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Make sure it fits right. We have a tall, skinny mut and had to try a few before we found the one that was perfect for his different build.
 

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$20 smart dollars

Kyjen Outward Hound Life Jacket at Amazon was $20 and very nice.
 

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There are a lot of good designs out there. The biggest thing we looked for was having a wide enough belly strap sytem to support an 80lbs pit bull when trying to pull her back into the boat. The ones we saw at the chain pet stores had 1" wide webbing with no real support underneath. WE tried several different brands including Ruff Wear and ended up with the best fit coming from NRS. We did buy a Body Glove brand that ripped out the second trip. It looked nice and fit well.....but what a POS it is.
 

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The under-dog is pretty sweet for my 80lb lab-ish that hates water. It keeps her head pretty far out of the water by putting all of the flotation under ribs and allowing the hind to droop.
 

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We picked up an outward hound for our pup, because it was available and cheap. It's junk, the handle doesn't have any attachment other than to the lightweight ripstop nylon, and it's pulling that fabric out after a couple of times. I'm going to go back to Ruff Wear, tried and true and always happy with them.

I do not like the designs with the belly fabric/flotation. I find our girls can get pretty warm in the pfd's and I like that the Ruff Wear do not fully envelop them. I know it gives up flotation, but we aren't taking them on the Lochsa or anything, mostly mellow water and we want a good, strong handle and an integral leash hook.
 

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The under-dog is pretty sweet for my 80lb lab-ish that hates water. It keeps her head pretty far out of the water by putting all of the flotation under ribs and allowing the hind to droop.
+1 Vote for the Underdog. The float is under the belly to support the dog in a more natural swimming position. It is also nice having two grab handles (one on the back, one on the collar) to pull the dog in with. Our 80ish lbs lab/chow has taken a few swims and hardly gets his head wet.
 

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I did not like the ones with under the belly floatation. I saw a couple of dog swims with the ruff wear and the dogs tended to float on their sides. The NRS one we have only has flotation on the back. This lets the dog float well and still be able to swim. (your millage may vary...)
 

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+1 on the D-fa dog Float Doggy. Good flotation under the belly as well as up on the back, and I like that the straps attach up high on the dogs back instead of underneath where they can rub. Good chest protection too. Handle seems solid.
 

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Jared
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My Dad takes a Wiener dog with him often, and his vest has been tested. The big thing to look for (Like the ones shown here) is a grab strap the ties into the webbing, not just the outer layer of material. They make the same mistake on children's pfd's, a lot of the grab straps are sewn on the outer shell, not tied in with the straps or reinforced.
 

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I did not like the ones with under the belly floatation. I saw a couple of dog swims with the ruff wear and the dogs tended to float on their sides. The NRS one we have only has flotation on the back. This lets the dog float well and still be able to swim. (your millage may vary...)
That's really odd. None of our ruff wear have much float under the belly, I have a feeling that dog's jacket was too big. They are designed specifically not to do this.
 

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been using an Extrasport pfd with my silly dog and that seems to work fine, but since she is my little girl, I'm always on the lookout for something that's maybe a little better.......so this thread is real valuable to me as well...
 

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Whichever brand you get, make sure it fits well, and keep it snug in whitewater. A friend's dog swam Black Creek rapid on the Main Salmon and the CFD was coming off after a couple seconds and submersions. After about 15 -20 seconds the CFD was completely off. At one point the CFD was doing more harm than good. This was a Ruff Wear that this dog has had for several years and swam rapids in before. We figured it was just a little loose that day for some reason. The owner usually keeps it snug on the dog in whitewater. So make sure you check the fit everyday when you launch to make sure it's ok. The dog was ok, and actually seemed relieved (?) when the CFD came off so it could swim easier without the loose jacket around it's neck. The dog climbed onto shore, raced back to the eddy where it's mortified owner was, and jumped right back in the boat like it never happened. We caught the CFD, and believe me it was checked & double checked for snugness everyday after that. There did not appear to be any defective parts on the jacket. Just in case though, the owner bought a new jacket after that trip.
 

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Whichever brand you get, make sure it fits well, and keep it snug in whitewater. A friend's dog swam Black Creek rapid on the Main Salmon and the CFD was coming off after a couple seconds and submersions. After about 15 -20 seconds the CFD was completely off. At one point the CFD was doing more harm than good. This was a Ruff Wear that this dog has had for several years and swam rapids in before. We figured it was just a little loose that day for some reason. The owner usually keeps it snug on the dog in whitewater. So make sure you check the fit everyday when you launch to make sure it's ok. The dog was ok, and actually seemed relieved (?) when the CFD came off so it could swim easier without the loose jacket around it's neck. The dog climbed onto shore, raced back to the eddy where it's mortified owner was, and jumped right back in the boat like it never happened. We caught the CFD, and believe me it was checked & double checked for snugness everyday after that. There did not appear to be any defective parts on the jacket. Just in case though, the owner bought a new jacket after that trip.
I've seen a LOT of poorly sized/tightened rough wear jackets, and another brand I don't recall. I never know what the deal is, as we don't have a problem. As I said in the earlier post, they are likely too large of a size. The original design was the worst, and we have 3 of those old styles still around the house for spares. The 2nd generation design was a vast improvement, and we just picked up a new one for Pearl and it seems even better. Puppy pfd! She's so cute! Here's a photo, she was still in the Outward Hound brand that we returned yesterday.
 

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