Keeping your dog safe, comfortable and controlled is an important part of being a dog-owner. So you need to think about the different activities you’ll be sharing with your dog. In addition, you should take your dog’s size and temperament into consideration. And finally, you’ll want a dog-leash that isn’t going to cause damage to your hand if your dog pulls or races off.
This concise guide on how to choose the best leash for your dog is for all sizes and dog-breeds, so if you’re ready – let’s go!
Best dog leash lengths for urban dog-walking
Full control is important when walking dogs in an urban setting, so a 120 cm. (4 feet) leash is a suitable length. Choose a 60 cm. (2 feet) leash for large, aggressive dogs. However, if you live in a quieter part of town, a 180 cm. (6 feet) leash will be quite suitable. The 150 – 180 cm. dog-leash is the most popular length for all dog sizes.
Leashes for dogs that pull
Head-collar leads are a great way to keep small or large dogs safe and comfortable. They stop anxious dogs from barking or aggressive dogs from reacting to other dogs. The flexible nylon head collar is good for any dog that constantly pulls. And it’s far more gentle than chains or muzzles.
Car travel dog leashes
If your dog travels by car, you should have a short pull-tab leash. Depending on the size of your dog, you should use a short leash measuring from 25cm. to 30 cm. (10” – 12”). Bringing your dog out of the car is a time when they get excited, so full safety-control is essential.
Leashes for multiple dog-walking
Coupler leashes are excellent for walking two dogs. You have one leash in your hand, but each dog has an individual leash attached by a metal ring to the main leash. If your dogs are of different sizes, buy an adjustable coupler or for more dogs, a multi-dog lead that ensures larger dogs don’t drag the smaller ones.
Best puppy harnesses
There’s a huge range of harnesses available for puppies and for older, small breeds, too. And if you choose the right design, you’ll often find the dog will step right in without any problems!
Look for a harness that has a buckle fastener on the back, as this is so much easier to put on a wriggling dog than a belly fastener. Ensure the clasp is sturdy enough for the size of your dog and located away from the belly, so no long hair gets trapped in the Velcro fastener or the clasp.
Best dog leashes for distance training & country walks
Training leash for open fields
Use a long leash up to 18 metres (60 feet) when training your dog to ‘come’ from various distances in open country.
Best retractable leashes
After your dog has been correctly trained, you can switch to a long, retractable dog lead of about 4 ½ – 9 metres (15 – 30 feet). With cord wound around a spool, you can make the lead longer, shorter or lock it quickly just pressing a button. It’s worth paying more for top-quality cord material.
Not suitable for young/untrained dogs, as they allow the dog to pull away and run off. Some retractable cords wear-out and break easily, so they’re not as safe as traditional dog leashes. Best used with the lock button firmly pressed until you reach your destination. You always think you’ll have time to press it in an emergency, but you usually won’t.
Best dog leash clasps for large dogs
Most leash clasps are the ‘bolt-snap’ type for smaller dog leads or heavier ‘trigger-snap’ hooks for larger animals. However, these can come open if they’re caught on the dog’s collar or puppy harness. So if safety is a key issue for your large dog look out for a carabiner dog leash clasp. Also known as mountain-climber clasps, these are the biggest and safest leash clasps on the market.
Best dog leash materials
Nylon leashes are cheap and strong, making them suitable for rainy or damp climates. They are light enough to pop into a pocket or handbag during trips to the dog-park or open areas, when your dog is allowed to run free. Lightweight leashes are good for puppy training, too.
If your dog is likely to pull away from you suddenly to chase another animal, a nylon leash can run through your grip and cause a friction burn on your hand. And nylon dog leashes are slippery when wet, so if you’re caught in the rain this can make it hard to control your pet. (The exception to this is the flexible-nylon head collar, which is suitable for all sizes of dog that are hard to control.)
Like synthetic nylon, leather is also a dog leash material that will last for many years. Leather has more, ‘give’, than nylon or metal chain leashes, too, making it less likely to damage your hand or your dog’s neck. In addition, if your dog bites a leather leash it won’t damage their teeth.
Leather dog leashes are the most expensive option, but online stores often have special offers or discounts, so you can shop around for a good deal.
Rubber or chain leashes:
Avoid rubber, ‘bungee’ and metal chain leashes, as they are not safe or comfortable for most dogs. And chain leashes will damage your dog’s teeth if they bite it.