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The most important tool that you will ever choose when training your dog is his collar. The second most important tool is the leash. In most jurisdictions, you will be required to have your dog on a leash when walking in public areas, so choosing the right one is important.
You have tons of options when it comes to choosing a leash for your dog. There are retractable leashes, chain leashes, nylon leashes, training leashes, multi-dog leashes and more. Personally, I have found that with Janice and Leroy, a simple leather leash works best. There are all kinds of different leather leashes, though, so how will you choose the best among the leather dog leashes? More on the best leather dog leashes in a bit, but, first, let’s talk about leashes in general, and why you need one.
It really doesn’t matter what type of leash you choose, if your dog is not properly trained. A leash won’t be a whole lot of help in situations where you really need to control your dog. Your leash should be considered only as a means of keeping your dog safe when he is interacting with other dogs and with people. It is never a substitute for good training.
Types of Leashes
Nylon leashes are probably the most common. This is because they are not all that expensive, very strong, and, if you’re fashion-minded, you can get them in all sorts of different colors, and even prints. A nylon leash is often a good choice for training a puppy, because it doesn’t weigh much. If you have an older dog that is prone to pulling, though, a nylon leash can injure your hands. Nylon leashes can also become very slippery in wet weather, and that makes it hard to control your dog.
Chain leashes are also affordable, but they can be extremely hard on your hands. A chain leash won’t be chewed apart by your dog, but there is the danger that if the leash becomes stuck in his mouth, it could break a tooth. Along the same lines, if you end up with a chain leash wrapped around your finger, there’s no “give” to it at all, and you could actually end up with a broken finger.
Rubber leashes are not all that common. This isn’t surprising, but it’s for the opposite reason. Unlike a chain leash, a rubber leash has quite a lot of “give.” It’s very easy for a dog to pull on a rubber leash, so if your dog is prone to that type of behavior, a rubber leash will not help you to discourage it.
Cotton leashes are also not all that common. They are, however, easy on your hands because they are made of soft, braided cotton. If your dog pulls, though, you could end up with rope burns to your hands.
Retractable leashes are among my least favorite (see 3 Good Reasons to Throw Away Your Retractable Leash). There is always a danger of the “recall” mechanism failing, and then your dog can end up out in traffic or in another dangerous situation. Retractable leashes are also very likely to cause rope burns if your hand gets in the way of the leash when it is being retracted.
In addition to the material from which the leash is made, you also need to think about length. Many jurisdictions will not allow you to walk your dog on a leash longer than six feet, and, in fact, four feet is generally considered to be the best length for urban dog walking. If you’re in the ’burbs, though, a six-foot leash is a good choice, because your dog has a bit more freedom of movement.
Longer leashes are typically used for training – teaching your dog to stay and come. Short leashes (about a foot long) are used to help you and your dog maneuver through crowded spaces. The trouble with a short leash, though, is that your dog will typically want to pull on the lead, so these should be used only when they are really needed and not as the “leash of choice” for everyday walking.
Leather Dog Leashes
Why are leather dog leashes preferable? There are a number of reasons. First, they’re strong. Second, they’re gentle on the hands, and become even gentler the more they are used. Third, they come in a variety of lengths, so you have a lot of flexibility. You can find leather dog leashes that are ideal for training, everyday walking, and also getting around in crowds.
The key to choosing a good leather dog leash is much the same as for choosing any other product: buy the best that you can afford. Leather is like anything else: there are degrees of quality. If you think that seeing a “genuine leather” stamp on your leash means that it’s top-quality, you’d be wrong; all it means is that the leash is made of leather; it is not a guarantee that it is made of good leather.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the best leather dog leashes.
1. Punk Hollow Leather Black and Nickel Leash
The Punk Hollow Leather Black and Nickel Leash is a handsome-looking leash, made from top quality leather by the Amish. It’s the choice of both military dog trainers and law enforcement, and it comes with an outstanding guarantee. It is warranted to last for 12 years, too, so, in other words, probably the life of your dog. Keep in mind, though, that if your dog chews the leash, the warranty will be voided.
This leash is six feet long and ¾ of an inch wide, so it’s easy to handle but still suited to larger dogs.
2. Hurleco Leather Dog Lead
TheHurleco Leather Dog Lead will feel great in your hands. There’s no need for any breaking-in time because it’s supple and soft right from the start. It’s strong enough for both military and K9 training, but it won’t hurt your hands. If you have a very large dog, you’ll also be comforted by the fact that it’s one-sixteenth of an inch thicker and one-eighth of an inch wider than most leather leashes, so it’s perfect if you have a dog that’s a bit hard to control, and it’s very resistant to splitting and cracking.
This leash also features a heavy-duty clasp made from an alloy of copper and iron, so you won’t have to worry about rust or corrosion. The leash comes with a 100% guarantee, too. If you don’t like it, for any reason, you can return it to the manufacturer and get all your money back, or a replacement, whichever you prefer.
3. Punk Hollow Double Braided Dog Leash
The Punk Hollow Double Braided Dog Leash is another outstanding Amish-made product. It’s six feet long and ¾ of an inch wide, so you know that it’s durable. The braided design also adds to the strength of the leash, as well as delivering a bit of style, if that’s something that is important to you.
This leash comes with the same guarantee as the Punk Hollow Leather Black and Nickel Leash – good for 12 years as long as your dog doesn’t chew it.
4. Redline K9 Premium Soft Leather Dog Leash
The Redline K9 Premium Soft Leather Dog Leash is yet another Amish offering, proving that, when it comes to quality leather leashes for your dog, they’ve got it nailed. It’s a little thinner than some other leather dog leashes (3/8 of an inch wide), but it will still deliver a lot of support for medium-size to large dogs.
This leash is available in several configurations – three, four and six feet – so you’ll definitely find one to serve your purpose. The closure on the leash is crafted from sturdy brass, meaning it will last and resist corrosion.
The only downside I can find to this leash is that it does not come with a warranty. However, given the quality of the craftsmanship, I really don’t consider this to be a major concern.
5. Logical Leather 6 Foot Dog Leash
The Logical Leather 6 Foot Dog Leash is specially designed for heavy use. It’s made from premium leather, 1/8 of an inch thick and 5/8 of an inch wide, so it’s meant to handle even the biggest, strongest dogs, and it’s recommended by trainers all over the world.
This leash will feel supple from the outset, and never hurt your hands. It features a brass, nickel-plated clasp that clips on and off easily, and will never disengage unless you want it to. The leash also comes with a lifetime guarantee, so if you are dissatisfied for any reason, at any time, you can return it for a full refund or replacement.
When it comes to choosing a leash for your dog, much will depend on the size of the dog and whether or not he has a tendency to pull. For a small breed, almost any type of leash will do, because the likelihood of the dog breaking the leash is slim to none, and the chance of injury to your hands, if he does pull, is also slim to none. If you have a large breed of dog, as I do, then it is more likely that you will need a sturdy leash. You still have to think about how it will feel in your hands, though.
I have always chosen leather dog leashes for Janice and Leroy. Not every leather leash is necessarily a good choice, though. I have bought leashes made from poor quality leather only to have them split, crack, or even break, and burn my hands because they were not supple enough.
I have offered a few suggestions above. Right now, I’m using the Hurleco Leather Dog Leads for Janice and Leroy. The other choices are probably equally good, though, based on the information that I’ve received from fellow owners of large dogs.
Leather dog leashes will cost you more than nylon, chain or other varieties, but from where I sit, they’re well worth the money.