- Top 20 Toys for German Shepherd Dogs and Puppies
- Best Interactive/Puzzle Toys
- Best Indestructible Dog Toys for Aggressive Chewers
- Best Fetch and Tug Toys
- Best Squeaky and Plush Toys for Cuddling
- Best Distraction Toys
- Buying Guide of Toys for German Shepherds
- Types of Dog Toys
- How to Choose the Best Toy for a German Shepherd
Why do German Shepherds need toys and enrichment activities? Highly intelligent dogs need mental and physical stimulation. Toys and enrichment activities keep a German Shepherd’s brain sharp and body active while preventing hyperactivity and the development of bad behaviors due to boredom. Even just a bone to chew on is better than no toys at all.
Think about your dog’s wolf-life instincts. Especially as a German Shepherd, he probably likes to chew on toys (like he’s enjoying his prey after hunting), chase his toys (like he’s pursuing his prey), and search for food within a toy (like he’s searching through a rabbit hole for his pretty).
If your German Shepherd doesn’t have toys to play with, he may be tempted to chew on your shoes or the furniture. And nobody wants that!
Additionally, if you have a puppy who is teething, chew toys can bring relief to the pain and discomfort. Soft, rubber toys are usually best for this puppy stage.
Here, we built a highly-selective list of the best toys and enrichment activities for German Shepherd dogs and puppies. We’ve divided the toys into categories: plush squeaky toys, rubber chew toys, puzzle/interactive toys, and outdoor toys for fetch and tug. We’ve also designed a buying guide to help you understand which toys are best for your German Shepherd dog or puppy’s play habits.
Top 20 Toys for German Shepherd Dogs and Puppies
Best Interactive/Puzzle Toys
This type of toy is great for busy dog owners who don’t always have the time to play one-on-one with their dog. Interactive toys allow your dog to entertain himself.
Nina Ottoson Dog Brick Treat Puzzle Dog Toy
The Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Dog Toy by Outward Hound teaches your dog to use his nose to hunt for food. The compartments hide kibble, treats, or other tasty tidbits. Some compartments slide while others flip open. Your dog will love to search for food and immediately get his reward. The puzzle toy is convenient for you because your dog is mentally stimulated without requiring your constant presence. You can give him the Puzzle Brick while you’re at work and he will be happily entertained!
The Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Puzzle Brick works for both puppy German Shepherds and adult German Shepherds. You can fill the compartments with kibble, diced baby carrots, pieces of cooked chicken, or healthy treats.
Similar Toys to Consider:
Kong Wobbler Treat Dispensing Dog Toy: This rewarding toy entertains your dog simply by wobbling around on the floor and dispensing tidbits of food as it moves. It’s bottom-heavy, so it’ll stay upright unless the dog moves it around with his paw or nose. It’s another great option for your German Shepherd to entertain himself while you are busy.
Tether Tug Ultimate Dog Rope: This interactive tug toy lets your German Shepherd play tug with himself or another doggy friend. The flexible pole snaps back into place when he lets go of the rope. Your German Shepherd can play his favorite game while you are busy in the backyard.
Allstar Innovations Wobble Wag Giggle Ball: If you don’t mind a little noise in the house, your German Shepherd will love this ball that makes a variety of rewarding noises as they roll the ball. No batteries are required to keep your dog entertained with this interactive toy.
Best Indestructible Dog Toys for Aggressive Chewers
Chew toys serve a few different purposes for dogs. First, they alleviate the pains of teething for puppies. Second, they relieve stress in adult dogs. And third, chewing is simply a good activity for all dogs. The following toys provide fun chewing activities for German Shepherd puppies and adults who are power chewers.
Kong Classic Dog Toy XL
The Kong Classic Dog Toy XL is built for the adult German Shepherd who can chew through anything. The extra-large size is built for dogs weighing between 60 and 90 pounds, so check your dog’s weight for the appropriate size.
The Kong Classic provides a few purposes for dogs. Besides a hefty chew toy, the Kong can be a treat-dispensing toy if you fill it with treats, peanut butter, or Kong Easy Treat. It can also make a fetch toy for the back yard!
