What are the Different Kinds of Dog Leashes?

group of dogs on a leash

Dog leashes come in a wide variety of materials, lengths and styles to suit every dog owner and purpose. Some dog leashes are retractable, some are designed to walk two dogs at once, and some are made very short to keep the dog close to the owner. The type of leash that is best will depend largely upon the size of the dog, its personality, and the area in which you will be walking.

The strongest dog leashes are chain leashes which will hold up best if the dog is a chewer. Chain dog leashes come in different gauges from smaller chain links to larger, heavier chain. The handles of these dog leashes are made from leather.

dog with red collar

Woven nylon dog leashes are also very strong, but if your dog has a tendency to bite at the leash while walking, it won’t hold up over time as well as a chain leash. These dog leashes come in many widths and colors and some have patterns or logos woven into the material.

Leads are especially short dog leashes of about 14 inches (35 cm)— meant to keep the dog close. Leads are often used when walking large dogs through crowded public places. Leads are also used with aggressive dogs. Some dog leashes combine the lead and leash into one. The lead portion is connected to a longer leash, making this a handy choice for walks that go from high traffic areas, to rural park areas and back.

A retractable dog leash is housed in a small, plastic casing designed for easy handheld manipulation. A trigger or button releases the leash, allowing it to uncoil up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) or more. Another press of the trigger will retract the leash. Retractable dog leashes are better suited to smaller breeds or well-behaved larger dogs.

dalmatian dog on a leash

An alternate kind of dog leash is made from stretchable nylon, allowing the dog to explore a little without tugging the owner along. These dog leashes expand from about five feet in length (1.5 meters) to approximately ten feet (3 meters).

If you will be walking two dogs at once, holding two leashes can be awkward at best. One solution is to get a leash made to walk two dogs. A single leash leads to a steel ring to which two separate leashes are attached, forming a Y. These dog leashes keep canine buddies from criss-crossing one another, or running ahead and behind each another.

If you already have a nice leash to serve as the stem of the Y, you can get a coupler to walk two dogs. A coupler is a steel ring with two leads attached. Simply connect your existing leash to the steel ring coupler and you’re on your way. If you are a professional dog walker you might consider more than one coupler, bearing in mind that couplers work best with dogs of roughly equal size and fitness.

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