A leash acts as a lifeline and communication tool between you and your dog, but the wrong leash can leave you feeling out of control. Especially when it comes to bigger dogs or rambunctious puppies, the type of leash you choose makes the experience safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
In these cases, using a heavy-duty dog leash — one designed to stand up to the jaws, the pulling, and whatever else a walk might throw your way — is the ideal choice.
Choosing a heavy-duty dog leash can be a smart and safe choice for you and your pup, but how do you know which one is right for you? We’ve rounded up the best tough dog leashes out there to help you make the selection process easier.
Our Top Choices
All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.
- Best Overall: Max and Neo Double Handle Traffic Dog Leash Reflective
- Best for Small Dogs: Reddy Small Dog Navy Leash
- Best Leather Leash: Mighty Paw Leather Dog Leash
- Best Retractable: KONG Blue Ultimate Retractable Dog Leash
- Most Affordable: Pioneer Petcore Dog Leash
- Best for Hiking: Backcountry x Petco The Rope Dog Lead
Why You Might Need a Heavy-Duty Dog Leash
Think about your specific pet when considering a heavy-duty leash. Not all dogs need one, but if you’re dealing with a large dog or a strong puppy — especially a puppy who likes to chew — a heavy-duty dog leash might be right for you.
“Leashes are made from different materials and come in different widths for different sized hands, preferences, and sizes of dogs,” says Vanessa Charbonneau, a force-free dog trainer and owner of Sit Pretty Behavior and Training. “For example, it wouldn’t be advised to use a 1/2-inch leash with a 150-pound dog, as these are generally designed for smaller pets. Choosing a size and durability of leash that matches your dog is important for safety.”
That safety factor is one of the biggest reasons that a heavy-duty leash is a good idea, but they can be more cost effective, too. While initially more expensive, a tough dog leash that stands up to tugging and chewing will last a lot longer than a leash that breaks and requires repurchasing.
How We Selected Our Top Picks
When making our selections for the best heavy-duty dog leashes out there, we took into consideration our own personal experience, as well as expert opinions and customer reviews.
In addition, we looked at the following criteria to provide a well-rounded list of sturdy dog leashes:
Durability: The point of this roundup is, of course, to highlight heavy-duty dog leashes, so we paid close attention to the materials and construction of each one.
Measurements: Since both length and width can play a role in what size dog your leash would be best suited for, we called out any notable measurements.
Design: We highlighted any design elements, like weight or special features, that make these leashes stand out from the pack.
Price: We weighed the cost with the benefits to provide a selection of quality options at a variety of price points.
Best Heavy-Duty Dog Leash: 6 Durable Picks
Best Overall Heavy-Duty Dog Leash
This heavy-duty dog leash earned the top spot due to its affordability, durability, and features like reflective stitching and double handles. The thick, sturdy 1-inch leash is available in both 4-foot and 6-foot lengths and multiple colors, but most importantly, it’s not too heavy for use with most dog sizes. Additionally, both handles are padded, which makes it easier on your hands when walking a dog that starts to pull. I’ve personally used this leash since I brought my husky-mix puppy home over a year ago and it has withstood her teething, lots of pulling, and more walks than I can count.
- Padded double handles for added control when needed
- Reflective design makes it easier and safer to walk in dim lighting
- This brand donates to rescues with every leash sold
- Nylon material is strong but can get dirty easily
- Higher price point
Best Heavy-Duty Leash for Small Dogs
Our Pick: Reddy Small Dog Navy Leash
This smaller leash won’t be too heavy for small dogs, but the thick rope construction is just as strong as any leash made for larger dogs. The 4-foot length is shorter than typical leashes, which cuts down on the weight and can be more suitable for small dogs who like to stay close. It also has a D-ring near the handle to easily carry poop bags. While pricier than some other leashes geared toward small dogs, the durable construction means it will outlast thinner options, making it worth the extra money.
- A combination of strong material and lightweight construction makes it suitable for smaller dogs who like to pull or chew
- D-ring near the handle holds poop bags
- Shorter length gives your pet less room to roam
- Priced higher than typical small dog leashes
Best Heavy-Duty Leather Dog Leash
Our Pick: Mighty Paw Leather Dog Leash
A leather leash adds a level of sophistication to those daily outings with your dog, and the material – despite being a little more high maintenance – can be strong and sturdy. This heavy-duty leather dog leash in particular stands out due to its strong carabiner collar clasp and soft padded handle. In fact, it allows up to 850 pounds of pull-force, meaning even the biggest, toughest dogs won’t be able to break it. Plus, the high-quality 100% genuine leather material is soft instead of stiff for a luxe look and feel.
