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9 best dog leashes for 2023, approved by vets

Updated February 2, 2023

A leash is often the first and most essential item many new pet parents purchase. We tested and reviewed the best dog leashes to help you find the perfect fit for you and your pup.

Not all dog leashes are created equal, and with something used daily, it’s essential to find the proper leash for your lifestyle. If your pup loves to accompany you on runs, bungee leashes might be a good fit. Have two dogs? A double leash might be a necessary time saver. Owners of large, powerful dogs might prefer the added security of a double handle. Some dog parents want a washable nylon leash, while others like the durability and style of a leather dog leash.

In other words, the best dog leash for each pet parent depends on budget, features, length, strength, style, and comfortability. We tested and reviewed all types to help wrangle the best leashes on the market and take the guesswork out of it for you.

Best dog leashes, reviewed

Best dog leash overall: BAAPET Dog Leash

Why we recommend this leash

Considering a leash is something you’ll likely use at least once a day, it should feel comfortable in your hand. The BAAPET leash includes an ergonomic foam handle that allows for a soft yet firm grip. Made from durable nylon rope, this leash is built to last and also includes silver reflective stitching to improve visibility for nighttime walks. Lastly, this leash comes with a clip-on poo bag carrier with a full roll inside to boot. Overall, we were impressed by the features, price point, and simple yet stylish design and felt it deserved our title of the best dog leash.

pros cons
✓ Spiral reflective stitching makes for good visibility at night ✗ Handle may be somewhat large for smaller hands
✓ Comfortable padded handle
✓ Included clip-on poo bag carrier
BAAPET Dog Leash in action

Harley tries out the BAAPET dog leash.

Features of the BAAPET Leash

  • Size: 6’ long, ½” wide
  • Color/pattern: Black and silver
  • Materials: Nylon rope, zinc-alloy clasp, foam handle
  • Number in a package: 1

Best hands-free leash: Kurgo 6-in-1 Hands Free Dog Leash

Why we recommend this leash

If you’re someone who appreciates fun features, this leash might be the choice for you. With an impressive six different usage modes, this Kurgo leash is all about versatility. Besides a basic leash, there are conversions for hands-free belt or courier-style use, as well as a carabiner for easy tethering, a short 3-foot training lead, and a double dog leash. If it’s bells and whistles you want, you’ll find them here. The downside? You might find yourself only using a few of the features regularly.

pros cons
✓ Multifunctional to allow for hands-free and double leashing ✗ Some functions only useful for certain owners
✓ Bright color and reflective trim make it easy to spot ✗ Handle padding moves at times
✓ Carabiner allows for tethering
Kurgo 6-in-1 Hands Free Dog Leash in action

Harley patiently shows off the Kurgo 6-in-1 Hands Free Dog Leash.

Features of the Kurgo leash

  • Sizes: Adjustable: 4’-6’ long; 1” wide
  • Color/pattern: Coastal Blue
  • Materials: Nylon rope, steel carabiner
  • Number in a package: 1

Best bungee dog leash: Outdoor Master Bungee Dog Leash

Why we recommend this leash

If you value a leash with some wiggle room for your dog but don’t want a retractable feature, consider a bungee leash. Made for dogs that pull, the OutdoorMaster stretches from 3 to 4 feet comfortably, allowing your pup to extend safely while keeping you, the owner, calmly in control. This particular product has a shorter leash end compared with many other models, which makes it a great choice for those with powerful dogs you want to keep close. While the bungee feature is handy, it does require a fair bit of force to extend, making this not the best choice for small dogs.

pros cons
✓ Bungee feature allows for stretchability ✗ Shorter than many other models
✓ Soft padded handle ✗ Bungee requires some force to extend
✓ Heavy-duty clasp
OutdoorMaster Bungee Dog Leash

Features of the OutdoorMaster leash

  • Sizes: 3’ long (contracted) 4’ long (stretched), 1” wide
  • Color/pattern: Khaki
  • Materials: Nylon webbing, EVA padding
  • Number in a package: 1

