Taking your dog for a peaceful walk in the local park is something a lot of dog owners dream of, but this can be far from reality, especially if your dog doesn’t know how to use a leash or hasn’t been trained to use one. A dog leash is not only great for training purposes and making sure your dog follows alongside you as you walk, but it is actually also a vital safety tool too. Ensuring your dog doesn’t run away when you’re out in public and you have a firm grip on them and their actions, a dog leash helps to promote the well-being of yourself and others around you and can actually save lives.
But there are so many types of dog leashes and so my different dog leash brands out there that it can be difficult to know which type, style and length is right for your dog. Luckily for you, we have compiled a buying guide and our favorite leashes below, so you can find the perfect fit for your pooch.
Factors To Consider When Buying A Dog Leash
Wherever you plan on taking your dog, whether it be to play in the park or walking down the street, the type of leash you buy will determine a number of factors. There are a few different things to consider when buying a dog leash and these range from the style of leash you want to the material and size.
The Type Of Cord
There are three main types of cord for a dog leash and each one has different purposes and advantages over the others, depending on how you are planning to use the leash with your dog and what needs you have.
Standard Dog Leash
Standard canine leashes are some of the most common dog leashes available. A very straightforward design, they can provide great control for you or great freedom for your dog to explore depending on their length. They normally range from 4 feet to 8 feet and come in a braided or solid design without any retracting mechanism.
Retractable Dog Leash
A retractable dog leash is a type of leash that extends and can be held at a certain length, but also retracts back to a much shorter length too, depending on how you need to use it. Sometimes these leashes can extend to up to 26 feet, providing your dog with great freedom to roam and explore without any interference from you.
Although these leashes are very popular, the great lengths that these leashes extend to can be the cause of certain problems. Because when the leash is extended there is so much distance between you and your dog, you have less control over your dog and, although they might be very well behaved, you cannot control other dogs around them or pull your dog back towards you very quickly. Also, if your dog sees a rabbit or squirrel and bolts towards it, the leash can sometimes break causing injury to both you and your dog.
That being said, if you know your dog behaves well and you are taking them for walks in quiet areas, retractable dog leashes can be very useful. If you are someone who likes to give your dog more space, then a retractable dog leash might be for you.
Adjustable Dog Leash
The adjustable dog leash carries the flexibility of a retractable leash with the control of a standard dog leash. Adjustable leashes are leashes where you can add or take away clips or loops to make them either longer or shorter, and they normally range from three feet to six feet. Depending on where your dog is in their training, adjustable leashes can be great because you can change the length very easily even when you’re out on a walk.
The Different Materials
Once you know what type of lead you would like for your dog, then you can decide on which material you would like your leash to be made out of.
Leather Dog Leash
Leather is one of the most durable materials and leather dog leashes are one of the most comfortable to hold. However, they can be quite expensive and they do not hold up well to chewing. On the other hand, they can last a long time if they are cared for properly.
Nylon Dog Leash
Nylon is a very popular material for dog leashes because it is still durable, but at a much cheaper price than leather. A nylon dog leash is also weather proof, however, it is not resistant to chewing from your dog and it can also be painful on their fur if they like to tug at their leash.
Chain Dog Leash
A chain leash is the best option for you if your dog likes to chew things. However, they are heavier and you’ll need to be very careful in choosing the right size for your dog in order not to hurt them.
The Correct Length
We go into more detail about the size of your dog leash below, but it is very important to choose the right length of leash for your dog. Shorter leashes are perfect for training or walking on the street, whereas longer leashes can give your dog more freedom to run in the park. The length you choose all depends on your dog and their needs.
The Correct Width
If your dog is known for pulling or chewing on their leash, then you’ll need to get a wider and thicker leash than average. A thicker lead ensures the leash is stronger and will allow you to remain in control over your dog. On the other hand, if your dog is small or a puppy, you’ll want to get a thinner leash. This is because thinner leashes are lighter and it will be much more comfortable for them. As they grow, you can upgrade your leash a thicker one.
What Size of Dog Leash Do I Need?
The size of your dog leash you need is considered one of the most important things to decide on when purchasing one. The size relates to not only the length but also the width and thickness of the leash, which all have advantages and disadvantages.
A 4 foot leash is best used for dogs who walk on the street and are shorter to allow you maximum control and strength while you lead your dog. If you live in a very high-traffic area then an even shorter leash, such as 2 or 3 feet leashes, are available and may be safer for both you and your dog.
