The Best Working Dog Vest for 2022

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: September 2, 2022

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Key Points
  • Working dogs need special vests that distinctly identify their roles. Upon seeing the best, people will proceed with caution, keeping their own pets away as to prevent distraction.
  • Since your working dog will be wearing its vest often, you need to find one made of durable yet comfortable material. Nylon is a popular choice, but it can cause chafing if not coupled with a soft lining. Another popular choice is neoprene, which will not chafe. In hot environments, breathable mesh is a great choice to keep your dog cool.
  • Consider the design of the working dog vest. Attach a leash easily if the vest has a D-ring. Velcro on the outside is great for attaching various patches.
  • Durability is important. Find a harness with stainless steel rings, for example, to last a long time.

Working dogs are known for their ability to learn quickly. They tend to have a watchful and alert demeanor that allows them to perform a variety of tasks. Some dogs may be ideal for guarding property while others may be well-suited for pulling sleds, like the Siberian husky, Samoyed, or Alaskan malamute. Other dogs are known for performing water rescues like Newfoundlands and Labrador retrievers. Just as there are specific breeds suited for specific types of work, there are several dog breeds that make the best service dogs, including poodles, boxers, and Great Danes. Service dogs are dogs that have received special training to help a person with a disability live independently. These dogs are given the title of service dog because they’ve been individually trained to perform tasks that help the person who has a disability.

To identify these working dogs, you can use a vest that clearly outlines the role of the dog you have alongside you. This ensures that others do not bother your dog and respect that it’s working. It signifies that your dog is not just a pet, rather is trained to perform a specific action whenever necessary. For instance, a guide dog can help people who are visually impaired or blind. On the other hand, for people who may be hard of hearing or deaf, a hearing dog can help to alert them of changes to their environment. A medical alert dog may be specially trained to alert its owner of a medical issue. For example, if the person has a seizure disorder or faints when their blood sugar gets too low, a medical alert dog can signal that something is coming to get the person to a safe location.

Your working dog may be a psychiatric service dog, which helps people with disabilities by interrupting obsessive behavior, reminding their owner to take their medication, or reducing stress when navigating a triggering event or environment. There’s a variety of vests that you can find online, but some are better suited for small dogs while others are best for larger dogs. In this article, we cover the best overall working dog vest, the best vest for dogs in training, and we share the best value we found on a vest that includes backpacks for more heavy-duty support. If you’ve tried a vest and it chafes, you’ll be relieved to find the best non-chafing working dog vest included in this list. Even if you’re not specifically looking for a service dog vest, you can find a working dog vest that makes adventures with your canine partner feel official—all with the use of a tactical vest.

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Working Dog Vests

  1. ALBCORP Service Dog Vest
  2. ALBCORP Service Dog Vest
    • Made from tough nylon and polyester
    • Lightweight and padded for non-chafe cushioning
    • Has a vivid fluorescent trim that’s more reflective than most other harnesses
    • Designed with ergonomic contours
    Check Amazon
  3. Doggie Stylz Service Dog in Training Vest
  4. Doggie Stylz Service Dog in Training Vest
    • Made from material that is lightweight and breathable
    • The reflective stripe on each side keeps you and your pup visible
    • The quick-release buckle makes it super easy to get on and take off
    • Designed with durable 2-inch nylon
    Check Amazon
  5. Industrial Puppy Service Dog Harness & Backpacks
  6. Industrial Puppy Service Dog Harness & Backpacks
    • Two-in-one service vest and backpack
    • Made with breathable mesh
    • The top-mounted handle gives you complete tactical control over your working dog
    • Available in three colors
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Pawshoppie Real Reflective Service Dog Vest
  8. Pawshoppie Real Reflective Service Dog Vest
    • Neoprene inner lining makes it ultra-comfortable
    • The built-in handle on top allows you better control of your dog during training
    • Comes with a stainless steel D ring for leashes and ID tags
    • Lifetime guarantee
    Check Amazon
  9. LMOBXEVL Service Dog Harness
  10. LMOBXEVL Service Dog Harness
    • No-pull design 
    • Features sturdy metal D rings for safety
    • Equipped with 3M reflective straps for visibility
    • Adjustable and has quick snap buckles
    Check Amazon
  11. OneTigris Tactical Vest
  12. OneTigris Tactical Vest
    • Durable and versatile
    • Soft interior padding for lightweight, water-resistant comfort
    • Extra-strong V-ring leash attachment
    • Features webbing along both sides so that you can add pouches to carry gear and supplies
    Check Chewy

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

Choosing the best working dog vest is about more than clear labeling. Sure, you want to purchase a dog vest that clearly states that your dog is a service dog but there are other features to consider. For example, materials, design, and durability are all factors that come into play when choosing the best vest.

