German Shepherds are a large breed of dog with high energy levels. They not only have strong bodies, but they also have terrifyingly strong jaws. In addition to that, German Shepherds are also smart and need lots of stimulation to keep them entertained. German Shepherd owners understand that their dogs need tough toys to play with, but with a whole heap of toys on the market, what’s the best?
We’re going to run you through the different types of toys that will work best for your German Shepherd and what toys to avoid. We are also going to talk about safety and why Shepherds are so hard on toys. German Shepherd owners need to think about which toys to keep their dog entertained, which ones for training and what toys won’t last. Let’s first talk about the three main types of toys.
The Three Main Types of Dog Toys
There are three main types of toys you can pick from when you are looking to get a toy. They serve different purposes, but they can all be useful to your German Shepherd. Some toys can also be classed in more than one category, depending on how it is used.
- Distraction toys are exactly what the name implies. They are dog toys that are used to distract your dog and keep them entertained over an extended duration of time. Think of a KONG filled with treats. The dog will be focused on getting the food out of the toy, a perfect way of keeping your Shepherd entertained for an extended duration of time (like when you go to work).
- Active toys are things like ropes, tug toys and balls. These are toys that will keep your German Shepherd busy and can be used for training purposes as well. These toys fit into this class because they are designed to be thrown, tugged and tossed.
- Comfort toys are toys that make your dog comfortable. They are generally classed as soft and cuddly toy, and is the toy that your dog carries around all the time.
Toys That You Shouldn’t Give Your German Shepherd
German Shepherds are strong dogs. They will destroy almost any toy given the time to do so, but some toys last much longer than others. Toys that are destroyed in seconds can be dangerous to your dog and could mean an expensive trip to the vets. Always try to supervise your dog when they are playing with toys and replace them immediately if they start to show signs of excessive wear. Below we’ve listed just some of the toys you should watch out for:
- Soft toys are a big no-no when it comes to German Shepherds. They might be ok for little dogs and they may last a while when your dog is a pup, but once your Shepherd gets a little bigger these toys will be shredded in seconds. Soft toys are like the cuddly animal toys that you see at the supermarket or even the vets. These toys often have squeakers in them that can also be potentially harmful to your dog.
- Tennis balls and other soft balls should be avoided unless you can supervise your dog. A tennis ball is great for a game of fetch, but they can quickly be destroyed by your German Shepherd and the materials used to construct them can be potentially dangerous to your dog.
- Rope toys are a great way to play a game of tug with your dog, but the threads of the rope can be dangerous to your Shepherd if they are ingested. As we discovered, the threads can get caught up in your dog’s bowels and stomach, which can mean an expensive trip to the vets. If you want to give your German Shepherd a rope toy, make sure you supervise them when they are playing with it and replace it if it shows signs of wear. Additionally, take the toy away from them when you can’t supervise them, this will prevent your Shepherd from destroying the rope toy and pulling out the threads.
- Brittle plastic toys can be very dangerous to your dog. A suitably designed dog toy for larger breeds like German Shepherds may use plastic, but it will be a much tougher plastic. Some dog toys use a very weak, brittle plastic that can cut your dog and be very dangerous if swallowed.
Why are German Shepherds So Tough On Toys?
German Shepherds are one of the strongest and smartest breeds of dog (that’s why they are used by the police and military). The combination of their immense strength and intellect means they can destroy toys easily. They are very determined and when bored they will do anything to amuse themselves, and that means destroying those nice shiny toys you bought them. That’s why it is important to get the toughest toys on the market for your German Shepherd.
Seven Best Dog Toys for German Shepherds
We’ve talked about the toys to avoid when looking to purchase a dog toy for your Shepherd. We have also talked about why your Shepherd is such a toy destroyer and the different categories of toys. Now it is time to show you what we feel are the best toys for the dog. Check them out below!
Unbreakoball Dog Toy
We were talking about brittle plastic toys and soft balls earlier in this piece, the Unbreakoball Dog Toy is neither of these things. This toy is one of the strongest and most durable ball toys out there, and is ideal for your German Shepherd. The Unbreakoball ball is constructed from a tough and thick plastic that can withstand the demanding play of a Shepherd.
The ball can be bought in two sizes, 6 inches and 10 inches. It has a perforated design that lets your Shepherd get a good hold on the ball. It is manufactured from a super hard plastic that will withstand tough chewing, but won’t damage your dog’s teeth.
Reviews of the Unbreakoball are excellent and the only real complaints are from smaller dog owners who find that the ball is just a little bit too hard for their canine companion. If you have a German Shepherd or other large breed of dog this is a perfect ball toy for you.
