Most answers in life are never as simple as you want them to be. There’s no “one leash to rule them all” or any such magical solution.
So if that’s what you were hoping for, I’m sorry to burst your bubble.
If, however, you’re looking for a complete guide to help you pick the best leash for your dog based on:
- Their personality and temperament,
- The lifestyle you share with your dog, and
- The best material to maximize comfort,
Then you’ve come to the right place.
All dog leashes have the same primary function: to keep your dog safe and under control.
But a quick stroll to your local pet store might leave your head spinning. There are countless leash options from different brands, in a variety of shapes, styles, and colors.
All these options can be a bit of a sensory overload. It’s just too much to sort through!
But not to worry; this is the ultimate guide to everything you need to know when choosing the best dog leash.
So let’s jump right in with a look at the different leash categories and how they cater to your dog walking needs.
The Different Types of Dog Leashes
Dog leashes can be grouped into the following major categories:
The Standard Dog Leash
This is the most common type of leash and is typically used for everyday walking and basic training.
The strap measures anywhere between 4 and 8 feet, but 6 feet is the most widely used. It’s long enough to allow your pup free movement, but short enough to give you full control when necessary.
Standard leashes come in a variety of materials, but leather and nylon are the most common.
But if you prefer something a bit more unique, 2 Hounds Design offers stunning velvet leashes. Here’s a quick review:
“Love these leashes. I have now bought two (one in dark blue velvet and one in black velvet). I really appreciate the shorter length, and the material is nice on the hands. I definitely have and will continue to recommend 2 Hounds to anyone who needs any dog products, plus their customer service is superb.”
The Slip Lead (Martingale Leash)
This combines a standard leash with a Martingale collar. Instead of a clasp at one end, it features a metal ring through which the handle is looped to create a slip knot around your dog’s neck.
When pulled, the slip knot tightens around your pup’s neck, but not enough to cause choking. The resulting discomfort dissuades your puppy from pulling.
Slip leads are also very popular with kennels and vets’ offices because they make restraining loose dogs easy.
In a pinch, they can also be used to make emergency harnesses and muzzles.
Although very popular, retractable leashes are also controversial.
They consist of an extendable nylon cord and a locking mechanism to lock the strap at different lengths. When you release the mechanism, the cord retracts into the handle.
The extendable cord allows your pup more freedom to wander, but the lock gives you command over how far.
Retractables leads are also great when teaching your puppy advanced “heel” and “back” commands.
However, experts caution against retractable leashes because they encourage pulling.
When your pup walks away, he pulls on the cord to extend it. He is then rewarded for this behavior by getting to go where he wants to go.
However, the extendable leash comes with two added risks:
- Rope burns, especially if your pup is prone to sprinting off
- Tangling and strangulation from the excess line
Adjustable leashes occupy the space between standard and retractable leashes. They are very similar to the standard leash except for one key factor: they feature an adjustable length.
You can add or remove loops and clips along the strap to give you an adjustment of between 3 and 6 feet.
Dog Leash Materials
Material plays a critical role in dictating price, function, durability, and comfort.
Nylon is the most common material for dog leashes. It’s relatively cheap and very durable, making it ideal for most use cases.
A nylon leash does not shrink when wet, dries out reasonably fast, and is easy to clean. It’s also light, and thus ideal for both puppies and full-grown dogs.
Nylon is available in a variety of colors, making it highly customizable. In short, it’s the ideal material for those of us who like to have a bit of fun with colors.
You can even match your dog’s collar to the leash of your choice!
Here’s what this happy dog owner had to say about her colorful leash from 2 Hounds Design:
“I have a reactive dog, and this leash works great. He still pulls when he reacts to another dog, but I have so much more control over him. He walks much more controlled now. I got the yellow/silver, and it goes great with the yellow harness I got. I appreciate the yellow because my dog is reactive, and it gives people who know a heads up. Very good quality. The clips are a bit heavy/bulky, but I understand they need to be for durability. I would recommend this leash.”
However, nylon leashes also come with two significant drawbacks, namely that they:
- Are relatively easy to chew through.
- Can rub against your skin and cause friction burns if your puppy is a puller.
