The Best Leashes
Just a reminder: we are supported by our readers and we may make a small commission if you buy items through these links on our site. Learn more (it won’t cost any more, and it supports this site!).
By City Pup Life
Leashes are such a basic part of the equipment for dogs, and its importance is often overlooked as pet parents quickly grab whatever is convenient or on hand. There are several different types available, and a few things to point out for those trying to choose something new or if you're less familiar with the options
First, a note about proper leash length. Keep in mind that many cities require dogs to be on a leash of 6 feet or shorter. We personally like a 4 foot leash for our regular walks in the city, and we grab a longer leash when we’re out with more room to roam.
Longer leashes may seam great, but they can create a few problems. These are even more problematic in a city environment.
A longer leash limits your ability to monitor your dog, which is more important on a busy sidewalk with danger just steps away. We often see people walking their dog on a longer leash who literally don’t even know where their dog is (other than that the dog is on the end of the leash, somewhere!).
A longer leash impairs your ability to quickly remove your dog from a dangerous situation. In a city, they they could come across food scraps or near active traffic.
A longer leash limits your ability to communicate with your dog, whether verbally, through leash feedback, or by direct contact.
While these may not be problems on most walks, it’s scary how quickly the situation can change in a busy city. Ultimately, keeping your dog close will help to keep them safer.
These come in either flat or rope styles of a fixed length, generally 4-10 feet.
A slip lead is effectively a leash and collar in one. The leash has a loop at the end that is slipped over the dog’s head that acts as a choke collar, so this may not be a good choice if your pup pulls a lot. These may also have a safety attachment to clip onto an attached collar or harness, just in case it slips off.
Bungee or "Shock-Absorbtion" Leashes
Some leashes now have some built in stretch to them, allowing them to stretch an additional foot or more. We’ve never been a big fan of these. The theory is that they provide some shock absorption for dogs who are heavy pullers, but in our experience, these are the dogs that will pull to the end of the leash and keep going to the end of the stretched length. The main downside is that it makes it more difficult to judge how far your dog can reach--you might think they can’t get to that chicken bone or step into the street, but they might have another foot of leash if they just pull hard enough.
Retractable leashes have a place, but they generally are not great choices in the city. If you’re out at a larger park or open area and can permit your dog to roam a bit more, a retractable leash might let them run more while still keeping them attached. When the leash is not locked, it’s impossible to tell by “feel” where your dog is. Be careful to lock the leash securely if you need to keep your dog closer, or you’ll turn around and realize they have gone 10 feet away from you, which is more than enough to get into danger in the city.
Here are some of our favorite leashes.
PetSafe Nylon Dog Leash
PetSafe makes great standard dog gear, and we are a big fan of their basic, flat nylon leashes. Sure, these aren't fancy, nor do they come in cool designs. But for an affordable, standard leash, this makes a great choice. It's lightweight but strong, and it holds up to wear and tear so well that it's likely to last longer than you'll keep it. They clean easily too. The PetSafe nylon leash comes in several lengths, widths, and colors, and the price can't be beat.
Kurgo Dog Leash with Swivel Carabiner
This Kurgo leash is by another of our favorite brands. We love it in part thanks to this simple design, but they have upgraded a few minor details. First, it's made from a water-resistant marine grade rope. And they added a swivel carabiner, which we think is a nice touch and helps to prevent the leash from twisting. It is simple and lightweight, and it comes with Kurgo's lifetime warranty.
Kurgo 6 in 1 Hands Free Leash
Another great product from Kurgo, the Kurgo 6 in 1 Hands Free Dog Leash is one of the most versatile leashes we've used. It's as great for city life as it is for outdoor adventures. You can easily ocnnect it to a bench or post if you want to secure your pup to an object, or you can wear it over your shoulder or around your waste for hands free walks or runs.
K9 Transitional Leash
If you have a pup who is difficult to walk, the K9 Transitional Leash might be just what you need. It's one of our favorite options (we aren’t even a marketer for them--we just really love this product!). The team at K9 Lifeline have put together plenty of materials to help you properly use these, so visit their site: https://www.k9lifelinestore.com/. The leash slips over your dog's neck, and you pull a loop of the leash around their snout. It's safe and effective when used responsibly. If harnesses haven't helped, look in to this.