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The best slip leads for working dogs

An essential gundog tool. We pick out some worthwhile options.

dog on long line lead

Trainer Ellena Swift uses a slip lead on labrador in conjunction with a long lead

Slip leads were created to be easy to carry so that they can be “slipped” straight onto a dog after working. However, even the best slip leads need to be used correctly, the right way around and at the right tension. (Read more on how to use a slip lead correctly.)

So it’s key to buy the right size of slip lead for your working dog.

Measuring your dog for a slip lead

Use a length of string as a guide. Tie a small loose slipknot in one end and thread the other end through to make a noose. Drape it over your dog’s head and shoulders. When you think you have the right length for the dog cut the string at the point you want the handle, untie the slip knot and measure the string from end to end. This should give you a good idea of the size you need. (You might also like to read how to put your dog back on the lead after exercise.)

To be honest, you can never really have enough slip leads. It’s always worth having a selection around so that you can keep them in various pockets, glove compartments, the boot room …

Size guides

  • Spaniel 1.2m slip lead (10mm in diameter and 1.5m in length)
  • Labrador  1.2m to 1.8m slip lead (1.25cm in diameter)

Advice from a gundog trainer

We asked gundog trainer and Sporting Gun contributor Fran Ardley what she looks for in a slip lead: She advised: “Most importantly the leads need to be made of high quality rope, climbing rope is probably the best. Just as important is the ‘bird’s eye’ running noose.

“Some poor quality slip leads have a ring instead of the bird’s eye and these are often too small so when the lead gets wet, the ring becomes too tight and doesn’t loosen when it should. This will lead to mix messages being sent to the dog.
“There is a correct and incorrect way to put a slip lead on so it is important to research correctly. (Read advice on how to use a slip lead correctly here.) When out in the shooting field there is often a lot happening and we can become distracted, sometimes leading to us putting leads on the ground, moving around and losing them. I’d definitely recommend buying a brighter coloured lead.
“I like to use a 6mm slip lead for training the spaniels and labs.”

Top choice

Best choice of professional gundog trainers

  • Pull limiter
  • Deer antler stop
  • Bird’s eye running noose
  • Dimensions: 1.30cm x 8mm (other sizes available)

Go to a field trial and you’re likely to see a few of these around. The Mystique slip lead is made of high quality climbing rope and is almost unwearoutable, whether you use it for training or exercising. It also comes in a variety of bright, easy to find colours.


2. Sporting Saint Field Trial Pro Slip Lead

sporting saint field trial pro slip lead

Another top choice for professionals

  • Stainless steel rope bird’s eye ensures smooth glide
  • Plastic spring loaded stopper moves and stays in required position
  • Easy folding
  • Green, orange, olive or red

This slip lead is everything you need. It’s light and comfortable, hardwearing and flexible. It also fits easily into a pocket or glove compartment so it’s always handy.


3. Barbour Tartan Trimmed Slip Dog Lead 

Best for smart dogs

  • Leather Barbour branding
  • Suitable for all dogs
  • Maximum dog weight 50kg
  • Dimensions: 1.50m x 12mm

This slip lead is just a little bit smarter than an ordinary coloured slip lead. It’s suitable for all dogs, whether a labrador, spaniel or terrier and can be cleaned with a sponge. Good for walking and close heel work.


4. Dog & Field Lux Woven Slip Lead – Soft, Supple Luxury Knitted Dog Lead With Solid Brass Fittings and Embossed Leather Bindings – Available in Three Colours (Hunter) 


Best for colour choice

  • Suitable for all dogs
  • Material: Brass, leather
  • Dimensions: 1.5m x 1cm
  • Soft supple and practical
  • Colours: Teal, Hunter Green, Heather

Hardwearing and practical, this lead is also soft and supple so you’re less likely to hurt your hands if the dog pulls suddenly.


5. Extremely Durable Dog Rope Leash, Premium Quality Mountain Climbing Rope Lead, Strong, Sturdy Comfortable Leash Supports the Strongest Pulling Large Medium Dogs 6 feet (72 Inch, Green) 

Best for showing up in grass

  • Suitable for large and small breeds
  • Material: Leather, heavy duty climbing rope
  • Dimensions: 1.82m
  • Pliable enough to roll up
  • Colours: Blue, green

If you’re the type that tends to lose things then order this slip lead in neon or blue which will look suitably garish against grass.


6. Dog & Field Deluxe Gundog Slip Lead (Brown) Super Soft Braided Nylon with Rubber Stopper – One Size Fits All and Suitable For All Breeds of Dog with 4 Colour Options (Brown)


Best for value

  • One size fits all
  • Material: Soft braided nylon, rubber stopper
  • Dimensions: 1.5m x 8mm
  • Colours: Blue, green, red, brown

This is a basic slip lead for dogs that will do the job. At this price, you could have one in each colour to keep in a pocket, in the car and by the back door.


Last in our list of best slip leads for working dogs

7. 6FT(1.8m) Slip Lead for Dog, Anti-choking with with 2 Comfortable Padded Handles, Reflective Heavy Duty Nylon Rope Slip Leash for Medium & Large Size Dog (Grey, 6FT(1.8m),2/5″(10mm) 

Best for comfort

  • Strong and durable
  • Material: Nylon, cotton
  • Dimensions: 1.8m x 10mm
  • Colours: Grey
  • Braided with reflective thread for night visibility

This lead is easy to put on and off with the adjustable stopper. The comfortable padded handles will protect your hands and the anti-choking lock in the collars parts to prevent choking.