Best double handle leash: Max & Neo Reflective Double Dog Leash

Why we recommend this leash

Anyone who has found themselves in a crowd with their dog knows the importance of keeping your pup close. Some models, simply by their design, don’t lend themselves well to keeping dogs on a short leash. The Max & Neo leash solves this with a simple yet sturdy padded handle just 19 inches from the dog collar clip, letting you use two lengths to keep a close grip on your pup when needed. The thick, durable nylon also features reflective stitching, making it easy to clean and visible at night. Lastly, Max & Neo promises to donate a leash to a rescue or shelter for each one purchased, making this a win-win for all.

pros cons
✓ Two padded handles to keep dogs close ✗ Less than 2 feet long when using shorter handle
✓ Reflective stitching ✗ Can be tricky to spot in low light
✓ Lifetime warranty
Max & Neo Reflective Double Dog Leash in action

Reflective stitching lines the Max & Neo Double Dog Leash.

Features of the Max & Neo Dog Gear leash

  • Sizes: 6’ long, 1” wide
  • Color/pattern: Black
  • Materials: Nylon
  • Number in a package: 1

Best training lead: Downtown Pet Supply Training Dog Lead

Why we recommend this leash

A training leash can be an indispensable tool when teaching puppies or new dogs better control, recall, and obedience before you can trust them off-leash. Extending to a length of 30 feet, this training leash is all about giving your pup the freedom to roam while keeping them safe and comfortable at the end of your lead. It’s less effective with dogs that stick close to you while on lead — much of the 30 feet of leash will drag on the ground. Thankfully, its nylon construction makes it easy to clean.

pros cons
✓ Extra long ✗ Leash drags on ground when not taut
✓ Thin and lightweight ✗ Cumbersome for dogs that stick close on walks
✓ Good for training
Downtown Pet Supply Training Dog Lead

Harley uses the Downtown Pet Supply Training Dog Lead at the beach.

Features of the Downtown Pet Supply leash

  • Size: 30’ long, ⅝” wide
  • Color/pattern: Blue
  • Material: Nylon
  • Number in a package: 1

Best dog leash coupler: Mighty Paw Double Dog Leash

Why we recommend this leash

Simultaneously walking two dogs can be challenging, but advances in pet products have introduced several options to make things easier. One such product is a coupler, which allows two leads to be clipped onto different dogs while attached to the same leash. The Mighty Paw coupler is simple yet effective, with the included swivel clip helping to prevent tangling. Unfortunately, this coupler does not include a handle, so if you don’t own a leash already, this likely isn’t your best bet. But if you are in the market for just a coupler, this is a solid choice for multi-dog homes.

pros cons
✓ Enables easy double dog walks ✗ Handle/leash sold separately
✓ Swivel clip prevents tangling ✗ Not reflective
✓ High-quality material and stitching
Mighty Paw Double Dog Leash

The Mighty Paw Nylon Reflective Double Dog Leash makes it possible to walk two dogs at once, but you will need to add your own handle.

Features of the Mighty Paw leash

  • Size: 2’ long, 1” wide
  • Color/pattern: Grey and green
  • Material: Nylon
  • Number in a package: 1

Best basic option: PetSafe Premier Nylon Dog Leash

Why we recommend this leash

Sometimes all you need from a leash is just that: something to leash your dog. For pet parents who value efficiency and budget buys, this PetSafe leash can make a great option. For just a few bucks, this straightforward 6-foot leash has brightly-colored, durable, and easy-to-clean nylon. It can easily pair with accessories or training tools like a head halter or harness.

pros cons
✓ Lightweight ✗ No reflective materials
✓ Affordable ✗ Lacks special features
✓ Easy to clean
PetSafe Premier Nylon Dog Leash

Harley takes a walk with the PetSafe Premier Nylon Dog Leash.

