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What is a Good Length for a Dog Leash?

What is a Good Length for a Dog Leash?

If you’ve ever asked how long a dog leash should be, you’ve probably found that everyone has a different answer.

There are so many factors that weigh into the right dog leash length. For example, where do you normally walk your dog? Is it crowded? Is it an urban area? Or is it suburban? What does your dog prefer? Does your dog like a lot of roaming space or feel more comfortable walking close to you?

These are just a few of the many questions to consider when determining a good dog leash length.

However, retractable leashes are more flexible and don’t force you to choose a length.

For example, if the situation requires it, maybe your leash is only three feet long, but then, on-demand, you can make it 16-feet long. If you walk in different settings or environments, these benefits of a retractable leash can be extremely compelling.

Need a Short Leash? Choose a Retractable

There are some situations where a shorter leash is preferable. A short-length leash is usually anywhere from three to six feet.

If you live in a big city or urban area, you might need a short leash when you walk your dog because there are a lot of people, cars, and other animals around. Short leashes give you more control in these situations.

What’s more, some cities even require that your dog be kept on a short leash!

Want a Medium Length Leash? Grab a Retractable

A retractable leash can move easily from a short length to a medium length. A medium-length leash is usually one that’s anywhere from six to ten feet long.

You should reserve medium lengths for times when you have a fair amount of space and there aren’t a lot of people or obstacles around. You can give your dog some freedom to roam, but not too much.

If you live in a suburban area, a medium-length leash might be right for you. On trails, when you’re alone a lot but could still pass other people, medium lengths are good, and if you’re at the park, a medium length also tends to be ideal.

Need a Long Leash? Get the Retractable

Using a long length leash can be exciting for your dog. When your dog has a lot of space to roam, they can develop confidence and explore their environment. A dog with a long leash can also learn how to be independent but still follow your commands.

Most of the time, a long leash length is considered anything from 10 to 16 feet.

If you’re on the beach and it’s not a crowded day, a long leash can be perfect. Other situations where long leashes work well include fields or big open spaces.

But Are Retractable Leashes Safe?

When people worry about whether or not a retractable leash is safe, it could be for one of two reasons.

The first reason is that they’re thinking of a corded leash style. Corded retractable leashes are not a good idea, and a modern, high-quality leash will feature a tape or ribbon style instead.

Another reason you might worry is if you don’t pay attention when you’re walking your dog. No matter the style of leash you use, if you aren’t mindful on walks, it’s not safe for you, your dog, or any person or animal around you.

When you use a good-quality, well-constructed retractable leash in a safe way, they are a great option with no inherent safety risk beyond using any other kind of leash.

The following are safety guidelines to keep in mind when you’re walking your dog:

  • Pick the right weight limit on your leash: The weight limit is a key factor when you choose a leash and one to not be overlooked. You need to make sure the leash you choose is strong enough to hold your dog without snapping. If your dog is prone to impulsive behavior like running or lunging, purchase a retractable leash with a higher weight limit. For example, if your dog is 100 pounds and lunges on walks, maybe you get a leash with a rating of 120 pounds.
  • Pay attention: Look at your dog walks as a time to practice being present. It’s good for your mental and physical health as well as for your safety and your dog’s safety. Be alert and when you’re close to obstacles or potential hazards, keep your dog close by.
  • Don’t let the leash have slack: One of the many benefits of a retractable leash is the ability to easily manage the slack. Don’t let your leash get too much slack, as it can be dangerous.
  • Avoid tangles: If you’re watching the slack in your leash and paying attention to your environment, it’s much easier to avoid tangles.
  • Don’t panic: If something does come up like a tangle, don’t let yourself panic. Instead, stay calm and work on untangling the leash away from other dogs or people.

What Safety Features Should I Shop For?

Since a retractable leash gives you the flexibility to move from a short length to a long length in seconds, you don’t have to worry about that factor when you’re shopping. Instead, focus on the following safety and convenience features when you choose the best retractable leashes.


Durability in a retractable leash is important for a few reasons. First, a durable leash will last longer. Therefore you’ll get more bang for your buck. Durability is also important from a safety standpoint. If your leash isn’t well made with quality materials, there’s a greater risk of something going wrong when you’re on a walk.

The Handle

When you’re comparing retractable dog leashes, you want a handle that’s well-made and is going to stand up to wear and tear and potentially the elements. You also want a handle that feels good in your hand and is the right fit and size for you so that you’re comfortable using it.  

Clip Type

Look for a leash with a swiveling clip that’s easy for you to open and close on your dog’s harness or collar. When you’re choosing a clip, it should stay securely fastened. It also needs to be the right size relative to your dog’s size, so it’s comfortable and not cumbersome for your dog and also will hold them securely.

Leash Style

As was briefly mentioned, a corded retractable leash is not a safe or durable option. Instead, choose a retractable leash with a ribbon or tape leash style. These tend to be stronger, last longer, and they’re less likely to tangle than a corded leash.

Weight Limit

Again, choose the right leash for your dog based on their weight. Go up if your dog is strong or pulls. Otherwise, match the weight range to your dog’s size. Not doing so is unsafe and can also make your dog uncomfortable.

Brake Control

The brake control mechanism is one of the features that makes retractable leashes flexible and easy to use. With a brake control, you can set a maximum length for a dog and easily change it based on the setting. For example, in the park, you might use the brake control to set a limit of 8 feet for your dog. Then, when you’re on the sidewalk, you can shorten it to three feet.


A retractable leash should have tangle-free features inside the handle in the design and materials of the leash itself. Even with the best tangle-free features and design elements, you still have to be alert when you’re walking your dog.

Which Retractable Leash Should I Get?

If you’re wondering about the right dog leash length, a retractable leash blows fixed-length leashes out of the water. You get so much use out of a retractable leash because they work in any situation. You can quickly change the length of the leash as you need to or as you feel comfortable.

When you’re looking for the best retractable leash, Pet&Cuddle has options to explore for dogs of all sizes. Your walks can transform into something that both you and your dog look forward to as the best part of your day with a Pet&Cuddle retractable leash.

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