Materials

Nylon is a popular choice when selecting a working dog vest because it’s weather resistant and durable. However, there is a downside to nylon. It can easily cause chafing, which would make your dog uncomfortable. If the harness you’re looking at is made from nylon, make sure that it also includes padding to protect your dog’s skin. Additionally, if you live where the climate gets hot, make sure that the vest is equipped with mesh for breathability. Nylon is not a breathable material and when it’s hot, your dog could overheat. Another material that helps with reducing chafing is neoprene. Look for this material when selecting a vest for your dog to keep him comfortable.

Design

Design is another crucial consideration. Look for a vest equipped with a D ring so that you can easily attach your leash. A no-pull design is great for reducing discomfort around your dog’s neck and preventing choking. Most working dog vests are also equipped with a top-mounted handle, to give you more control of your pup in tight spaces. You’ll also find that the best vests are equipped with Velcro, so you can remove or replace the service dog patches whenever needed. Since some harnesses can be tough to get on and off your dog, look for easy release buckles as well.

Durability

If you have a growing dog, you may need to invest in more than one vest. However, if you can find a harness that is adjustable and allows room for growth, that’s the way to go. Make sure you’re selecting sturdy materials, including stainless steel rings so that you can get the best value from your purchase over a long period.

The Different Types of Working Dog Vests: Pros and Cons Compared

There are different types of working dog vests. There are simple capes that drape over your dog’s body with a label that identifies his role and there are more advanced designs that you can use as a harness.

  • Cape Vests: versatile and can be used for any type of working dog.
PROSCONS
Easy to wearLimited features
Available in multiple fabrics 
Inexpensive 
  • Cape Harness: similar in design to the cape vest but built with durability in mind.
PROSCONS
Sturdy designMay fit uncomfortably on some breeds
Typically ergonomic 
Plenty of space to add patches 
  • Pulling Harness: ideal for use when the working dog needs to pull a wagon or wheelchair.
PROSCONS
Heavy duty with Y strapsOnly for large, trained dogs
Padded for extra comfort 
Built to last 
  • Brace and Mobility Support Harness: ergonomic design for helping with walking and other mobility tasks.
PROSCONS
Extremely ergonomicOnly for use with dogs that have finished growing
Rigid top-mounted handle 
Adjustable design for a customized fit 

Our Criteria: How We Chose the Best

Equipping a mastiff with a working dog vest isn’t the easiest task. The best overall vest on this list made it to the top because of the wide range of sizes it comes in. Owners with large dogs especially love that they can rely on this sturdy vest without having to invest in a custom-made option. From the largest of dogs to some of the smallest breeds, like chihuahuas, the best overall vest by ALBCORP works perfectly for a specific user who suffers from bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and severe anxiety. Her pup is in the process of training to become a psychiatric service dog and the extra-extra small size fits him perfectly. It didn’t take him much time to adjust and now he wears it comfortably for 14 hours or more per day.

We had a bit of trouble with measuring our pups for the right size. For example, measuring the chest down from the shoulders produces one measurement but without measuring the front chest, you may purchase a harness that’s not ideally suited for your pup. It’s suggested to take the extra time to confirm different measurements before purchasing. Overall, we appreciated different features like extra padding for comfort, mesh areas for breathability, removable Velcro labels, and top-mounted handles for added control and security.

#1 Best Overall Working Dog Vest: ALBCORP Service Dog Vest Harness

Easily the best, this service dog vest by ALBCORP has several attractive features and benefits. It is highly reflective and comes with two bright service dog patches. It’s available in black, green camo, maroon, red, and red camo. Built to last, it’s woven of tough nylon and polyester. The handle on top is sturdy and it comes with a durable D ring to hold your dog’s leash or ID tag. Not only is it built for durability, but it’s also lightweight and padded for non-chafe cushioning. It’s practical, it’s comfortable, and the lightweight aspect of it makes it so that your dog hardly feels it. The belly strap is adjustable, and the small size accommodates girths from 20 inches to 27 inches while the extra-large accommodates girths from 33 inches to 44.5 inches.

When you count on your service dog every day for help, you need to have a premium vest that fits well, looks good, and can be worn daily. Plus, your dog needs to be highly visible. This vest has a vivid fluorescent trim that’s more reflective than most other harnesses. Even if you’re in low light conditions, you and your dog are kept safe. That feeling of security you get knowing that you’re highly visible is invaluable. The service dog patches are also reflective and come with a sure-grip hook and loop backing. The buckles are extra strong with easy snap clasps. The reinforced handle is designed for training and emergency control while the sturdy, stainless steel D ring allows you to attach your leash securely. Designed with ergonomic contours, your dog feels right at home in no time. The service dog patches are removable, so when your dog is not working, he can still enjoy the padded, breathable harness.

