When it comes to leashing German Shepherds, in particular, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. German Shepherds are powerful working dogs, so you want a leash that can withstand their tremendous pulling power.

With this guide, we’ll show you our top 9 leash picks for German Shepherd dogs, keeping in mind durability, style, and versatility for you and your furry friend.

How to Choose the Best Leash for Your German Shepherd

With so many leashes on the market, we’ll see if we can help you figure out the best kind for your special pet.

Material

Most dog leashes are made of either nylon or rope.

Nylon leashes are the most common. They have a single hand loop (sometimes padded) at the end. The best kinds have strong stitching at the handle and at the collar loop. Some brands might put extra seals on the edges so the material does not fray as quickly. All nylon ropes eventually fray, though they should stand up to chewing and pulling.

Nylon leashes are also easy to wash. They make good rainy day leashes and are more affordable. You might choose to buy multiple nylon leashes to mix and match with your dog’s collar.

Rope leashes sometimes have a little more give. They might also look a little nicer, with a smoother finish. If your dog is a bit of a puller, rope leashes absorb some of the shock, relieving owners of potential injury. A lot of rope leashes also come with interwoven reflective strips for nighttime walking.

Some leashes come in leather or hemp too. Leather is a lovely, tough material, but it can be hard to clean and can start to crack if it gets wet. Hemp has hypoallergenic properties and is also soft and durable.

Leash or Lead?

Leashes and leads have pros and cons, but both work well for keeping your dog close. Typically, leashes help to restrain a dog, while a lead is meant to lead a dog around. You more often see leashes while dogs are on walks, while vets or hospital workers use leads to keep dogs close in tight or sensitive locations.

You can use leads while taking your dog for a walk, though they work better when your dog isn’t much of a puller. If a dog pulls too hard and suddenly at a lead, it might not loosen quickly enough around the dog’s neck. Luckily, many modern leads have mechanisms that let them loosen quickly.

Different Types of Leashes

You’ll most often find retractable leashes, fixed leashes, and slip leashes while on a walk.

Retractable leashes allow much more freedom to your dog since they can extend up to 26 feet. A long cord or a tape-like lead stays inside a spring-handled plastic holder, which locks into place at the push of a button. While they do allow more roaming space, they might cause rope burn and some have been known to break with too much pulling.

Fixed leashes, unlike retractable leashes, stay at a certain length. They come in lengths of four or six feet, though the shortest ones are between 12-18 inches for city walks. Fixed leashes come in nylon and mountain rope material, for practical and stylistic purposes.

Finally, slip leashes combine a leash with a slip collar. They’re not the most durable or restraining of leashes and are usually best for leading a dog.

Most Versatile Leash: Prima Pets Dual-Handle Reflective Dog Leash

All dog owners have to reel their dogs in from time to time. Luckily, this dual-handled leash should make pulling your dogs closer a lot easier. A regular loop handle at the end allows for casual walks, while another loop halfway down will enable you to pull your dog closer.

You can pick a large or medium size leash. Either size is padded with neoprene for extra comfort and durability, with heavy-duty lobster clasps. A strong plastic D-ring is attached to the top loop for hooking poop bags.

Pros

  • Padding prevents hand fatigue from constant tugging
  • The heavy-duty lobster clasp doesn’t easily slip
  • The second handle allows quick, easy control
  • Lasts for many years and excitable walks
  • Reflective stitching allows for walks at night

Cons

  • Reflective stitching is not that powerful

Best Retractable Leash: Flexi Giant Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash

The Flexi retractable dog leash is made especially for large or strong dogs. A powerful innerspring mechanism snaps the leash into place with terrific tension, leaving no slack in the leash.

The braking button and lock lever are in the most comfortable position for most users. The leash comes in two different sizes for different dogs, with a 26-foot all-tape lead made to withstand lots of tugging.

What’s more, an ultra-white LED light in the front and a red light in the back lets you go for night walks. A multi-box attached to the bottom of the handle stores dog treats or waste bags. The  ¾ in.-wide tape won’t get easily tangled, and the neon color should stand out sufficiently for night walks. 

