The Best Leather Dog Leash | The Ultimate Review
OUR #1 PICK
The best value for money
Leatherberg 6’, ¾” Leather Dog Leash
This is our top pick because it represents a great balance between the most important features in a quality lead with a reasonable price. Coming in at 6’ long and ¾” wide, this lead is strong enough for all but the most powerful dogs.
When you buy quality, you only cry once!
No other item you will buy for your pet over the years will get more use than their leash. Most of us have gotten used to replacing a tattered nylon lead every year or so. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa | Doctor Of Veterinary Medicine
Sara is Wileypup’s Veterinarian Adviser and helped compose this article to ensure the information is up to date and accurate. For more information on Sara click here
The best part...
A well-made leather dog leash that is properly taken care of can last a lifetime, being passed from one generation of our fur family to the next. And, considering they don’t need to be replaced as often, leather leads are really not that much more expensive in terms of initial cost.
This guide will help you decide if a leather leash is right for you, what size to get if you are considering a purchase, as well as some tips on care. We will also share our top choices in several categories so that you can find the right gear for your canine companion at a glance.
An Overview | Leather Leads For Dogs
Leatherberg 6’, ¾” Leather Dog Leash
Dog Care 8.5” Leather Dog Lead
Timber and Tide Outdoor Co
Soft Touch Braided Leather Dog Leash
Logical Leather Leashes
CocoPet Heavy Duty 3’ Training Leash
Leatherberg Traffic Leash
Why Choose a Leather Dog Leash?
There are a few downsides to a leather lead including a higher upfront investment and a bit of additional care (covered below) to keep them in good condition. That being said, many people still prefer a good old leather dog lead. Here’s why:
Leather is less likely to slip through your hands and create a rope burn that can be common with nylon leads. If your pooch is a strong puller, then this can really be a major advantage.
Leads with braided sections near the handle and/or the attachment points can be particularly beneficial when it comes to getting quick control over your dog.
Although leather can sometimes be stiff out of the box, it becomes soft and luxurious over time. The feel and weight of a well-worn leather leash for dogs can be a major deciding factor for some. Once you try it, you may have a hard time going back to nylon!
Over time, even the best nylon leashes eventually begin to fray with regular wear and tear. Although they are less expensive, the do have a shorter shelf life. However, nylon leads are also easier to care for and can usually be tossed right in the washing machine for fast cleaning.
One thing about a leather dog leash that many people enjoy is that they just look classy, perhaps because they harken back to a time before man made materials became the norm in our lives. Few nylon leashes carry the regal look and status that a well-kept leather lead conveys.
Leather Dog Lead: Factors to Consider
Before you buy a leather leash, here are some features and specs to consider:
The length of your leash is, of course, a matter of personal preference. However, before you invest in a quality leather leash, you want to be sure that you are getting the right size for you, your dog, and your walking style.
If you are not sure about length, an inexpensive way to verify you are getting the right length before you spend your money is to test out various lengths of rope in the actual conditions where you will be using the leash. Try the most common lengths: 8ft, 6ft, 3ft, 1ft.
8 Foot Lead
On the more generous end of the spectrum, an 8-foot dog leash is long enough for your dog to put some distance on the leash for those that want their pooch to be able to have a comfortable walk while still getting in some good sniffs in and having a bit of privacy for pooping. This longer style is also great for toy breeds since they need the extra room to make up for their short stature.
The down side of going a little long is that it can create enough slack to get under your pup’s feet, causing you to have to bend over and fix the leash frequently during a walk.
6 Foot Lead
The 6 foot leather dog leash is very popular because at one time it was the standard for AKC obedience trials. It is just enough length to allow for a little slack when your dog is in a strict heel position by your side, but usually without as much risk of getting tangled in the legs. However, for the casual walk, some may find it a little too short for practical purposes.
3 Foot Lead
If your top priority is tight control of a powerful dog, then a 3-foot lead may make sense for you. While not ideal for a nice walk that includes a potty break, this can be the right choice for dogs being trained to a tight heel or for walking in crowds such as at festivals or fairs.
1 Foot Lead
While it may seem absurdly short, the advantage of a one-foot lead is that it can be completely let go of for off leash running and playing, while being firmly attached for fast control over your dog when necessary, without having to worry about it getting caught under their feet and legs.
It is most commonly used for military and police dog training where tight control followed by a quick release is part of a canine’s job. However, many dog trainers working with dogs at a distance for such activities as flyball, agility or dog parkour find a one foot leash to be an excellent tool for alternating between off leash distance work and close up control during training sessions.
One of the most important factors in terms of the strength of your lead is the width of the leather. Common widths include anything in the range from ½” to 1”.
Generally speaking, it makes the most sense to choose a wider lead for more powerful dogs with a more slender (and lighter weight) lead for smaller and toy sized breeds.
