- For other meanings, see Leash (disambiguation) and Lead line. Some people refer to the Child harness as a leash.
A leash or a lead or lead line 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:
- 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, usually 4 to 6 feet, with a loop handle and clip, most commonly used for walking dogs casually.
- Extended-length webbing leashes, 12 to 30 feet or more, 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 (brands include Flexi and Zenimal), 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.
Many cities have passed legislation that require dogs to be on leash in public areas.
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.