I have accumulated uncountable leashes of all kinds and every one of them provides a different experience on the walk. Owners usually provide leashes when I'm hired to do 'hundelufting' but I normally use my own for reasons I will get into shortly. Here I will mention the pros and cons of some of the leashes I regularly use.
Use a long 4 - 5m leash for a more relaxed walk!
Dogs need to sniff to explore the world around them, their sense of smell is a trillion (or so) times better than ours. A dog's heart beat actually decreases while he is sniffing, it is a relaxing experience and calms the dog! In order for your dog to sniff you need a LONG leash. Unfortunately I see a lot of dogs being walked on leashes that are too short for them to even stick their noses in the bushes along the path.
Chispa on a dark brown 5m Haqihana leash
While using a long leash you need both hands free, so leave your mobile phone in your pocket and your umbrella at home and focus on your dog instead. Except when you have to take a picture of your most beautiful best friend, then you may use one hand to snap a quick pic!
Majestic Ice is posing for the pic with a blue 5m Haqihana leash
Flexi/Retractable leash is not recommended!
With a retractable leash you are not in control of your dog. If you need to pull your dog towards you in case of emergency such as a car turning the corner or a cat running across the street, you get hurt trying to reel in the leash by hand. I have heard of accidents where both dog and owner got hurt, by the ripping of the leash, catapulting in each direction, or by wrapping itself around legs, arms, fingers and paws! Furthermore, if you drop the heavy handle of the leash it will drag behind your dog while he is running away, scaring him even more. If you want your dog to experience freedom on the leash then get a long leash as mentioned above.
-Both pictures from Google-
When to use a shorter 2 - 3m leash, preferably with an 'elastic' part
In some situations a shorter leash comes in handy. If you need to keep your dog save, walking along a busy street etc. The 'elastic' part of the leash will furthermore help to prevent injuries to your shoulders and back in case your dog suddenly decides to chase a pigeon...or in case you are 'being walked' by an adolescent Husky.
Nala on a 2m leash, with an elastic middle part, from Non-Stop.
I walk some dogs that have not (yet) been trained to walk on a loose leash and some who are reactive to other animals or people, and they will pull. As their dog walker I need to be in control of the dog and in such cases I might use a shorter leash (2-3m) for security reasons - but whenever possible I do use a longer (4-5m) one for the sake of the dog.
Kiara used to pull a lot more on a short leash but is more relaxed on the 5m one!
I used the shorter one as well for cross country skiing as a 5m leash would be too long so the dog could run across the slopes and disturb other skiers. Some long 5m leashes can be halved to 2,5m which is a good option too.
Shannon hitting the slopes in Sirdal
When can I use a 15 meter dragline?
Another great leash to have is a 15m long dragline (sporline), which can be used for nose work training in the forest as it won't get stuck easily in the undergrowth, or it can simply be used on the beach or on the grass where it can just drag on the ground. It's usually of a bright colour and made of plastic material that if dirty can easily be cleaned. It's not a good leash to go on regular walks as it's not very comfortable in your hand.
Loki on Sola beach
Which material is right for you?
The material of the leash is really up to your preferences, but with the rain here in Stavanger I would get fabric that dries fast and won't slipp out of your hand when wet as a good grip is necessary. I always prefer a flat leash and not a 'round' one (like a rope) as it can give you burns more easily on your hands.
Some leashes have reflective parts which are useful during the darker months here in Norway!
Brands that I like to use:
I am not a promoter of any brand and don't profit if you buy the leashes mentioned below but am merely making some recommendations based on my own experience.
"Haqihana" makes 3m & 5m long and 1,5cm wide leashes, from high quality material in Italy. They have two hooks so you can shorten the leash in half if needed.
"Baggen" is a Swedish brand, they sell 2m, 3m & 4m long leashes with an 'elastic' part. With 2,5cm these leashes are wider for a firmer grip.
"Non Stop" is a Norwegian brand that sells a practical 2m long leash (2,8m when expanded due to the elastic part!). I have had this one for some years now (see pictures above) and I am still happy with it.
Good luck with finding the right leash for you and your dog!
Happy walks everyone!