A 6 foot leash is great for walks in the park. It is still short enough for you to have control over your dog, but long enough to allow them the freedom to explore.
An 8 to 10 foot leash is only really a good idea if you are performing agility training with your dog. Of course, if you live in a very quiet area where there are not many other dogs or people, you can put your dog on a 10 foot leash and allow them to explore. However, in busier areas, a leash of this size still allows you to have control but is best for training them to run back to you when you call their name.
A leash bigger than 10 feet is also perfect for training your dog. A long leash puts a considerable distance between yourself and your dog and allows for distance command training.
Training Your Dog With A Leash
Once you’ve found the perfect leash for your dog, it is time for you to start training them to understand what it is like to be on the leash. As with any training, you should start slowly and be patient with your dog as they learn. Rushing can actually make your dog more frustrated and less likely to want to learn.
First of all, you should allow your dog to become familiar with their collar and leash. You don’t have to put them on them, but you can just leave them lying around the floor and they can pick it up and play with it to familiarize themselves. You can put the collar on your dog if you want to, so they get used to the feel of it.
Next, you should teach your pet to respond to a verbal sound or cue. This could be their name, or something like a clicker. Put the leash and collar on them and, then, you can use treats to entice your pet to come to you. As they walk towards you, you can move several steps backwards before you give them the treat. Give them the verbal cue before they walk towards you and, as you move backwards, you will find that they are walking with you.
You can practice this at home until they are comfortable walking with you on their leash. You can then take this outside — to the backyard first, then onto the street, then the neighborhood etc. Take it slowly and your dog will begin to understand.
Tips To Walk Your Dog With A Leash
Once you have trained your dog to walk on a leash, you can take them out for walks. You should always keep your dog either beside or behind you and you should walk in front, showing them the way. If you have to enter or exit through a door, you should lead and your dog should follow.
When you take your dog out for a walk, you should try to walk for 30 minutes at a time. You can walk for longer, but you will need to learn how well your dog takes to exercise and how quickly they get tired. If you are unsure at any point, you can always ask your vet.
You should also always bring water with you when you go for a walk with your dog, especially if you are planning to walk for several miles or in a very hot climate. Canines do not have a very efficient way to keep themselves cool, so it is up to you to check your doggo is at the right temperature and is hydrated.
You should allow your pet to explore their surroundings as you walk. After you walk for a bit, you can stop and let your pet explore. This is a reward for walking with you. You shouldn’t ever forget to give positive reinforcement after waking with your dog. This could be their favorite toy or a good portion of their favorite food. This allows your dog to see that walking with you is a positive thing that they can be rewarded for.
If you are ready to find the best dog leash for your dog, take a look at the dog leashes we recommend below. These are all available to you on Amazon.
The Best Dog Leashes
This BAAPET dog leash is made with the strongest 1/2 inch diameter rock climbing rope and a very durable clip hook that swivels 360 degrees for no tangles, ensuring you have great control over your dog to keep them safe. Measuring at five foot long, this standard leash is perfect for walking your dog on the sidewalk or in the park, finding the perfect balance between freedom and control. It also features a 13 inch soft padded handle for amazing comfort and to make sure you don’t get rope burn, and there are also highly reflective threads to keep you both safe and visible on your late-evening walks.
This dog leash comes in a range of colors and you can also buy in packs of two if you have more than one pup at home.
Mycicy’s dog leash is made from 1/2 inch thick rope and measures at six foot long. Constructed with high-quality mountain climbing nylon rope, it has a test tensile strength of 1000 lbs yet is still lightweight and weather proof. The handle is padded and stops any pain your dog may cause by pulling on the leash, allowing you to maintain a firm grip and stay in control.
There is reflective stitching in the webbing that will to improve your dog’s visibility around roads at night, and the rope leash clasp is sturdy and durable, equipped with a safety lock catch to ensure your dog cannot slip out of the leash at any point. Available in a range colors, you can purchase this leash in different lengths and thicknesses too.
This heavy duty leash from Fida is retractable to sixteen feet and is made from high strength nylon tape with a durable rustproof swivel hook and steady impact-resistant nylon plastic. Suitable for small dogs up to 26 lbs, this leash is easy to use with a quick lock, pause and unlock button that easily rolled on or off with your thumb. There is also a 360 degree swivel mechanism to ensure there is no tangling when your dog is walking or running next to you.
