Best Dog Leads: The Different Types and How to Choose the Best Lead For Your Dog

By 28th June 2017Product Reviews
best dog leads

The process of finding the best dog leads is more involved than many people first think.

Many dog owners are happy to go online or to the pet shop and buy any old lead without giving it much thought.

But dog leads are one of the most important items you can own as a pooch parent. You can consider a lead your dogs’ lifeline, it’s what keeps him safe. They’re used for training and it is required by law to keep your dog on a lead and under control in certain public places.

So with all that being said, dog leads aren’t a product you should buy without at least some consideration. They need to be safe, comfortable and be suited to the job you’re using them for.

As a result, it’s common to own several different kinds of leads throughout your dogs’ life.

The problem is, how do you choose the best lead for you and your dog?

Hop over to amazon.co.uk and search for dog leads and you will be presented with over 40,000 options (at the time of writing).

With that many choose from, choosing the best dog leads can be really confusing.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the different types of dog leads, when to use them and which we think are the best.

A Note About Lead Training

Without proper lead training, just about any lead can be useless – even dangerous.

When your dog is a puppy a standard lead will do for basic training.

However, if you have a dog that really pulls and you need to train it out of him then a lead on it’s own might not be enough. You might want to consider using a chest led, no pull dog harness used with an adjustable training lead. This will give you much more control, making training much more comfortable for you and your dog.

CLICK HERE to see our No Pull Dog Harness Reviews

Don’t expect a lead (or any other piece of equipment) to replace proper training.

The Different Types of Dog Leads

As we’ve already mentioned, dog leads come in all different types, shapes and sizes. Here are the most common;

Standard Dog Leads

standard dog leadsEvery dog owner is familiar with the standard dog lead.

A handle at one end with a clip at the other, they’re generally between 4-8 feet long and clip directly onto your dogs’ collar.

We believe they’re the best dog leads for basic lead training with puppies and everyday walking, once your dog knows how to walk without pulling.

They’re not ideal if your dog pulls though. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll have far more control with an adjustable training lead combined with a chest led, no pull harness.

These leads are usually made of nylon or leather, although the round, rope type leads are becoming popular too.

Nylon leads are the most popular because;

  • They’re generally the cheapest
  • They’re strong and durable enough for use with big dogs
  • They’re lightweight enough to use with puppies and smaller pooches
  • They come in a wide range of styles and colours

If you have a puppy, a standard lead should be first lead you should buy.

The Best Standard Dog Leads

Highly Rated

$ 99

Per Monthbest dog leads

Dexil Elite Range Dog Lead

  • Soft neoprene handle for comfort
  • Made from strong, waterproof material
  • A range of colours, lengths, and widths
  • Also comes with a 15-year guarantee

4.5 stars

View it Here

Our Top PickBest No Pull Dog Harness

$ 99

Per Month

Halti Premium Dog Lead

  • Soft neoprene handle for comfort
  • Made from strong, high-grade nylon
  • Reflective stitching for visibility
  • Strong metal trigger clip for security

4.5 stars

View it Here

Popular Choice

$ 99

Per Month

ancol dog leadAncol Heritage Padded lead

  • Padded handle for comfort
  • Made from strong, high grade nylon
  • Strong trigger clip that swivels
  • Comes in 3 different colours

4 stars

View it Here

** These links will take you to amazon.co.uk so you can check prices and reviews

Retractable Dog Leads

best retractable dog leadsRetractable dog leads are another very popular choice. They allow you to vary the length of lead you let your dog have, giving him the freedom to roam.

They allow you to vary the length of lead you let your dog have (up to 30 feet!), giving him the freedom to roam.

They work very much like a tape measure – your dog can take more lead and when he comes back to you, the excess lead recoils back into the handle. You can also lock them at whatever length you like.

Extendable leads should be used with caution and only with dogs that have been fully lead trained. If your dog pulls on the lead or hasn’t yet mastered loose lead walking, you should NOT buy a retractable lead.

