Choosing the best large dog toys for big dogs can be a challenge. You know what I mean… You rush home, anxious to surprise Dudley with those big dog toys you so carefully picked (fervently hoping they’ll help keep your shoes safe) – only to discover them all in pieces the next morning! Disheartening, yes – not to mention money down the drain.
Pieces of that puzzle might start coming together when you consider your dog’s genes. The breed(s) in him should give you clues about his likes and dislikes.
Does he have a soft mouth gentle enough to retrieve game without leaving a mark, or could his jaw tear a brick wall apart in lightning time? Does she live to herd everything that moves, or is she a couch potato that simply must keep up with every episode of her favorite soap opera?
We’ve picked a few dog breeds to illustrate their preferences for certain large dog toys. Keep in mind that toys loved by pitbulls might also work well for breeds of similar ilk like bulldogs, mastiffs, or any big chewer. But first, let’s start with perhaps the worst offenders of all – puppies!
Puppy Teething Toys
Puppy teething is no fun. Big puppies, big teeth! And to compound all this, teething occurs in two stages much like humans: baby teeth show up between three and six weeks of age, to be replaced by adult teeth sometime between four and five months of age.
That’s where puppy teething toys can help. Kong’s Puppy Kong toys (teething rubber formula) gently relieve discomfort while promoting the emergence of new teeth. Kong recommends a Medium or Large size depending on the size of your puppy and how aggressively he chews.
Kong Cozie Marvin the Moose (Medium) or any of its siblings is not only softer, but also offers more versatility. Marvin & company can be squeaked, tossed up in the air, tugged, chewed, clamped on while running around wildly, and slept with when finally tuckered.
Planet Dog Orbee’s Tuff Big Pup Orbee Ball (purple and teal) is made in the USA from non-toxic materials specifically for teething puppies. Pliable enough so that it won’t hurt puppy’s mouth, it floats and is 100% recyclable.
For teething puppies (and senior dogs too), Hartz created the Flexafoam Dura Play Medium Bone of natural latex. This durable chew toy bounces and floats and with an enticing bacon scent, it’s hard to resist!
Nylabone also has a selection of puppy chew toys from their Just for Puppies Key Ring (Medium) to pacifiers designed to help clean teeth and prevent tartar buildup while meeting puppies’ chewing needs. These toys should be taken away once puppy has permanent teeth.
The TDGoodTimesPawTime Squeaky Ball on a Rope (3-pack) is sure to keep puppy entertained so she won’t be tempted to chew on your shoes. These interactive puppy chew toys can be squeaked, tossed, shaken, fetched or tugged – all while learning to master football, soccer and basketball. Made of soft, durable, non-toxic phthalate-free vinyl and knotted cotton rope, these toys will help avoid boredom and relieve separation anxiety. Not for big dogs or aggressive chewers.
N-Bone thought of everything when they created their Puppy Teething Rings (6-pack). Though not technically toys, these edible puppy chews are designed so that they are easy for puppies’ floppy paws to hold on to and will keep them occupied for hours. The rings are pliable to help soothe sore gums while avoiding damage to those emerging teeth. Chicken flavored, they are low in fat but high in nutrition as they are formulated with calcium for healthy teeth and bones, as well as DHA Omega 3 for healthy cognitive development.
For big puppies up to 50lbs, Nylabone’s Giant Original Flavored Ring Bone Dog Chew Toy addresses the needs of powerful chewers. The ring shape allows puppy to stick his paw in and secure it. It is likely to last longer, since it offers no tempting corners for puppy to attack and destroy. While bristles raised during chewing will help clean his teeth, puppy should be supervised as these nylon chew toys are not made for consumption.
Designed with aggressive chewers as well as teething puppies in mind, Mavel’s Top Cool Rubber Dog Chew Toy will keep your dog or puppy entertained for hours while helping develop strong teeth and jaw muscles. Made of high quality rubber, the core features notches that will challenge powerful jaws. Fill the hollow, smoother ends with treats, and watch your dog bounce this toy around to try and get at the goodies.
Who says dogs and barbells don’t mix? Made for large and giant breed dogs out of natural rubber, JW Pet’s Chompion Heavyweight (5″x5″x3.2″) Dog Toy can put up with some heavy lifting. While your dog is busy chomping like a pro, the textured rubber nubs stimulates his gums and clean his teeth, helping promote oral health.
Pitbulls are smart, driven, energetic dogs with strong jaws that have earned a reputation for being tough with their toys. Here are some pitbull toys they are sure to find irresistible.
