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Selecting The Best Dog Leash

Selecting the Best Dog Leashes start with a simple, and reliable design, but should not be designed with simple materials. Your dogs leash is its lifeline between you and harm’s way. Selecting the best dog leash is important. With so many different styles available how does one make an informed decision?

Below are a few choices of some of the more popular materials used in building dog leashes. Not complete, but hopefully it will help you better select a quality leash that would work best for you, and your dogs.

Leather Dog Leash
Leather Dog Leash


A quality leather dog lead is often the choice for many Police, professional dog handlers and dog trainers. These often have a comfortable feel, light weight, and easily carried in a side pants pocket when the dog is off lead.

Not all leather offers the same quality or durability. A quality leather dog leash will make mention of the type of leather, its grain, thickness and consistency of the grain, and why its better when compared to a lesser quality leather.

Leather dog leashes don’t do well in or around water, especially salt water. The salt removes the tanning oils that preserves the leather, and the leash will stretch and then constrict as it drys out causing cracking. The use of a leather conditioner is a good idea to maintain this type of dog leash.

Braided leather leashes tend to be stronger than those sewn or stitched but it may not mater if you are unsure of the type of leather or its quality.

Glacier and Purple Climbing Rope Dog Leash Made in USA. MyDogsCool.com
Glacier and Purple Rope Dog Leash

Nylon and Polyester:

The best dog leashes in our opinion use nylon and polyester, these are excellent choices for dog’s and puppies needing a quality walking or training leash. Dog collars and harnesses made from the same material can last for decades. A variety of styles, strengths and color patterns are available.

Climbing rope is one of the best materials to use in building custom rope dog leashes. Unfortunately most of what is available at major pet stores is common utility rope made to look like climbing rope.

Genuine climbing rope is CE rated, it is built, tested and approved for mountaineering and rock climbing as well as other uses that requires a rope to meet certain life safety standards. Terms like “inspired by climbing rope” is a dead give away that a lesser quality rope is used. We also don’t use factory seconds, or what is sometimes called “ends’, the odd end lengths the manufacturer often discards or sells off at discounted prices.

Why would anyone trust their dogs safety to any material or product that has no standard of testing to insure its safety can be trusted? The pet industry has flooded the market place with inferior products intentionally designed to appeal to a consumers ideas of what a strong leash should look like, and what its cost should be.

The best dog leashes are often made of climbing rope. These are made in static and dynamic versions. Static is stiffer with minimal stretch and dynamic is more commonly used for dog leashes as it will have a small amount of stretch. These are the same ropes used by mountain climbers, military, police and search & rescue agencies worldwide.

Snap Hook: 3.5 inch Marine Grade 316 Stainless Steel Swivel Clip

Most dog leashes use inexpensive nickle or chrome plated clips also known as snap hooks. Rarely will you find dog leashes equipped with premium marine grade 316 stainless steel; these can cost three times that of a lesser clip. They are a harder metal, and more resistant to wear and corrosion.

Lesser expensive nickle or chrome plated clips are electroplated on top of an unknown base alloy.

Marine grade stainless steel clips used to build our dog leashes have the 316 identifier indicating the amount of chromium, nickel, and molybdenum that makes up its allow. This is not a coating like nickel plating, it’s the clips physical elements that allows industry and consumers to determine if the clip is suitable for their application.

For medium to extra large dogs we use a 3.5 inch marine grade stainless steel clip with a working load of approximately 180lbs. Often over looked is the internal spring also made of 316 stainless.

Pet store dog leashes are almost always low quality and sell at a maximum profit. Style and price are their selling points. Rarely will you find any indication as to the materials strength, durability or working load limits. This is why we build our leashes from materials used outside the main stream pet industry where manufactures are required to test their product to meet certain strength and safety standards that users can trust.

We build some of the best climbing rope dog leashes for medium to extra large dogs.

Black Locking Carabiner used with Custom Dog Leashes - MyDogsCool.com
3.5 inch Black Locking Carabiner

Carabiner: 3.5 inch Compact Locking Carabiner CE/UIAA Certified

Designed for use in both rock and mountain climbing, carabiners are lightweight, durable and strong. These work well when used as part of a custom dog leash. These don’t swivel like other clips or connectors but they are superior in strength and safety.

We like using these attached to a harness worn by medium to extra large dogs already trained to walk on lead. The carabiner allows more flexibility in how a leash is used. The leash handle can be clipped into the carabiner shortening the leash by half converting a six foot lead into a temporary three foot traffic lead.

Always clean and lubricate locking carabiners when they have come in contact with saltwater.

nanoSwivel by Rock Exotica
2.5″ nanoSwivel – CE Certified – High Strength Aluminium Alloy. Stainless Steel Axle with Sealed Bearings.

nanoSwivel: 2.7 inch nano swivel works with a Carabiner for 360° rotation.

The nanoSwivel is less than 3 inches long and weighs only 2 oz, it’s often used in climbing sports, mountaineering, or different types of rescue work where a small, load rated swivel is required to reduce a ropes chances of binding or tangling. This awesome swivel works great when combined with a small compact carabiner incorporated into a custom climbing rope dog leash.

For those with large to extra large dogs wanting the additional safety provided by a leash equipped with a carabiner but want the added ability for the leash to swivel 360°, this nanoSwivel is a great option.

nanoSwivels are manufactured and hand assembled in the U.S.A. These are the best and smallest load rated swivels available, and work perfect in our custom dog leashes for large to extra large dogs.

Check out our Ultimate Dog Leash to see how we use this nanoSwivel.

Swivel Quick Release for rope leashes used with working dogs. MyDogsCool.com
Stainless Steel Quick Release

Quick Release: 2.5 inch marine grade 316 stainless steel 360° swivel quick release.

The quick release is built solid with an 480b / 217kg working load making it exceptionally strong for its small size. The pull ring on the side is spring loaded holding the locking pin in place securing the gate in the closed position.

This style clip works well with professional working dogs, police and military K9’s or sporting dogs where a fast one handed release is needed.

The quick release can easily be opened without the struggle to disconnect the clip from the dogs collar or harness as found in a more traditional style snap clips. If a dog is pulling in anticipation of being released, the quick release is still easily opened with one hand.

We recommend this style clip for medium to extra large professional working dogs or sporting dogs where this style clip is beneficial. Its not always the best choice for a standard leash.

Rope Dog Leashes with a Heavy Duty 4 inch Swivel Twist Lock are perfect for Extra Large Dogs.
HD Stainless Steel Swivel Twist Lock

This 4 inch heavy duty solid stainless steel locking clip swivels 360 degrees and weighs about 6 ounces, twice as much as an aluminum carabiner or about the same weight as an iPhone.

This style clip will work great for extra large or giant breed dogs. The locking sleeve will occasionally need to be cleaned. The two bearings that lock the clip in the open or locked position require a drop of lubricating oil so that they function at their best.

Dog leashes equipped with this heavy duty clip work best with 9.5mm – 10.5mm climbing rope.