The Best Dog Leashes (2020 Reviews)

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Best Dog Leashes

Take a moment to imagine the chaos of a world without dog leashes, and you’ll understand why choosing the right one is important.

A dog leash is an essential tool for a dog owner. Whether it’s for training, safety, or control, a sturdy dog leash suited to your dog will make life easier and promote a happy owner-pet relationship. But with so many options out there, you may be wondering how to choose the right leash for your dog.

Ultimately, your dog’s breed, size, and your needs as an owner will help you decide, but there’s more to consider than you might think.

In this guide, we look at what makes a good dog leash and offer a few tips on how to purchase and use one safely. We’ll also give you our top picks for the best dog leashes of 2020.

Our Top Picks: Summary

The Best Dog Leashes: Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Max and Neo Double Handle Dog Leash

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Max and Neo Double Handle Dog Leash

Quality and performance combine for excellent peace of mind.$17.99

Why We Picked It

For our Best Overall category, we looked for a balance of quality, performance, and cost. The Max and Neo Double Handle leash was our stand-out.

This Max and Neo leash is available in 4-foot and 6-foot lengths and is 1-inch wide. The leash is made of heavy-duty nylon webbing, and reflective stitching makes this leash suitable for low light conditions.

The key feature of this leash is its dual neoprene-padded handles, with one located at the end of the leash and the other 18 inches from the clasp. This allows complete control over your dog in situations where you need to keep them close. A D-ring near the handle can be used to attach other accessories.

The leash is also available in a variety of colors, including black, blue, purple, and red.

For every leash sold, Max and Neo donates an identical leash to a dog rescue center.

Keep in Mind

While it allows for excellent control, the second handle may be too close to the dog for some owners.

In a Nutshell

  • 4-foot and 6-foot options
  • Nylon webbing with reflective stitching
  • Dual neoprene-padded handles

Best for Pulling: BAAPET Strong Dog Leash

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BAAPET Strong Dog Leash

A extra-strong leash for perfect control.$10.89

Why We Picked It

Some dogs tend to pull at the leash when walking. Choosing a leash like the BAAPET can help owners reclaim control over a dog with some bad habits.

The BAAPET leash is a 5-foot leash with a ½-inch diameter and is made of durable rock-climbing rope. A solid, heavy-duty hook gives you additional reassurance when controlling a dog that likes to pull.

Owners will be thankful for the comfort padded handles, which feature full coverage of the handle loop with an ergonomic grip pattern. This greatly reduces the risk of rope burn or general discomfort from controlling an energetic dog.

The leash comes in a range of color combos and reflective threads woven into the rope make it visible in low-light conditions.

Keep in Mind

The rope cover is made of plastic, so could be more susceptible to chewing damage than metal covers.

In a Nutshell

  • 5-foot length
  • Rock-climbing rope design
  • Ergonomic padded handles

Best Training Leash: Hi Kiss Training Leash

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Hi Kiss Training Leash

Extra length to allow your dog freedom during training.$14.99

Why We Picked It

If you’re still educating your dog, then you need a leash that can cope with sudden crises while giving them room to learn.

The Hi Kiss training leash is available in 15-foot, 30-foot, and 50-foot lengths with a ⅖-inch diameter. This makes it suitable for training recall or even more advanced training. The leash is made from durable nylon with reinforced stitching and a nickel-plated swivel clip that will resist twisting.

Both ends of the leash feature a swivel-mounted heavy-duty clip, so the leash can be attached to a fixed object. The handle is made of a single loop of the nylon material.

The leash also comes in three colors: black, orange, and purple.

Keep in Mind

While less of a concern in training leashes, the handle lacks additional padding for comfort and safety.

In a Nutshell

  • 15-foot, 30-foot, and 50-foot options
  • Durable nylon with reinforced stitching
  • Clip attachment at both ends

Best for Small Dogs: Max and Neo 5/8-inch Dog Leash

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Max and Neo 5/8-inch Dog Leash

A lightweight yet robust option perfect for smaller dogs.$12.99

Why We Picked It

Owners of small dogs may opt for a lighter and friendlier leash, as they don’t have the mass of a large dog to worry about. It doesn’t get much friendlier than the Max and Neo leash.