To pitbulls or dogs with a high prey drive, the high-quality 36″ Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole V2 Dog Exercise Toy offers an intriguing challenge hard to resist: a fleece lure that squeaks when caught… finally, a large dog toy that succeeds in exhausting only one of you! Sporting a bungee cord to prevent whiplash, the pole has a wrist strap to ensure the rod does not slip from your hand when your dog catches the lure. Made in the USA, it is the perfect toy for high energy dogs. A session before a walk might help remind him just who is walking who is in charge. 😉
Another toy that will help drain a lot of energy is the Outward Hound Invincibles Stuffingless 6-Squeaker Snake. Watch your dog shake this 35” long snake and drag it around like a prized possession. The six squeakers will keep on squeaking even when punctured, but just be aware that this toy is not for aggressive chewers. Boxers and other ‘bullies’ are also big fans.
Armed with a standard ball thrower and a Zogoflex Jive Ball, you can give Max a run for his money with minimum effort on your part. BPA-free and manufactured in Bozeman, Montana, the Jive ball’s unpredictable bounce guarantees hours of fun.
Too pooped to throw balls? The Varsity Pets Tennis Ball had you in mind when they designed this canine exercise tool. While you sit on the patio enjoying a beer, Rufus can entertain you herding the ball till he’s tuckered out… 110% guaranteed indestructible, this made-in-the-USA 12” ball is not a chew toy, hence its size.
Made of ultra durable rubber and recommended for the most powerful chewers, the Kong Extreme (XL or XXL) can be stuffed will goodies to keep your dog occupied for a while. Stuff with a mix of treats and wet ingredients like peanut butter, yogurt or bananas and freeze for a great deterrent from separation anxiety.
Another treat dispensing toy that can be used for reward-based dog training or great fetch sessions, the Zogoflex Tux bounces, flings and even floats. Stuffed with frozen treats, Tux has proven to be a toughie.
Toys for Bulldogs
Designed with safety in mind and made in the USA, the Jolly Pets Romp-n-Roll Ball combines two favorite canine toys: a rope to chew on and a puncture resistant 8” ball. Great for playing fetch and tug, this toy will float if thrown in the water.
Two Nylabone chew toys have made it on the list of bulldog’s favorites. Both will help with oral hygiene while providing a foil for destructive chewing. If the original flavor of the Galileo (Souper/XL) does not appeal, the Dura Chew Souper Bacon Flavored Hollow Stick Bone dog chew toy will have her spellbound – and you can fill it with treats!
The floatable Zogoflex Hurley is recyclable, dishwasher safe, and made in the USA (Bozeman, Montana) of certified safe, non-toxic material. 100% guaranteed by the manufacturer, the Hurley will provide hours of fetching, gnawing, and general mayhem.
Whether you choose Multipet’s Three Stooges (10”) or Duckworth the Large Yellow Duck (13”), you and your dog are in for a lot of fun. Good for fetching, noise making, and a lot of cuddling.
Find more toys for bulldogs here.
Golden Retriever Toys
Golden Retrievers will appreciate Kyjen’s Ginormous Hide A Squirrel (13”L x 8”diam.) which is perfect to exercise their natural seek and stalk instinct. You get to play hide-and-seek with your dog: you stuff all 5 squirrels in, and she gets her snout in the holes to, well, retrieve them! Be ready for a lot of stuffing because it might turn into a canine addiction…
Another great interactive toy for Goldies is the Outward Hound Platypus Egg Babies. Platypus comes with a total of five eggs – three of which can be stuffed inside the toy, plus two spare eggs. Not only does Beatrix get to retrieve those eggs, but she can also squeak them.
Give any Retriever a floatable fetch toy and watch him explode. The West Paw Design Guaranteed Tough Bumi (Large) is a great tug-of-war to which can stretch to twice its length. If your throwing arm is not what it used to be, give the Large Kong Aqua Dog Toy a try. The 20” rope is long enough for multiple dogs to share and, coupled with the weight of the (4”L x 2 ¾”W) Kong, provides momentum so you can throw the toy a good distance without too much effort. Add an unpredictable bounce pattern, and this dog toy makes for hours of crazy playtime in or out of the water.
Like any other dog, retrievers have a thing for food. That’s where the Kong Goodie Bone and Our Pets Smarter Toys Interactive IQ Treat Ball (5”) come in. Stuff the two ends of the 7” Kong Bone toy with treats to keep your dog entranced for a good while. For a fun challenge, try the IQ Treat Ball: as your dog learns to roll the ball on the floor to entice treats to spill out, adjust the difficulty level and watch him figure out how to solve this new puzzle.