Leather is probably the best-recommended lead material, and here’s why:
When treated, it gets softer with time, making it a lot more comfortable to handle, especially if you have a large dog with a mighty pull.
Treating leather leads with conditioners also makes them very durable. With proper care, a good leather leash could last you a lifetime!
However, like nylon, leather is susceptible to chewing, though it holds up better. It’s also a bit more expensive both to buy and maintain when you account for the leather conditioners.
Chains are ideal for dogs that chew through other materials.
They vary in size and thickness to suit all pooches, big and small. But typically, they are more common with larger, stronger breeds.
When using a chain with a small puppy, you should start with a light lead and upgrade to a stronger one as your pup grows.
You should also keep a close eye when using a chain with your pet if he’s a chewer.
Most dogs learn quickly that chains are indestructible and stop chewing. However, some will continue chewing on the restraint, potentially damaging their teeth.
What Is the Best Dog Leash Length?
Standard Dog Leashes (6ft)
The standard 6-foot leash is the go-to for most dog owners. It allows your pup room to explore without leaving enough slack for the strap to drag or get tangled up.
A 6-foot leash also gives you a reasonable amount of restraint over your pup, making it the ideal length for everyday use.
Short Dog Leashes (4ft)
A shorter leash gives you a lot more control over your pup. They’re mainly used around busy city streets and high traffic areas.
A 4-foot leash is also ideal if your pet is prone to pulling or is unpredictable around other dogs and people. It can be an invaluable training aid if your pup shows signs of leash aggression.
Long Dog Leashes (8-10ft)
A long leash allows a bit more freedom for your pup to roam while still granting you some command over your pet.
They are popularly used to train puppies on commands like “come,” “sit,” “stay,” or “leave it” from a distance. This increases your pup’s likelihood of obeying in unprecedented situations, like escaping from the yard.
Long leashes also give pups more freedom to wander and explore within a safe range.
Note: You need to pay close attention to your pup when on a long lead to prevent dragging and tangling. You can vary a leash’s extent throughout the walk, picking up the slack and letting it out like you would loop a rope.
Longline Dog Leashes
Longline dog leashes are mainly used in distance command training. For example, when training your dog’s recall or to obey long “sits” and “stays.”
They are available in a variety of lengths, ranging from 15 feet to 150 feet; but 30 feet is the most popular one.
So How Do You Choose the Best Dog Leash?
In addition to the considerations above, you need to ask yourself a few more questions:
- How and where will you be using the leash?
- Does it meet your dog’s needs?
- Is it intended for daily use?
- Is it intended for training indoors or outdoors?
- Will you use it for distance command training?
Depending on your answers to these questions, here are our top recommendations:
For working indoors:
A long, thin, rounded nylon strap is best suited for indoor work. It’s lightweight and durable, and less likely to get caught under furniture.
For training outdoors:
An 8 to 10-foot nylon leash is your best bet. It is the perfect balance between price and durability.
You might also want to invest in a pair of gloves to avoid the risk of rope burn.
For everyday use:
A standard 6-foot leather or nylon leash is the way to go. Leather will give you years of service if well taken care of.
Nylon, on the other hand, is more affordable and allows you to have more fun and inject a bit of personality.
Of course, these recommendations are subject to your preference, budget, and pet’s temperament.
For the best dog leash options in wonderful colors and even matching dog collars, visit 2 Hounds Design.
2 Hounds Design is one of the leading pet gear brands committed to catering to your every dog-walking need.
At 2 Hounds, we have a wide selection of the best quality gear in different categories, shapes, and colors. We are dedicated to making products that dogs love wearing and people love using!
But you need not take our word for it. Here’s what one happy customer had to say:
“We began ordering leashes from 2Hounds when our doodle came home to us in 2007. We replaced our first leash for the first time this year. I’ll admit to having a few 2Hound leashes, but our brown one–the one recently replaced–is the one we use 80% of the year. In this case, it means that our per-year cost of the leash, including shipping, is about $3 per year. 2Hound leashes are comfortable to hold, wash well, and can take a beating (we hike a lot, the leash is thrown onto the ground, the floor of the car, etc.)”
Whatever dog-walking gear you need, 2 Hounds Design has you covered!