This leash comes in 4-foot and 6-foot lengths, and both are available in 1-inch and ⅝-inch width options. The leash is made of soft yet robust nylon webbing, which, in theory, could handle much larger dogs. While we recommend thicker leashes for large dogs, this makes the Max and Neo more than capable of handling small dog breeds. Reflective stitching makes this leash suitable for low light conditions.

A neoprene handle offers a comfortable grip for the hand and wrist and features a D-ring for attaching other accessories. The leash attaches by a solid metal clasp.

The cherry on the top of this leash is that for every leash sold, Max and Neo donates an identical leash to a dog rescue center.

Keep in Mind

While perfect for small dogs, owners of big dogs will want something better suited to the dog breed.

In a Nutshell

  • 4-foot and 6-foot length options
  • 1-inch and ⅝-inch thickness
  • Nylon webbing with reflective stitching

How We Chose the Best Dog Leashes

To choose the best dog leashes, we considered several key areas that allowed us to create an overall picture of each product, including the role it best suits. Here are some of the areas we looked at.

Design

Dog leashes come in all sizes, colors, and materials, so the design of each leash informs its core functionality.

While longer and shorter leashes are available, we focused on leashes in the 5- to 6-foot range. This length allows a dog some freedom even as it remains firmly in its owner’s control. This presents the safest option for both the dog and its owner.

Our picks all feature tough materials, so owners can have peace of mind that the leash will stand up to wear and tear. Dog leashes incorporating reflective elements were also rated highly, as these keep the owner and dog safe in low-light conditions.

Durability

A leash is only as useful as its durability. After all, if the leash snaps when you need it most, then your dog may as well have not been on one at all.

That’s why we considered durability to be one of the single most important areas we looked at. We examined the durability of elements like clasps and hooks, the material strength of the leash, and its overall design.

Better durability also means better value for money. You could end up replacing a dog leash often if you choose options prone to fraying, so we focused on options that were likely to last a long time.

Various Needs

Dog breeds exhibit a huge range of phenotypic variation, from cat-sized balls of fluff to grizzly-esque mountains of muscle. This means each owner needs something different from a leash.

We made sure to include leashes for various dog sizes and temperaments, and for different purposes. A training leash, for example, can play a key role in your dog’s development but isn’t the right leash for everyday control. Dual-handled leashes can help give an owner some extra control over their dog, particularly in urban environments.

Price

While the inevitability of marketing might say otherwise, dog leashes don’t vary much in quality by their price. In fact, more expensive leashes loaded with “features” can have more potential points of failure than something simple and traditional.

Sticking to the classics is usually preferable, and we kept that in mind for our top picks. However, the occasional feature, such as dual handles, does have something to offer and we noted those where they occurred.

Customer Reviews

It’s not just a dog’s life, but an owner’s life, too. Customer reviews provide large-scale feedback, offering a perspective beyond any single review. This helps us form a view of how the leash performs in daily use and how it holds up over time. Owners need to know that their leash is dependable and whether it works well with their dog, so this kind of aggregate view can help when making the choice.

Types of Dog Leashes

All dogs should have a leash. It’s a vital accessory to ensure the safety of the owner, dog, and everyone around them. This is true even in rural areas, but in cities, it’s often a legal requirement, too.

There is a range of different leash styles, each with their pros and cons. Here are a few common types.

Standard

A standard dog leash is a fixed length of material, usually around 6 feet and made of nylon, leather, or steel chain. A length in the 5- to 6-foot range allows the owner to maintain control over their dog while giving them enough freedom to walk at a human pace.

Retractable

Retractable leashes are a popular alternative to standard leashes. Similar in nature to a spring tape measure, a retractable leash is composed of a central unit and a rolled-up leash, which users unspool as needed.

