If you’re like me and live in the city, it’s pretty much mandatory to have your dog on a leash in public. Most communities have leash laws, really, so if the leash you have for your dog is making it unpleasant to walk them, it’s time to upgrade. There are many fine leashes in various styles to choose from, each accentuating a different function. Choose your new dog leash from our guide to the best of them.
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1. Pawtitas Reflective Padded Dog LeashPros:
- Reflective stitching
- Reinforced, chew-resistant nylon
- Two sizes to suit a variety of dogs
- On the smaller size, the lobster clip is proportionately too large
- Some reports of the clip falling open on some units
- Handle not as padded as it could be
If visibility is important, this Pawtitas reflective dog leash might be a good option. The medium-large version is an inch wide, while the one for smaller pups is 5/8 of an inch — both wide enough to ensure good durability and provide enough surface area for the reflective stripe sewn into it. An excellent leash to use at dawn and dusk, it comes in a wide assortment of colors including black, blue, green, orange, pink, purple, orchid, red, and teal, as well as camo options. A good, standard leash option with added usability. These are meant to be paired with the matching collar (which we put on our best collars post) or the matching harness.
2. Flexi New Classic Retractable 26 Foot Dog LeashPrice: $28.00Pros:
- Excellent locking mechanism, especially compared to cheaper alternatives
- High-end feel
- Strong retraction motion
- Retractable leashes aren't ideal for out of control dogs
- Many dog waste bag holders are incompatible with the handle
- On the expensive side
Far and away my favorite leash, this Flexi model is the one I use for my shar pei mix. The large model is made for dogs up to 110 pounds and extends up to 26 feet. I can attest that the locking mechanism is smooth and reliable, much more so than the push-push design other retractable leashes use. I’ve been using mine for four years now without any hint that it’s wearing down. There are five size and length combinations to choose from, as well as four colors. As a note, a lot of pick-up bag holders won’t fit over the handle and it lacks an accessory loop, but if you get one with a long loop, or the one Flexi makes custom for these, you’ll be good to go.
In addition to the Classic, Flexi also makes the Neon, Vario, or Comfort models. They also make an LED lighting system you can add for extra visibility. My preference is for the Classic, but all of them are worth considering.
3. Kurgo 6-in-1 Quantum Hands Free Dog LeashPrice: $24.00Pros:
- Super flexible, multi-purpose leash
- Very durable
- Suits a wide variety of dogs
- Somewhat confusing to configure; hang onto the directions
- Carabiner adjustment is a little clumsy
- Lobster clip sometimes sticks open
Different dog leashes perform different jobs. This leash will easily cover more than one base with its six functions. Included in those are a traditional six-foot leash, a three-foot training leash, double dog leash, over the shoulder, around the waist, and finally a tether. I have one of these and can report that it’s very comfortable to use and especially with my husky and blue nose pit, I make frequent use of the different functions.
It’s very tough, as well. One potential warning would be that it can be kind of confusing to switch functions the first few times, so be sure to hang onto the directions. It comes with a lifetime warranty lest you have any issues with it. Choose from the following colors to coordinate with your pup: Pink/Gray, Black/Orange, Tan/Brown and Red/Blue.
4. ZippyPaws Climbers Mountain Original Climbing Rope Dog LeashPrice: $10.00Pros:
- Super durable climbing rope construction
- Soft material and reflective stripes
- No additional padding on the handle
- May look quite large on some dogs
- Might be too thick for some pick-up bag holders
If your two requirements for a dog leash are low price and durability, this is very likely the one for you. This leash is 2/3 of an inch thick, made of a mountain climbing rope that can withstand many, many more pounds of pull than your dog could possibly generate. It's also slightly more resistant to chewing than the average thin nylon leash. Choose from four and six foot lengths in black, teal, pink, blue, purple, or red.
5. Leashboss Long Dog LeashPrice: $21.00Pros:
- Long length makes it good for recall training
- Durable hardware and material
- Good for larger dogs
- No reflective material
- No color options
- Somewhat cumbersome to use for normal walks
If a retractable leash won’t work for you and your dog, there’s also this option. Available in lengths of 10 feet and 15 feet, this soft nylon long leash is great for backyard training, giving your dog enough rope to move relatively far away from you even as you maintain control of them. Made for medium and large dogs, you can use this as a run in camping situations or while recall training. The handle features thick neoprene padding to give you better, more comfortable control. One drawback is that it lacks reflective material compared to the others on this list, and there are no color options.
If you decide you like their products, Leashboss makes options competitive with the Mighty Paw products on this list, including a Double Dog Coupler and a two-handle leash. If you want to go even longer, consider the Mendota Trainer Check Cord or the Mighty Paw Break Away.
6. Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Dog LeashPrice: $22.00Pros:
- Bungee allows freedom of movement
- Hands-free belt design
- Extendable up to 60 inches
- Waist adjustment may move during use on some units
- May not work for very small dogs
- May not fit everyone
Runners and joggers can’t be impeded by normal leashes. Your exercise routine is just as important as your dog’s, but you need something that won't throw your stride off. Designed as a belt, the leash portion clips on to provide more ease of motion both you and your dog. The leash portion itself is 48 inches and includes a bungee that extends to 60 inches, giving you even more flexibility. The design of this model is entirely focused on letting you and your dog keep in stride for the duration of the outing. Available in green and gray, coral and gray, orange and gray, and gray and blue, this leash features three seams of reflective material, which adds to a runner’s visibility as much as the dog’s. The belt portion is adjustable to a 42 inch waist.
