent cuts and abrasions.
  • Buckle system is extremely comfortable and simple to use.
  • Highly visible.

Cons – 

  • Chest plate style protection only.
  • Only available in three sizes.

Purpose Of A Dog Hunting Vest –

When it comes to a dog hunting vest there are many purposes and reasons to use one. Therefore, we have listed the top reasons dog owners utilize a dog hunting vest. Sometimes a vest can serve one category, however, sometimes certain models can serve multiple purposes

Warmth –

Considering hunting season takes place in either fall or winter, having a dog hunting vest to provide some added warmth is important. This is especially important if you are a waterfowl hunter and you are duck hunting over cold lakes, rivers, or ponds. The conditions of waterfowl hunting can have it’s all to common rain or snow storm, and if you’re like myself I hate missing a day of duck hunting due to bad weather. Therefore, I utilize waders, layers, rubber boots, and rain jackets to stay warm and dry.

Same goes for keeping our gun dogs warm in these conditions. When a dog is constantly entering and exiting the water they can be going into the icy water and exiting to near freezing conditions. Therefore, a dog hunting vest made of an insulation product is going to provide them with added warmth and comfort.

Protection –

The second most common purpose desired in a dog hunting vest, maybe even the most important is protection. Whether you are upland hunting, waterfowl hunting, or hog hunting. Protecting your gun dog is extremely important. Considering most hunting locations are far from veterinary care, having a dog become injured by a fence, branch, log, rock, and so on could lead to a scary situation. Therefore, dog owners select using a dog hunting vest to protect them from the unforeseen elements and conditions hunting has.

I know for myself if it takes me an hour to get into a waterfowl honey hole. I can’t imagine trying to get out if my dog has a cut or injury that hinders them from walking or worse they are bleeding. This is just one of the reasons why I prefer to use a dog hunting vest for my labrador each fall.

Visibility –

For the sake of this section, visibility can mean two different things depending on what you are hunting. When upland hunting a bright orange high visibility dog hunting vest allows yourself and party to know where your dog is at all times. Considering as a hunter you are required to dress in high visibility orange, putting your dog in those same colors increases awareness of your dog. As field grass can be high depending on where you are hunting or thick for that matter having a vest gives you the ability to follow your dog in the field.

The opposite of being highly visible is necessary for waterfowl hunting. Concealment is one of the most important elements to goose or duck hunting, second maybe to scouting. Therefore, a dog hunting vest that is designed for waterfowl hunting is going to be in earth tone colors and camo patterns to help allow your dog to blend into your hunting surroundings.

Floatation –

One of the last purposes common in the waterfowl hunting industry is added flotation for duck dogs. If you tend to hunt over moving rivers, or rough big waters knowing your dog has added security for swimming can be very comforting. Therefore, numerous hunting dog vests have added flotation in them which is additional to the neoprenes floating aid. Typically a vest isn’t a safety flotation device, however, it does add some additional lift in the water. Giving you a sense of security when your dog encounters rough waters or fast moving rivers.

Dog Hunting Vest Construction –

When it comes to the construction of a dog hunting vest they can range between material that can provide protection, provide warmth, or visibility. Therefore, over the years manufacturers have experienced to find that the following materials are usually found in the construction of a dog hunting vest.

Neoprene –

Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that provides a great chemical stability and flexibility in a wide range of temperatures. Therefore, whether conditions when hunting are 70 degrees or 20 degrees the flexibility and range of motion for a dog hunting vest will remain the same.  Originally neoprene was created in the 1930’s by DuPont, however, it wasn’t until the late 1930’s where it became a widely popular material in various industries. One industry that saw the benefit of neoprene was marine or aquatics. Foamed neoprene was made for the marine and aquatics industry as soon as it was discovered it provided great insulation for cold weather, and buoyancy. These are the two main reasons a dog hunting vest designed for the waterfowl industry is usually made of neoprene.

Cordura –

Cordura is another material that was created by the DuPont company in the early 1930s. The mixture of Cordura fabrics being made of nylon and blended cotton or other fabrics give Cordura a very durable construction. Today the material is offered a wide array of styles and designs in backpacks, clothing, and retail products. Typically Cordura is used to help protect cuts or abrasions from occurring to your dog.

Kevlar –

In the mid-1960’s Kevlar was discovered by the DuPont company it was originally researched and developed for the anticipated gasoline shortage. The lightweight fiber was used as a lightweight but strong alternative to steel in tires. It was then first adopted in racing tires. Because of the ability to spin the fabric so closely, it can be a very strong material almost 5 times stronger than steel. The material is commonly used in bulletproof vests, tires, racing sails, and even drumheads. Since Kevlar is such a tough and puncture resistant material it’s used in many dog hunting vest models to help protect and defend your dog from punctures.


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