13 Best Dog Leashes for Your Pup’s Style Safety
Don't let your best friend leave the house without a safe and stylish leash. Read on for 13 top-rated options from our pet expert.
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Buying a Dog Leash
If you’re in the market for a dog leash, you know that there are more types of leashes than you can count, in seemingly endless variations of length, color, size, material and style. But don’t worry—we’re here to provide some pet owner-approved insight into how to choose the best dog leashes.
To begin with, consider why you need a collar and leash for your dog in the first place. Leases keep your dog safe when you’re both outside. They prevent your furry friend from running off after squirrels, people, cars or other dogs. And, in many places, using them isn’t just a choice. It’s the law.
What to Look for When Buying Dog Leashes
When deciding what kind of leash is right for you, think about the needs, personality and temperament of your dog and your lifestyle. A standard six-foot leash with a 3/8-in. to 1-in. width provides adequate control while giving your dog enough freedom to move. This standard leash size works well for general training and walks.
If your dog is just learning to walk on a leash, opt for a shorter leash for more control. You can find leashes that measure four feet, six feet, ten feet and up to suit your training needs.
Nylon is the cheapest option, though it may wear and fray sooner than other materials. Look for leashes with smooth edges, or you could end up cutting or chafing your hand if your dog races off unexpectedly. Dogs sometimes chew through nylon, but it’s easy to keep clean. For a higher-tech option, Biothane (plastic-coated woven polyester) is a lightweight and waterproof option similar to nylon.
Leather is another popular choice. More expensive but extremely durable, leather gets bonus points for style. That being said, it’s not as easy to clean and can get stiff once wet. If you opt for leather, choose a leash that feels soft and flexible. Or consider a leash made of mountain-climbing rope—its softer and more durable than leather. It also has a bit of give, which can help protect your shoulder should the dog lunge after a bunny. Earth-friendly hemp leashes are another option.
Avoid fabric, rubber or chain leashes. The first two won’t hold up well and, while the latter may discourage leash-chewing, it could cause injury to your dog (or you!) should the leash accidentally wrap around a leg or fingers.
Look for a comfortable handle, especially if your big dog likes to pull. The other end of the leash should have a secure metal fastener that clips on and off of the dog’s collar or harness easily, without breaking. Some have locking carabiner clasps for extra security. If you plan to spend time outside in all kinds of weather, a waterproof or washable leash is a must.
The perfect leash for your dog will match the dog’s size, activity level and temperament. A Yorkshire Terrier won’t need the heavy leather leash and clasp designed for a Malamute. A Great Dane could easily break the clasp on a lightweight leash designed for a Chihuahua. And remember: You may need more than one type of leash for different functions.
What is the safest dog leash?
There are over 400 dog breeds around the world that vary in weight from five pounds to over 200 pounds. No single leash type works best for all dogs. Generally, though, leather leashes with high-quality metal fasteners matched to your dog’s size, temperament and activity level offer the best safety.
Is a retractable or regular leash better?
A regular leash (non-retractable) is paws-down the best. Most trainers and veterinarians recommend AGAINST retractable leashes (also called flexi-leashes) for several reasons. First, they typically allow the dog to range far away, making it harder to keep the pet safe. Secondly, retractable leashes teach dogs to pull, something that most pet owners don’t want. They also can also cause severe injuries like burns and cuts on human fingers and pet legs. In other words, they’re one of the things you shouldn’t have if you own a dog.
What type of leash is best for a dog that pulls?
Unfortunately, a leash won’t prevent your dog from pulling. But leashes with some “give” to them, and an easy-to-grasp handle, offer some relief for your shoulder. There are “no-pull” harnesses available that can, with training, help reduce the dog’s dangerous pulling without causing injury to you or the dog.
- User reviews
- Pet expert experience
Best Overall Dog Leash
Dutchy Brand Dog Leash
Your best friend deserves the best of the best, and that’s (arguably!) the Dutchy Brand Dog Leash. The affordable leash is suitable for dogs of all sizes and fully customizable: Opt for a lightweight version, a double-layer heavy-duty option or a reflective version perfect for evening strolls.
It comes in three colors and it’s made from nylon, so it’s strong enough to hold back the biggest German Shepherd while remaining light enough for the most delicate Cavapoo.
- Light and affordable
- Two weight options, plus a reflective option
- 4,500 Amazon ratings with a 4.6-star average
- Won’t stand up to chewers
Best Splurge Leash
The Foggy Dog Rope Leash
If you’re a pet owner who wants something extra special, you can’t go wrong with The Foggy Dog Rope Leash. Elegant, stylish and durable, the braided nylon rope is weatherproof and strong enough to last a lifetime. It comes in two lengths and multiple colors. It also features matte gold hardware—including a gold ring for keys or waste bags—making it one of the best dog leashes in terms of aesthetics. The leash costs a little more than the other products featured here, but it’s built to last.
- High-quality, braided leash built to last
- Attractive gold hardware on both ends of leash
- Rope is soft and gentle in hands
- More expensive than most options thanks to its quality
Best Value Leash
Frisco Solid Nylon Dog Leash
The Frisco Solid Nylon Dog Leash is a no-frills nylon leash from a brand dog lovers trust. It’s effective, affordable and comes in a variety of attractive colors, with lengths of four or six feet. It’s also one of the best dog leashes for puppies or active chewers who can’t be trusted around leather.
- Two lengths and three weights
- Four colors
- Nylon fabric may fray
Best Leash for Running
The Buddy System Hands-Free Dog Leash
When you’re on a run with your dog, you don’t want to get tangled up in a leash. For a safe, hands-free leash, we recommend the The Buddy System Hands-Free Dog Leash. It comfortably attaches to your waist, adjusting to your body type and the position of your dog.
