A clip-on leash attached to a dog's collar.

A leash (also called a lead, lead line or tether) is a rope or similar material attached to the neck or head of an animal for restraint or control. On the animal, some leashes clip or tie to a collar, harness, or halter, while others go directly around the animal's neck.


Types of leashes

For dogs, leashes take many forms; for example:

Nylon webbing leash, a common style
  • A simple metal chain.
  • Very short tab leads; a clip attached to a loop handle or to a short piece of leather with a knot or similar short handle. Allows very close, tight control of a dog in certain competition or training situations.
  • Short, soft, braided leather lead with a loop handle and a clip to attach to the collar, usually about 4 feet in length, commonly used during obedience training. The softness enables the trainer to fold the leash into a shorter length and the braiding allows a firmer grip.
  • Nylon webbing leash, also known as a tracking/training lead in the UK, usually 4 to 6 feet, with a loop handle and clip, most commonly used for walking dogs casually.
Tenterfield Terrier on a long lead at a tracking trial
  • Extended-length webbing leashes, 12 to 30 feet or more, also known as a tracking/training lead in the UK, usually with a loop handle and a clip, primarily for training at a distance or during tracking sessions.
  • Slip-lead, usually with a loop handle and an adjustable, slipping loop at the other end that goes around the dog's neck. Often used in work or competitions—such as dog agility—where the leash must be quickly removed and replaced.
  • Retractable, a hook on a thin rope that retracts automatically into a large plastic handle, allowing the dog to wander 15 or 25 feet away while keeping the leash taut (in theory preventing it from tangling around obstacles or the dog's legs) but still allowing the handler to reel in the dog for closer control.

There are also bicycle dog leashes, especially designed for people who enjoy taking their pet in a ride with the bike. The leash is an aluminum tube with a plastic coated cable which runs down through the tube. It extends out of the tube end a couple of feet to allow for ease of movement for the dog. One end connects to the bike and the other to the dog's collar. This keeps them safely away the bike.[1]

Cat leashes and harnesses are also available on the market and are convenient for people who are not comfortable letting their pet free.[2]

Leash laws

Sign near Conneaut Harbor (in Conneaut, Ohio)

Many cities have passed legislation that requires dogs to be on leash in public areas; in some areas, cats are also required to be restrained (under control) on a leash, in a kennel, or in a cat-proof yard or house.

Purposes of a leash include: preventing animals from frightening or biting people or other animals, defecating and urinating in inappropriate places, endangering traffic, digging up lawns, causing other damage, getting lost, and getting away from owners. Leashes also provide a clear method of communication and ensure control during training of dogs.

Cat wearing a harness and leash

In the United States, leash laws are different within each state. While some states do not have state-wide leash laws and give localities power to make leash law, there are some other states in which leash laws apply statewide.

States that do not have statewide leash laws are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

In Connecticut, dogs are not permitted to run at large except in the situation of hunting. Still, if the dog has vicious propensities and the owner still allows it to run at large and a person is bitten, the owner can be fined for up to $1,000 and is also liable for 6 months of prison unless the victim has abused the dog and provoked the harmful behavior.

In Delaware, dogs are not allowed to run at large unless in situations when the owner is present and has control over the pet. An exception is for farm dogs. Also, during the night dogs must be kept in an enclosure from which they cannot escape, firmly secured with a collar or chain or other device, so they cannot stray from the premises,[3] or are under the reasonable control of the owner or custodian. If an owner does not respect these laws and if the dog bites someone, the owner is subject to civil liability and for fines of up to $1,500.

Dogs in the District of Columbia must be kept on a leash as well. They are also not permitted on school grounds when school is in session or on any public recreation area without a leash.[4]

Indiana is one of the states that has a restraint statute, which means that dogs must be restrained at all times. Otherwise, if the dog bites a person when not restrained the owner is subject to civil liability and criminal penalties. (Cite needed; definition of "restraint" needed; discussion of local Indiana ordinances forbidding dog tethering needed.) Dogs are allowed to run at large during the night in Kentucky only if they are accompanied by and under control of their owner.