Features of the PetSafe leash

  • Size: 6’ long, 1” wide
  • Color/pattern: Royal blue
  • Material: Nylon
  • Number in a package: 1

Best leather leash: Fairwin Braided Leather Dog Training Leash

Why we recommend this leash

A leather dog leash is a stylish and durable choice for many pet parents. The Fairwin leather leash offers luxuriously soft imported Italian leather throughout, and the suede-like feel of the underside especially impressed our testers. The thickness of the leather also scored points for durability and sturdiness. At the other end, the eye-catching braided leather attachment to the copper clasp creates an extra-durable connection intended to withstand pressure and pulling even from larger dogs.

pros cons
✓ Supple, suede-like feel ✗ Non-traditional leather look
✓ Soft yet durable ✗ No reflective materials
✓ Unique braided look
Fairwin Braided Leather Dog Training Leash

Features of the Fairwin leash

  • Size: 6’ long, ⅝” wide
  • Color/pattern: Brown
  • Materials: Leather, copper clasp
  • Number in a package: 1

Most stylish: Blueberry Pet Polyester Fabric Webbing and Soft Genuine Leather Dog Leash

Why we recommend this leash

Polyester is a popular material for dog leashes, though some owners lean towards leather. But whoever said you can’t have both? This Blueberry Pet leash offers the best of both worlds, combining an attractive blue/green polyester fabric with supple leather around the handle and clasp. The result is a stylish yet sturdy leash, which will turn heads on your next walk around the neighborhood.

pros cons
✓ Eye-catching mix of leather and braided fabric webbing ✗ Leather is only on the ends
✓ Comfortable handle for humans ✗ May not hold up well to weather
Blueberry Pet Polyester Fabric Webbing and Soft Genuine Leather Dog Leash

Scout tests the Blueberry Pet Polyester Fabric Webbing and Soft Genuine Leather Dog Leash with Soft and Comfortable Handle Navy and Olive.

Features of the Blueberry Pet leash

  • Sizes: 4’ long, 1” wide
  • Colors/patterns: Navy and olive
  • Materials: Polyester, leather
  • Number in a package: 1

Choosing a dog leash

Dog leashes are among the pet products owners use the most often, so picking the right leash is crucial. Besides the length and width, choose a material that works best for yourself and your dog. Durability is also key — you want a leash built to last, especially if it will be exposed to rain, snow, or excessive heat. Some leashes might work best for puppies and small dogs, while others stand up to large-breed dogs and powerful pullers. Style is also important for many pet parents, so look for something that suits your personal preferences and accents your eye-catching furry friend. Lastly, extra features are of varying importance to owners, so if that’s something you value, shop for the leashes which offer the most exciting add-ons.

How we chose the best dog leashes

The betterpet lab developed a set of leash criteria and then tested them in real-world situations. Those factors included:

  • Size. Leashes often come in different lengths and widths. Common measurements include 4 or 6 feet long and between ½ and 1 inch wide. Our veterinarians do not generally recommend retractable leashes because of the chance they could hurt your dog, which is why we didn’t include the popular Frisco Retractable Dog Leash in our list of best leashes. They might be right for experienced owners who take the proper precautions — Frisco fans prefer them for smaller dogs.
  • Features. We examined each leash’s particular features. Does it include add-ons or different modes of use? Does the design comfortably fit your hand? Our testers evaluated how well the leash performed with those features in mind.
  • Durability. We know pet parents expect gear that lasts. We determined how durable and sturdy each leash was so that you can make an informed decision.
  • Maintenance. Our testers also considered how easy it was to keep the leash clean. Some dog leashes are waterproof, while others might fare worse over time in inclement weather.

Why trust betterpet?

The writers, editors, and staff of betterpet are pet parents, and we know the value of accurate, trustworthy information. Because of this, the products we review are first approved by our vets. We hand-tested these dog leashes so that when we say a product is best, it comes from firsthand experience.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best dog leash to use?

There is no simple “best dog leash,” as the answer varies depending on both the dog and the owner. The right dog leash provides safety, comfort, and durability for pet parents and their pups.

What’s the strongest leash for a dog?

Most dog leashes these days are built to last, but you can look for heavy-duty or chew-proof options made from thick materials with quality hardware and stitching.

What should I look for in a dog leash?

That will depend on both your dog and your lifestyle. Some pet parents are fine with a basic nylon leash, while others opt for items with more features or eye-catching designs. Either way, a good leash should at the very least keep your dog safe and comfortable.