When you own a dog, one of the most important items to purchase is a leash, which is useful for controlling the pet on walks or training it as a puppy. The type of leash you use determines how easy it is to control your pet and if the material can hold up to tugging and pulling. Here are our team's picks for the best dog leashes in 2021.
We know that your furry friend deserves nothing less than the best. Here’s a handy buying guide to help you choose a dog leash.
What Are the Different Types of Leashes?
There are many types of leashes, depending on the materials used and the features they offer. Here are some of the most common types of leashes:
You’d often see this type being used in basic training and everyday walks. Because of its straightforward design, this type offers great control. Standard leashes are usually made of nylon or leather, which are tough enough to handle adult dogs but lightweight enough for puppies and small dogs. They come in solid or braided designs and typically measure 4 to 8 feet.
One of the most versatile types of leashes, retractable leashes feature a nylon cord that can be extended up to 30 feet to allow greater freedom of movement for your pooch. This type features a locking mechanism at the plastic handle that lets you lock the cord at your preferred length. When released, it collects any slack, retracting the cord up to the line in the handle.
While this is one of the more popular choices for dog leashes, this type is recommended for dogs who have already been trained to walk on a leash. This is because the retractable mechanism may confuse dogs who are still familiarizing themselves with having a leash.
Coming in 3 to 6 feet, adjustable leashes provide a middle ground between standard and retractable leashes to make sure it could reach out to your fast running dogs. With this type, you can easily lengthen or shorten the cord through hoops and clips. The option for a shorter leash is great for when you’re training your dog, and the ease with which you can lengthen the cord is excellent for when you’re going out on walks.
Other types of leashes
Besides the 3 main types, there are other kinds of leashes, like the martingale, chain, bike, and seatbelt safety leashes.
Chain leashes are often used for dogs who have the propensity to chew and destroy their leashes. However, dog owners still need to keep a close eye on their pets when using this leash since some dogs may try to chew through the material even if it damages their teeth.
Martingale leashes are standard leashes with a martingale collar. These are often used in training as the collar’s tightening feature acts as a deterrent when your dog pulls the leash—without actually choking your dog.
For those who like their dogs to accompany them on car rides or bike rides, consider getting a seatbelt safety leash or a bike leash. Bike leashes are designed so they can be attached to the frame of your bicycle. On the other hand, seatbelt safety leashes feature a seatbelt clip on one end so you can use it to secure your dog at the backseat of your car.
Most Important Features of Leashes
To help you narrow down your choice of leashes, here are some important considerations to keep in mind.
Appropriate length and width
Leashes come in varying lengths, and the shorter ones, like 4 feet, are usually for training or when walking your dog in busy streets. 6 feet is the usual length, and these leashes are often used for walking in neighborhoods without much traffic. Longer ones, like 8 to 10 feet, allow for more freedom of movement and are great for obedience and distance training.
In terms of width, leashes come in slim or thick versions. Slim leashes are great for puppies because of their lightweight material. For older dogs, thick leashes are recommended for their stronger quality that can withstand sudden pulls.
Durable material suited to your dog and purpose
Leashes are available in different materials, like nylon, leather, chain, and cotton. These materials have their unique benefits and drawbacks, which you need to take into consideration when picking out a leash.
Nylon is the most common type of material for leashes since it’s affordable, lightweight, weather-resistant, and offers decent durability and strength. However, it can cause some serious rope burns, so when choosing a nylon leash, it’s best to go with one that has padding.
On the other hand, leather is generally considered to be the most comfortable material for leashes. It’s also relatively strong and can handle larger dogs. The drawback is that this type tends to be more expensive, and it may require maintenance to retain its quality.
Chain leashes are easy on the pocket but may not be easy on your hand. The material may fracture your fingers if it happens to wrap around your fingers and your dog makes a sudden lunge. As mentioned earlier, it may also cause damage to your dog’s teeth if they’re the type to chew on leashes.
Cotton is relatively rare to find, but this material is great when swimming with your pup. It offers a lot of give but may cause some rope burn on your hands.
Sturdy and secure clips
Clips are another important component of a dog leash as these connect the collar to the leash. They need to be strong, durable, and capable of withstanding corrosion when exposed to the elements. The two most common clip styles are bolt snaps and trigger snaps. Both are fairly reliable, although trigger snaps are generally regarded as more secure due to their size and spring mechanism.
Destin has experience working with dogs in the most high stress environments on earth. He currently is a canine handler as a security contractor, helping to keep US diplomats safe in some of the most dangerous regions of the world.