Retractable leashes are often a controversial topic amongst owners of large breeds but many people are finding benefits to using them. They allow a dog more freedom to roam around by using an extendable cord that can be locked and retracted at any time. Finding one that’s safe and comfortable to use can be tricky in such a saturated market, so what is the best retractable dog leash for large dogs? We’ve got everything you need to know.
Table of the Best Retractable Leashes for Large Dogs
|1. Happy & Polly Retractable Dog Leash with Flashlight Bungee||Flashlight and bungee section||$$||4.2||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|2. Hertzko Heavy Duty Retractable Dog Leash||Heavy duty nylon leash||$||4.2||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|3. Ruff 'n Ruffus Retractable Dog Leash||Free waste bag dispenser and bags, bonus bowl and light-up charm||$$$||4.5||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|4. flexi NEO Retractable Dog Leash||Highly reflective||$$||4.6||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
Should I use a retractable leash with my dog?
For many dog owners, moving to use a retractable leash can be a scary step. This holds especially true for owners of large dog breeds who are afraid they will feel out of control when on a walk with their dog. Not every dog will be suited to using a retractable leash and you need to decide whether it will be beneficial and safe, not only for you and your dog but also for those around you.
The first thing we always suggest people consider is their dog’s current level of obedience. We would never recommend using a retractable leash for dogs who are still uncomfortable being on a leash whilst walking, or for first-time walkers such as puppies and rescue dogs.
If you’re currently training your dog to not pull whilst on a walk, then switching to a retractable leash can be confusing and send mixed messages to them. This is counterproductive and we recommend waiting until your dog has gained more confidence with their walking before making the switch.
A retractable leash can be stopped from extending further and can be retracted (the clue is in the name!) but you shouldn’t rely on these features to prevent your dog from getting hurt. Walking on a retractable leash requires some restraint from your dog to prevent them from getting into trouble.
If your dog has a habit of pulling away suddenly, either to see another dog or as a negative behaviour, then these issues should be addressed first before you consider buying a retractable leash.
We highly recommend using a harness with large dog breeds for better control and to keep them comfy. You can find our recommendations for the best dog harnesses here.
Giving your dog too much freedom when they aren’t ready for it can cause them to run ahead out of excitement. It is uncommon, but you should be aware that larger dogs can have the ability to pull you over if they get too far ahead and don’t stop when the leash reaches its full length.
This is why it is important to wait until you are comfortable with your dog’s walking behaviour before making the switch to a retractable leash.
What are the benefits of using a retractable dog leash?
Don’t worry, it isn’t all negative! Using a retractable leash can have many benefits for you and your dog if you are sure they are suited to it. We know many owners of large breeds who have a had a lot of success with their walks since making the switch and who have seen a positive change in their dog’s behaviour.
The most obvious benefit is the added freedom that using a retractable leash gives to your dog. For those of you lucky enough to be able to walk around parks and open spaces, changing from a regular leash can enrich your dog’s walking experience.
There will be no more waiting around forever when your dog desperately needs to sniff a specific spot, and they will feel as though they have more freedom to walk where they want to.
If you’re confident that your dog will not go overboard, then using a retractable leash is a good opportunity for them to stretch their legs whilst on a walk and move at a faster pace if they’re happy to.
This is one of our favourite perks as owners of Alaskan Malamutes who sometimes have too much energy to burn off. It often seems as though they’re walking twice the distance on the same walk when they’re using a retractable leash as they’re not restricted to going where we want them to.
Using a retractable leash is also perfect for those of you trying recall training with your dog. Using one, you can take your dog to a safe and open space and let them extend the line to have a sniff on their own. The leash allows you to practice calling them back to you in a public space without the worry of them wandering off and getting lost.
What is the best retractable dog leash for large dogs?
Hopefully by now you know whether your dog is suited to using a retractable leash, but what qualities should you look out for when buying one? And how do you know if they’re suitable for large dog breeds? Lucky for you, we’ve included our absolute favourites that have stood the test of time during our Malamute’s many walks.
Our personal favourite is the Retractable Dog Leash with Flashlight by Happy & Polly. Don’t let the price tag put you off, this leash has everything you could wish for and comes in a stylish black design.
