Dog Jaunt's new pet travel book is now out! Buy it, or learn more about it here. And please review it on Amazon!

Leashes for a small dog

A happy side-effect of getting a dog is that we’ve also gotten a lot of dog gear. I like gear. Looking at our bouquet of leashes, I thought I’d let you know which ones have worked best for Chloe, who’s fairly tall for a small dog (about 12″ high at the shoulders). The features we look for in a leash include: Sufficient length to allow a small dog room to move about 4-5″ away from us, a leash clip that won’t be forced open accidentally by pressure from the two metal rings on Chloe’s harness, a leash clip that swivels, and a comfortable handle.

We have a Flexi leash, but we only use it at the beach, for two reasons: We’re trying to train Chloe to trot nicely next to us, and it’s too easy to let her roam away on a retractable leash; and I don’t like the absence of a wrist loop on the Flexi leash. I fear dropping the handle and having Chloe take off after something tempting, and when I have to pick up poop, the handle is a pain to juggle. But it’s great at the beach, and I plan to buy a second one — the Classic Long Flexi — to give Chloe another seven feet to ramble with. Please note that I plan to buy the medium size, even though Chloe’s a small dog, because the medium leash clip is larger than the small clip — which is too small to safely contain the two metal loops on Chloe’s harness.

For everyday walking, though, our favorite is an Italian leather leash from Cinopelca. The Tubular Leash in Calfskin (look in the “Fashion” part of the site) is nearly perfect: The leash clip is on a swivel and the clip itself squeezes inwards (unlike normal leash clips, with their sliding trigger-type clip) so it won’t get pressed open by an unfortunate twist of your dog’s collar. The handle is snug, but my husband (who has very large hands) likes it because he’s confident it won’t slip off. The construction is excellent, the leather is beautiful and flexible, and the price is, well, high. It could also stand to be about 6″ longer. But I love it enough that I’ve bought two.

Other leashes we’ve tried include two from Stunt Puppy — as I said in a couple of previous posts, they are excellent products, but not meant for a dog under about 30 lbs. We also own RuffWear’s Knot-A-Leash, which is blessedly long, incredibly sturdy and secure (the clip is a carabiner that you screw down so it cannot come unclipped) and has a great padded handle — but the leash clip doesn’t swivel, so an active dog can kink it in a matter of minutes. I yearn for a Krebs Recycle leash, made of recycled climbing rope — they’re long, solidly-constructed, and super cool-looking, but I can’t love the trigger-style clip (even though it swivels).

We own, and used for a long time, the simple tape leashes that came with Chloe’s two Airness harnesses. They’re a nice freebie, but using them taught us to wish for a more secure leash clip and a padded handle, and to value a swiveling leash clip. Our first leash was a nylon leash with a nicely-padded handle from Petco or PetSmart — once again, we liked the padding and the swiveling clip, but the trigger-style clip was too small and tended to pop open if the loops on Chloe’s harness hit it just right.

Are there leashes you’ve used with your small dog and can recommend? I’d love to hear about them!

See all posts about: Product reviews


  • Peter Krebs

    I would be curious what kind of clip you would prefer since you don’t prefer the trigger style. We’re always looking for input to improve our products.
    Best Regards,
    Peter Krebs
    Co-Owner, Krebs Recycle

  • Hello, Peter! I no longer gripe as much about trigger-style clips because Chloe wears a Gentle Leader harness now, and it has only one ring. Her previous harness (the Airness harness I mentioned) has two rings, whose instincts are to move apart, so a leash clip had to prevent that. I found that the two relevant parts of a typical trigger-style clip don’t meet perfectly, and often have a little side-to-side play, and the pressure of the harness rings tended to push the two parts apart, unclipping her. A clip like the one on the Cinopelca leash worked better: It looks like a continuous oval (or almost), but one part pushes inwards, to hold the harness rings. When released, that part springs back out into line with the rest of the clip. Because the clip is smooth inside, and has to be pushed inwards to be unclipped, there’s no way that even a pair of harness rings can winkle it open. Long answer — but I hope it’s sufficiently clear! I’ll keep an eye on your leashes and see if your designers agree with me.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.