A leash is a connection between the dog and the owner, (an 'extension' of the arm). The leash is used to guide, lead and control the dog and gives them support and security. A good leash is strong and durable. Its length will depend on where you are walking with your dog: a short leash may be best in urban areas and when your dog needs to walk at heel, while a longer leash may suit a walk in nature, when you want to give your four-legged friend a little more leeway without letting them off the leash altogether. The weight of the leash shouldn’t restrict the dog’s freedom of movement. For better visibility (e.g. when traffic is nearby), some leashes have reflective components or come in eye-catching colours (e.g. bright orange).
The type of leash you choose will depend on the individual needs of your dog and what they do from day to day. You should consider your dog’s…
- temperament (are they calm, unpredictable, hunting-oriented?)
- typical activities (do they enjoy walking, training, running?)
Colour and aesthetics should only play a secondary role in the selection.
Approximately 2-2.8 m long. You can give your dog a variable amount of space or keep them close to you. Suitable for walks and for training in basic commands.
Between 5 m and 20 m long, this type of leash gives the dog even more freedom. It is suitable for training your dog to come and to fetch. A long-line leash should only ever be attached to a chest harness.
Moxon or retriever leash
With this type, the leash and collar are formed from a single length of climbing rope, so if you take the retriever leash off your dog, they will be without a leash and collar. Please note: the retriever leash must be equipped with a pull stop that can be adjusted so that the collar only tightens to comfortably fit the circumference of the dog’s neck (there should still be a finger’s width between the neck and the collar). The pull stop will prevent the dog from being choked when tugging on the leash.
This is a very short, elasticated leash with a handle, so the dog will stay very close to the owner. The elasticity prevents injuries to the dog’s spine in the event of sudden, jerky movements.
Retractable leashes are controversial because they pose a risk of injury to the dog, the owner and other people. Whether thin or wide, they can become a trip hazard if not used with care. A retractable leash made with thin cord can also injure a dog or human if it gets wrapped around a part of the body as it continues to be pulled out (cuts/rope burns).
Other details to consider
- Material: the leash must be strong, hard-wearing, weatherproof and chew-resistant.
- Karabiner: this metal hook or clip that attaches the leash securely to the harness should be strong enough not to break open when jerked by a heavy dog. However, it should also not be too heavy for small dogs. The best-quality karabiners/hooks are made of stainless steel.
- Spring-loaded karabiners (also called snap hooks or trigger clips): these can sometimes fail if sand gets into the closing mechanism and jams it.
- Scissor karabiners and pincer karabiners: these types of clips have the advantage that they are easy to attach and detach when wearing gloves in cold weather.
- Rings: there should be at least three attachment rings positioned at different points along the leash, so you can vary the length. These must be made of high-quality material similar to the karabiners to guarantee durability.
- Round vs. flat leashes and wrist loops: round leashes and wrist loops are less likely to cut into the hands than flat leashes, and they are easier to grip.
- Leash thickness: as a guideline, the leash should be 1 cm thick for a large dog and 0.8 cm for a small dog.
- Weight of leash: it is especially important to consider the weight when using a long-line leash. A line that is 5 m long shouldn’t weigh more than 250-300 g.