Guide to Dog Leashes: Which Leash is best for my dog?

Whether in the city or in the country, you should always have a leash handy when walking your dog. A high quality dog leash not only protects against unwanted running away, but also serves for general safety as well as for building up the bond. In addition, it should not be forgotten that no matter how well your four-legged friend may be trained, unfortunately not all dogs are so well-trained and without a robust leash dangerous confrontations with other dogs can quickly occur. If your bitch is in heat and no offspring is desired, these fur noses should also be kept on a leash during the critical phase when walking. To give your dog enough room to run and walk around, there are various models and types of dog leashes available to suit all tastes and requirements. Read for yourself.

Does my dog really have to be on a leash?

In cities and most recreational areas: yes. Your dog is only allowed to romp around freely in clearly declared exercise areas or with a so-called dog-handling licence. Otherwise, expensive penalties from the public order office can follow. Some other passers-by you meet on your walk may also be afraid of your pet. This factor should also be taken into account in restaurants and elsewhere and your dog should be kept on a leash. This leash obligation not only has disadvantages: During the breeding season of wild animals, the sensitive dog's nose perceives many exciting smells in the forest, which is why it is precisely at this time that escaped pets often occur. Their hunting instinct is awakened, so in these situations it is particularly difficult to call the dog off and let it return. Numerous sad cases with dogs lost for days on end prove how important it is to keep dogs on a leash especially in this phase. If you as the owner would like to let your darling dog run free, dog exercise areas or dog playgrounds are ideal. These areas are usually fenced in, so that there are no dangers lurking and your dog can play with like-minded people at will. If desired, dogs can romp there without a leash.

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Different types of dog leashes

Similar to dog collars, there is an almost infinite selection of dog leashes. So it can quickly become difficult to choose from this oversupply. We will therefore summarize for you shortly which types of dog leashes the market offers, so that you can get a better overview.

These are the most common dog leashes:

  • Hand loop leash
  • Adjustable dog leash
  • Drag leash (also called search leash)
  • Training leash or retriever leash
  • Roll or Flexi leash

The hand loop leash is probably the most classic lead leash for dogs. It consists of a long strap, a carabiner for attachment to a collar or harness at one end and a loop at the other. This loop serves to hold the dog leash comfortably. There are these dog leashes with hand loop made of different materials like leather or nylon and in different colors, patterns and designs.

Most popular and therefore the bestseller among the leash types are adjustable dog leashes, because these are most changeable and are therefore perfect for everyday life. These leashes can usually be extended from 1.20 meters up to 2.50 meters and gradually adjusted in length; in some cases there are also variants between 1.80 and 3 meters in length. Also the hand loop can be extended quite flexibly with adjustable dog leashes, so that the leash can even be put comfortably around your own shoulder to give you more comfort when walking.

For more exercise, an additional towing line for trips into nature is especially practical. This search line is usually made of nylon or similar easy-care materials and differs mainly in length. Towing lines are attached to the harness by a carabiner and are available in lengths of up to 20 metres. This way your dog can run, sniff and play in the woods until he runs out of breath, even when the leash is compulsory. Caution is advised, however, if several dogs are attached to one towing line each and meet each other. The lines can get tangled and in the worst case lead to strangulation. Even in combination with collars, drag lines are not recommended due to the pressure distribution; please always use a harness for this purpose.

Another popular option for dog leashes are training leashes, also called retriever leashes. These retriever leashes are a collar and dog leash in one, so that your quadruped can be leashed on and off in seconds during practice, for example during agility training. It is a leash with a loop as a carrying handle on one side and another loop on the other, which is pulled over the dog's head by the owner as a kind of collar. In addition, there is a stopper with the help of which the correct width in the head area can be adjusted in order to avoid annoying slipping out. These retriever leashes were originally developed especially for hunting, because here too it is important to be able to let the dog run off as quickly as possible.

The last type of dog leashes, which you have probably noticed more often when walking, are so-called roll or flexi leashes. Their length unrolls when the dog moves and can be restricted and retracted at any time by the master or mistress clicking. Just like classic lead leashes, rolling leashes are attached to a collar or dog harness by a carabiner. The often disreputable leash variant offers your dog a lot of freedom due to its flexible length, but your fur nose will be all the more frightened when the leash length, which was previously easily accessible, suddenly becomes significantly shorter and stops abruptly.

