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Choosing the right dog leash for your dog size and type

Updated on June 24, 2011

Choosing the right dog leash for your dog size, type and purpose

When selecting the appropriate type fo dog leash for your dog it is important to understand the nature of using your dog leash. Is it for training? Leisurely walks? Fashion shows? The purpose of your leash will play an important role in the type of dog leash you will need.

What's your dog size?

But first it is important to understand that larger dogs require a larger/stronger leash than smaller dogs. So what is considered a small or large dog? Take a look at the chart below for a general guideline to your dogs size.


Types of dog leashes

What is the purpose of your leash?

Think about where and how you expect to be using the leash. Will your leash be used indoors or outdoors? For dog training? Will you be using it for distance commands? Do you eventually want your dog to perform reliably off leash outdoors? Different locations and purposes require using different leashes.
View the information below to assist you in deciding which leash is right for your needs.


A long, thin, round leash made of synthetic materials is ideal for indoor use because it is lightweight and less likely to be stuck under furniture. Also a leash that is lightweight will be less of a distraction for dogs that will be making the transition from on-leash to off-leash.


To keep your dog attentive and in position a leash between four to six feet length is best. Leash material (nylon, leather, or corded) is not as important. The quality and durability of the leash is more important as well as how secure the clasp is.


20 feet to 50 feet of cotton webbing is an ideal leash length to use for training. Wearng a pair of work gloves to prevent leash burns and blisters is recommended when using this type of leash.

Dog leash types

The different types of leashes are listed below. Each type has a list of pros and cons for each type. Selecting the dog leash type is a matter of owner preference as well purpose.

Standard Leash – Nylon

Standard leashes are made for general everyday use such as leisure walks and basic training . The most popular standard leash material is nylon.
These leashes typically come in sizes of 4 to 8 ft long.


  • Lightweight
  • Cheap
  • Usable in any type of weather including rain, snow or wet conditions
  • Easy to wash


  • May cause leash burns and/or blisters if dog suddenly pulls
  • Can be chewed easily by the dog

This is a list of recommendations for standard nylon dog leash for this type of leash.

Standard Leash – Cotton

Cotton leashes are another similar option to nylon. Cotton leashes are lighter and are more flexible. This is ideal if your dog likes to pull on the leash.


  • Lightest material
  • Cheap
  • Easy to wash
  • Usable in any type of weather including rain, snow or wet conditions
  • More flexible than nylon leashes


  • May cause leash burns and/or blisters if dog suddenly pulls
  • Can be chewed easily by the dog
  • Wet conditions cause cotton to lose strength and durability when wet.

Here is a list of recommendations for standard cotton dog leash for these types of leashes.

Standard Leash – Leather

Leashes made of leather are known for their durability as well as aesthetic appeal.


  • More durable than other types of leash material
  • Will not cause burns or blisters when dog pulls suddenly pulls


  • More expensive
  • Can be chewed

Here is a list of recommendations for standard leather dog leash for these types of leashes.

Standard Leash – metal / chain

Of all the materials for dog leashes this is the most durable and is very resistant to chewing.


  • More resistant to chewing


  • Heavier than other types
  • More cumbersome than other types

Here is a list of recommendations for standard metal and chain dog leash for these types of leashes.

Retractable Leash

This leash type uses a nylon band or cord that is typically up to 26 feet long and can retract into a plastic case. The plastic case has a handle as well as a button or switch that allows you to lock the leash at a certain length or begin to retract the leash. The mechanics of a retractable leash work similar to that of a measuring tape. This type of leash is not recommended for an untrained dog as it will encourage the dog to pull on the leash for more leash length.

  • More freedom for dog to roam
  • Easy to adjust length on the fly


  • May reinforces dog’s behavior to pull on leash
  • Can be chewed

Here is a list of recommendations for retractable dog leash for these types of leashes

Two Dog Leash vs One Dog Leash

For owners with more than one dog it may be beneficial to use a dog leash that can couple up more than one dog.

Using a two dog coupler (aka two dog leash, double dog leash, dog couplers, etc) rather than using a separate leash for each dog brings many benefits such as:

  • Convenience - only need one leash (instead of two separate leashes) for both dogs
  • Chance of leash entanglement is reduced
  • Cheaper than buying separate leashes for each dog
  • Prevents dogs from running in opposite directions from each other
  • Keeps one of your hands free for other uses (e.g. holding a drink or cell phone)
  • The larger well trained dog will prevent a smaller dog from pulling the leash in a different direction

However, two dog leashes do have some drawbacks to keep in mind::

  • The smaller dog will be pulled wherever the larger dog goes. This is a problem is the larger dog is not trained well.
  • Less ideal for training purposes
  • Less choices to choose from in regards to the leash material as compared to one dog leashes (e.g. chain, leather, etc)

Using the above information you can select if a two dog leash fits or a one dog leash fits your needs better.

Continue reading further if you feel a two dog leash is beneficial and we will give you recommendations on which two dog leashes we feel are best for your needs.

Two dog leashes and couplers

There are two typesof leashes when it comes to two dog leashes (aka double dog leash, couplers, etc): leashes and couplers.

Two Dog Leashes

A two dog leash is shaped like the letter Y. It has a leash handle that forks into a V shape where the two dogs are attached.

This leash type is one piece (whereas couplers are two separate pieces) and offers the following pros and cons:


  • You only need one piece of equipment to purchase, maintain, wash and store.
  • Usually cheaper than buying each piece separately.
  • Two dog leashes are built specifically to handle two dogs (or more).


  • If either the handle or the V shaped section of the leash breaks then you must buy a new leash.
  • There are less options when it comes to the leash material and V section.

Two Dog Couplers

A two dog coupler has a similar function as a two dog leash: it tethers two dogs to a single leash. However, couplers are different because the coupler is basically a single leash with a coupling unit at the end. You must purchase and attach your own leashes to the coupler.


  • You can mix and match the leashes based on your preferences or needs because you supply the individual leashes yourself.
  • If either the leash handle or V section becomes broken or needs to be replaced you only need to purchase that section rather than the entire thing.


  • Usually more expensive to purchase each piece separately
  • You should not attach a leash handle that is meant for only one dog (or a specific sized dog) because it may cause problems

If you are interested in looking at the best two dog leashes and couplers here is a list with recommendations for two dog leashes and couplers.


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    • facethepetsitter profile image

      Laura 4 years ago

      Retractables break easily too, both from the button getting broken and the rope part not retracting. I think they're dangerous in an urban or suburban setting. Only use them if you are going to a sidewalks, no traffic.

      Those thanks. They also seem dangerous too. Too many scenarios can happen with dogs. It's best to keep them on their own separate leash.