- Waist attachment for comfort and safety while running
- Four belt sizes available
- Eight colors available
- Not as inexpensive as some options, but built to last
Best Leash for Dogs That Pull
Auroth Dog Leash
If you’ve got a large dog that tends to chase squirrels and other critters spotted on walks, we recommend the Auroth Dog Leash. Its soft, grippy handle and woven fabric prioritize comfort for you and your dog. The bungee design allows for some “give” to relieve your shoulders when your dog lunges forward. It also has over 10,000 nearly-perfect Amazon reviews from happy customers who say it’s one of the best dog leashes on the market.
Note: If your dog pulls, you should also get a dog harness so they don’t injure their neck by tugging against the leash.
- Grippy handle and woven, bungee-style fabric design is perfect for dogs that pull
- Ten colors and two lengths
- 10,00 Amazon ratings with a 4.6-star average
- Won’t stop dog from pulling (no leash will)
Best Leash for Dogs That Chew
BaaPet Chew-Proof Dog Leash
If your dog loves to chew, make sure you buy a leash that’s plenty strong—many dogs can chew through and destroy nylon. This Chew-Proof Dog Leash features a wire cable made of multiple strands of stainless steel rope. Surprisingly, it’s also light, flexible and easy to clip onto a dog collar.
- Chew-proof, waterproof wire design
- Comfortable, padded handle
- Money-back guarantee
- Metal clips may loosen or break over time
- Not recommended as a tie-out option
Best Waterproof Leash
Viper Biothane Working Tracking Lead Leash
Does your dog love the water? Nylon leashes dry easily but grow smelly over time. Enter your best odor-proof option: the Viper Biothane leash. It won’t ever start to smell like mold or mildew, and if your dog rolls around in the mud, that’s OK too. It also rinses clean. Consider it one of the best dog leashes for active pet owners.
- Biothane coating is odor-proof and waterproof
- Five bright colors, four lengths and three widths
- Solid brass hardware for superior longevity
- 2,000 Amazon ratings and a 4.7-star average
- Brass clip may be too heavy for smaller dogs
- Dogs can potentially chew through the leash
Best Leash for Night Walks
Illuminseen LED Light Up Dog Leash
We love this Illuminseen LED Dog Leash for walking at night. Made of sturdy nylon and with a comfortable handle, the leash comes equipped with high-intensity LED light-up technology—the rechargeable port provides light for up to five hours. If you regularly walk early in the morning or late at night, you can’t beat the safety of a light-up leash, and this one is ten times more visible than reflective leashes.
Alongside a dog car barrier, a light-up leash is one of those pet products you won’t know how you lived without.
- Three light settings: flashing, slow flashing and steady
- Weatherproof and durable nylon webbing
- Secure metal clip for collar or halter
- Free returns within 30 days
- 4,000 Amazon ratings with a 4.3-star average
- Reviewers say the lights don’t last as long as expected
Best Dog Leash on Amazon
Logical Leather Dog Leash
Maybe you love the quality and durability of leather but prefer the color options associated with nylon. With the Logical Leather Dog Leash, you can have both. The military- and police-grade leather leash comes in 12 colors and its nickel-plated brass fittings are both stylish and long-lasting. Best of all, the company offers a lifetime guarantee, should any problems arise.
- 12 colors and three lengths
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Nickel-plated solid brass clasp
- Tested to 245 pounds of pulling force
- 4,000 Amazon ratings and a 4.4-star average
- Stiff; takes time to soften
Best Leash for Large Dogs
MayPaw Heavy Duty Rope Dog Leash
Thin leather or nylon leashes work for most dogs, but when you have a very large or tall dog, you may want a thick rope leash. The MayPaw Heavy Duty Rope Dog Leash—at 1/2 in. wide—includes a padded, comfortable handle and heavy-duty hardware for powerful dogs. It also comes in more than 20 quirky colors and patterns.
- Thick rope construction suitable for large, tall dogs
- Padded handle for extra comfort
- 20 color/pattern options
- Soft handle may wear out
Best Dog Leash for Small Dogs
CollarDirect Rolled Leather Dog Leash
Looking for a long-lasting, stylish leash for your little guy or gal? This rolled leather dog leash from CollarDirect is a classic and elegant option without too much weight. Specially treated leather and high-quality hardware are a match made in heaven, making this one of the best dog leashes for smaller pups.
- Lightweight and flexible design ideal for small dogs
- Internal nylon cord for added strength and durability
- Not suitable for dogs that pull
Best Hands-Free Dog Leash
Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Leash
For dog lovers who want to go everywhere with their furry friend without having to hold onto pup, this bungee leash from Tuff Mutt offers a hands-free option. The belt expands larger than many comparable leashes and fits waists from 26-42 inches.
The four-foot leash’s “bungee” section expands to five feet and accommodates dogs weighing between 25 and 110 pounds. Its side clip hooks to the belt section and lets the dog move back and forth without tangling. Use it to run, pick up groceries or take calls on walks with your pup. Then head back home and let him take a much deserved nap in his dog bed.
- Reflective waist band
- Comfortable hand grip for extra control
- Lightweight nylon in four colors
- Best for well-trained dogs that don’t pull
Best Leather Dog Leash
FAIRWIN Braided Leather Dog Training Leash
Leather dog leashes last nearly forever, and they exude classic elegance and style to boot. The Fairwin Braided Leather Leash is an affordable option with near-perfect reviews. The six-foot leash comes in four widths—suitable for small to large dogs—and two colors: black or brown leather.
- Six-foot leather leash available in four widths and two colors
- 4,700 Amazon ratings with a 4.7-star average
- Leather is a bit stretchy
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