Pros

  • Wide tape does not cut into hands
  • The neon-colored tape is easy to see at night
  • Two bright lights help with night walks
  • The ergonomic handle adjusts to fit most hand sizes
  • Multi-box on the bottom holds treats or waste bags

Cons

  • The handle is a little heavy
  • Nylon tape does not hold up to chewing

Best Budget Choice Leash: PetSafe Premier Nylon Dog Leash

The PetSafe nylon dog leash comes in several different colors in two different sizes. It matches the nylon webbing of several other dog collars if you want to be more fashionable in your walks.

The snap bolt clip at the leash’s collar end allows the leash to twist and turn for better comfort flexibly. The leash itself is not double-layered, but the soft nylon has heavy-duty stitching to keep it strong. In that way, it should be able to withstand chewing.

The small lobster clip is also suitable for puppies since it shouldn’t swing around and hit them in the head. The shorter four-foot leash length should be ideal for them as well. 

Pros

  • Made from durable double-stitched nylon 
  • The leash is easy to color-coordinate with collars
  • The small lobster clip is safe for puppies
  • The leash is over an inch wide
  • Sturdy for the price

Cons

  • Clasp might be a little small for larger dogs
  • Might work better overall for puppies than full-grown dogs

Best Overall: Red Dingo Classic Nylon Dog Leash

The Red Dingo Classic Nylon leash might be nylon, like most other leashes, but its padded hand loops add extra comfort and time to your walks.

Although there is a size adjuster on the leash, you can keep your dog closer if you wish. Plus, all materials resist abrasion to ensure extra comfort for your dog.

The leash’s seams have extra-strength sewing, and splice cut ends for further durability. It’s also specially treated to resist fading from sunlight or washing. The dense fibers in the leash should also withstand fraying from chewing or wear. 

Pros

  • Stands up well to chewing and pulling
  • Comfortable padded handle
  • Easily maneuverable lead
  • Adjustability is a huge plus
  • Adjustable and sturdy hardware clip

Cons

  • Excitable puppies might get caught in the adjustment loop
  • Might fray along the edges with constant use

Best No Pull Leash: TUG Nylon Tape Retractable Dog Leash

The TUG Nylon retractable dog leash brings a touch of strength to your walk, using a non-slip grip handle. The nylon leash can move 360 degrees for ease and comfort, which you can lock with just the push of a button.

TUG prides itself on innovation, including a robust internal coil to help achieve quality retraction. The leash itself is also weather-resistant so that you can take walks in the rain. 

The TUG leash is for all kinds of dogs, with varying lead sizes available. The handle is also large enough that you could loop a backpack handle through it for a hands-free hike. Plus, the leash should hold up to a lot of chewing.

Pros

  • Durable tape-style lead resists tangling
  • Leash clasp stands up to all kinds of weather
  • Smooth, fast retraction
  • Comes with bonus leash extension
  • Strong leash handle

Cons

  • The leash doesn’t retract as well when wet
  • Leash sometimes gets stuck when it extends to the very end

Simplest Choice Leash: Frisco Solid Nylon Dog Leash

Not every leash needs all the bells and whistles to be an effective lead for your dog. It comes from high-quality nylon material built to last. This leash’s primary calling card is the strong lobster claw snap, finished with nickel for extra strength and polish.

This leash comes in almost as many sizes as human clothing, making finding the right size for your dog easy. For extra leash strength and less fraying, the whole lead has an Ultra-Weld™ seal. The leash is glued and not stitched, like other leashes, but it should still hold up well.

Each size leash is lab tested to withstand more than seven times the recommended weight, so they should last quite a while. A different-size clasp comes with each leash as well. 

The handle loop doesn’t have any special padding, but it should still be comfortable, no matter how long the walk.

Pros

  • Holds well against chewing
  • Easily fits in a pocket when not in use
  • Lightweight for puppies, but durable for larger dogs
  • Great for the price
  • Perfect to use with harnesses

Cons

  • Handle loop is not that comfortable
  • Loop is glued, rather than stitched

Best Dog Lead Leash: Remington Rope Dog Slip Lead

Dog slip leads are not a common choice for leading your dog, but they work just as well. They might be a stylish choice, made of braided nylon rope for a more old-fashioned or classic look. They’re flexible enough that you can slip them into your pocket when your dog is off-leash.