In addition to the common types of dog leashes, there is now a whole range of innovative ideas around the subject of dog leashes. For example, dog leashes with reflectors for more safety in the dark or leashes with integrated droppings bag dispenser have already been developed. There are no limits to the imagination.

When do I need a different type of leash?

If, for example, you want to actively participate in sports with your four-legged friend, the leash of your animal should be suitable for this purpose. For example, there are practical dog leashes available for hiking. So you have both hands free and can concentrate completely on nature. Again for cycling or jogging you should use a different dog leash. Here you need more length; in addition, the leash should be easy to attach to the handlebars or tie around the hips. A so-called rear shock absorber, which serves to absorb jerky movements, is also helpful during sporting activities. An important note at this point: Please only practice these sports together with your dog when he is fully grown and sufficiently fit. You should also make sure that your dog is not too easily distracted during dog sports and that jerky movements cause him to pull you off your bike or from a standing position. Otherwise there is an increased risk of injury for you and your dog.

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Different materials of dog leashes

As with collars, there is a huge selection of materials and options for dog leashes. Dog owners probably agree that a suitable, high-quality dog leash should be extremely robust and durable. It should also be tearproof when the dog is pulled hard and be as durable as possible, especially in the higher price segment. Since some dogs have certain peculiarities, which are difficult to wean them off, it also helps if a dog leash is bite-proof. Nevertheless, suitable toys are recommended for nibbling rather than functional dog leashes.

We would like to introduce you to the most common materials:

  • Leather dog leashes
  • Cloth/nylon dog leashes
  • Dog leashes from rope
  • Dog leashes from BioThane

Leather leashes are especially popular leashes for humans and dogs, as they are extremely robust and durable natural materials. When choosing a leather leash, please make sure to use vegetable tanned leather. Chrome tanned leather offers a longer lasting colour intensity, but you should not let any chrome tanned leather near your pet. Chrome VI chrome tanning is highly pathogenic and also causes massive damage to the environment. Once you have found a manufacturer with vegetable tanned leather, there are many different designs to choose from. Especially popular are braided leather linen in brown, black and grey shades, as these colours are very forgiving of stains and develop a charming patina over time.

For dog leashes made of fabric, the rule is that they are very easy to care for. This is also absolutely true, because in most cases they can be washed in the washing machine without any problems. They are very light and keep their shape for a very long time. When buying a cloth leash, you should definitely look for high-quality fabric such as canvas or webbing to ensure that you get a stable, hard-wearing product. A big advantage of these leashes is the huge selection of different patterns and colours available to you. In addition, most cloth linen is vegan and it does not harm them if they do get wet.

Dog leashes made of rope have been a popular trend for a long time, and not only at the sea. Matching the sailboats and ships, they have become more than just a fashionable accessory for a walk on the beach or in the harbour. Rope has been used for centuries in seafaring because of its extremely robust properties, so with a dog leash made of rope you can be sure to get a tearproof product for many future walks.

BioThane is a relatively new material that is as indestructible and robust as leather. It is durable, odourless, antibacterial and extremely tear-resistant; depending on the strength of the dog leash it can even withstand loads of up to 340 kg. BioThane retains its shape and lightness even in water, making it an ideal material for dog leashes in all weather conditions. Even in cold conditions these leashes remain extremely flexible. Because of their high durability and easy-care properties, leashes made of BioThane are also often offered as extra-long towing leashes. They are also UV-resistant so that the colour does not fade over time. Should it ever get wet and muddy outside, BioThane lines do not soak up water or dirt and are easy to wash off.

What is the appropriate leash length for my dog?

As already mentioned in the point "Different types of dog leashes", there are towing leashes up to 20 metres in length. However, such a measure is not necessary for every dog and for every situation when walking. Depending on where your dog walks in most cases, different lengths of leashes can be recommended. Especially practical for everyday use are adjustable dog leashes with metal rings in various places. So you have a longer leash with a hand loop, if it may be a little more freedom of movement for your four-legged friend, a slightly shorter leash for the normal walk round and the halved length for more safety in road traffic.