Best Overall
ALBCORP Service Dog Vest
  • Made from tough nylon and polyester
  • Lightweight and padded for non-chafe cushioning
  • Has a vivid fluorescent trim that’s more reflective than most other harnesses
  • Designed with ergonomic contours
Check Amazon

#2 Best Training Working Dog Vest: Doggie Stylz Service Dog in Training Vest

When your dog is not an official service dog yet but is going through the process of training, you can try out this vest with two free removable reflective patches to alert others that your pup is a service dog in training. It’s available in three colors including red, purple, and black. The smallest size is for girths between 12 inches and 16 inches while the largest size is for girths between 30 inches and 42 inches. It has a D ring on top, which makes it easy to attach your leash and it also has two adjustable straps for a customized fit. The material is lightweight and breathable with a reflective stripe on each side that keeps you and your pup visible, even when it gets dark out.

Some harnesses can be complicated to get on your dog. We’ve tried so many and with this one, we found that the quick release buckle makes it super easy to get on and take off. The handle on top of this harness gives you extra control, no matter the situation. It’s designed with durable 2-inch nylon and the underside of the harness is made of neoprene, which reinforces and guards against abrasions. The entire harness is double stitched to make it stronger, no matter what activities you and your dog engage in. In our experience, having a training service dog vest really makes a huge difference. People’s attitudes toward the dog change completely and you’re better able to focus on training instead of avoiding contact with others.

Best for Training
Doggie Stylz Service Dog in Training Vest
  • Made from material that is lightweight and breathable
  • The reflective stripe on each side keeps you and your pup visible
  • The quick-release buckle makes it super easy to get on and take off
  • Designed with durable 2-inch nylon
Check Amazon

#3 Best Value Working Dog Vest: Industrial Puppy Service Dog Harness & Backpacks

The best value we found for a working dog vest is this two-in-one service vest and backpack that helps to identify your dog and also serves as a dog pack carrier. It’s made with breathable mesh and has reflective straps and patches to make sure that your pup is always visible. The saddlebags are removable, and they can hold your keys, your wallet, your cell phone, or any other items you need when out and about with your dog. This design also features a top-mounted handle that gives you complete tactical control over your working dog. The belly buckle is easy to use, which makes putting it on and taking it off really easy. It’s available in three colors, including black, pink, and red. The small size is for girths between 21 inches and 26 inches and the extra-large is for girths between 30 inches and 39 inches around the chest.

This is a fantastic vest for making sure everyone around you knows that your dog is hard at work. All the patches are removable and when you purchase the harness and backpacks, your order includes four of those service dog Velcro patches. Although the saddlebags are helpful for storing small items, they’re not big enough to hold an entire food bowl or multiple water bottles. If you tend to go on long hikes, for example, you may need more room. Otherwise, for a few small items, the saddlebags work great. Our testers noted that this harness helps to avoid unnecessary contact in public and offers comfortable and sturdy support.

Best Value
Industrial Puppy Service Dog Harness & Backpacks
  • Two-in-one service vest and backpack
  • Made with breathable mesh
  • The top-mounted handle gives you complete tactical control over your working dog
  • Available in three colors
Check Chewy Check Amazon

#4 Best Non-Chafing Working Dog Vest: Pawshoppie Real Reflective Service Dog Vest Harness

Unfortunately, chafing is a big problem when it comes to harnesses on dogs. Finding the right one requires careful consideration of the materials and ensuring you purchase the proper size. With this service dog vest, you won’t have to deal with frayed seems or accessories that won’t hold. It’s great for use with large and small breeds! They have an extra-extra small option for girths between 15 inches and 17 inches and an extra-large option for girths between 32 inches and 44 inches. The neoprene inner lining is what makes it ultra-comfortable. It’s padded and reduces irritation for your dog’s ultimate comfort. It’s also important to note that this harness is not just for service dogs. Do you have any other kind of working dog, like an emotional support dog? Just remove the patches and replace them with two of your own!

There is a built-in handle on top that allows you to better control your dog during training, which is especially helpful when you’re faced with an emergency. It comes with a stainless steel D ring for leashes and ID tags and the front strap has a reflective strip for safety. Like with other harnesses, this one has an easy-to-use belly buckle so that you can suit up your dog quickly and efficiently. We love that Pawshoppie stands behind its products and offers a lifetime guarantee. That means if you don’t feel satisfied with the service dog vest, just let them know and they’ll process a refund. Our testers found that dogs are comfortable in this vest, even when working long days. We even tried it on a dog over 100 pounds and it fits perfectly with room to spare, offering freedom of movement without any chafing.

