Leashes are some of the simplest pieces of equipment imaginable — all they have to do is keep you tethered to your dog, after all. However, a bad leash can transform even the most basic walk into a terrifying experience, as there’s nothing worse than watching your dog run away from you while you’re left holding a broken piece of fabric.
But how do you tell a good leash from a bad one? In our reviews of rope leashes below, we’ll show you exactly what to look for (and, more importantly, what to avoid) so that your pup will always stay safely by your side.
Our top picks are comfortable, stylish, and safe for both you and your dog. Who knows — maybe they’ll make you beg your dog to go for a walk for a change?
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (2022 Update)
The 10 Best Dog Rope Leashes
1. Friends Forever Dog Rope Leash – Best Overall
The Friends Forever is strong enough to climb mountains with, so chances are it can survive your English Mastiff tugging on it. It’s large enough to accommodate her, too, as the loop is adjustable to fit breeds of all sizes.
The threads in the rope are reflective, helping to make you a little bit more visible on nighttime walks. It’s also waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about taking it out in the rain. Also, if it gets dirty, you can just toss it in the washing machine to clean it.
Despite its tough and rugged construction, it’s very soft and smooth in your hands. You shouldn’t have to deal with blisters or rope burns, even if your dog is a puller.
That’s not to say that the Friends Forever is perfect, though. The leather strip that helps tighten it is prone to slipping, so you might need to readjust it periodically as you walk. That’s certainly annoying, but it’s not enough to knock it out of the top spot on our list.
2. BAAPET Strong Dog Leash – Best Value
The BAAPET Strong Rope Dog Leash is certainly that, as it’s made of half-inch diameter climbing rope with a solid clip at the end. If your dog can break this, she deserves to go wherever she feels like going.
It’s not tough on your hands, though, as the thick-padded handle protects your mitts and gives you better control over your pup. The padding has ridges in it that give your hands more purchase, even when sweaty, so you can take your dog jogging without worrying about the leash slipping out of your hands.
Like the model above from Friends Forever, it also has reflective thread, allowing you to safely venture out after the sun goes down. It offers all of this at a very reasonable price, which is why it’s our pick for best dog rope leash for the money.
The downside is that all that thick rope and heavy padding makes it extremely heavy. Don’t be surprised if your arms get tired or you catch it dragging the ground. That’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but it’s just enough of a negative for us to rank the BAAPET 01 Strong below the Friends Forever on this list.
3. Embark Sierra Rope Leash – Premium Choice
The Embark Pets Sierra claims that its rope can support over a ton of weight, which is reassuring, but if you need that much tensile strength to walk your dog you may want to consider cutting back on the Milk Bones.
Despite its incredible resilience, this isn’t a very thick rope, nor is it especially heavy. It’s weather-resistant as well, making it a great choice for areas with wet climates, or simply for active users who like to take their mutts camping with them.
The metal carabiner, on the other hand, is extremely thick and heavy — but that’s a good thing. The metal clasp is usually a weak point on leashes like this, but this one should be able to survive anything your dog can throw at it.
Our only quibbles with the Embark Pets Sierra are its relatively high price point and the fact that the handle isn’t padded. That shouldn’t be enough to deter you if you have a strong puller on your hands, but it is enough to knock this leash down to the #3 spot.
4. Max and Neo Rope Leash
You can feel good about yourself when you buy the Max and Neo Rope Leash, as the company donates a leash to a dog rescue for every leash they sell. Even better, it’s actually a good leash, too, so your dog won’t have to suffer so that another one can be helped.
The half-inch nylon has been double-stitched for durability, and there’s reflective stitching integrated into the rope. The connection points are wrapped in leather, so there’s no need to worry about anything coming unwound at an inopportune moment.
This is a stylish option as well, as you can buy it in a variety of vivid colors. The bright hues allow it to stand out among all the other leashes at the dog park, and there’s little chance of it getting lost (although someone may try to steal it).
The biggest negative we found with the Max and Neo is that it can’t stand up to a heavy chewer. If your dog gets his paws on this, don’t expect it to last long — and leash biters might be able to damage it as well, so be aware of this before taking an aggressive or reactive dog out in public.
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5. MayPaw Heavy Duty Rope Dog Leash
This offering from MayPaw bills itself as a “heavy-duty” leash, and that’s true — of certain parts of the leash, anyway.
The rope itself is extremely strong and more than capable of surviving big dogs who pull hard. However, the padding on the handle isn’t quite as durable and tends to break down over time. Fortunately, the rope is fairly easy on your palms, but seeing the handle fall apart is disturbing nonetheless.
Of course, extreme durability may be asking too much from a leash this inexpensive. The clip is strong, at least, and capable of rotating 360 degrees, so you can take it off easily even if your mutt isn’t feeling particularly cooperative.
One other slight annoyance is the fact that the rubber cover over the knots tends to slip. This doesn’t necessarily affect the leash’s performance as a whole, but having it dangle in the middle of the rope can get annoying quickly.
Overall, the MayPaw Heavy Duty is a good budget option, but it has a few serious flaws that keep it from being great.
