Once you're familiar with all of the amazing properties of biothane, you may have decided to invest in a Leash or Long Line. With so many width and length options, it can be hard to figure out what will work best for you and your dog. Here are some sizing guidelines that will hopefully be helpful!
How Our Sizing Works
At High Tail Hikes, we organize our Leashes and Long Lines into three size categories - Small, Medium, and Large. This sizing refers to the width of the biothane material. Small leashes and long lines are 3/8" wide, Medium are 1/2" wide, and Large are 3/4" wide. Each size also utilizes a different size clasp.
As a general guideline, we recommend Small for dogs between 5 and 30 pounds, Medium for dogs 30-60 pounds, and Large for dogs over 60 pounds. These size are simply guidelines that we feel will work well for most dogs. Each dog and handler is different and has different needs and sensitivities, so take your unique situation into account.
Break Strength - Will My Line Break?
A note on break strength: these size/weight ranges are NOT safety ranges based on the break strength of biothane. Biothane is incredibly strong, with a tested 1000 pound break strength per inch of width. Even the thinnest biothane has a break strength of many hundreds of pounds. If you are using an intact, undamaged leash or line, you do not need to worry about your line breaking - even with the most determined pulling. That said - you are ultimately responsible for the safety of your dog, no matter what equipment you use. Please inspect your leash, hardware, and equipment regularly, and consider a Safety Strap and a Waist to Leash Strap for back up if you are working with a heavy puller, a reactive dog, or simply for peace of mind.
What to Consider
The two things we take into consideration with sizing are:
1. How the equipment feels to the dog; and
2. How the equipments feels to you.
For #1, you'll want to select a leash that is going to feel comfortable to your dog. This is particularly important when it comes to long lines, which are heavier than leashes by nature of being longer, and may drag on the ground at times. We recommend that you use the suggested weight ranges when sizing your dog for a leash or long line, or that you use the thinnest size that you feel comfortable using, as more lightweight equipment will feel more comfortable to most dogs.
For #2, you will want to think about both the feel of the material in your hand and how easy it will be to manage your long line while working with your dog. The feel of the material is very individual; some prefer a more substantial feel, while others like the thinnest, lightest material possible. You also want to think about the weight of the material. As you go up in length, the line will get heavier. At 30 feet, a Large long line will feel fairly heavy. A thinner line will be lighter, but could feel uncomfortable if you are working with a large dog who is pulling.
What Length to Choose?
Once you've decided on Small, Medium, or Large, you'll need to decide on length. We currently offer our Leashes and Long Lines in lengths ranging from 4 to 50 feet (we are always happy to make a line in a custom length, just email us). A "standard" leash length is 6 feet, although longer lines are becoming very popular due to their versatility and the ability to give your dog freedom to explore and sniff while still keeping them safe. If you're looking for something a little bit longer than a standard leash, here are some recommendations:
If you're looking for a little extra length for "sniffy walks" or neighborhood walks, we recommend an 8, 10, or 12 foot Long Line. These lengths will still feel quite manageable, while giving your dog several more feet of freedom. You may also consider our Hands Free + Convertible Leash for these types of walks. I personally love my 10 foot line for all neighborhood walks. Its easy to shorten as needed, but gives my dog several extra feet of freedom to explore and walk at his natural pace!
A 15 or 20 foot long line can be a great option for hikes, decompression walks, beach trips, working on recall, or using your leash as a drag line. We generally recommend 15 feet as a great place to start for a "general purpose" long line. Anything longer than 20 feet will be more of a challenge to manage. If you are going to select a long line that is longer than 20 feet, we recommend that you have a very solid recall with your dog and that you are confident in your dog's ability to respond to cues when you are out in the world. The last thing you want is your dog to be pulling at the end of a 30 or 50 foot long line, and this can in fact be a safety issue for you or for others!
Once you've selected the best size and length for your Leash or Long Line, you'll want to choose your hardware type and any other add on options from our product pages. To learn more about these options, check out this blog post, and as always, if you have questions, please email us!