Similar Toys to Consider:
Buck Bone Organics Deer Antler for Dogs, Large 6-8”: Deer antlers are perfect for the power chewing German Shepherds who need indestructible toys that do not splinter like animal bones. (Side note: NEVER give your dog animal bones as chew toys. They splinter and can sever internal organs if ingested.)
Nylabone Dura Chew Textured, X-Large for 50+ pounds: For the full-grown German Shepherd, the Textured Nylabone makes a great chew toy or fetch toy. Nylabones are also available for smaller dogs, so you could choose the appropriate toy for your puppy, as well.
Benebone Wishbone Durable Dog Chew Toy: The Benebone Wishbone is designed so your dog can grasp the toy and chew all day. Benebone uses only real food ingredients for healthy play time. The Wishbone is available in 3 different sizes to accommodate German Shepherd puppies, youth, and adults.
Best Fetch and Tug Toys
Fetch and tug are some of the most engaging activities for dogs. Wolves naturally chase and tug their prey. As ancestors, dogs love the same activities. With the proper toys, your German Shepherd puppy or adult can fall in love with the games they were born to play.
1. Combo: Dog Ball Thrower and Chuckit! Ultra Ball
The Chuckit Ball Sport Launcher lets you throw your dog’s favorite ball as far as possible without having the arm of a professional baseball player. Pair the launcher with the Chuckit! Ultra Ball and you’re set for a game of fetch! The extra distance gives your dog the extra exercise.
The Chuckit! Sport Launcher is designed so that you can pick up the ball hands-free – no slobber for you! The launcher and the balls clean up, store, and travel with ease. The Chuckit! Ultra Balls also float in water for playtime in the pool.
2. Kong Puppy Tires
The Kong Puppy Tire is like the classic Kong toys, but softer for a puppy’s young jaws and teeth. The Puppy Tire can double as a chew toy or a fetch toy. As a chew toy, the Tire eases the pain of teething while simultaneously cleaning teeth. For fetch, just roll the tire across the floor and teach your puppy the “fetch” command. No matter what, your German Shepherd puppy will be happily entertained.
And when your puppy simply needs a snack to keep him occupied, the hollow Puppy Tire can hold treats, peanut butter, or banana for some healthy enrichment!
The Kong Puppy Tire is available in two different sizes to accommodate your young German Shepherd. And with such good reviews on Amazon, we are confident in saying this toy will keep your GSD pup happy.
3. Nero Ball Classic K9 Ball on a Rope
The Nero Ball Classic K9 Ball on a Rope is often used as a reward in training K9 Police units and Military Working dogs. German Shepherds love playing with balls. Chasing them, chewing on them, and retrieving them… What’s even better, the Nero Ball has a rope handle attached so you can fling the ball as far as you want or play tug with the ball.
The Nero Ball is made of high-quality materials. The ball is constructed of hollow heavy-duty rubber while the rope is made of nylon with a non-slip loop handle.
If you are using the Nero Ball as a chew toy, the company recommends you remove the rope so that your German Shepherd does not ingest any threads.
Similar Toys to Consider:
Kong Flyer Durable Rubber Flying Disc Dog Toy: In addition to chasing balls, dogs love chasing flying discs. They may even learn to catch them! Kong’s Flying Disc is durable for dogs up to 80 pounds and flies further than some balls.
Kong SqueakAir Large Ball: For the German Shepherd who loves squeaky toys and balls, the Kong SqueakAir serves both purposes. The non-abrasive fabric will not wear down your dog’s teeth. Give your dog the rewarding high-pitched squeak he loves every time he catches the ball.
Kyjen Tail Teaser Dog Flirt Pole: For dogs who love the chase, the Kyjen Tail Teaser Flirt Pole creates the feeling of chasing prey. The nylon chord is durable for large dogs and the flexible pole means you do not have to touch slobbery toys. The Tail Teaser comes with a faux fur tail squeaker and a rattle.
Best Squeaky and Plush Toys for Cuddling
This type of toy is especially great for puppies who enjoy a stuffed toy to cuddle with while they sleep. Many plush toys contain squeakers, which is often a top favorite toy among German Shepherds. They love making noise!
Kong Cozies Dog Squeaky Toy
The Kong Cozies Dog Squeaky Toy gives both young and full-grown German Shepherds the cuddles they love. At 16 inches in length, the extra-large toy will make the perfect pillow. Meanwhile, when your puppy is feeling energetic, the squeaker inside the toy entices him to play. You can even use the plush toy as a fetch toy.