The lead also isn’t adjustable, but it should still work for most dog sizes. To adjust, you just have to slide the leather piece up or down. 

The Remington rope dog slip is durable and does not easily fray, making easy work in emergencies. It can last through several machine washes and not stretch or lose any color.

Bear in mind that dog slips don’t always relieve pressure when they stop pulling. They do come on pretty quickly, though. Luckily, this particular dog lead loosens easily and works with your dog.

The stopper on the leash should be tough enough to help keep your dog close to you. It might also prove a more comfortable alternative to collars on dogs whose coats easily damage or wear down.

Pros

  • Comfortable slip with an adjustable leather piece
  • Works well for medium and large dog breeds
  • Resists chewing and fraying with thick, sturdy make
  • Lightweight, but still durable
  • Should not damage specific dog’s coats

Cons

  • The lead stopper is a button design, not a screw
  • Might be a little stiff for some
  • May tangle

Best Coupler Leash: Wigzi Dual Doggie Gel Rope Dog Leash

It turns out you can take two dogs on a walk at once without using two leashes. The Wigzi dual leash doesn’t tangle or twist easily with a handle that turns in 360 degrees.

The handle also has a special non-toxic gel that relieves hand fatigue. The leashes themselves are 4.5 ft. long and have special reflective fibers woven into them for nighttime walking. They’re also strong and gentle enough to work with most dog sizes.

The Wigzi dual leash helps with two dogs walking at different speeds. One dog can walk slowly, and the other can still stay close by without tugging on two separate leashes.

Pros

  • Handle untwists to prevent leash tangling
  • Dual-leash handle leaves one free hand
  • Durable leashes for most dog breeds
  • Great for walking two dogs with different speeds
  • Excellent leash length for wandering and for staying close

Cons

  • Might not be best for city walks
  • Might easily tangle walking puppies

Best Hand-Free Leash: Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Bungee Leash

Rather than using your hand to walk your dog, you can strap the leash around your waist and do what you like with your hands. Don’t worry, though: a spring factor in the leash absorbs the shock when your dog makes a sudden movement.

Two handles on different parts of the leash allow you to grab the leash in emergencies, or if you decide to use your hands. The leash can extend up to 60 in. but retracts back to 48 in.

The waistband fits comfortably, along with a heavy-duty clip to attach to the leash. The leash itself can move all around the waistband to prevent tripping and jerking around. It should hold up well, even with a lot of tugging.

We recommend you use this leash if your dog is used to loose-leash walking. However, this leash model might be a friendly alternative if your hands are out of commission.

Pros

  • Absorbs the initial shock of quick tugging on walks
  • Waistband if comfortable and stays at the desired measurement
  • Eliminates hand fatigue
  • Two easy-to-reach loops for hand use
  • An excellent alternative if you cannot use your hands to hold a leash.

Cons

  • Bungee does not stretch a lot
  • Leash might be too long for dogs to walk close to the owner
  • Easy to get tangled in

Conclusion

We’ve looked at several great, strong leashes to suit your German Shepherd. There’s a whole variety to pick from, so we hope you’ll find one here to suit your needs.

FAQ

We’ve seen some of the best leashes available for German Shepherds, but we should also answer some questions before you begin shopping.

How many types of leashes should I keep around for my German Shepherd?

Some people like to have other kinds of leashes for extra measure. For example, you might have a dog lead for emergencies or a nylon leash for when you expect to get wet. Of course, it never hurts to have more than one of the same kind of leash. 

Is there an ideal length for a German Shepherd leash?

That depends on your dog’s personality and where you walk them. Mainly if you walk on streets or close to traffic, you’ll want something between 4 and 5 ft. Your dog should have just enough room to roam slightly away from you, but you can still pull them back to you in emergencies. Otherwise, a leash 6 ft. or longer should be okay.

Does a retractable leash or fixed leash work better for a German Shepherd?

Just because German Shepherds are big dogs, some people might worry about them breaking retractable leashes. If you train your German Shepherd to stay close to your side on walks, it won’t matter which leash you use. 

Plus, retractable and fixed leashes are both made to withstand strong dogs. In the end, it comes down to personal preference and how well you train your dog to stay close and not jerk around on the leash.

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