Updated February 2, 2023
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.
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.
|✓ 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
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.
|✓ 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
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.
|✓ Bungee feature allows for stretchability
|✗ Shorter than many other models
|✓ Soft padded handle
|✗ Bungee requires some force to extend
|✓ Heavy-duty clasp
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.
|✓ 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
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.
|✓ Extra long
|✗ Leash drags on ground when not taut
|✓ Thin and lightweight
|✗ Cumbersome for dogs that stick close on walks
|✓ Good for training
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.
|✓ Enables easy double dog walks
|✗ Handle/leash sold separately
|✓ Swivel clip prevents tangling
|✗ Not reflective
|✓ High-quality material and stitching
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.
|✗ No reflective materials
|✗ Lacks special features
|✓ Easy to clean
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.
|✓ Supple, suede-like feel
|✗ Non-traditional leather look
|✓ Soft yet durable
|✗ No reflective materials
|✓ Unique braided look
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.
|✓ 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
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.
The betterpet lab developed a set of leash criteria and then tested them in real-world situations. Those factors included:
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.
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.
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.
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.