Best dog leash for running hands-free | The Dog Effect

Best dog leash for running hands-free

Do you want to take your dog running without compromising your training and running style? This comprehensive guide to the best dog leash for running and how to make training with your dog easier.

Quick comparison of hand-free running leashes​




Tuff Mutt



Ruffwear Roamer



Mighty Paws



What are the best breeds for running?

There are may breeds and mixed breeds that are suited to running. Getting to know your dog, training your dog and understanding your dog's limitation will help you make an informed decision n how far and fast your dog can run.

Best dog leash for running

Image: Ruffwear

Our article on mountain biking with dogs will give you some helpful hints of taking your dog on long distance and energetic expeditions.

Here are ​8 well known breeds that can run like the wind.

1. Australian Shepherd

According to the Australian Shepherd was originally bred to herd livestock and remains a working dog at heart. They are happiest when they are working but also make a wonderful family companion. Their intelligence and energy needs to be channeled into dog sports or activities.

2. Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky has a thick coat with beautiful markings and usually have blue eyes which is suited to cold climates. They are an athletic, intelligent dog which can be independent and challenging for first-time dog owners. They are also very friendly and affections towards people and other dogs. The excellent sled dog breed can run for miles and miles but be careful in warmer climates as they tend to overheat.

3. Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is a powerful dog with a sturdy body built for stamina and strength. This intelligent canine needs a job and consistent leadership to avoid becoming bored or challenging to handle. With their thick coats, the malamute can tolerate cold climates but also had a large amount of shedding.

4. Border Collie

The Border Collie is a fantastic herding dog, bred to gather and control sheep. They are known for their intense stare with which he controls his flock. They have unlimited energy and stamina. They are highly trainable and intelligent and excels in sports including obedience, flyball, agility, tracking, and flying disc competitions.

5. German Shepherd

The German Shepherd Dog is an intelligent and capable working dog with unmatched devotion and courage. They can be trained to do almost anything including guiding and assistance work for the handicapped, police and military service, herding, search and rescue, drug detection, competitive obedience and, last but not least, faithful companion.

6. Rhodesian Ridgeback

This dog breed was created to be a versatile hunter and guard dog. He’s smart but sometimes stubborn, with a moderate energy level and an easy-care coat. They love exercise but also quite affectionate.

7. Weimaraner

Originally bred as a gundog to handle big game like deer and bear in Germany. They are an elegant but demanding dogs but can make a great family dog if well exercised. They will run forever and overheating is minimised due to their short coat.

8. Pointers

Bred to “point” birds and small game such as rabbits, the Pointer is a versatile field dog and exceptional family dog. They excels in the field, the show ring, agility to obedience. Energetic and fun-loving, he’s well suited to active homes where he’ll be a member of the family.

9. Kelpie​

The Australian Kelpie is a working dog that demands lots of exercise and they love having a job to do. Their energy levels are extremely high and will often run until they drop. They make an excellent jogging partner. The Australian Kelpie is a compact, robust, enthusiastic, and tireless working dog. The kelpie is a tough, independent, highly intelligent dog that is extremely loyal.​

Don't be disappointed if your dog isn't one of these breeds, get to know your dog and determine what they are capable of. For inspiration, look at Gobi the little dog that followed an ultra-marathon runner across the gobi desert. Incredible!!

How to start your dog running​

Your dogs welfare is your biggest consideration. Energetic dogs may continue running past the point of exhaustion just to keep you happy.  ​Watch for signs of over-heating or injury and always make sure you have water nearby for your dog. Here are some tips to consider before taking off on that ulta-marathon:

1. Build up your dog's fitness​

If your dog goes for a 30 minute walk each day then sleep in the sunshine all day​, they will most definitely not be fit enough to run for long distances. Just like us, you will need to build up your dog's fitness starting with shorter runs and gradually increasing the distance over time.

2. Training your dog to run on a leash

Dog's need to learn how to run well on a leash so that you both don't get tangled up and fall over each other. To prevent injury to you both, teach your dog to run at your pace, start and stop, and not to run off and sniff that tree 20 meters tot he left. Spend some time on this and use positive reinforcement. Getting angry with your dog won't help them wanting to go running with you. See below on our review of the best dog leash for running.

3. Using the correct leash for running

A long leash is not the best for running with a dog as it allow them too much freedom and room to wander off. The same goes for retractable leashes. You will want to use a shorter leash, possible hands-fee so that you can maintain your own running style and pace. 

4. Check your dog's health 

It will pay to give your dog a checkup at the vet prior to taking him running long distances. Just prior to a run, check that you dog looks well, is eating and drinking and is not lethargic. It is not kind to take a sick dog running. After a run, check your dog's legs and paws for injury. If you are running through  forest and bushland, also check for seeds, burrs and ticks that may have attached to your dog.

5. Weather conditions for running a dog

Consider the kindest and most appropriate time to run your dog. During a hot summer, get up early an run your dog. Don't run in the heat of the day. Choose a route that has water available on the way or take some with you. If it is cold or freezing, you dog may want a jumper and even boots.