Here’s why;

They Can Actually Encourage Your Dog to Pull

Extendable leads almost always have tension on them – the only time they don’t is when your dog is coming back to you. To us humans, this tension is small but dogs senses are much more sensitive than ours.

What this means is that when your dog is walking away from you, he needs to pull the lead the get more of it, so the act of pulling is being rewarded with him getting to go wherever he pleases.

Then when you want him close you, you ask him to come back and lock the lead with him beside you. He’s used to pulling to get where he wants to go but now you’re telling him he can’t.

So faced with this confusion he will revert to the most rewarding behaviour, which is of course….

…Pulling!

In the Wrong Hands, They Can Just be Plain Dangerous

Has your dog ever taken off after a squirrel or bird while walking on a retractable lead?

They run the full length and the lead until there’s no more left and it locks, or you lock while your dog is running, the sudden jolt on your dogs’ throat can cause serious injury, not to mention the sudden pull on your arm and shoulder. In some cases, the force can be so strong that dog pulls the lead right out of your hand.

They can also cause entanglement and even strangulation. The thin cord on many retractable leads can tangle, causing burns and lacerations,  in rare cases, people have even died as a result of getting tangled (story by The Telegraph).

Dogs can also get tangled up these kinds of leads, causing the same burns, lacerations, strangulation and even death in some cases. The video below shows just how easily it can happen.

Now we’re not saying that retractable dog leads are inherently bad, just that many people don’t use them correctly and buy them for their dogs when they’re clearly not the best choice and other leads would be much better suited.

What we’re saying is this…

…Only buy a retractable lead if;

  • Your dog is already lead trained
  • He/she has a good recall
  • You are confident you or your dog won’t get tangled

Only then should they be used a happy medium between you having control over your dog and him having the freedom to explore.

And if you are in the market for a retractable lead, don’t buy one where the line is made from thin, round cord. Get one where the line is a tape – they’re stronger and less likely to cause burns and cuts if you ever do get tangled.

The Best Retractable Dog Leads

Highly Rated

$ 99

Per Month

best retractable dog leadsFlexi VARIO Retractable Dog Lead

  • Comfortable, adjustable handle
  • Interchangeable belts for different needs
  • A range of colours and lengths
  • Customisable accessories available

4.5 stars

View it Here

Our Top PickBest No Pull Dog Harness

$ 99

Per Month

best retractable Dog leadsFlexi Professional Retractable Dog Lead

  • Comfortable ergonomic handle
  • Neon tape for visibility in low light
  • Strong, 10-meter long tape
  • Suitable for dogs up to 50kg

4.5 stars

View it Here

Popular Choice

$ 99

Per Month

dog leads amazonPyrus Retactable Dog Lead with Torch

  • Ergonomic handle for comfort
  • Made from strong, wear resistant nylon tape
  • Comes with a detachable flashlight
  • Suitable for dogs up to 55kg

4 stars

View it Here

** These links will take you to amazon.co.uk so you can check prices and reviews

Adjustable Dog Training Leads

best adjustable dog leadAdjustable leads are the best dog leads to use (with a chest led no pull harness) if you have a dog that pulls.

They’re not a miracle cure for pulling dogs but when used together they make fantastic lead training aids.

In essence, it’s just a standard dog lead but with the addition of clips at each end and loops down the length.

The best no pull dog harnesses have a clip anchor on the chest and one on the back, meaning you can attach one of a training lead to the chest and one on the back, like this;

best dog training leads

This gives you best control possible and when your dog pulls, you can just steer him back to you.

These dog training leads are brilliant for lead training puppies too.

The loops down the length of the lead make them adjustable when not being used with a harness. By clipping on end of the lead to any of the loops you can alter the length to vary your training or give your dog a little slack when out walking.

A Pet Checkers we love these types of lead. Every dog owner should have one, they’re the perfect all rounder.