Best Non-Chafing
Pawshoppie Real Reflective Service Dog Vest
  • Neoprene inner lining makes it ultra-comfortable
  • The built-in handle on top allows you better control of your dog during training
  • Comes with a stainless steel D ring for leashes and ID tags
  • Lifetime guarantee
Check Amazon

#5 Best Working Dog Vest for Small Dogs: LMOBXEVL Service Dog Harness

When you think of working dogs, you may picture larger breeds automatically. However, small dogs can serve as working dogs also. This no-pull dog harness by LMOBXEVL comes in small sizes for dogs like Yorkies! It’s available in a wide range of colors including black, blue, green, pink, purple, red, and turquoise. It’s available in extra small and small sizes but you can also purchase this vest for larger dogs like bulldogs and German Shepherds. The no-pull design makes it so that you can enjoy an easy walk with your dog. Pulling pressure is evenly distributed to the body to prevent choking. Plus, it features sturdy metal D rings for safety. It’s adjustable and has quick snap buckles so that you can get it on easily and customize the fit for your dog.

It also has a sturdy fabric handle on the back to help you better control and assist your dog. This handle is ideal when you are in a public setting and need to interact closely with your dog. You can also hang your dog tags on the chest part of the harness. For visibility, this harness is equipped with 3M reflective straps. The breathable mesh lining and soft sponge padding plate keep your dog comfortable while ensuring his protection. Our testers noted that the package includes two labels, one for “service dog” and one for “in training.” No matter which phase your dog is in, he’ll have a label included with this purchase. When testing this harness, we did find that the vinyl handle doesn’t have much structure and may not be suitable for dogs that need heavy guidance. However, we found it perfect for the dog we were working with. It fit well and the dog adjusted quickly to it.

Best for Small Dogs
LMOBXEVL Service Dog Harness
  • No-pull design 
  • Features sturdy metal D rings for safety
  • Equipped with 3M reflective straps for visibility
  • Adjustable and has quick snap buckles
Check Amazon

#6 Best Tactical Working Dog Vest: OneTigris Tactical Vest Nylon Front Clip Dog Harness

This harness is durable, versatile, and features a heavy-duty nylon shell and soft interior padding for lightweight, water-resistant comfort. It’s available in ranger green, coyote brown, and black. It comes with fully adjustable neck and chest straps to ensure that your dog has a snug and secure fit. There’s an extra-strong V-ring leash attachment which just adds to the security of this design. There’s a control loop at the front to keep your dog close whenever needed and there is a crisscross bungee strap for extra storage.

This harness also features webbing along both sides so that you can add pouches to carry gear and supplies. Keep in mind that this harness is not suitable for small dogs. There is a medium-size option and there’s a large-size option, so it’s better suited for larger breeds. Our testers love the aesthetic appeal of this harness. The Velcro makes it easy to attach bags and labels to the vest. Your dog can carry his own treats and other items! We found that it’s very well-made and looks great. Dogs seem to walk with more confidence when wearing it.

Best Tactical Vest
OneTigris Tactical Vest
  • Durable and versatile
  • Soft interior padding for lightweight, water-resistant comfort
  • Extra-strong V-ring leash attachment
  • Features webbing along both sides so that you can add pouches to carry gear and supplies
Check Chewy

Summary of the Best Working Dog Vests

RankBest ForProduct
1OverallALBCORP Service Dog Vest Harness
2TrainingDoggie Stylz Service Dog in Training Vest
3ValueIndustrial Puppy Service Dog Harness & Backpacks
4Non-ChafingPawshoppie Real Reflective Service Dog Vest Harness
5Small DogLMOBXEVL Service Dog Harness
6TacticalOneTigris Tactical Vest Nylon Front Clip Dog Harness

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About the Author

Angie is a writer with over 10 years of experience developing content for product and brand reviews, focusing much of her time on animals of all types. A cat owner herself, she enjoys writing articles on beloved pets that both inform and entertain her audience.

The Best Working Dog Vest for 2022 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What kind of vest does a service dog wear?

Typically, when a service dog is wearing a vest, it’s red or blue. These colors help to identify it as a working dog. There is no specific color assigned for service dog vests so you can also find them in a variety of colors, ranging from orange to camo.

Are vests better for dogs?

Although many dog owners use collars for their dogs, a vest harness provides significantly more control than a simple leash and collar. There are harnesses with thin straps that you can use with your dog, but to help relieve pressure and reduce chafing and discomfort, a vest harness provides more protection. Overall, when working with a service dog, a vest harness is the best choice.

Can I put an emotional support vest on my dog?

Yes, working dogs have different designations. The “service dog” patches on most of the options above can be swapped out with any of your own to properly identify your dog. Even the tactical vest has space for patches, which can include a specific label or decorative additions.

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