5 Types of Dog Leashes

Choosing the Right Leash for Your Dog

The only dog supplies more important than collars are leashes. A leash, or lead, is an essential tool for every dog owner. Leashes are used in conjunction with collar or harnesses for training and everyday purposes.

When you first begin to use a leash on your dog, it might take some time for your dog to get used to it. This will take patience on your part, especially if you are a first-time dog owner. Your dog needs to learn that the leash connects the two of you. Eventually, your dog will...MORE associate the leash with happy things, like going for walks.

Some dog owners prefer to have several types of dog leashes to use for different purposes. One leash may be for daily walks and another may be for hiking with your dog in the mountains or for bike rides. You may have a certain kind of leash you use specifically for dog training.

There are so many dog leash styles and designs, it can be difficult to decide what you actually need. Your best bet is to choose something that is functional and fits your personal style. How many dog leashes do you need? Which types are right for you? Use this information to help you find the best leash for your dog.

  • 01 of 05

    Standard Leashes

    Mongrel with lead in mouth
    Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

    Standard leashes are intended for basic training and everyday use. They have a loop handle at one end and a metal clip at the other end to attach to your dog's collar. Typically available in lengths from 4-8 feet, the 6-foot length is ideal for most dogs. ​

    Standard leashes are most commonly made out of nylon and are flat. Flat leashes come in various widths, usually getting wider and thicker for larger and stronger dogs. Leather leashes are considered more durable and some feel they are more...MORE stylish. Rope leashes are usually round instead of flat and very durable (ideal for very strong or giant dogs). Some standard leashes are made with chain. These can be useful for dogs who try to chew the leash, but they are also heavier.

  • 02 of 05

    Retractable Leashes

    flexi retractable dog leash
    Amazon.com

    Retractable leashes contain a nylon band or cord of up to 26 feet that retracts into a plastic case with a handle. The leash can lock in place at any length. The mechanism is similar to that of a measuring tape.

    Retractable leashes can be helpful if you want to allow your dog to wander away from you without letting your dog off-leash. However, these leashes should only be used after your dog has been trained to walk on a regular leash. Otherwise, you will teach your dog a very bad habit: that it...MORE is permissible to pull on the leash. 

    Do not let your dog out of your sight when on the leash, especially at longer lengths. The leash could become tangled or your dog could get into a hazardous situation. Also, be sure to periodically check along the entire length of your retractable leash for frayed, worn, or otherwise damaged areas.

    There are many companies that make retractable leashes, but Flexi is among the most popular.  Buy on Amazon

  • 03 of 05

    Adjustable Leashes

    adjustable dog leash
    Amazon.com

    Adjustable or multi-function dog leashes are similar to standard leashes, but they have several loops along the leash that allow a clasp to shorten or lengthen the leash. The various sizes can be useful during certain kinds of dog training.

    You may want to use an adjustable leash to wrap your dog's leash around your waist or body. This is common for those who like to run with their dogs. Be careful to only do this is your dog is well-trained.

    Adjustable leashes can make it easy to briefly...MORE tether your dog to a pole or similar object. Just remember that your dog should not be left unattended white tethered.

    When choosing an adjustable leash, find one that is well-made and has the right length (more is often better, but not too much).  Buy on Amazon

  • 04 of 05

    Slip Leads for Dogs

    slip lead for dogs
    Amazon.com

    Slip leads are all-in-one collars and leashes. The leash loops onto itself and goes over the dog's head. Some versions have plastic tube slides down the lead to help keep the collar in place. If you or your dog pulls on the leash, the collar part will tighten. This can be dangerous if used improperly since it can close off your dog's airway if it gets pulled too tightly. Also be aware that your dog may be able to loosen the area around the neck and slip out. Use caution when walking a...MORE dog on a slip lead.

    It's important for a dog to wear a separate collar with identification when using a slip lead. This way, if he does slip the leash, he will still have something on to help identify him. 

    Many people use slip leads for training purposes, though some like them for everyday use as well. Buy on Amazon

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  • 05 of 05

    Dog Leashes With Special Features

    runners leash kit
    Amazon.com

    There are several leashes made with a combination of features. Some standard leashes have special grip handles. Certain adjustable leashes have elastic or springs in them to help absorb the shock of a pulling dog. There are leashes with reflective strips for nighttime walking or running. Some leashes are even equipped with flashlights, built-in waste bag holders. 

    Check out this retractable leash with a flashlight and bag compartment!  Buy on Amazon

    This attachable runner's leash kit with...MORE bungee cord, reflectors, and pouches to hold items can be a real convenience.  Buy on Amazon