7. Mendota Slip Lead Dog LeashPrice: $14.00Pros:
- Solid polypropylene core
- Very soft outer cover
- Easily rolled up to put in a pocket
- Not ideal for normal walk situations
- Not for dogs under 50 pounds
- Since your dog is not securely fastened, you'll want to use this in an enclosed space
If a slip lead is necessary, this attractive model might fit the bill. It utilizes a metal slide to safely release properly while training. The rope has a solid polypropylene core for maximum durability. Slip leads are best for training, or even just to usher your dog between cars and buildings. It’s available in two sizes - four and six feet - and in a very wide variety of colors and sizes to suit any dog, in the following patterns: Striped, Solid, Confetti, Checkered, and Camouflage.
8. Mighty Paw BungeeX2 Double Dog LeashPrice: $23.00Pros:
- Swivel leash attachment for tangle-free, multiple dog walking
- Bungee helps distribute energy of dogs walking at different rates
- Padded handle
- Not ideal for two wildly different size dogs
- Unlikely to work with two very large dogs
- Even the smallest version may be too heavy for very small dogs
Naturally, if you have two dogs, you’ll need two leashes, right? Not quite. This clever bungee system is the best dog leash for walking two dogs without the hassle of getting tangled. Available in three sizes, this leash relies on a swivel attachment just above the split to seamlessly join two dogs to one leash handle. The bungee function helps to absorb some of the tugging that is certain to come from walking two dogs at once. This leash also includes reflective material woven into the weatherproof nylon, but only comes in black.
For a little bit less, you can get a version without the bungee, but it doesn't absorb pulling the same way.
9. Mighty Paw HandleX2 Dual Handle Dog LeashPros:
- Two neoprene padded handles for maximum control
- Reflective stitching
- Very durable
- Polarizing color options
- No matching harness or collar available
- Handles too wide for some
While some two-handled dog leashes are meant for walking two dogs, this one is squarely aimed at wrangling one big or difficult dog. This one is designed with control and safety in mind, with a second handle placed 12 inches from the dog, allowing for easily reining your pup in at crosswalks and around other dogs. Both handles are padded, and the entire length of the leash features reflective material for low-light situations. If you’ve ever found yourself winding a leash around your hand to shorten it up, this is the one for you. Choose between neon green and black or orange and black.
10. Walky Dog Plus Bicycle Exercise Dog LeashPrice: $59.00Pros:
- Shock absorber keeps both of you balanced
- High-carbon stainless steel wand with 550 pounds of pull strength
- Easy installation and quick dog release
- Can't be used with head harnesses
- Will almost certainly require training your dog
- On some bikes, your leg might hit the bar as you pedal
If walking isn’t so much your thing and you’d rather ride, there’s a leash for that, too. Making use of paracord, this system attaches securely to your bike and provides enough length that your dog can run along beside you safely. Installation takes only a few minutes and includes a shock absorbing system that will help prevent unnecessary tugs from both sides. This is especially good for high-energy dogs, as the pace of the workout will be more intense. If your pupper is currently displaying signs of pent up energy, try this solution to increase their exercise.
11. Logical Leather Dog LeashPrice: $19.00Pros:
- Leather may prevent burn from nylon leashes
- Reinforced stitching at the ends
- No padding on the handle
- Won't stand up to aggressive chewers
- Lobster clasp may not be the best quality
Looking for a leather dog leash option? Logical Leather offers this relatively inexpensive model made from full-grain leather that can withstand 245 pounds of pulling force. Though there is no padding on the handle, this is well-tanned and soft on the hands. You even get you choice of colors between black, brown, tan, red, and pink.
When selecting a dog leash, you have to take a few things into account. The standard leash will do the job in most situations, and we've included a few on this list that fit that bill while being a bit more interesting than the traditional nylon leash.
For example, I have a relatively long husky mix. The everyday six-foot leash is just a bit too short to comfortably walk him, but he's also somewhat wild and a consistent puller, so the added control is necessary. By contrast, my shar pei mix is an extremely good walker who stays always to my left side about eight to ten feet ahead at all times. He doesn't zig zag or change direction on a whim, so I use the Flexi Classic model for him.
Those extra-long retractable leashes should really be reserved for well-behaved dogs, both for your dog's safety and for the safety of others. Don't be surprised if you choose the retractable leash and get more than a few glares if your dog isn't under control. In the case of my husky, he zig zags constantly and would almost certainly get himself hit by a car on the shar pei's leash. If your dog is extra crazy, you might appreciate the added control of the two-handled options below.
Dog length, strength, and behavior are all important factors to consider when leash shopping. So, too, is the goal of the leash — is this for training, everyday walking, or another purpose? I can tell you from experience that owning at least two styles of leash comes in handy.
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