The Best Dog Training Leads

Best Seller

$ 99

Per Month

best dog training leadsHalti Professional Dog Training Lead

  • Firm favourite with dog trainers
  • Available in 2 widths (18mm or 3mm)
  • Soft, padded material for comfort
  • Can be used for training or walking

4.5 stars

View it Here

Our Top PickBest No Pull Dog Harness

$ 99

Per Month

best police dog training leadsRolled Leather Police Dog Training Lead

  • Made from the finest soft leather for comfort
  • Very strong and perfect for big dogs
  • Can be used to occasionally walk two dogs
  • Available in 2 colours and 2 widths

4.5 stars

View it Here

Highly Rated

$ 99

Per Month

best adjustable dog training leadsAdjustable Nylon Police Dog Training Lead

  • Made from tubular material for comfort
  • Strong high-quality materials
  • Adjustable from 165cm to 3m
  • Perfect for large and giant breeds

4.5 stars

View it Here

** These links will take you to amazon.co.uk so you can check prices and reviews

Recall Leads

recall leadRecall leads, or long lines as some people call them are perfect for teaching your dog distance commands, like long sits, long stays and of course, to recall without having to let him off the lead.

Ideally, you don’t want to go from short lead training to distance training without the use of a lead as you’ll run the risk of your dog wandering off and doing his own thing instead of paying attention to you.They give your dog lots of freedom to explore while giving you the confidence that he’s not going to run off into the sunset, leaving you behind.

Recall leads allow you to practice distance training and will have control over your dog. They are generally a temporary training tool and once your dog recalls reliably, you can stop using it.

If your teaching distance commands, these are the best dog leads to do it with.

The Best Recall Training Leads

Very Popular

$ 99

Per Month

best dog training leadsClix Professional Recall Dog Training Lead

  • Made from soft, padded webbing for comfort
  • Available in 2 lengths (5m or 10m)
  • Offer both security and freedom
  • Comes with a multi-lingual training  guide

4.5 stars

View it Here

Our Top PickBest No Pull Dog Harness

$ 99

Per Month

best police dog training leadsDirt and Water Resistant Dog Recall Lead

  • Made from 100% water and dirt resistant rubber
  • Strong nylon core makes tear proof
  • Suitable for dogs up to 50gk
  • Available 3 lengths and in 5 colours

4.5 stars

View it Here

Highly Rated

$ 99

Per Month

dog recall training leadMaxi Paws 15 Profession Recall Training Lead

  • Super strong nylon and metal construction
  • Adjustable length via metal slider
  • Tested to over 100kg pull force
  • Perfect for large and giant breeds

4.5 stars

View it Here

Chain Leads

chain leadsExactly the same as a standard dog lead apart from it’s predominantly made from chain instead of nylon or leather.

Many dog trainers use chain leads as a temporary training tool when a dog chews on their regular lead. The theory behind this principle is that because the dog can’t chew chain, it won’t even try.

The theory behind this principle is that because the dog can’t chew chain, it won’t even try.

To see this training method in action, watch the video below from Doggy Dan;

They come in different weights and thicknesses and are available for big and small dogs.

In our opinion, these aren’t the best dog leads to use regularly. Purely because they’re heavier than Nylon or leather leads. But as a tool for correcting the problem of dogs chewing their leads, they can be useful.

CLICK here to see our favourite chain dog lead

Slip Leads

slip leadsSlip leads are another popular type of dog lead.

Honestly though, we hate them!

Slip leads cause dogs to feel discomfort and even choke when they pull.

The reason they’re so popular (we think anyway) is because of ‘dog trainers’ like Cesar Millan who subscribe to the old, flawed and outdated methods of dog training, using fear and pain to get a dog to do what you want.

Despite never being qualified, Cesar Millan had a dog training TV show that millions of people watched and he’s an advocate of slip leads.

We’re not and we don’t recommend them.

Martingale Leads

martingale leadsMartingale leads are like slips in that they cause dogs to feel discomfort and even choke when they pull.

They’re often called ‘show leads’ because they’re the preferred lead for people who show their dogs.

Anything that causes pain or discomfort to your dog, we can’t recommend.