You might be wondering what kind of lead is best for my sighthound? Well you'll be pleased to know, it's pretty straight forward.
Although sighthounds tend to need special kinds of collars and harnesses, this isn't the case with leads for the most part, although short leads tend to be better.
Why short leads are better for sighthounds
As you'll hear time and time again, sighthounds are sprinters and they have a high prey drive. This means they can have a tendency to dash off at full speed on a whim. It doesn't take many strides for them to approach full speed, so it's safer for you and for them to use a shorter lead so you can stop them before they get going.
If your happy with your sighthound's temperament and think it's safe to use a longer lead, that's absolutely fine, you know what's best for you dog. In fact, I use a 5m line for walking my saluki mix and we're both happy with that.
However, if using a longer line, it's important to use a proper harness for sighthounds, it is not safe to use a longer lead with a collar for obvious reasons.
- Double ended leads - these are a useful training tool which can be attached to the back of the harness and the collar which can help with dogs that have a tendency to pull.
- Retractable leads - often not recommended because as above, shorter lines tend to be better for sighthound breeds. There are some other factors at play as well, for example, the lead could fail or break, and if your dog gets the zoomies you can quickly tangle someone or yourself up and the material can leave pretty nasty friction burns. Use at your own risk. Most trainers won't recommend these but they are usable under the right conditions, I will sometimes use them myself. Always use with a harness and not a collar.
- Training lines - It does what it says on the tin, they're great for training recall and simply trail behind the dog. If your recall training fails, you have a better chance of catching them. Always use with a harness though and still be careful not to bring your sighthound to a sudden halt whilst they're running at full speed. I'd recommend a biothane lead for this as they're easier to clean and maintain.
- Long lines - Similar to training lines except you hold it rather than letting it trail behind your dog and they tend to be shorter. Use them to give your dog more freedom without having to rely on a retractable lead. There is a knack to using these but nothing a youtube tutorial and a bit of practice can't fix.
- Slip leads - Some people will recommend these for training, but I would not. They can be uncomfortable and unsafe if not used correctly. That said, it can be handy to keep one in the car in case you see a lost dog or to use in a pinch as it doubles as a lead and a collar.