Choosing the right lead, collar and harness for your dog

Take the Lead

Have you been buying the wrong lead all along? We all know that choosing the right lead, collar or harness is a vital part of dog ownership, and just like our furry friends they come in all shapes and sizes. Plus, they’re most definitely the best way to properly keep your dog safe and secure when you’re out and about in the world. 


But with so many options on the market it can be hard to know where to begin. The choice is almost overwhelming. So we’ve created this handy guide that walks through the requirements of various dog sizes and temperaments to help you understand which lead, collar or harness is right for you.



Small Dogs – Shop the Collection

You might think choosing the right lead and collar for a tiny dog would be simple. They don’t pull, they don’t need too much exercise and, let’s be honest, we’d rather carry them around than walk them anyway. For most, a simple nylon or synthetic collar and lead combo is perfect for your pooch. It’s better to go lightweight and thin with your lead choice too, so as not to weigh your furry friend down. However, a smart leather collar-lead combo is just as ideal, and looks great too.


When it comes to certain pups though, a harness is the ideal choice. Harnesses are far safer for small dogs with short-muzzles that restrict breathing such as pugs, or dogs with trachea and throat problems such as pomeranians. If you’ve got a small breed that needs a little extra care, harnesses are the best way to make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible. We recommend using a front-attaching harness. Back-attaching harnesses are more useful for training dogs for pulling sleds or similar purposes. Read more about our comparison of collars and harnesses here. 


If your looking for a way to have a bit more fun with your collar and lead combo, you could also try something a little different. Collars for special occasions are a great way to brighten up your dogs look.


Obedient Dogs – Shop the Collection

Many medium and large dogs are happy to trot along beside you on the lead without a care in the world. In that case, you’ve trained them well. Your reward is a whole host of leads and collars you can use! Again, a standard collar and lead is great for calm, easygoing dogs that are already trained for walking on a leash. However, if you’re looking to give your mutt a bit more of a runaround, then a retractable lead can do wonders.


These flexi-leashes can extend anywhere from 4 to 30 feet and can be locked into place at any length you like. Connect this to a basic collar and you can give your dog the exercise it needs without losing complete control. Be aware though, that if you’re canine companion isn’t already well-trained, that a retractable lead can encourage pets to pull when put on a shorter leash. Giving them a constant reward for extending the lead (more space to run) means they are more likely to pull when you have them on a tighter leash. We say you know your pet best, so judge for yourself whether a retractable leash is the right one for you and your dog.


If you’re looking for something in between a standard and a retractable lead, you can read more about the different types of leads available here.


Strong Dogs – Shop the Collection

If your dog is a natural leader of the pack, then you need a lead that can cut the mustard and keep up with your pooch! In this case, nylon and other synthetic materials are not recommended. What you and your dog need is something a little sturdier, like a thick leather lead. In this regard, the leather will soften over time, giving you the highest level of comfort and fit possible. They are also much sturdier and less likely to break on the longer walks you’re large dog no doubt needs.


If you’re looking for something with even more strength, a chain lead could be the way forward. With a sturdy handle and good-quality clip (ideally stainless steel to resist rust), chain leads last much longer. Just be aware that the metal could damage your dogs teeth if they’re a chewer. If you’re looking for ways to stop your dog chewing, it’s best to start off when there a puppy. No matter what age though, we’ve got a few tips that can you can use to save your dog hurting themselves or damaging their brand new lead.


Puppies – Shop the Collection

Tiny, cute and oh-so excitable – puppies are the best. And because you’re just getting them used to collars and leads, it’s important to choose the right accessory for your dog.


As with all things, it’s best to begin small when it comes to collars for your puppy. A lightweight, nylon collar is a great start. You don’t want to get anything too big as the collar will end being too heavy and just plain won’t fit. It’s best to check your puppy’s collar once a week to ensure it’s the right fit, especially with larger breeds.


Make sure to get your puppy used to wearing a lead and collar, and use them to regularly train your pup. After all, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Extra Tips

  • Reflective leads are ideal for winter walks. Always keep your dog on a lead when you’re walking in the dark, but if you want an added element of safety you can purchase reflective leads and collars on them, too.
  • A good rule of thumb (no pun intended) when checking your dog’s collar fits right is that you should be able to fit: one finger under the collar of small breeds, two fingers for medium sized breeds and 3 fingers for large breeds.
  • Always consider your exact dog when buying a lead, collar or harness. You know your dog best.
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