There are several “leather-like” materials that are cheaper to manufacture but are of significantly lower quality. It is best to just avoid these because they are likely to fall apart within a few months, especially if exposed to wet conditions. You would be better off going with a sturdy nylon leash then settling for a cheap imitation leather leash.
A key quality indicator to look for in a leather dog lead is the thickness of the leather. Thicker means a stronger lead that will stand up to the elements longer. Even if you have a small pooch, a thick yet slender lead is likely to be a better choice for the long term.
Although leather dog leads are a fairly simple item, there are a few “extras” that you may decide are worth paying a little more for. Here they are, with a brief explanation of the purpose of each:
You can buy leather dog leads in flat, full braided, and braided only at the connection point and/or handle. In addition to adding some flair to a plain looking lead, the braided sections offer more ergonomic support for a stronger grip and superior control, when needed.
For example, if you have a powerful dog that tends to lunge at other dogs when on a walk, you probably want to be sure the leash you buy has a braided section near the connection point so that you can grab it in a pinch and instantly bring your dog under control when needed.
On the other hand, braided leather will be harder to keep clean and conditioned which is why fully braided leads are less common and generally not the best choice for long term durability. Although to be fair, they do look pretty nice!
If you have a puller on your hands, a padded handle will go a long way to make your walks a more comfortable experience for your hands. However, it will add a slight expense to your purchase and may not be worth it if you find yourself spending most of your walk time with a slack lead and the occasional short and quick correction.
Some leashes have a second handle near the connection point as well as the usual handle at the end of the lead. This is sometimes called a traffic handle and it gives you the option of getting fast and solid control over your dog in a pinch. If you have a dog that has a tendency to lunge after other animals while on a walk, this can be a very handy feature.
Swivel Clip Attachment
It is such a tiny detail that is easy to overlook but, believe it or not, a swivel clip attachment is a must for leather leashes. This clip prevents your leash from getting twisted while you walk which allows you to retain your control while keeping your leash in better condition for the long haul.
Slip or Snap Style (not recommended)
You may come across so-called snap or slip style leather leashes for dogs. These have a special ring that allows you to slip the lead into a loop that goes around your dog’s neck. While this technically gives you the ability to use the leash without a collar, it is dangerous to do so.
Slip leads will pinch around your dog’s neck, tightening around a very vulnerable area of his body that is prone to devastating injury. If your dog runs to the end of the leash with a slip lead around his neck it can cause a fatal collapse of the trachea. Even long-term use under less strain can cause permanent damage.
We do not recommend the use of this type of leash for safety reasons.
The main hardware on your dog leash is the clip that attaches to the collar. Most trainers agree that brass fittings are best for their long-term durability and resistance to rust. However, it is rare that even cheaper metal alloys would actually break unless you have a very powerful dog that regularly pulls on the lead.
On the other hand, the stitching, gromets or braiding near where the clip connects to the leash is very important if you want a leash that will last. Look for an extra effort at this vital connection point in a well-made leather dog leash.
Caring for Your Leather Leash
Unlike synthetic materials such as nylon that can just be tossed in the washing machine a few times a year, leather products require some special care if you plan to keep them clean, supple and in good condition for years to come.
It isn’t a great deal of work to keep a leather leash in good care:
- Wipe it with a slightly damp cloth when it gets especially dirty or every few months.
- Be sure to let it dry at room temperature rather than quick drying it in the sun or over a heat source such as the radiator which can cause it to crack.
- A few times a year, give it a quick wipe down with a quality leather conditioner which will keep your gear moisturized, soft and free from cracks or weak spots.
Ready to look at our top picks? Here we go:
Best Leather Dog Leash: A Review
Best Basic Leather Dog Lead – Our All-Around Top Pick!
Leatherberg 6’, ¾” Leather Dog Leash
This is our top pick because it represents a great balance between the most important features in a quality lead with a reasonable price. Coming in at 6’ long and ¾” wide, this lead is strong enough for all but the most powerful dogs (check out our heavy duty pick for giant breeds or strong pullers).
6’ is the perfect length for most applications such as walking, jogging and training. It was the required length in AKC obedience trials for years, and it’s the preferred length that most professional dog trainers use as their standard training and walking lead.
This leash has the look you want in top notch gear, without the hefty price tag. The quality is there as well. If kept in good condition, this is a leash that will last for years to come. It is also backed up by a no-hassle, one-year, money back guarantee.
If you decide to go with this lead, be sure you don’t miss the matching collar which you can find here. And, if you like this brand, you can find their leather dog leash in a 1 foot length for training.
Best Leather Leash for Small and Toy Breeds
Dog Care 8.5” Leather Dog Lead
Although nice wide leather leashes for dogs look great with a big dog, they are too heavy for a comfortable walk with the small breeds such as Pomeranians, Pugs or Corgis. In addition, their short stature requires a little more room to reach their collar than the standard 6 foot lead allows.
