Dog’s Leash Length 101: How Long Should It Be?

How long should your dog’s leash be? To put it simply, it depends. The ideal length for your dog depends on, well, your dog! The perfect leash length should be measured on your dog’s activity range, general behavior, physical characteristics, and more. That said, there are some standard guidelines that you can follow to choose the best leash length for your dog. Read on for tops about dog’s leash length here.

Rule of Thumb

While the perfect leash length itself varies, the standard length that the American Kennel Club lists is 6 feet. This length allows your dog room to explore without pulling, while preventing the leash from dragging on the ground. There are some variances from this standard though, and we discuss these more in-depth below.

Length for Walking

The 6-foot length is usually the standard for walking in suburbs and neighborhoods, where dogs don’t really need to be too far away from you. If you live in a city, the compact and busy environment means that a shorter leash is necessary, with 4-feet being the ideal. If your dog tends to pull, you also might want to consider a longer leash – this is because your dog’s instinct would be to pull against pressure, so some slack in the leash would cut down on pulling behaviors.

Length while Running

For you and your dog’s safety, shorter leashes are recommended for runs. Moving quickly means you may have to make quicker decisions, and your dog needs to follow suit! A longer leash could end up in trips, falls and other unhappy accidents. A shorter leash allows for more control, allowing you to use your body weight as leverage. Hands-free running leashes are also a good fit if you bring your dog on regular jobs – it’s harder for your dog to pull the leash from around your waist than your hands.

Length of Training

The question you need to ask here is what you’re training for! Different types of training means that you may require different levels of control. If you’re training your dog to be obedient on a leash during walks, start with a short leash and gradually increase the length. If you’re teaching your dog basic commands, you might want to use a longer lead (which could range between 30 to 50 feet). This length allows for some flexibility for you to work on long-distance obedience while ensuring you can keep your pup safe.

Width and Material

Now that you understand a bit more about the ideal leash length for your dog, it’s also important to know that the width and material of a leash should also be factors to consider.

  • Width: The standard widths are ½, ¾ and 5/8 inches. The width that you choose should feel comfortable both on your dog and in your hand.
  • Material: Nylon is the most common leash material, but it’s not the only one. Nylon is affordable, comes in diverse designs and generally are good quality, but they’re not the best option for dogs that love to chew or tug! If that sounds like your dog, a leather leash is the best alternative. They’re tougher on walks and smoother on skin. Rope leashes are also a light and durable alternative that’s great for water activities.