Check out more toys for big dogs like Retrievers.
Dog Toys for Labs
It’s a well-known fact that Labradors love to eat. A Nylabone Big Turkey Leg created with powerful chewers in mind should keep him busy for a while. Give him an Extra Large Pet Expertise Antler Dog Chew (8″-10″L), and you’ll likely not hear from him for hours.
But when all is said and done, labs have a lot of energy that needs to be expended. Like many human foodies, they also need constant work on their waistline. Interactive balls will keep their interest peaking and address both issues at once.
Made of durable rubber and equipped with a sturdy squeaker, the Nerf Dog Squeak Rubber Ball Dog Toy (Medium/Large – 4.25” diam.) is as close as you’ll come to indestructible dog toys for labs.
Another intriguing ball that is sure to keep him mesmerized is the Large PetQwerks Talking Babble Ball (3 1/8”). Give your dog this toy as you leave, and he won’t even notice you’re gone. Though it is designed to turn itself off when playtime is over, but you may want to ‘disappear’ it at night unless you want to want to wake up at the sounds of “Oh! No! You got me”… 🙁
The Jolly Pets Monster Girl (3.5”) will keep your dog entranced as its mohawk and goatee make it bounce crazily. You can stuff some treats or food in for special occasions.
If he prefers to chase and conquer, The Company of Animals 8” Boomer Ball will prove irresistible. Made of hard plastic, it is designed to be pushed around rather than picked up.
When Buster is completely tuckered, he can cuddle up with Multipet’s Lamb Chop (Jumbo) for some well-deserved R&R. But beware! Lamb Chop has been known to awaken the nurturing instinct in some dogs, so don’t be surprised if he allows no one near his new BFF…
Toys for Border Collies
Starting from the principle that border collies LOVE to herd, what could be smarter than giving them a ball designed precisely for that purpose? Three companies have succeeded in manufacturing soccer-style play balls made of hard plastic and meant for the great outdoors:
. The Company of Animals’ 10″ Boomer Ball (XL) is considered “virtually indestructible”. Puncture proof, this ball floats and will also delight water-loving dogs.
. Made in the USA, the Jolly Pets 10” Push-n-Play Ball is guaranteed indestructible; for dogs with limitless energy, a screw plug allows you to fill it with water or gravel.
. Varsity Pets is so confident about its 12” Varsity Ball being indestructible that it offers a 110% guarantee: if a dog destroys that ball, they will replace it as well as refund 10% of the original purchase price. This ball has been tested with serious players: military working dogs, police K-9 units, and even lions and tigers!
For a little variety, the JW Dog Isqueak Ball will have them squeaking furiously and taunting you and their friends with their ‘prize’ – the fact that it’s infused with vanilla may have something to do with it! It is fade resistant and can be washed easily. The medium size (blue, 3” diam.) is perfect for border collies; larger or giant dogs might prefer the large (green, 4” diam.). It is not appropriate for heavy chewers.
But let’s not forget that, for all their brain power, border collies, like all dogs, love to eat. Interactive, treat-dispensing toys will be greatly appreciated:
. unscrew the top of the StarMark Bob-A-Lot (Large) and fill with treats to keep your pooch occupied for a while. Just don’t let her see you do it because she may figure out the easy way in…
. the bouncy, natural rubber Kong Stuff-A-Ball (XL) can be used to play fetch, but more importantly it is designed to hold and release treats while the ridges clean and condition teeth and gums. A word to the wise: some dogs have been known to resort to shortcuts and chew a tab off to get at the treats faster… so keep tabs on Einstein and make sure he plays by the rules!
Find more indestructible balls and toys for border collies and other dogs with a herding instinct.
Great Dane Toys
Giant breeds deserve giant dog toys that are proportionate to their size and large personalities. Dog toy companies have come up with ingenious solutions that should keep Brandy and Barrington entranced for hours – and your lovely guest towels safe from their massive jaws.
The Outward Hound Matz Gator is designed like a loooong plush mat with 32 squeakers, each one enclosed in its own pocket. If Brandy kills one squeaker, no big deal, there are 31 more to go. And when the squeakers are all busted, she’ll likely carry the flappy body around like a prized kill…
Kyjen’s Stuffingless Plush Snake is a proud member of their Invincibles gallery of durable squeaky dog toys. Equipped with 12 squeakers that keep on squeaking even after being punctured, these toys are made with two layers of super tough fabric (including a Dura-Tuff inner lining) reinforced with double layered seams. Beware, its tail does rattle!
