I’m Paul, the sole 'employee' of The Traditional Leather Lead Company. Put simply, working dogs have been my life since the day I was born.
I've spent my entire life handling, working and training dogs in disciplines ranging from agility, competition obedience, sheep dog work, gun work and running dogs. I was a falconer for the best part of 20 years and trained numerous dogs to successfully work alongside my birds.
On leaving college I trained as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, before following my heart and becoming a Policeman. After a few years I managed to gain a position on the dog section, fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a Police dog handler.
After training and handling dogs to safely guide visually impaired people, search for game, drugs, explosives, bed bugs, tobacco, criminals, missing people, discarded property, cash, to all of the bite work and handler protection required of 'the big dogs', I realised that a handler's equipment must be up to the job.
I became a falconer at the age of 12 and learned how to use leather and the copious amount of associated tools to craft my own gloves, bags, hoods and jesses. I am entirely self taught and driven by a passion for shaping this beautiful, natural material.
In 1990, I needed a new dog lead and after a succession of saving up and wasting my money on cheaply made, poor quality leads that didn’t last, I quickly discovered how difficult it was to find a quality, hard wearing, functional lead that looked nice and would survive the rigours I would throw at it, so I decided to make my own from a piece of English Bridle leather and a brass trigger clip that I bought from a Saddler. 33 years on, I still use this same lead on a daily basis!I firmly believe in quality and reflect this in the hides, threads, copper rivets and solid brass ware I select to create my leads and collars. I now use the same fine English bridle leather hides, which are cured and supplied to the saddlers of the British Monarchy. All of my dog leads and collars are hand cut, hand styled, hand dyed, burnished and hand stitched by me, using traditional English saddlery techniques.
I began making leads and collars for other people when I was asked one day “Where did you get that from?”. It never occurred to me that other people had the same issues in finding quality dog equipment as I did, so after several phone calls to what would turn out to be long term suppliers and some very basic maths, I sold my first ¾ inch, 4 foot lead!
By hand stitching with a saddler's clam, an awl and 2 needles, I pay acute attention to each individual stitch made, using a technique which ultimately results in a far superior and stronger stitch than those made by any machine.
The emphasis on the leads and collars I make has always been simple, practical elegance and functionality. As a working dog handler and instructor, I have come to realise that an individual's choice of lead is a very personal one. Over time, my bridle leather leads and collars will take on their own personality and will develop their own unique 'feel' about them.
I hand make absolutely everything to order, so I do not carry any stock. This is the reason that I ask you to allow at least 6 to 8 weeks for me to individually hand-craft your items.
Because of the hand-crafted nature of everything I make, all of my equipment is made with a passion and attention to detail, ensuring a perfect fit.
One thing that life has taught me is to try and to try hard. With that in mind, if you have an idea for a piece of equipment that isn’t in my standard range, give me a call and we can have a chat about it.
Ultimately, I am the Chief cook and bottle washer. My 'quality control' process is simple, 'If I wouldn't use it, it doesn't leave the workshop'.Thanks for looking,