Kong Wubba Toy
As we covered in the ‘toys to avoid’ section of this article, we think (and know) that rope toys can be dangerous to your dog. So what is out there that makes a good tug toy for your German Shepherd? Well, the KONG Wubba might just be the ideal solution to your tugging needs. Its construction features two reinforced nylon covered balls, a squeaker and a tennis ball. A number of tough tails a featured at the bottom of the toys as well, which either your or your dog can hang onto for tug.
It is available in a variety of sizes and colours, and a softer fabric version is even offered for those with smaller or less demanding dogs.
We have found that the Wubba is probably the most interactive and fun toy for our two dogs. They love making a noise with the squeaker and its ability to hold up in a fierce game of tug is ideal for our demanding pups.
The first Wubba we bought managed to last over a year before it had to be replaced due to damage, but unfortunately our second Wubba lasted a mere day before it had to be scrapped. We think that this was a defect with that particular one, but we recommend supervising your Shepherd when they are playing with it.
Even though the second Wubba didn’t last long, we would recommend it to anyone. A tip to increasing the toys life would be taking it away from them when you can’t supervise your dog, and bring it back out when it’s active play time.
Goughnuts Chew Dog Toy MAXX
You can’t go past Goughnuts for tough dog toys and their MAXX Chew Toy has got to be their best toy for tough chewing dogs. Goughnuts offers the MAXX Chew in a couple of variations, a ring and a stick. Along with the choice of different shapes you can also choose the material. The MAXX 50 is the toughest and strongest of the Chew Toy range, while the MAXX Power model is a little bit weaker and a little bit less expensive. We recommend the MAXX 50 for German Shepherds.
The Goughnuts Chew features a safety indicator system that lets you know when the toy is past its used by date and chewing needs to stop. On this particular model, yellow means that the toy is ok to play with and red means it is time for the Chew to be replaced. This is an excellent idea for large breeds like German Shepherds, who can destroy toys quickly. Additionally, Goughnuts will stand behind their product and will replace the Chew if it gets down to the red.
Goughnuts Chew Toy is for those who are looking for more of an active toy. Not only is the toy great for a bit of chewing, but it is also excellent for games of fetch and tug. It also floats so there is no worry of losing it in the water.
If you are looking for the toughest dog toy, the Goughnuts Chew Toy MAXX should definitely be on your list. It’s an excellent active toy and will keep you and your dog entertained for hours. If you are looking for more of a distraction toy, something the KONG’s classic toy might be better as you can put treats inside.
Don’t just take our word on the Goughnuts MAXX though, many other dog owners rave about the Chew and it is even used by police dog units all around the world.
Benebone Real Flavor Dental Chew Toy
Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is just as important as keeping your dog entertained. Cleaning your German Shepherd’s teeth can be a bit of a handful, so why don’t you give them something that will keep them entertained and clean their teeth at the same time. Benebone’s Real Flavor Dental Chew is exactly the product you need.
The Benebone Dental Chew features ridges that remove unwanted plaque and tartar from your Shepherd’s teeth. The company have then infused 100% real food ingredients into the dental bone so your dog will want to keep on chewing all day long. There are three different flavours to choose from; Chicken, Bacon and Peanut, and it comes in a couple of different sizes. Benebone manufacturers the Chew in New York and they source all their ingredients from the USA as well.
Our two dogs can attest to the durability and toughness of Benebone’s Wishbone toy and we have no doubt that the Dental Chew would be no different in quality. If you want even more evidence of how good the Dental Chew is, just take a look at all the positive reviews of the Chew and the Wishbone to see how many dog owners love Benebone’s products.
Trixie Pet Flip Board
As we have said earlier in this article, German Shepherds are smart, inquisitive animals and they need a lot of brain stimulation to keep them entertained. Puzzle toys are a great option for high energy German Shepherds and they usually involve getting your Shepherd to find hidden treats, keeping them entertained for hours.
The Trixie Pet Flip Board is one of these aforementioned ‘puzzle toys’ and is designed for dogs who need a bit more of a challenge from their toy. Trixie states that it is for dogs who have some previous experience with puzzle toys, but we think your clever German Shepherd will be able to conquer it. If your Shepherd is struggling you can always give them a helping hand, or just let them figure it out for themselves.
Trixie’s Flip Board works by rewarding your dog for correctly opening various compartments. Treats are placed in all of the compartments of the toy and the dog has to slide or lift the various shapes on the board to reveal the treats. To prevent your Shepherd from ‘cheating’, Trixie has designed the Flip Board so that the pieces on the board cannot be knocked over and can only be removed by lifting them vertically.
This is an excellent toy for those who want to keep their dog mentally stimulated. It is designed for all ages and you’ll love watching your Shepherd work out how to get the treats. You may have to help your dog when they first start using the toy and we think it’s not the best toy to leave them with unsupervised, but we think it is an excellent choice for your German Shepherd.