The rope in this dog leash is embedded with white, highly-reflective materials that increase security and visibility for your dog and you when you are out in the dark. The ergonomic handle is also anti-slip and very soft, ensuring you don’t have to endure any rope burn on longer walks. This dog leash comes in five different color and comes in four different sizes based on the size of your dog.
The Primal Pet Gear dog leash has been specifically designed with two handles, one at the end of the leash at 6 foot and another 1 foot from the clip, so you can adjust the length of the leash depending on where you are and keep your pup safe at all times. With these two handles comes greater control — you can use the long leash for casual walks, extended sniffing and loose leash walking and use the shorter leash for busy sidewalks, bike paths and crowded areas that require you to have instant, up-close control of your dog.
Designed for medium to large breed dogs only, there is a stronger and thicker clip that will not break over time, making this leash very durable. There is also reflective stitching in the nylon rope, keeping your dog safe and visible at night. This dog leash comes in a range of different colors.
PetSafe’s traditional style leash is made from nylon material and offers a durable and strong support for your dog while you walk them. Very lightweight, this leash is available in multiple widths and lengths so you can choose the right size that works for your dog based on their needs — 1 inch width available in 4 foot and 6 foot lengths, 3/4 inch width available in 4 foot and 6 foot lengths and 3/8 inch width available in 6 foot length. Although a basic design, this leash works well in any situation and offers you constant control over your doggo.
This leash can be used in combination with different training aids such a harness or head collar, and the durable clip makes for a strong connection to the harness or collar and is easy to use. There are also six different colors for you to choose from.
This Paw Lifestyles leash is nearly 2x thicker and stronger than standard dog leashes, measuring 3mm thick and 1 inch wide with tightly webbed nylon for an enhanced and rugged construction. At seven feet long, this leash comes with two padded handles for amazing adjustability and control. You can use the standard handle for those casual dog walks or quickly grab the built-in traffic handle to guide your pup through crowded areas with ease. The handles are made form padded neoprene for amazing comfort and ensure no rope burn.
There is luminous reflective threading to keep both you and your dog safe and visible on your late-evening walks. Also included is a large 2” heavy duty clip for added safety and a thick D-ring to attach your favorite dog training clicker or a poop bag holder. This leash comes in three different colors.
The retractable TUG dog leash is available in three different sizes — small for dogs under 35 lbs, medium for dogs under 55 lbs and large for dogs under 110 lbs. With an easy-to-adjust retraction, this leash measures at 16 feet when fully extended and has a quick lock and unlock feature that you can roll-on and roll-off with your thumb for ease and safety when adjusting the length. The strong nylon tape also has a 360 degree movement and is therefore tangle free. The handle comes in an ergonomic design and gives you a comfortable and non-slip grip for those extra long walks. This dog leash is available in four different colors too.
The Happy & Polly retractable dog leash not only offers you great control, but also comes with a flashlight for easy use at night. The flashlight is made from aluminium alloy and is detachable and, when detached, the flashlight can be a mini portable carry-on item. The leash itself is made with 16.4 foot long strong tape with fishing line weave on both sides of the ribbon. The patented leather feel of the rubber handle is comfortable to hold and there is a quick release, pause and lock button too.
There is also a bungee leash that has a unique formula of flexibility and strength that dissipates quick forces and optimizes comfort and safety for both you and your dog. When your dog takes off unexpectedly, you won’t get a bone jarring shock and, instead, the bungee effect of the elastic leash will lessen the impact on your arm and back, making it perfect if you have a young and energetic pet. It also comes with a magic box that can be clipped onto your belt or pocket and can hold treats or poop bags too.
Max and Neo’s double handled dog leash is similar to the other adjustable dog leashes we have mentioned above. These two soft neoprene padded handles are placed 18 inches from the handle, perfect for controlling your dog in traffic or in busy places, and at the end of the leash for comfort against the wrist. The top of this dog leash is made with of 2mm thick but soft heavy duty nylon webbing designed to handle the largest dog breeds and is one inch wide, and is also available in both 4 feet and 6 feet lengths.
There is reflective stitching to improve your visibility at night and also a D-ring near the handle to clip poop bags or other accessories. One thing we love about this leash is that, for every leash sold, the company will donate an identical leash to a dog rescue, so you are helping a greater cause by purchasing. Also, it comes in a range of 8 colors for you to choose from.