Similar Toys to Consider:
ZippyPaws Squeakie Pup No-Stuffing Plush Dog Toy: A mini-me for your puppy! The ZippyPaws Squeakie Pup has 11 squeakers for tons of exciting noise while playing. But it’s also super soft for nap time.
Outward Hound Firehose Squeak N Fetch Dog Toy: While it may not be fluffy for cuddling, the firehose material is great for those power-chewing adult German Shepherds who destroy delicate plush toys.
Best Distraction Toys
Obviously, you will need to clip your dog’s toe nails once in a while. You will need to brush him every day. You will need to bathe him when he gets dirty. And an energetic German Shepherd may not want to stand still long enough to let you accomplish all of this. The following toy will (hopefully) keep your dog occupied.
1. Hyper Pet Lickimat Slow Feeder Dog Mat and Boredom Buster
The Hyper Pet Lickimat Slow Feeder Dog Mat suctions to the wall or stays put on the floor. Just smear peanut butter, banana, yogurt, pumpkin, cream cheese, or another healthy snack on the mat. Your German Shepherd will focus on the tasty treat instead of his nails being clipped or his fur being washed. The act of licking methodically calms dogs, making it easier to groom them.
Also, if your pup just needs something to do, give him the Lickimat to keep him occupied for a few minutes. Hyper Pet recommends freezing the mat after applying the snack to prolong your dog’s enjoyment. You can also add dry kibble to the grooves for something extra. The Lickimat is so versatile!
The Lickimat is easy to clean with warm water and a simple soap. Wash after each use for clean, safe enrichment.
2. Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl
Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl is also great for the excitable German Shepherd who eats so fast he doesn’t even chew his kibble. This product requires your dog to search between the grooves with his tongue. Slowing the consumption of food can avoid upset stomachs and twisted stomachs.
Buying Guide of Toys for German Shepherds
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the best toys for your German Shepherd, especially if you are new to raising the breed. Take a deep breath a relax. We’ve written a buying guide on how to choose the best toys for your GSD.
German Shepherds are highly energetic and require constant stimulation. Therefore, it is important to choose mentally stimulating toys and activities so that your dog does not develop bad behaviors due to boredom.
Before buying a toy, think about these 5 things:
– Is the toy safe for your dog? Will your dog be able to chew off small pieces and choke? Will your dog eat threads and risk digestive problems? Many cheap toys on the market may seem budget-friendly but are dangerous for dogs to play with.
– Does your dog enjoy that type of toy? Take a moment to consider what type of play is involved with the toy. Does your dog like to chew? Does he like squeaky toys and making noise? Does your German Shepherd like the challenge of hunting for a prize? If you’re trying out a new type of toy and you’re not sure if your dog will like it, that’s fine. Give it a try! If you know your dog enjoys a certain type of toy, don’t be afraid to continue buying that type of toy. And remember that even a classic toy such as a ball is always a good choice. Most dogs enjoy chasing after things. You know your dog best and you will be able to decide what toy he will enjoy most.
– Is the toy useful? Apart from interesting, a toy should serve a purpose. A toy should enhance either your dog’s physical or mental abilities. For example, chasing a ball gives him good exercise. Meanwhile, hunting for kibble in a puzzle toy feeds his wolf-like instincts and rewards him with food.
– Is the toy easy to clean? Your dog’s toys should be cleaned regularly to avoid the spread of dirt and bacteria. Rubber or plastic toys should be fairly simple to wash. Plush toys may require hand washing unless they are durable enough for machine washing.
– Know if the toy is safe. As we wrote earlier, safety is the number one concern when it comes to dog toys. If you are new to this, there are ways to make sure that the toy is safe for your particular breed. First, be sure to read the label of the toy to determine if it presents a choking hazard. German Shepherds like to chew on things, so choose a durable toy that your dog won’t be able to chew pieces off and swallow.
We are not quick to recommend rope toys since a dog could swallow threads. Threads can get wrapped around a dog’s intestines and cause serious digestive complications that require surgery.