Non-adjustable dog leashes are available from 30 cm length. These are so-called short leashes. This type of leash is useful if you want your dog to stay as close to you as possible. It is self-explanatory that the four-legged friend itself needs a certain height for this, because otherwise you as the owner have to bend down too much. Comfortable dog leashes start at about 110 cm length. These so-called City-Leashes are optimally suited for the traffic in the city and still give the dog freedom of movement. Most of the common dog leashes have a length of 2 meters, which is in most cases very comfortable and suitable for everyday use for the dog owner as well as for the guided quadruped. All leashes that exceed a length of 5 meters are already considered to be towing lines and are rather meant for active exercise in the forest, on fields or for playing than for the city. These tow lines are available in 5 meters, 10 meters, 15 meters and even 20 meters length.

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What you should pay attention to when buying a high-quality dog leash

The right width:

A dog leash must not break even with great effort. The width should therefore always fit the size of the dog. While large dogs need a robust, strong and especially wide leash, a narrower and lighter model is sufficient for small dogs.

High-quality metal parts:

When choosing a dog leash, not only the size of the carabiner is important, but also its workmanship. The carabiner should always be adjusted to the size of your four-legged friend to ensure a secure hold between collar/harness and dog leash. You should also make sure that the catch is handy and easy for you to operate. It should be neither too cumbersome nor too easy to open. Make sure that your dog leash is a strong carabiner with no gaps between the openings to ensure a secure connection to your dog's collar/harness. For the very wild fur noses, a special safety lock on the carabiner is also recommended. In addition to the closure, metal rings can also be a practical addition to the dog leash. On the one hand they serve the adjustability, on the other hand handy excrement bag dispensers can be attached there.

Stable processing:

The areas around the carabiner and hand strap should be carefully sewn or provided with sturdy rivets. Only so you can guarantee that the dog leash does not separate and thus allows your quadruped to escape. This would be a cruel idea, especially in road traffic.

Occasion of the walk:

Before you buy a leash, you should think about what you are going to do with it. Where would you like to take your dog for a walk? After all, different dog leashes are suitable for the city than for walking in the forest. You can also consider whether the future leash of your furry nose needs to be waterproof; if your dog likes to go swimming with the drag line, this is a good idea. Always remember to give your dog the option with the best possible freedom of movement, depending on the purpose and occasion.

How do I attach the collar or harness to the leash?

Most dog leashes have a carabiner at the bottom for attachment. These carabiners are also available with an additional safety buckle as mentioned in the previous point "What you should look out for when buying a high quality dog leash". Simply hook the carabiner onto the appropriate metal ring of the collar or dog harness and you are ready to go.

What to do if the dog pulls on the leash?

If your dog pulls particularly hard, you should use a wide lead with strong topstitching seams. Flexi leashes are not recommended here as it is otherwise impossible for dogs to know the limit to which they are allowed to go. Please always remember that no leash, collar or dog harness can be a solution against strong pulling. A dog trainer can give you many useful tips to improve the situation during a leash training.

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The best leash for puppies

The optimal puppy leash is particularly light and soft, so that it is at best hardly noticeable for your new addition to the family. Your puppy shouldn't associate anything negative with the process of leashing, so puppy leashes must be quick and easy to put on. When it comes to length, you should always have control and visibility over your puppy, so shorter leashes are better than too long ones. In addition, the price-performance ratio of puppy leads plays an important role. The dog will still grow quite a bit, so cheaper leashes made of fabric or nylon are usually the more popular choice than more expensive leather leashes, which may have to be replaced by a wider version after only a few months.

The best dog leash for small dogs

Just as with puppy leads, dog leads for small dogs should be as light as possible. This is especially true for the metal parts, which can otherwise become heavy for the small quadruped. Concerning the width, narrower leashes are also suitable here, but you should always make sure that the dog leash is suitable for the pull of the dog; because even if it does not seem so, even smaller dogs - for example if their hunting instinct is awakened - can use a lot of force.

Which dog leash for XXL dogs?

Already from 15 kilograms of body weight you should use a leash with at least 1.5 cm width. From a weight of 25 kilograms, a width of at least 2 cm is recommended. The necessary width plays an enormous role for the safety of your four-legged friend, because otherwise the leash can tear due to the high force. So when choosing a leash, make sure you choose a wide, tear-resistant leash made of robust material so that you will have a reliable product even after years of use.