© 2016 the American Physiological Society. Perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) mediates buffering of vasoconstriction through activation of endothelium-derived factors. We hypothesized that the PVAT of Dahl salt-sensitive (Dahl SS) rats has reduced ability to buffer vasoconstriction. Vascular reactivity experiments were performed on aortic rings with PVAT intact (+PVAT) or removed (− PVAT), and endothelium intact (+ ENDO) or removed (-ENDO) from Dahl SS rats and control SS.13BN rats (Dahl SS rats that have had chromosome 13 completely replaced with that of the Brown Norway rat, rendering this strain insensitive to high-salt or high-fat diet-induced hypertension). Endothelial dysfunction, assessed by ACh-mediated vasorelaxation, was confirmed in aortic rings of Dahl SS rats. The +PVAT+ENDO aortic rings had indistinguishable phenylephrine-induced vasoconstriction between genotypes. In both strains, removal of PVAT significantly enhanced vasoconstriction. Dahl SS rat −PVAT+ENDO aortic rings displayed exaggerated vasoconstriction to phenylephrine vs. SS.13BN rats, indicating that PVAT-mediated buffering of vasoconstriction was greater in Dahl SS rats. Removal of both the ENDO and PVAT restored vasoconstriction in both strains. The nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, Nω-nitro- L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), produced a similar effect as that seen with −ENDO. These data indicate that the function of the PVAT to activate endothelium-derived NOS is enhanced in Dahl SS compared with SS.13BN rats and, most likely, occurs through a pathway that is distinct from ACh-mediated activation of NOS. PVAT weight and total PVAT leptin levels were greater in Dahl SS rats. Leptin induced a significantly decreased vasoconstriction in −PVAT+ENDO aortic rings from Dahl SS rats, but not SS.13BN rats. In contrast to our initial hypothesis, PVAT in Dahl SS rats buffers vasoconstriction by activating endothelial NOS via mechanisms that may include the involvement of leptin. Thus, the PVAT serves a vasoprotective role in Dahl SS rats on normal-salt diet.