This 8.5 foot leather leash for small dogs solves both of those problems. It is only ½” wide which drastically reduces the weight. And, it is extra long to give your pocket pooch a little more room to enjoy a nice walk.
There are a few design features that make this particular lead a nice choice: Brass tone hardware and braided sections at the clasp and handle give it a fully finished look.
If you have a medium or even larger dog that is not a strong puller and are looking for a longer leather leash for them at a bargain price, this is also a good selection.
Best Heavy Duty Leather Leash for Strong Pullers
Timber and Tide Outdoor Co - Premium Heavy Duty Leather Dog Leash
If you have a large and powerful dog such as a German Shephard, Pitbull or Mastiff, you may feel more comfortable with a heavy-duty leather dog lead for the ultimate in control. If you are willing to spend a little more money, we recommend this selection for top quality gear fit for even the strongest canines.
This 6’ long and 7/8” wide lead features a thick (4mm) full grain Latigo leather. The hardware has a classic antiquated look which adds to the style of this leash – it just looks old school and classy without being over the top. And, you can pick up a matching collar for the whole look.
Despite not having a padded handle, this leather has been well worked and it doesn’t cut into your hand if your canine happens to give you a hard pull.
For more info on the best leashes for Pitbulls, check out our guide.
Most Stylish Leather Dog Lead (with a dual handle!)
Soft Touch Braided Leather Dog Leash with Traffic Handle
There are really two great reasons to give this leash a long look before you make your decision:
First, let’s take a look at the dual handle. You will notice that there is a loop with two braided sections on either side just above where this lead attaches to your pooch. This gives you the option to quickly and securely gain control over your dog in a snap. This is an excellent added function that comes in handy if you have a dog that likes to lunge or you need to get his attention in a hurry.
Second, is superior style. The contrast stitching along the length of the lead, beautifully braided accent points, solid brass swivel clip, and padded handle just give this leash an edge above the others in its price class when it comes to gorgeous looks. Don’t worry, equally lovely matching padded collars are available for a separate purchase.
This is not just a good-looking leather dog lead, it is also tough and durable. A full ¾” width is plenty for even large dogs and the stitching adds even more strength without adding weight. If you don’t mind paying a little more for high quality goods, this is an excellent choice for the pampered pooch.
Do you have two dogs? Make sure to check out this leather dog leash coupler by the same brand for a matching attachment that lets you walk both of your dogs using a single leash.
Best Color Assortment
Logical Leather Leashes
If you have a fashion forward pooch, then a bright pop of color may be what you are looking for in a leather leash. If so, Logical Leather offers these pretty leads in black, brown, red, pink and tan. Want a matching collar for the full suite? No problem! They come in every size you could need.
Keep in mind that although these leather leashes are made of genuine leather, they are only 1/8” thick. This is plenty for small or medium dogs, or even very polite large dogs. But these are not your best choice if you are looking for a heavy duty leash.
They come with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, another plus. And, the price is right, coming in under most leashes of comparable quality in both 4’ and 6’ lengths.
Best 3’ Leather Dog Leash
Although a 3’ lead is too short for most applications such as a casual walk, it is perfect for a variety of training contexts.
This leash features super soft leather so that it will be comfortable during long training sessions without compromising on strength. It also has braided sections at both the handle and the attachment point which means you can quickly and easily grab it for fast control during training.
The price comes in great for this piece of training equipment for your pet which combines style and great utility. It probably won’t be the best for a primary walking leash, but if you want a great training option, this your lead.
Best 1’ Leather Dog Leash
A one foot leather dog lead is not a good choice for daily walking since it won’t allow your canine companion any room to step to the side for potty, or get in any good sniffs during your jaunt.
However, a short lead can be very helpful for training sessions. You can turn loose of your dog to work her from a distance, without losing the ability to regain control for up close work or worrying about the leash getting tangled up in her feet.
Many folks that are involved in obedience trials consider the one foot training leash to be a critical piece of equipment. Likewise, this style of leash is fairly standard in training canines for police and military duties as well as other working dogs.
We already went into the reasons why we like the Leatherberg brand above, and this short training lead is no different: high quality leather and hardware put together with care for a sturdy finished product that will last.
Conclusion: Find the Right Leather Dog Leash for You
We hope this guide has helped you to find the right leather dog lead for your needs. We paid careful attention to make sure that our picks represented a great variety of styles, lengths and functions that leather leashes offer.
Are you a leather fan? Feel free to leave a comment below to share your experiences with those that may not have yet tried one yet.
- Mikkel Becker (08 February 2017) How to Choose the Right Leash for Your Dog: Retrieved from https://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/how-to-choose-the-right-leash-for-your-dog
Sharon Elber (M.S. in Science & Technology) - Professional Dog Trainer
Sharon is a professional dog trainer with over 10 years experience. She is also a professional writer that received her M.S. in Science & Technology Studies from Virginia Tech.
For more info on Sharon click here