KONG Extreme Dog Toy, Black
Another toy to battle your German Shepherd’s boredom is the KONG Extreme Dog Toy. The Extreme black rubber version is one of the toughest toys for hard chewing dogs and is a staple of any good dog owner’s toy arsenal. It comes in a few sizes and is constructed from KONG’s own ultra-strong black rubber formula.
KONG’s toy is typically used as a distraction toy with treats inside, but can also be used for games of fetch as well. A great way to make the KONG even more entertaining for your dog is to freeze treats inside the toy. The KONG is also recommended for those who are about to start crate training and for those German Shepherds who suffer from excessive boredom or separation anxiety.
The KONG was proven itself to be one of the most durable toys we have bought and our two dogs love getting treats from inside it. It is one of the strongest toys on the market and has overwhelmingly positive reviews. We’ve had no problems with this toy and we definitely think it should be on dog toy shopping list.
KONG Rubber Ball Extreme
Yes, that’s right! We have a third KONG product on this list and for good reason. KONG’s Rubber Ball Extreme has been an absolute hit with our dogs and has proven itself to be incredibly tough and durable. It’s made from KONG’s ultra-tough black rubber compound and is available in a couple of different sizes. KONG manufacturers the ball in the USA and has designed a treat hole in the middle of it.
We have found that the KONG Rubber Ball Extreme is one of the few dog toys that has not been destroyed by out two dogs. They love it when we put treats in the ball and we have no doubt that your dog will love it to. The ball is also great for games of fetch and it has a good weight to it. The downside of this is that it doesn’t float, so watch it if you are going to use it for games of fetch around water.
Three Great Toys for German Shepherd Puppies!
We’ve shown you seven excellent toys for your dog, but what if you have a puppy. The toys above can certainly be used with puppies; however, we have listed another three toys below that are ideal for German Shepherd puppies.
German Shepherd Puppy Biting and Training
As with all puppies, German Shepherd puppies need plenty of attention and entertainment to keep them out of trouble. Your German Shepherd puppy can give you a nasty nip and it is important to train them as well. Toys are a great way of giving them something to chew on and use them for training purposes.
Puppy KONG Rubber Toy
This KONG is almost identical to the ‘Black Extreme’ one earlier in this article. The Extreme version can also be used for puppies; however, if you are looking for something a bit smaller the Puppy Kong Rubber Toy is ideal for your little German Shepherd. This toy can be filled with treats to keep your Shepherd puppy entertained all day long and is designed for puppies up to nine months old.
The KONG puppy toy has been designed for a growing puppy’s teeth and has been constructed from the company’s unique, all-natural rubber, teething formula that is softer than the standard KONG’s rubber. If you are looking for an excellent distraction toy for your German Shepherd puppy, this is definitely one worth considering.
Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl
Now, we know this isn’t exactly a toy but it can be extremely useful for hungry German Shepherd puppies who love to eat. Eating too quick can be a real problem for a lot of breeds and can cause bloating and digestion issues. Slowing down your Shepherd’s eating is as easy as using a slow feeding, puzzle bowl like this one from Outward Hound.
Outward Hound claims that the bowl can slow down your dog’s eating by as much as 10 times and will make dinner time more fun. We have one of these and it was excellent for when our dogs were puppies. The only problem we find with this bowl is once your dog gets bigger they can flip the bowl over, releasing all of the food. Still, it works excellently for small pups.
West Paw Zogoflex Zisc Flying Disc
Every dog loves a good game of fetch and West Paw’s Flying Disc toy is ideal for your puppy. The Zisc is incredibly durable yet gentle on your Shepherd’s mouth and is easy to throw for intense games of fetch.
It is constructed from a soft plastic and is lightweight. It is perfect for dogs who don’t like to play fetch with balls and it can float. West Paw claims that it is the ultimate Frisbee for dogs and can even be used for a good game of tug. It comes in a couple of sizes, small and large depending on the size of your pup.
The Zisc is manufactured in the USA and is FDA-compliant. West Paw is also so confident in their design that they offer a 100% guarantee against dog damage. If you’re looking for a good fetch toy for your puppy, the Zisc is an excellent option.
All the toys on this list will be excellent for your German Shepherd. They are just a selection of some of the dog toys out there for German Shepherd’s however, and there are plenty of other toys that will be perfect for your pooch.
We have covered a wide range of toys from distractive to active and toys for puppies. We have also explained what a safe dog toy is and what toys can be dangerous to your German Shepherd. Remember that no toy is completely indestructible and dogs should be supervised when playing with toys if possible!