Suitable for dogs up to 110 lbs in weight, the QiMH retractable dog leash extends up to 16 feet and is 360 degrees tangle free, allowing your dog the freedom they deserve while still being under your control. The ribbon is made of nylon and is strong and durable with an ergonomic, anti-slip handle that makes taking your dog for a walk comfortable. There is also reflective strips on the ribbon to ensure you and your dog are seen when walking at night.
The quick release and brake button of the retraction is very easy to use and automatically adjusts to a desired leash length with max control and safety. Even better, this dog leash comes with a free dog collar, collapsible water bowl and a free roll of plastic bags filled in a bone-shaped cone.
Although not a dog lead, this dog harness from Rabbitgoo is a great tool for keeping your pet safe and under your control when you are out and about walking them. Great to use in conjunction with any of the dog leads we recommend here, this dog harness is perfect for all dogs and comes in a range of sizes to fit your pup. This harness ensures your dog won’t hurt themselves if they pull at the lead and comes with 2 metal rings for attaching a leash — one at the front, perfect for dog training or dogs who tend to pull, and one at the back for casual walks or jogging.
This hassle-free overhead harness is easy to put on and take off with it’s two fast-release buckles and it is adjustable with neck straps and chest straps to ensure the perfect fit. It is made of durable nylon and padded with soft cushion to protect your dog’s skin, as well as breathable air mesh that keeps your dog cool in the heat and super bright relative strips that keep your pup safe when walking at night. Available in six colors.
This six foot long leash from tobeDRI is a heavy duty leash made from strong 1/2 inch diameter rock climbing rope and a durable metal clip. With two handles, this dog leash helps you gain control over your pup — use the handle at the end of the leash for wider, more open spaces such as the park, and use the handle 1.5 feet from the clip for busy sidewalks. The handle is made of foam and ensures you do not get any rope burn while holding it, even if your dog has a tendency to pull on the leash.
There is also reflective stitching in the leash that maintains high visibility when you are walking at night and a metal ring near the handle for poop bags or a key. This leash is available in 6 different colors for you to choose from.
This leash from SparklyPets is a little different to the other dog leashes we have mentioned above in the fact that it is hands-free. You attach the dog leash around your waist by a belt and then your dog is secured to you. This particular dog leash is designed with 2 stainless steel clasps that take all the tension off the plastic buckle and divide the pulling force to both sides of the belt, ensuring your dog does not break-free by the belt unlatching. Made for medium and large dogs, there is a built in shock absorbing bungee that stretches to 68 inches.
The leash is made from water resistant nylon and there are reflective strips to keep your dog safe. There is also a handle if you want further control over your dog when crossing the street and it is made from rubber, making it comfortable to hold. This leash comes in a few different colors and also with a convenient storage bag too.
Made from real, genuine leather, this Fairwin braided dog leash comes in four different sizes to suit the breed and size of your dog. With a 5.6 foot length, this standard design gives you great control over your dog and the pure copper alloy clips are strong and can carry up to 500 lb in force, making this leash easy to tie onto a collar or harness. The leather is high-quality imported Italian and gives a soft feel to hold, ensuring you do not hurt your hands even if your dog pulls on the leash. This leash is also thicker than many leather leashes, measuring at 4.5mm-5mm, and giving great durability. Perfect for all dogs, this leash is a great choice if you are looking for a leather one.
The Illumiseen dog leash is an LED leash that lights up to make sure both you and your dog are seen and gives great visibility even in the pitch black. Available in both four feet and six feet lengths, the leash is customizable and you can change the light between steady mode, rapid flashing or slow flashing with just 1 click. The battery is USB rechargeable and gives 5 hours of illumination per 1-hour charge, giving you multiple walks from one charge and without any hassle of batteries.
The leash is sturdy and well-built and the durable metal clip means that this leash is easy to put on. You can also buy a matching pet collar so your pup is completely illuminated. This leash comes in a range of neon colors, including orange, pink, blue and green.
Perfect for pet owners of two dogs, this Valkit retractable double dog leash actually has two leashes attached to it. With two non-tangling automatic retractable dog leashes, it allows you to walk two dogs at the same time even if they go in different directions. The 360 degree spin technology stops your pets from being tangled and each dog leash is colored with respective colored buttons, so you know which dog you are controlling.
