Dog Leash Hook Types, Models, & Shopping Tips



In this article, we’ll cover some of the primary differences you will find in hooks for dog leashes in this article. By the end, you should know just what dog leash hook you need to make sure your furry friend doesn’t go for a run during your next walk.

When a dog sees something exciting, there’s very often only one thing that can stop them from sprinting as fast as they can towards the excitement: a reliable leash.

It’s these moments of uncontrollability that should remind you how crucial it is to make sure your dog leash is dependable. Specifically, you should ensure that the dog leash hook connecting to the collar is the right hook for the job.


Bolt Snap vs. Trigger Snap 


The first thing to consider when purchasing new hooks for dog leashes is what type of snap you want for the collar. These generally fall into two separate categories: bolt and trigger snap.


Bolt Snap Hooks

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If you walk into a department store and look at their dog leashes, it’s very likely the majority of the leashes will have bolt snap hooks. These hooks tend to be what most pet owners are familiar with.

Bolt snap hooks use a spring and a bolt system to hold on to the collar’s ring. Unfortunately, these dog leash hooks can wear down over time. If the spring wears down, the hook can lose its grip on the collar and let your dog loose.

Collars with smaller rings also pose potential problems for bolt snap hooks. Even if the spring is in mint condition, a collar ring that’s thin like a key ring runs the risk of slipping under the bolt.


Trigger Snap Hooks

Trigger snap dog leash hooks are the stronger of the two types of snap hooks. They work similarly to the bolt snap, still utilizing a spring. 

The primary difference is the thin pin that sticks between the two openable ends of the hook. This pin doesn’t just keep the paper-thin rings from slipping through, but it helps keep any wear of the spring from hurting the integrity of the hook.

Trigger snap hooks also have a faster snap feature, which can be very helpful with dogs that resist leashes. Trigger snap hooks are the ideal hooks for dog leashes, though they may not be necessary for all pet owners.


Fixed-Eye vs. Swivel-Eye


On the other end of the snap hook, you’ll once again find one of two types of hooks: fixed-eye or swivel-eye. Though there are other dog leash hook models to choose from, the fixed- and swivel-eye hooks tend to be the standard. 

The difference between these two hooks lies in their eyes or the opening at the bottom of the hook that the leash runs through. Which type of dog leash hook is right for you depends on what you’re looking for in durability and ease of motion.


Fixed-Eye Dog Leash Hooks

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Fixed-eye dog leash hooks are the more durable of the two options. The eyes of these hooks stay firmly in place, ensuring that your dog’s leash and collar don’t get separated.

Though they provide less flexibility than swivel-eye hooks, fixed-eye dog leash hooks are a favorite for large dogs and dogs that like to test the limits of their leashes.


Swivel-Eye Dog Leash Hooks

Swivel-eye dog leash hooks offer more ease of motion than fixed-eye dog hooks. The eye is connected to the rest of the hook via a swivel hoist ring and a shank. This design allows the eye to rotate either 180- or 360-degrees around the hook, depending on the specific model you choose.

The downside of swivel-eye dog leash hooks is that they aren’t as strong. Swivel-eye hooks are only held together by a ring and a shank, and fixed-eye hooks are held together by all the metal of the hooks.

This weaker design leads to swivel-eye hooks wearing out over a faster period. Most swivel-eye hooks are designed to withstand large dogs, though the hooks wear down faster. Pet owners that regularly check and replace their pet gear generally shouldn’t have any issues.

Despite being the least durable, swivel eye hooks are popular among dog owners.


Dog Leash Hook Shopping Tips

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Which types of hooks you use on each end play a vital role in the integrity of your dog leash hook, but they aren’t the only determining factors. Here are a few other key features to be aware of.


Eye Size

The diameter of your dog leash hook’s eye is another essential detail to pay attention to. Your hook’s eye needs to be able to smoothly fit your dog’s leash through it without creating any friction between the hook and leash.

Most dog leashes you find won’t be more than 1” thick, and leashes that size are usually only reserved for extra large dogs. Smaller dogs tend to have leashes that are ⅜” thick. Which eye diameter is correct for your dog leash hook depends on the size of your dog and the thickness of your leash.


Eye Shape

The shape of your dog leash hook’s eye usually falls into one of two categories, depending on the leash’s material.


Round Eye

Round eye hooks look like a circle. These eyes are best for leashes made from thinner materials like paracord, leather, and cotton. Unfortunately, round eye hooks risk wearing down leashes with wider material.


Square Eye

Square eye hooks are ideal for leashes made of thicker material, such as nylon. These eyes are specially shaped like half-a-circle to avoid curling and wearing down thicker leashes. Though they’re designed for wider material, square eye hooks are safe for just about any type of dog leash.


Material Used

The metal finish of your dog leash hook is another essential detail to consider. Metal hooks vary in price, longevity, and color. Below are the three most common finishes currently on the market.



The cheapest metal finish for dog leash hooks is die-cast zinc. Hooks with zinc finishes often come in various colors, but they aren’t necessarily the best choice. 

Rust is typical for zinc dog leash hooks, especially when exposed to water or left outside. Rusting can lead to the snap hook not functioning correctly or completely breaking, so it’s essential to keep an eye on zinc hooks that show signs of trouble.



Dog leash hooks with a brass metal finishing tend to be more expensive. And more dependable than those made from die-cast zinc. Brass hooks are still susceptible to rust, but not nearly as much. In the field of vanity, brash-finished dog leash hooks usually look the best too.


Stainless Steel

Dog leash hooks finished with stainless steel are the most expensive option. But, they are incredibly durable and not susceptible to rust. Because of this, stainless steel hooks are ideal for leashes that are permanently left outside. Or for pet owners who would rather spend more on a leash hook now than buy multiple replacements later.



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Whether you go with the bolt snap or the trigger snap, no one knows your furry friend as you do. What type of snap, how strong of an eye, and what finish your specific dog collar hook needs will depend on your dog. 

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