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Supplies for making dog leads

Updated April 13, 2018

Dog lead making allows dog owners to express individuality and creativity. Dog owners who are sceptical of the quality or materials of commercially available leads find lead making a satisfactory endeavour, due in part to the knowledge of how and what the finished product is made from. Relatively simple to make, there are a few basic supplies needed for making dog leads and leashes.

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Nylon webbing

Nylon webbing is a flat ribbon of woven nylon fibres. Strong and durable, this fabric is used for a variety of applications besides making dog leads, including boat rigging, rock climbing harnesses, and horse care. Often used as the base fibre for creating simple, sewn dog leads, nylon webbing comes readily available in a variety of colours. 2.5 cm (1 inch) widths of nylon webbing carry a tensile strength of up to 1905 kg *4,200 lbs), ensuring that the fibres stand up to the pulling of even the most intrepid canines.

Hemp cord

It is possible to create a homemade dog lead from simple hemp cord. Dog owners who prefer natural, ecologically friendly fibres may find hemp leads a conscientious and aesthetically pleasing choice. Simple macrame knots create a strong, durable leash from the cord. One of the only drawbacks of hemp cord is that leads created from it slacken, rot, or break with wear and time. Hemp cord is available in a variety of naturally and artificially dyed colours, as well as the natural beige colour of the fibres.

Snap hooks

A metal snap hook, also called a barrel snap, is the main piece of hardware used in the creation of leads. These hooks come equipped with a solid loop through which the leash is threaded and secured. The working part of a snap hook opens and closes via a small lever that can be depressed with the flick of a finger. Snap hooks come in a variety of colours and finishes, but are commonly nickel or nickel-plated brass. Snap hooks are measured based upon the width of the attached loop, making it easy to find the hook you need based on the width of your lead.


Embellishing a dog lead is often as simple as sewing or gluing a strip of decorative ribbon to one or both sides of nylon webbing. Woven leashes can be decorated by weaving in beads, buttons, or pieces of contrasting cord. In addition to ribbon and beads, other possible decorative supplies include embroidery thread, yarn, iron-on patches, metal studs, grommets, and fabric. While there is no right or wrong way to embellish a homemade dog lead, it should be noted that any embellishments need to be attached securely to prevent accidental injury to the dog, particularly if your dog is prone to chewing on the lead. Studs and grommets may cause damage to the integrity of the lead itself, and may not be an ideal choice of embellishment if your dog is a strong puller or jumper.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Tumbarello has been writing since 2006, with her work appearing on various websites. She is an animal lover who volunteers with her local Humane Society. Tumbarello attended Hocking College and is pursuing her Associate of Applied Science in veterinary technology from San Juan College.

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