Perfect for dogs under 50 lbs, the ribbon is made from durable and environmentally ABS plastic and polyester and internal embedded stainless steel seiko bearings prevent the retractable leash from being stuck. There is an anti-slip handle that allows you to adjust the distance between you and your dogs at anytime and pause and lock the leash too. There is also a reflective strip to ensure safety of you and your dogs. Available in either a black or pink color.
Also great for owners of two dogs, the U-Pick dog leash means you can walk and control 2 dogs at once while maintaining safe control over both in one hand. Built with a tangle-free 360 degree swivel attachment, you don’t need to worry about the two leashes getting tangled and the shock absorbing bungee design of the leash helps to absorb the quick movement of energetic dogs and reduces the feeling of being pulled. The length of the bungee can be extended from 20 to 35 inches with a strong pulling force, giving your dogs enough room to run in front of you or beside you.
There are also reflective strips on the leash for walking at night time to ensure your pet is safe, and with a soft padded neoprene handle you can be sure that you will not get any burn from the leash. Even better, this leash comes with a dog training clicker and a waste bag dispenser, and is available in different colors and sizes for your dog.
The TaoTronics retractable dog leash extends up to sixteen feet and gives you the option to walk your pet freely in an open area with a one-hand braking, release and recoiling system. The leash is made of nylon and is durable, with a strong spring for smooth retracting that works in any weather. This one is great for any breed of dog up to 110lbs in weight, whether they’re small, medium or large, and has easy maneuverers to keep there where you want them with an easy-click button.
The handle is ergonomic and fits very well, ensuring you can walk comfortably even if your dog has a tendency to pull on the leash. This leash also comes with a free roll of plastic bags tucked in a bone-shaped cone.
Perfect for all dogs and available in a range of sizes, this BABYLTRL dog harness isn’t a leash but can be used in conjunction with one for ease and comfort for both you and your pet. With adjustable straps to ensure the perfect fit for your doggo, this harness comes with a no-pull design, meaning that, if your dog does pull, the pulling pressure is evenly distributed to the body to prevent pulling and choking. With easy snap buckles this harness is very simple to put on and take off and means it is very secure around your dog’s body.
It comes with a sturdy D-ring leash attachment point and easy grip handle to help you to control and assist your pet, too. Made of premium nylon, this harness is lightweight, breathable and easy to clean, and also has reflective straps to keep you and your dog safe at all time.
Another hands-free dog leash, this TaoTronics leash clips around your waist and allows the use of your hands while walking your dog. With extra handles for extra control you can still be in charge of your dog, ensuring they don’t jump up at anyone by grabbing the handle. Perfect for all dogs, the dual-ring design will stretch up to 63 inches and the built-in strong dual bungees mean the leash will absorb all jerks and lunges from dogs up to 150 lb and reduce any back pain or strain you may be feeling from your current leash.
There is also reflective stitching on the leash so you and your dog can be seen at all times. The leash is durable and comes with a sliding leash clasp and belt buckle for a safe fit.
Dog Leash FAQ’s
Why do dogs need a leash?
Without a leash your dog can roam anywhere, and this can make it unsafe for your dog, for you and for others around you. A leash will stop your dog from running into the road, running after other dogs or animals, approaching people who don’t want to be approached and generally keep you in control.
Is it illegal to walk my dog without a leash?
This depends on where in the US you live. Every state and city has different rules on this, so check locally to see if your dog needs to be on a leash. Generally, your dog is required be under control so, unless your pet is very well behaved off leash, you should use one when walking along the sidewalk or in other public places.
Why does my dog pull on the leash?
Dogs can pull on the leash for a number of reasons but the number one reason is because they’re excited about wanting to explore and want to get to different places quicker. Remember, when your dog pulls on the chain and you allow it to happen, this makes them think it is okay. It is best to try to stop the behavior before it becomes a habit.
Buying the right leash for your pet will allow you the control to walk with them on the sidewalk or give them greater freedom when playing at the park. By carefully considering the right type of leash, the size, the width, the material and the length, you can find the perfect leash for your canine that’ll give you peace of mind that they’re safe when they’re outside. Remember to train your pet to walk on the leash if they have never done it before and be patient with them while doing so. In our list above you will find many different types of leashes and we know you’ll find one you love.