How to Choose the Right Leash for Your Dog
Our four-legged friends are like family. That's why it's important to pick out a leash that keeps both you and your dog calm and comfortable during your walks together. "No matter what dog leash you end up using, you want to make sure it's comfortable for you to hold but also functional in keeping your dog safe," says Nikki Naser, resident pet expert at Chewy.
In a market stocked with endless options, how does one even begin to pick out the right kind of leash? "The first step is determining what functions you want from your leash: Will you be using it for daily walks? To go on a jog with your dog? Or walking a larger dog that likes to pull?" Naser says. "Then, consider getting a different leash for each purpose." In terms of style, there are three types: standard, retractable, and adjustable (the latter of which provides the flexibility of a retractable leash with the control of a standard leash).
Once you've figured out the function of your leash, choose one that is composed of the right material for the task. "Nylon leashes are durable and great for everyday walks for dogs that don't like to get dirty (since it can be a tough material to keep clean)," Naser says. "While stronger materials like leather and marine-grade rope work well with larger breeds that tend to pull." Also consider the length and width: a four-foot leash works best for highly trafficked city streets while an eight- to ten-foot leash is ideal for training exercises and outdoor excursions.
We rounded up 14 dependable leashes in a range of styles and functions for your perusal. From a shock-absorbing leash for strong dogs to a stylish leather one that fastens around your waist on a hike in the outdoors, here's what we found.
Adjustable Nylon Leash
The only thing better than a flexible dog leash is one that's design-savvy, too. Crafted with flexible poly-coated nylon straps, this stylish—and odor resistant—leash at Wild One is durable and easy-to-adjust for walks or quick tie ups—that means it's every bit as practical as it is pretty to look at.
Wild One Leash, in Blush, $75, wildone.com.
Retractable Tape Dog Leash
Big breed owners, this one's for you: Built with strength and durability in mind, the TUG retractable leash is designed to improve daily walks with your canine companion. It has an easy-to-grip handle made to fit your hand comfortably and a non-slip surface to ensure you have a firm grasp. The nylon woven leash can also move 360 degrees, thanks to it's patented tangle-free design and it has a quick lock and break system, too.
TUG Retractable Tape Dog Leash, in White, $20 chewy.com.
Sturdy Woven Leash
Not all dog leashes come with a lifetime warranty, but such is the case for this leash from Atlas Pet Company. Composed of commercial-grade climbing rope, this extra sturdy woven leash provides greater resistance to chewing and is specifically engineered for both wet and dry conditions.
Atlas Pet Company "The Lifetime" Leash, in Silver, $48, atlaspet.co.
Ombré Rope Dog Leash
On the market for a reliable dog leash with eye-catching color? This leash can be adjusted in multiple ways: hands-free when wrapped around the waist, making a handle by clipping to the O-rings, and walking two dogs by forming a handle with a simple knot in the center. It's made from marine-grade rope that's been hand-dyed ombré-style and boasts solid brass hardware to boot.
Sweetpea Cotton Ombré Rope Dog Leash, $64, foundmyanimal.com.
If you're dealing with a dog that chews on everything, a thicker leash isn't your only option: The VirChewLy Indestructible Leash for Dogs is constructed of super strong vinyl-coated steel cable. It's lightweight, but virtually chew-proof and unbreakable.
VirChewLy "Indestructible Leash" for Dogs, $32.85, amazon.com.
Looking for a leash that will help you walk an unruly pup night whether day or night? "The Max and Neo Dog Gear Double Handle Reflective Dog Leash has two handles—including one that's close to the collar for better control of your pup—and is made with reflective stitching on both sides for nighttime visibility," says Naser.
Max and Neo Double Handle Heavy Duty Reflective Leash, in Teal, $18, maxandneo.com.
Made from West-Tan buffalo, this leather leash offers classic style for your faithful companion. Plus, it's multifunctional as you can reposition the handle for a short lead or unsnap the handle for a temporary tie up; it also includes an O-ring for attaching your potty bag holder. This leash will break in with use and last a lifetime.
Billy Wolf Soot Rambler 3-in-1 Leash, $68, billywolfnyc.com.
This posh leash proves to be lightweight, super durable, machine washable, dry almost instantly, and can withstand up to 600 pounds of pressure. As an added bonus, they're eco-friendly: Each Harry Barker leash is made from 20 recycled plastic bottles.
Harry Barker Gingham Blue Dog Leash, $28, harrybarker.com.
Leather Rope Leash
Outfit your pet in this leash from Jenni Kayne that's proudly made in America—hand-stitched leather leash with brass hardware is classic and naturally vegetable-tanned leather will soften over time, developing a unique patina. (As a tip for leather leashes, keep leather oil on hand for maintenance.)
Jenni Kayne Leather Rope Leash, in Natural, $95, jennikayne.com.
Leash and Harness Combination
For dogs that pull, a harness gently steers your dog back towards you when they pull without putting a strain on their neck. Both of the accessories in this set—in complementary colors—is made from a nylon webbing with grosgrain ribbon. The harness has step-in style that's easy to put on and take off. (Tip: For proper fit, measure your dog's chest at the widest part and select a corresponding size that allows for two fingers of space between the harness and your dog. If your dog is between two sizes, opt for the larger size.)
Durable Rope Leash
Why buy a regular old dog leash when you can have one with a secure clip for leash accessories? The Ruffwear Knot-a-Leash Dog Leash at REI is built with durable Kernmantle rope and features a sleek metal locking carabiner so you can attach pickup bags and other small items to it.
Ruffwear Knot-a-Leash Dog Leash, $35, rei.com.
Searching for a solid leash that's tough enough for your large and bossy dog? "The EzyDog Cujo Shock Absorbing Leash is a good option for those with strong dogs that like to pull," says Naser. "It absorbs shock and has a 1,500-pound break strength—so you won't be overpowered by your dog."
EzyDog Cujo Leash, $30, store.ezydog.com.
Adjustable Leather Leash
Runners rejoice: We found an attractive leather dog leash with an adjustable handle that can expand to fit around your waist. With a simple snap, this product transitions from a hand-held leash to a hands-free one (that fits up to a 34-inch waist), so you can take your dog along with you on jogs in style.
The Golden Dog Co. "Santa Barbara" Leash, $65, thegoldendogco.com.
When all else fails, you can always count on an adjustable slip-style lead to keep your dog secure and under control on walks. This combination leash-and-collar at Mendota Pet is composed of solid rope and features an adjustable oil tanned leather slide to prevent the lead from slipping off your pooch.
Mendota Slip Leash, in Tan, $16, mendotapet.com.