Lastly, make sure the toy is big enough that your dog won’t try to swallow the entire toy and choke on it. If the toy is too big, your puppy may not be able to chew on it. But a bigger toy is still a safer choice than a smaller toy.
Types of Dog Toys
Dog toys come in such a variety of options. Informing yourself of the various types is a smart first step. Dog toys can be made out of different materials. Below are different types of toys available on the market that would be fun and useful for your German Shepherd.
Treat-Dispensing Toys: Just like the name, this type of toy releases treats or kibble when the dog plays with it and rolls it around. This toy is useful because it gives your dog a sense of hunting for and catching prey.
Chew Toys: Since German Shepherds like to chew a lot, they often love toys that are durable enough for them to chew on all day long without destroying them. This type of toy can be made of rubber, nylon, plastic, or even deer antler.
Squeaky Toys: Dogs love the high-pitched noise of a squeaky toy. The love for the noise goes back to their wolf instincts. Think about it: what noise does a rabbit make when it’s caught by a predator? It squeals as loud as possible in a high-pitched noise. A wolf knows it has successfully caught its pretty when it hears this noise. As ancestors of wolves, dogs love that same high-pitched squeal. Therefore, squeaky toys are often a favorite of German Shepherds.
Plush Toys: Plush dog toys are often a favorite of young puppies who want to cuddle with something while they sleep.
Frisbees and Flying Discs: German Shepherds love to run, chase, and catch. A frisbee or flying disc is perfect for expelling energy and playing fetch in wide open spaces.
Balls and Ball Launchers: Again, German Shepherds loves to run, chase, and catch. Balls are simple and serve a great purpose for fetch. Ball launchers are great for dog handlers who don’t have the arm of a professional baseball player. Ball launchers let you throw the ball further while your German Shepherd gets more exercise.
Types of Toys and Materials to AVOID: Rope toys, which have threads that can wrap around intestines, cause damage, and require surgery if ingested. Toys made of wood or pieces of lumber – which dogs love to chew on – produce splinters which can cut their internal organs if ingested. And any type of cheaply-made, low-quality toy with parts or pieces that may come off and choke the dog if ingested.
How to Choose the Best Toy for a German Shepherd
You have to choose toys that are best for your dog’s age, chewing power, and activity. Below are some of the important factors to consider when choosing toys for your German Shepherd.
Age: If your dog is still a puppy, he won’t be able to chew on the super hard toys like an adult GSD. Puppies need softer toys they can enjoy without hurting themselves. If your dog is 7 years or older, his teeth will begin to decline in strength. You’ll have to switch to softer toys so he doesn’t damage any teeth.
Design: German Shepherds love brightly colored, noisy toys that function the way they are supposed to. German Shepherds love balls but won’t play with one that doesn’t bounce. They also love squeaky toys but they won’t play with it if the toy doesn’t squeak. Pick something unique that does its intended purpose.
Chewability: German Shepherds are power chewers, so you have to choose a toy that is durable enough to withstand at least some light chewing. Stiff rubber, deer antlers, Kong toys, and Nylabones are great options.
Size: If the toy is too big, your dog will struggle to play with it. On the other hand, if the toy is too small, your dog may accidentally swallow it and choke. Read labels on toys – some may have size suggestions such as “recommended for dogs 50 pounds and up.” Keep an eye on your dog’s toys over time, too. Pieces may come off and the toy may reduce in size, creating a risk of swallowing.
Materials: If you want a chewable toy, rubber is usually the best material to choose. Rubber toys are durable and last a long time. Materials should be good-quality so they do not intoxicate your dog with harmful chemicals. Rope toys can be dangerous, as mentioned earlier, due to threads being ingested and causing risk for digestive blockage.
Types of Toys: If you just got a puppy, it will take some time and experimentation to see what types of toys he likes best. If you’ve had your German Shepherd for a couple years, you will know exactly what toys he likes best. Which toys does he play with most? Those are the ones you should keep buying for him!
No matter what type of toy you choose, monitor your dog while he plays with it when you first give it to him. If he were to pull pieces off and eat them, for example, you would want to catch him as soon as possible and remove the toy. Over time you will figure out which toys he likes best but isn’t able to destroy. Those are the toys to buy him again.
Thanks for reading! Leave us a comment with any questions you may have and we will do our best to answer them.