What Length Should I Choose for My Dog's Leash?

The primary purpose of a dog leash is to keep your pup safe and under your control. The size, temperament, level of training and situation will determine the best leash length for your pup.

Safety first means never having so much slack in your leash that it drags on the ground where it can get tangled around you and/or your dog. As your pup grows, and gets larger and stronger, upgrade the length one to two times.

For Everyday Walking: 3', 4’, 5’ or 6’ leash


For overall control, 4 feet is a good length. It’s perfect when teaching your new dog to stay by your side, and it's always recommended for any dog who needs a little more guidance during their walks (reactive with other dogs, people, squirrels, jumps up on people they meet, etc). A shorter length is recommended when walking on congested sidewalks. See more about specialty leashes below.

5 feet or 6 feet is the ideal length for pups with good leash manners, whether they're large, medium or small. This gives your pup a bit more room to potty and explore, yet remain within your control. It’s the perfect length for walking in neighborhoods, parks and other less trafficked areas. Our 5 foot leash is a customer favorite.

Thinner and Lighter Leashes for Small Dogs or Young and Small Puppies

In addition to length, it’s important to select a leash that’s thinner and lighter. Small-medium dog leashes have a narrower, 5/8" width. They're great for puppies too.

Specialty Leashes

Traffic Leads, Grab Tabs, and Long Lines are appropriate in different circumstances and in various combinations. For example, with puppies or pups in training, we recommend a 4’ leash, a grab tab and a long line (if you are going to teach your pup recall for off leash walking).

Traffic Leads keep dogs close and safe, especially under high traffic conditions or in crowded places. Our Urban Walker is 12” long and has a short hand loop which makes it easier to keep your best friend by your side.

GrabTabs are super short leads, 8" or 12", that give you something to grab quickly, but won't drag through mud and debris as your dog runs around. They're useful for training puppies and new dogs. If your dog gets over excited when people come to visit, leave your GrabTab on for quick access.

Long Lines or tracking leads run 15' and are ideal for training, tracking, scent work or just walking.

Why We Don't Recommend Retractable Leashes

As we've said, keeping your pup safe and under your control is what's important. Although retractable leashes are popular with owners, they’re cautioned against by trainers and veterinarians.

Numerous articles have been written on the topic. Here's a summary of why they're not a good option for your dog.

  • Retractable leashes “reward” your dog for pulling. Feeling the tension on the line as they explore teaches them that pulling is okay.
  • You have little control over your pup when they’re more than a few feet away. There is no easy or quick way to retract the leash short of grabbing the cord and pulling on it, and you could get rope burns.
  • You risk injury to your dog’s neck or spine when you push on the lock to stop your dog from pulling ahead of you. It exerts a strong force where the leash is attached to your pup (likely at the collar).

If you have any questions about choosing the right leash for your dog, we're leash experts and always happy to help