- Can withstand up to 850+ pounds of pulling
- D-ring for carrying poop bags
- Padded for a comfortable grip
- Leather can require more care than other materials
- Carabiner clasp may be too heavy for very small dogs
Best Heavy-Duty Retractable Leash
Our Pick: KONG Blue Ultimate Retractable Dog Leash
Retractable leashes let you control how far your dog can wander at any given time and allow flexibility to keep them close when you need to. This heavy-duty retractable dog leash can be used for pups up to 150 pounds. So, whether you’re dealing with a larger or smaller dog, you’ll be comfortable knowing this leash can withstand pulling. However, most retractable leashes — this one included — are thinner than traditional leashes and don’t hold up to chewing as well. If your dog likes to bite their leash often, you may want to try other options.
- Designed for use with dogs up to 150 pounds
- Comfortable handle with grip support
- Brake and lock features for extra control
- Allows dogs to have more freedom
Things to Consider:
- Not ideal for dogs who like to bite their leash
- If not used properly, retractable leashes can be dangerous for dogs and humans
- Higher price point
Best Affordable Heavy-Duty Dog Leash
Our Pick: Pioneer Petcore Dog Leash
At around $13, this is one of the most affordable leashes that doesn’t skimp on the details. The 6-foot nylon leash is 1-inch wide and almost 3 millimeters thick, making it durable enough to handle stronger dogs or chewing pups. It’s also designed with a second handle for more control and reflective stitching for visibility. A wide variety of color options lets you choose the one that matches your pet’s personality, and if something goes wrong within a year, the company has a replacement warranty.
- Extremely affordable and comes with a one-year replacement warranty
- Lots of colors to choose from
- Comfortable foam handle and second traffic handle
- May be too heavy for small dogs
Best Heavy-Duty Leash for Hiking
Our Pick: Backcountry x Petco The Rope Dog Lead
Hiking with your pet can be fun, but it brings on new challenges like steeper inclines and tricky terrain. In these cases, a strong leash is especially important, but one that has a little extra give makes it easier. This 6-foot heavy-duty rope dog leash has a built-in bungee that helps with shock absorption when you’re hitting the trails, putting less strain on your hands and your pet’s neck and back. The padded handle makes it even more comfortable to hold, while the reflective stitching helps keep you visible in dim lighting.
- Durable yet lightweight construction makes it suitable for most dog sizes
- Built-in bungee allows for shock absorption while hiking trails
- Reflective stitching adds visibility
- Some dogs may not love the bungee effect
- Higher price point
Heavy-Duty Dog Leash Buying Guide
When buying a heavy-duty dog leash, first look at the materials and construction. In general, you should choose a leash that is around 1-inch wide with high-quality clips and stitching.
How it feels while using it is crucial too, so you can maintain a firm grip. “Choosing a leash that fits comfortably in your hands will be important to ensure that you can properly hold, maneuver, and grip the leash,” explains Charbonneau.
Nylon is a common and strong material for leashes, but it also gets dirty easily. “Consider how easy the leash will be to clean when looking at leash materials,” says Charbonneau. “Nylon or fabric leashes will absorb water and dirt, whereas a leather or biothane leash can be easily wiped clean when needed.”
Other features to look out for include a second handle (often called a traffic handle), reflective materials, and rings to attach poop bags – all of which add an element of convenience to any walk.
Pros and Cons of Heavy-Duty Dog Leashes
In most cases, heavy-duty dog leashes offer more pros than cons. After all, safety is one of the most important factors in which leash you choose, and a strong leash keeps your pup secure. Dogs tend to be easier to handle when they’re connected to a heavy-duty leash, too.
Of course that doesn’t mean heavy-duty leashes are ideal for all pets. “Consider the size of your dog when picking a leash, as a thicker, heavier duty leash will also weigh more, and this might be uncomfortable for a small breed dog to have attached to their harness,” said Charbonneau.
And while high-quality, tough dog leashes are typically more expensive, these heavy-duty leashes tend to be worth the investment in the long run since they won’t need to be replaced as often as a standard leash.