According to the leash laws of Louisiana, dogs are prohibited to run at large at all times of the day. The same law applies in Maine, where the only exception is for hunting dogs.

Missouri legislation requires that dogs are kept in leashes that are no longer than 10 feet when they are in state parks or on historic sites.[5] Also, dogs that have rabies are not permitted to run at large.

In Nebraska, dogs may run at large only in counties where the population does not reach 80,000.

New Hampshire legislation does not allow dogs to run at large unless they are accompanied by their owner or custodian or when dogs are used for training or are trained for hunting, herding or exhibitions.

Illinois legislation prohibits owners from walking their dogs when they are not in a leash.

Dogs in New York must be restrained or confined at all times of the day.

According to the North Carolina law, dogs are allowed to run at large during the night only if they are accompanied by their owner or a person who has received the owner's permission to do so.

Dogs in Ohio must be confined or restrained as well as leashed and controlled by their keeper except for those that are used in hunting.

Pennsylvania legislation states that dogs must be confined or firmly secured or reasonably controlled by a person, within the property of the owner.

Tennessee law prohibits dogs to run at large except in cases in which dogs are engaged in legal hunting or herding.

West Virginia and Wisconsin are states that do not have a law that requires dogs to be leashed. Still, they do have laws that hold dog owners and keepers liable for all damages caused by dogs that are permitted to run at large.[6]

Different law applies to dangerous dogs and female dogs as in different states they are prohibited to run at large at all times. Also, in states such as Connecticut and Louisiana, guide dogs must also be leashed.[7]

Dog leashes

Dog leashes are used to walk the dog in public places. Having the dog wear a leash is a way of protecting the dog and other persons on the street. When walking a dog in crowded places they can get easily confused and lost or they could be involved in car accidents. Also, crowded places might cause them distress which might result in attacking a person. Not to mention that in some areas walking the dog without a leash is against the law.

Dog leashes come in variety of designs and colors and they can be made of leather, nylon or other composite materials. Also, the length is one of the important aspects of the leash. The length of the leash must be chosen according to the size of the dog and it is important because it allows a good control. Leashes should not be either too long or too short. Too long leashes do not provide good control of the pet which can result in unpleasant accidents with more aggressive dogs whereas too short leashes are uncomfortable for both the dog and the owner. The perfect leash can restrain the dog but at the same time is not viewed as a punishment for the pet.[8]

High quality dog leashes have a good quality metal clip and they can be made of leather, nylon or even chain. The metal clip must securely fasten to a metal ring on the collar in order to maintain good control of the dog.[9] The material of which the leash is made of is not of great importance as long as the leash does not show evidence of wear or fraying. Therefore, leashes should be periodically checked to ensure they are maintained in proper condition.

An important aspect of dog leashes is their sturdiness. Although rope leashes are quite cheap, they are vulnerable to chewing and fraying and are not amongst the most recommended types of leashes. However, it is considered that a better type of leash is the one made of nylon because this material provides a bit of elasticity which is meant to result in more comfort for the dog. On the other hand, nylon leashes can cause chafe or can cut into the skin of the dog.

Leather leashes are often preferred over the nylon ones because of the resistance of the material and because it becomes more flexible with age and it is softer. Leather is however more prone to be chewed when compared to nylon.

The retractable dog leash is one of the most comfortable leashes for the dogs because they allow them to go as far as they want as long as the owner does not consider it a danger. Retractable leashes are usually made of nylon and the retractable device is made of plastic or a stronger composite. Although these leashes can be convenient for both the dog and the owner as it allows some control, they make it difficult to keep an aggressive dog under control which can result in persons or other dogs being attacked. Aggressive dogs should not be walked with such a leash and also puppies should be kept closely to ensure its protection from various dangers such as cars.

