This lead is by far the best trailing lead available. There are knock offs, but ours are the original. Ours are also thicker and of higher quality leather. Our long leads average 9.5 mm after being triple stretched and tested for strength. We hand braid them at our Georgia facility and then oil them lightly for you with their first wipe down in Neetsfoot oil before shipping.
I wrote about this lead in each of my books; I feel that strongly about it. The feel of the dog on the end of the lead is amazing. Nylon or rubber simply do not have that feel or connection to the dog; try it once and you will know. There is a reason all of the best reatas and horse reins are made of leather...the feel! Other strong qualities are that leather loops easily, knots and tangles with difficulty, and actually has very little stretch. By far the best trait is that when the dog runs hard, the lead will not scorch your hand like nylon! Believe it or not, high end belting leather can last the life of the user if maintained properly. My original long lead is now 20 years old and has thousands of trails to its credit.
The leather comes to us raw and triple stretched for strength. This material is made for industrial machines that require drive belts. We try to buy about 1000' at a time, and there will always be some imperfections. We painstakingly feel and scan every inch of the leather before lead-making begins. If there is a weak or thin spot, we cut it out and go from there. The result is sometimes less than 30’ leads. We will usually have a variety of sizes in stock, so email us if you want something special. It is important to understand that leather is a natural product and not plastic or artificial. It can break with excessive force and especially from bad maintenance. The key to keeping this lead strong is not to over-treat it with any leather care product, especially oils. The lead may feel great, but If you over-treat, you actually weaken the leather. These leads need very little treatment. If they get soaking wet, just air dry it and once completely dry, add a very small amount of leather treatment of your choice to the tips of your fingers and wipe lightly down the length of the lead. That's it.
There are also bad leather products out there. They are usually less than 9mm and very soft-feeling, but that is not always the best way to judge the leather. Often times the cheaper leads are made from cheaper raw product. Unfortunately, this all comes out in the wash with use.
The best leather is made out of bull hide and is 9.2-9.5 mm in diameter. It will have a fairly stiff feel when new and takes a fair amount of time to break in and soften. This leather is rare due to its thickness. It is not easy to produce, it is expensive, and not always available due to the size of the animal it came from.
We personally take the raw leather and saddle soap it thoroughly while making the braids. I do not farm this work out, and all of the leads are made at the kennel. We use the old cowboy method of leather work and braid-making to make these lead ends. The result is super strong and attractive joints. (Most lead makers prefer to stitch or rivet because it saves time, but the strength suffers.) Once the lead has naturally dried, we wipe it down with a light coat of Neets Foot Oil. Neets foot oil is an old school method of conditioning leather products and is as good today as it was 300 years ago. It is natural and has no synthetics in it, but it is important not to saturate the lead with it. We add a medium size aluminum karabiner for the snap end of the lead.
We do have other snap options, but the karabiner comes stock. I like the karabiner because it is quick to connect and acts as a good handle close to the D-ring on the harness for a good hand grip. Take a look at the photo options for different snaps. Choose a snap option if you do not want a karabiner.
We also sell smaller Round Patrol Leads with the same design. The five footers make great patrol leads to go around your waist or chest.
Maintenance: Do not let these leads soak in large amounts of oil for long periods of time, as they will become weak and break. Treat this lead like a pair of fine leather boots and you cannot go wrong. If it gets soaking wet, dry it and condition with a light coat of neetsfoot oil or better leather conditioning product. If it gets dirty, clean with a saddle soap type product, allow to dry completely, and apply a light coat of conditioner like neetsfoot oil.
If you want a custom handle, braid, or type of equipment on your lead, please add this information to your notes in the checkout. You may also email or call us with more detailed instructions. Certain changes or additions may increase the cost. We will contact you with the price addition prior to making your lead.
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