While common, retractable leashes are controversial. We haven’t listed any here and don’t recommend them. Retractables defeat the purpose of a leash, which is to keep a dog nearby and under control. Their design, including the necessary thinness of the leash, has more points of failure than a standard leash. In some cases, they can even present an injury risk.

Hands-Free

A hands-free leash operates like a standard leash, but instead of being held in the hand, it straps to a belt or harness worn on the body. These allow owners to combine dog walking with activities like jogging.

Like retractables, however, hands-free leashes compromise your control over a dog. They should only be used in cases where the dog is exceptionally well-trained, and even then, users should understand the risks they undertake by using one.

Training

Training leashes are long leashes used for obedience training and other training tasks. These aren’t for general everyday use, particularly for city dogs. Some can be attached to a static object, like a post, for training purposes.

In all cases, a leash should attach to a collar or harness worn by the animal. While collars are more traditional, harnesses are a popular way to exert greater control while also preventing injury in dogs who may pull at the leash.

What to Consider When Choosing a Dog Leash

When choosing the perfect dog leash, you’ll have a few things to consider. Every dog is different, so your job as an owner is to choose the leash best suited to your dog, taking everything into account. Here are some things you’ll want to think about.

Dog Size

You should always make sure to match your leash size to your dog breed. As dog breeds range so much in size, a leash suited to one breed may not work for another.

Thanks to their higher body weight and, in most cases, more powerful musculature, large dogs should have a thicker leash. This ensures the leash can stand up to any stress the dog exerts on it. For larger dogs, a leash of an inch or so is usually wide enough, but you can get away with something thinner for a smaller dog.

Handle

The typical leash handle is a simple loop made from the same material as the leash. This is easy to use for most people, but other options are available. A common alternative is a separate handle made from another material, such as a leather handle on a chain leash. By the nature of their design, retractable leashes have a separate handle, too.

Some leashes feature ergonomic, shaped handles, in plastic or a softer material. These distribute pressure and may prevent injuries in cases where the dog moves suddenly, yanking the leash.

Some leashes also feature dual-handled designs, with a second handle placed part of the way down the leash. This allows the owner greater control over the dog and distributes pressure.

If you have arthritis or another ailment affecting the hands or wrist, an ergonomic handle could be a must, so be sure to factor this into your decision.

Material

Common leash materials include nylon, rope, and leather. Leather leashes are robust, quiet, and have a long lifespan, but they can be expensive. Rope leashes are strong but can fray over time, and present a rope burn risk if things go awry. While they have exceptional durability, nylon leashes have a thin, flat profile, which can make them uncomfortable and even dangerous in some situations. Chain leashes are also strong, but some dogs find a chain leash disturbing.

Some leashes also feature reflective material. This can keep dogs and owners safe when walking in low-light conditions, particularly near roads.

Cleaning

Your dog’s leash will accompany it through mud, grass, and the poor weather of the average walk, so it’s helpful to have a leash that is easy to clean. Nylon leashes are some of the easiest to clean, and chain leashes typically stay clean without too much maintenance, though they may rust if not dried off. Leashes made of softer material, like rope, can absorb dirt and stain over time.

You may want to consider where you live and what your average walk entails when choosing a material. Urban walkers may not place as much priority on a cleanable leash as rural walkers, for instance.

Dog Leash Safety

Buying a dog leash is the first step to keeping you, your dog, and the people around you safe. But it also matters how you use it. You’ll need to keep some safety tips in mind to get the most out of your leash and keep everyone safe.

First, you should always choose a leash to suit your dog’s breed, size, and behavior. A larger dog needs a robust leash that will stand up to stress.

If you have a small dog or one that pulls at the leash, use a harness to give you more control and reduce discomfort for your dog. Never yank on the leash to control your dog. Instead, shorten the leash or use training methods designed to educate your dog.

You should never give your dog an excessive amount of slack on the leash. Most experts recommend a 6-foot leash at its maximum extent, which gives your dog some room to move but can be reeled in when near traffic or a busy sidewalk.

Related Resources

If you’re looking for more dog resources, be sure to check out our other guides.

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