The leash is 16.4ft long and has a reflective edge making it suitable for night time walking. The maximum weight limit is 100 pounds which in our experience is more than enough for most large dogs but we do still recommend you check your dog’s weight before buying.
Different from other retractable leashes on the market, this one includes a bungee attachment which dissipates any sudden force caused by your dog unexpectedly pulling on the line. This makes it perfect for teaching your dog to walk on a retractable leash for the first time, and its one of the only ones you can buy that we would recommend for very energetic dogs.
If you aren’t already sold, the leash also comes with an attachable torch to keep you both safe and visible whilst walking when it’s dark. Other small features include a hook on the bottom of the handle to carry used waste bags, and a comfortable grip that stays secure in your hand through long walks. We really can’t recommend this leash to you enough!
+ Has a bungee attachment that dissipates sudden forces
+ Comes with a detachable flashlight
+ Has a large and comfortable grip
+ Includes a hook for used waste bags
– Only suitable for dogs up to 100lbs which is slightly less than some others available
A fan favourite amongst many is the Heavy Duty Retractable Dog Leash by Hertzko which is suitable for dogs that weigh up to 110 pounds. As before, this covers the vast majority of healthy large breeds but it’s worth checking your dog’s weight before purchasing.
The leash itself is made from a durable nylon material and reaches 16ft which is more than enough for your pup. Of all the retractable dog leashes we’ve tried, this has stood the test of time better than most and is suitable for dogs who tend to chew.
The handle has a comfortably placed easy lock button and the grip feels secure even after holding it for a long time. We must admit though that the hole where your fingers sit is a little on the small side. This hasn’t been a problem for us personally but those of you with larger hands may find it uncomfortable.
+ 16ft durable nylon leash
+ Reliable and lasts for a long time
+ Very comfortable grip around the handle
– Handle is a little tight for larger hands
If you prefer to walk your dog at night then the Neon Reflective Retractable Leash by FLEXI is for you. The leash is 16ft long and completely reflective so you can keep an eye on your dog at all times.
The leash is suitable to use for dogs up to 110 pounds and has a guide that sits along the leash itself to safely guide it back into the handle and prevent any tangles. We’ve found that the handle is more than big enough to comfortably hold, even for those of us with bigger hands, although we have heard that the small and medium versions of the leash a little tight.
FLEXI also sells an attachable ‘multi box’ that clips underneath the handle and can be used to conveniently store treats or waste bags.
We noticed there are some reviews from people who have unfortunately had this leash break whilst using it but they make no mention of the dog they are using it with which makes it hard to know who is at fault. We’ve personally had no problems but as with the previous leash, we recommend checking your dog’s weight before buying.
+ Highly visible neon leash with reflective pads on the handle
+ Attachable ‘multi box’ is available to buy which stores treats and waste bags
+ Grip is comfortable even for larger hands
– The small and medium versions of the leash have tighter handle grips
– Some reviews from people who have had it break whilst using it
Those of you who love a bargain are bound to love the Retractable Dog Leash by Ruff’n Ruffus. Not only is it a high-quality leash suitable for dogs up to 110 pounds, but it comes with three separate accessories that attach to the handle.
The leash comes with an added waste bag dispenser and a pack of bags, a long-lasting LED light to keep you visible through the night, and a collapsible travel bowl that’s perfect for those long walks where you wish you could give your dog a drink.
Our one small problem with the leash is that the tape itself seems to be very chewable. Whilst our dogs haven’t been able to chew all the way through it, we still recommend keeping it away from them when they aren’t wearing it.
We have also seen some reviews that claim the handle is too large and chunky for them to hold. It is definitely true that handle is on the larger side but it feels very durable and in our opinion is still comfy to hold.
+ Comes with added waste bag dispenser, collapsible dog bowl, and LED light
+ Available in 2 bright colours
+ Very easy to use brake and lock mechanism
– Leash is a little flimsier than some of the others available
– Handle might be too chunky for some people
Training your dog to safely walk on a retractable leash can be a time-consuming task but if you’re willing and have the patience to do it, you’re bound to see many improvements for both you and your pup. Using our recommendations, you should be able to find the perfect retractable leash that’s right for you.
If you have any questions about using a retractable leash with your dog, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here.