Some leashes are made of reflective materials and are suitable for walking the dog at night. They are convenient because they make the dog and the owner much more visible in the traffic, reducing the likelihood of accidents.

In India, dog leashes are made from the usual materials, including chain, leather and nylon. Australia is the biggest net importer of Indian made chain leashes, accounting for nearly 22% of the Australian dog leash market.

Cat leashes

Cat leashes are used with the purpose of preventing the cat getting lost. Unlike dogs, cats rarely get into fights or attack persons on the street so cat leashes are mainly a safety measure to protect the pet itself. Very often the cat leashes are replaced with harnesses because they avoid the dangers of the leash which include escaping and running away or choking. Cats are more likely to not be willing to be walked in a harness than dogs are. That is why cats are considered to need up to months to be able to adjust to wearing a harness.

Cat leashes come in a variety of colors, designs and models and they are also made of different materials. There are cat leashes made of leather, nylon or rope. Whereas the leather leash is one of the best qualities because of the characteristics of the material, it is also one of the most expensive and not very comfortable for the cat at the same time. Nylon cat leashes and harnesses are however more elastic and thus more comfortable and also provide more control.

Other uses

  • Among hunters, a collection of three hares ("a brace and a half" or tierce) or three creatures of any kind, especially greyhounds, foxes, deer is called "a leash."[10]
  • Other types of key leashes include - Toddler leashes to ensure that kids do not wander far away from their guardians, typically attached as a harness to the toddler and the other end containing the loop is held by the guardian. Toddler leashes are a controversial product and parents have strong opinions about it. Key leashes and lanyards are used to keep the keys attached to handbags.
  • People enjoying BDSM sometimes uses the leash as a sex toy.

See also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

(for holding a dog or a hawk) / (greyhounds, etc.), ,

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Leash — «Leash» Canción de Pearl Jam Álbum Vs Publicación 1993 Grabación 1993 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Leash — (l[=e]sh), n. [OE. lese, lees, leece, OF. lesse, F. laisse, LL. laxa, fr. L. laxus loose. See {Lax}.] 1. A thong of leather, or a long cord, by which a person may hold or restrain an animal, such as a falconer holding his hawk, or a courser his… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • leash — [ liʃ ] noun count a long thin piece of material attached to a dog s collar so that it can be controlled in a public place: All dogs must be kept on a leash while on the beaches. a short/tight leash under strict control: Her parents keep her on a …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • leash — [lēsh] n. [ME lese < OFr lesse, length of cord, leash < laissier, to let, permit < laxare, to lighten, relieve < laxus, loose: see LAX] 1. a cord, strap, etc. by which a dog or other animal is held in check 2. Hunting a set of three,… …   English World dictionary

  • Leash — Leash, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Leashed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Leashing}.] To tie together, or hold, with a leash. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Leash — [li:ʃ] die; , es [...ʃiz] <aus engl. leash »Leine«, dies über altfr. lesse (fr. laisse) »(Hunde)leine« zu lat. laxa »locker, weit, lang«> Fangleine, die ↑Snowboardervor Stürzen schützen soll …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • leash — [n] rein bridle, chain, check, control, cord, curb, deterrent, hold, lead, restraint, rope, strap, tether; concept 475 leash [v] rein, hold bridle, check, clog, control, curb, entrammel, fasten, fetter, hamper, hobble, hog tie*, hold back,… …   New thesaurus

  • leash — ► NOUN ▪ a dog s lead. ► VERB ▪ put a leash on (a dog). ORIGIN from Old French laissier in the specific sense let run on a slack lead (see LEASE(Cf. ↑lease)) …   English terms dictionary

  • leash — index handcuff, inhibit, limit, repress Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Leash — Un leash de surf. Le leash (laisse en anglais) est un accessoire utilisé en sport de glisse pour relier le sportif à sa planche afin qu il récupère cette dernière plus facilement après une chute. Sommaire 1 …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.