When not to run your dog

Not all dogs like running or should go running.​ Always consider your dog first. Look at their build and health before taking them out running. Some reasons you should not take your dog running include:

1. Your dog is too old to run​

​If you have a senior dog, don't push them into running. A gentle walk or even a swim to maintain a healthy weight is ideal.

2. Arthritic dogs

Arthritic dogs need low impact activities such as walking and swimming. This will help to strengthen their muscles and keep their joints flexible.  Swimming is a great exercise for dogs with arthritis as it keeps excess weight off the joints.

3. Overweight dogs​

If you have an overweight dogs, ​start small. Get control of your dogs weight first with healthy eating and mild exercise. AS your dog looses weight you can assess their ability to start running. If they do OK, build this up slowly. An overweight dog will not have the fitness to run along with you.

4. Pug nosed or short snouted dogs​

Pug nosed or short snouted breeds although very cute, are not designed to run. The shape of their head, neck and nose makes it very difficult for them to breathe well enough to run. They are often short and stout in statue like the British Bulldog, Pugs and French Bulldogs. Boxers are often good runners but you must still be careful about the ability to breath while running.

Best dog leash for running

What makes a good dog running leash

When buying a leash to go running with your dog, you will need to consider everything from the comfort, durability, size and fit. Here are some points to consider.


The length of leash will be determined through not only what you feel comfortable but how tall you are and how large your dog is. If you are short with a tall dog a shorter lead may suit. However, if you are a tall person with a short dog you will need a longer leash. Consider the distance between your waist and your dogs collar when you dog is in the position to run. Most leashes are adjustable, but you may wan to trial the length with a piece of rope of long lead that you can shorten for a trial.


Being able to adjust your leash is not only good for getting the length exactly right for you and your dog. But consider others in the family that may have larger or smaller waist. Versatility will not only help you run but save you money by only needing one leash for the whole family. You may also have the leash set up in different ways, for a run or for a casual walk.


​Select a strong, hard wearing, durable material. Webbing is always a great material as it is super strong. Strong buckles and clips that won't break will ensure you dog is always secure. A fabric that can can wash and dries easily. 

Best dog leash for running  

Running hands-free with your dog allows you to maintain your own running style and pace without having to hold onto a leash and bring your dog back into line along the way. In our review of the best dog leash for running we have selected 3 hands-free designs. 

1. Ruffwear - Roamer hands-free running leash

Best dog leash for running

The Ruffwear Roamer leash has stretch webbing to allow some give if you dog runs slightly off course. It remove that jerking action and guides your dog back into the right direction.  The clip is strong, cast aluminium​ talon clip that can be used one handed for quick and easy attachment. The attachment clip is also super strong and although sometimes a bit fiddley, it is very strong.

The Roamer is versitile for waist or conventional use. As with many Ruffwear leashes, the can be easily clipped about trees or benches to keep your dog secure. It also has the traffic handle to keep your dog close in areas with busy traffic or people. 

The roamer is available in two sizes: Large is 7.3 ft (2.2m), stretches to 11 ft (3.4m); Medium is 5.5 ft (1.7m), stretches to 7 ft (2.1m). They are easy to wash and dry and my Ruffwear gear has stayed in good conditions for years.

>> Check out the latest price for the Ruffwear Roamer on Amazon.

>> In the UK? Check out prices here.​

2. Tuff Mutt Hands-Free Running Leash

Best dog leash for running

The Tuff Mutt 48" leash is another great hands-free running leash. A unique feature is the sliding clip that allow your dog to move from side to side giving your dog more freedom than some other leashes. Fits up to a 42" waist.

There are two handles, one at your hip and one at your  dog's collar that allow you to control your dog when required. The bungee  reduces constant tension and can extend up to 60" for larger stronger dogs. This one is tough, durable, is reflective for any night running.

>> Check out the latest price for Tuff Mutt leash on Amazon.

>> In the UK? Check out prices here.​

3. Mighty Paws hands-free running leash

Best dog leash for running

Mighty Paws also has the unique bungee has 16" of spring to dissipate force and reduce the change in injury from sudden jolts. This reduces the pull on you but also make your dog more comfortable. Very durable material which is water-proof nylon with reflective stitching.

This one comes in two colours, grey with green or orange and two sizes, 36" or 48". The lightweight design has easily adjusting connectors to fit waists up to 42". The belt also has a D ring that rotates around the belt to keep the dog right where you want 'em. The clasps and connectors are durable and lightweight for maximum comfort that won't slow you down.

>> Check out the latest price for Mighty Paws leash on Amazon.

Need some inspiration to run with your dog

If you are needing some inspiration, watch this beautiful video from Salomon Running TV.  It is filmed in the small village of La Motte-d'Aveillans in the South East of France where winner of the #my traildog competition, Gaëtan Ugnon-Fleury and his dogs, Pépite and Jolyn live. They teach us some simple lessons that we often forget in the rush of life. Trail Dog is an ode to the beauty and happiness that can be found in the simplest of things - friendship.

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