The Kong Mega Wubba is a combination of two balls (similar in size to a tennis ball and a softball) with long flappy tails (about 2’L overall) designed specifically for dogs over 85 pounds. Barrington will love tossing, squeazing and shaking his Wubba or playing tug-of-war with you or his friends – and he’ll keep himself occupied if no one’s around to entertain him.
Finally, a 36” long rope dog toy that a Great Dane can proudly call his own! Mammoth created a 5-Knot Flossy Chews Cottonblend Color Rope Tug that will provide you and your beast hours of fun. And you won’t have to brush his teeth – the toy’s rope fibers will take care of that for you…
The Nylabone Big Chew Monster Beef Bone has earned a reputation as a tough chew toy that has survived many ‘jaws of steel’. Meant as a deterrent to destructive chewing, the extra-tough nylon bone helps clean teeth and control tartar while providing dogs with hours of entertainment.
More Favorite Large Dog Toys
Of course, some toys have been causing a major sensation with big dogs regardless of breed. Rufus will find something irresistible here whether is a fan of fetching, tugging, chewing, munching, cuddling or just begging for an excuse to act silly…
The Outward Hound Hedgehogz is sure to keep Lola captivated: covered of soft faux-fur for cuddle time, this cutie can grunt, squeak and rattle – quite the vocabulary! Don’t be surprised if she hogs her new friend and won’t let you near it…
Don’t let the soft lamb’s wool exterior of Mavel’s Bear Rope Toy fool you! A tough cotton braided robe covers a super solidly stuffed center ball which makes the toy fun to throw. The tail of this 12.5” toy is made of rope, perfect for a game of tug-of-war. It squeaks, and the legs crinkle when nibbled on – what more could a pooch ask for?
Another toy that crinkles and will drive any big dog around the bend is the Crinkits Water Bottle Dog Toy by Zigoo Pets. Now let’s face it: what dog does not enjoy playing with an empty water bottle? The thing is, they can cut your dog’s mouth when punctured. The Crinkits is over 9” long and comes pre-stuffed with a 16.9oz water bottle which can be replaced. Made of eco-friendly material, it is soft on senior dogs’ mouths and it floats! This is not a chew toy or intended for aggressive chewers.
Not far behind, the 8.5” West Paw Design Zogoflex Zisc Flying Disc (Large) also floats. This high-flying Frisbee is soft of dogs’ mouths but guaranteed by the manufacturer against dog damage: canine engineering at its best! Made in America of BPA- and Phthalate-free materials, it is non-toxic, recyclable and dishwasher safe. Its high flexibility makes it perfect for tug-of-war.
Similar to a classic Kong, PetSafe Busy Buddy Squirrel Dude (L) has four inner-facing adjustable rubber tabs in the opening which you can leave as is or trim to provide easier access for your dog. Fill the natural rubber Dude with treats, kibble, cheese, peanut butter – and see how they meet this new challenge!
100% naturally shed, foraged by hand from Colorado, Chasing Our Tails Elk Rack Snack (Large, 7-10”) helps protect canine teeth from tartar while providing calcium, zinc, manganese and potassium – let him get in touch with his wild roots!
Ideal for interactive fun, the Kong Jumbler Ball sports two handles to make pick up and shaking easier. And why would you want to shake a ball? To drive your dog crazy, that’s why! Watch as he tries to get to the interior tennis ball and squeaker – will this be his ultimate challenge?
Called “the world’s best dog ball” by industry experts, Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Orbee Ball (L) is the toughest of the Orbee-Tuff stable of dog toys. Designed specifically for extreme chewers, this ball is buoyant, bouncy, and dogs can’t resist its minty scent. Not to worry if a continent falls off, it is completely non-toxic and 100% recyclable. Some dogs show a marked preference for the glow-in-the-dark variety. Now the question is: which will drop off first, your dog or your arm?
Here are even more best dog toys for large dogs that should keep your pooch happy for a while.
Something to Munch On…
When all is said and done, there’s a lot more than just genes to consider when trying to pick the best big dog toys for your canine friend. Like the big guys in your life, each and every one has his own personality, likes and dislikes. Give the exact same toy to ten grown men, and the results are unpredictable: some will baby that toy and allow no one near; others will totally ignore it. Some will drop the toy and break it within minutes – heck, they might even take a hammer to it!
…why expect anything more from your big pooch?