6. iYoShop Strong Dog Leash
While many of the leashes on this list claim they can suspend a Mack truck in midair or something similar, the iYoShop Strong is much more forthright about its abilities: it’s for dogs up to 100 pounds.
That’s plenty strong for the vast majority of dogs, though, and we suspect it’s tough enough to handle giant breeds, too. That’s because it has a hard plastic cover over the knots, making it extremely unlikely it will break or unravel on you.
One nice touch on this leash is the inclusion of a ring on the handle, which allows you to attach waste bands or pepper spray to it. This is extremely convenient, and we’re surprised other leashes don’t follow iYoShop’s lead (no pun intended).
It’s not without its flaws, however. It seems to be shorter than its listed six-foot length, and the metal clasp is stiff and difficult to open. Hopefully, that means it’s unlikely to break as well, but that’s little comfort when you’re struggling to attach the leash to your dog.
You likely won’t regret buying the iYoShop Strong, but we feel you can get a better leash for the money, which is why it sits at #6 here.
7. BARKBAY Dog Leashes
At first glance, the BARKBAY looks a lot like most of the other options on this list. When you get more in-depth with it, however, some serious flaws start to appear.
It has a foam handle to go along with a rubber cover over the knots, both of which are fairly standard features. Both are on the flimsy side, though, so don’t expect them to last long.
Speaking of flimsy, the rope itself isn’t the highest quality. It’s prone to fraying around the seams, and, while it won’t necessarily break, seeing loose threads pop up doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. There’s a noticeable odor to it as well.
You do get a collapsible silicone water dish and a poop bag dispenser with each order, so that’s nice. We can also appreciate the fact that the clip is rust-proof, but that’s not enough to justify ranking it any higher than this.
8. Remington Braided Rope Dog Leash
The Remington Braided is as bare-bones as a leash gets, so it’s a little surprising that it’s not less expensive. The handle is a simple loop, with no padding, so expect a few rope burns if your dog likes to chase squirrels.
The clip is nothing special, and while it’s not necessarily flimsy, it’s also not something that you would expect to withstand a ton of resistance. The rope itself isn’t thick, either, and if you leave it out, your dog can chew through it in a matter of minutes.
The fabric tends to catch leaves and other debris, so if you take your dog hiking (or if she just enjoys off-roading), expect it to look filthy after a while.
It’s very flexible, though, making it easy to fold up and take with you on the road. It’s lightweight, too, making it suitable for smaller breeds.
The Remington R0206 GRN06 doesn’t have any glaring flaws that would cause us to disqualify it, but it doesn’t really have any features that jump out at you, either. It’s just a leash, and we think you can do better while spending less money.
9. Mile High Life Braided Rope Leash
The Mile High Life Braided looks like it’s made from an actual rope with a clip attached. While that makes us believe it’s strong and durable, holding onto a rope while a large animal pulls on the other end doesn’t exactly sound comfortable to us.
Comfort aside, if your primary goal in buying a rope leash is establishing a Western aesthetic, this is certainly the option for you. The hand-crafted leather nodes that cover the knots have a rustic style; however, this leash may be better suited to photoshoots than everyday use.
The biggest problem is that there’s only a thin layer of stitching holding the metal clasp on the leash. If you have a big dog that gets excitable, she can easily snap this thing off. As a result, it’s only suitable for calm, non-reactive pooches.
Also, for all its style, it’s terrible about showing dirt and grime, so don’t expect it to look pristine and classy for very long.
Ultimately, the Mile High Life Braided looks the part, but it’s not nearly as rugged as it seems.
Related Read: Best Leather Dog Leashes
10. Coolrunner Durable Dog Slip Rope Leash
The Coolrunner Durable won’t set you back much, as it’s rather inexpensive, but this is one case where you get what you pay for.
This is a slip leash, so it just loops over the dog’s head instead of attaching to her collar. As a result, it’s inherently less secure, which means that it’s extra important for it to stay in place. This rope is on the slippery side, though, so it can easily come loose at the worst possible time.
Also, it’s extremely stretchy, which gives you less control over your dog. The stretchiness also allows the stopper to slide on the rope, giving your dog even more room to wiggle out of the noose. If you use it as a training aid, all that slack will reduce the amount of correction you can give your pup as well.
The good news is that the Coolrunner Durable is unlikely to choke your dog, so you don’t have to worry about causing injury — to her neck, at least. Who knows what can happen if she works her way free of it, though?
Related Read: 10 Best Dog Leashes – Reviews & Top Picks
Regardless of what kind of dog you’re walking, the Friends Forever PET66-0029 will make the experience safe and enjoyable. It’s strong enough to restrain even the largest breeds while still being gentle on your hands.
Likewise, the BAAPET 01 Strong is tough and rugged, but the padded grip on the handle won’t leave your palms blistered. It’s also a good budget option, so you won’t have to dip into your pup’s cookie budget to afford it.
Buying a rope leash can be surprisingly stressful, so we hope our reviews have helped you make an educated decision. Our top choices will take the stress out of walking your dog, as you can rest assured, she’ll stay safely attached no matter what you run into along the way. That lets you relax and enjoy a leisurely stroll — well, until she spots a squirrel, anyway.