Australian Shepherds are a beautiful, confident dog breed, but they can be pretty high-maintenance and need plenty of exercise and games to use their boundless energy and high intellect.
Toys can help, but you must choose the right ones to guarantee your dog is entertained.
Unfortunately, as you probably already know, there’s no single toy that will be a hit with every dog.
While there are categories of toys that an Aussie dog is likely to enjoy, your Australian Shepherd will have its own preferences and favorites.
There are many options out there, and you’ll need to do some research to find the perfect toy for your pup.
To that end, we’ve created this guide to save you time and energy when choosing a new toy for your furry friend.
Read on to learn more about what to consider when choosing a new toy, see our top picks for the best toys for Australian Shepherds, and read the answers to some frequently asked questions about keeping your Aussie entertained.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Toy for Your Australian Shepherd
While Australian Shepherds don’t require a lot more playtime than other dogs do, they are very active dogs with a lot of energy, and it’s important to keep them stimulated with plenty of toys and activities.
Here’s what you need to keep an eye out for when buying dog toys for Australian Shepherds
Every dog has a preferred play style, and you should consider your dog’s personality before making a purchase.
For example, if your dog isn’t a chewer, you won’t have much luck with balls and sticks, but these same toys would keep a chewer engaged for a good long while.
- If your dog chews when playing, get them a sturdy toy. It will hold up against their natural urge to chew and help relieve anxiety. Chew toys also come in handy when a dog is having growing tooth pains.
- If your dog is very food-motivated, treat-dispensing toys will keep them active and stimulated while encouraging them to play.
- If your dog is very social, interactive toys that let you join in the play are a great way to bond with your puppy.
- If your dog likes to fetch objects for you, choose a bouncy toy you can throw for them to retrieve.
Generally, young Australian Shepherds particularly enjoy fetching and chewing games, but even when your Australian Shepherd grows into an adult dog, it will need a variety of activities to provide it with mental and physical stimulation.
If your Australian Shepherd dog plays rough, you might find you need to buy very durable toys if you don’t want to be replacing them every other week.
However, dogs will receive different types of stimulation from different materials, so if you have a gentler dog you may consider varying the types of toys you provide. Common dog toy materials include:
- Rubber and Rope: These durable materials can withstand pressure and chewing. They last much longer than other materials, so you can be sure your dog won’t destroy them immediately. Rubber especially is perfect for teething pups, as the material feels good on their teeth and gums. Many chew toys are made with rubber to ensure durability and amazing throwing distance. Rope toys help promote dental health by relaxing your dog’s gums and removing plaque and tartar.
- Nylon: Nylon is an affordable alternative to the more durable rubber, but is unsuitable for strong chewers. If you’re choosing a flavored nylon chew toy, you will need to monitor your dog when playing to ensure the toy doesn’t rip or splinter, which can cause throat blockage or damage.
- Polyester and plush: Softer fabric materials are the least durable, but they’re great for Australian Shepherd dogs with delicate teeth and dogs who like to play fetch or cuddle with their toys when sleeping. Make sure you don’t give a fabric toy to a chewer, though, as they are likely to be destroyed and can even be a choking hazard.
The toy’s quality and your dog’s play style will determine how long a new toy will last, so make sure you invest in a well-made toy in the right material or you’ll have to replace it every couple of weeks.
The Australian Shepherd is a medium-sized dog, and the right toys for their playtime will also be medium-sized.
As with any dog, you should purchase a toy that is bigger than your dog’s mouth so that your dog does not swallow it whole unknowingly.
If your Australian Shepherd dog is still a puppy, you may be tempted to purchase a larger toy to account for the fluctuations in its size as it grows, but don’t!
It’s not a good idea to invest in a toy bigger than your dog’s size thinking your dog will grow into it. Smaller dogs will not be able to play with too-large toys comfortably, and there’s no way to know for sure how big your dog will end up being.
Take your dog’s current weight and size into account and choose smaller toys while they’re smaller, then buy new ones as they grow. It’s pricier, but better for your dog!
You must keep safety in mind when selecting a toy for your dog.
Keep an eye out for the finer details and read any toy’s instructions and descriptions on any toy before making a purchase, so you know whether there are any risks involved.
Many dog toys are made with natural rubber because it’s safe and toxin-free, so you should ideally opt for this material.
However, if you can’t find the right toy in that material, you can choose plastic, but make sure it is BPA-free.
You also want to make sure the material you select will not break down easily and become a choking hazard, or be sure that you will be able to supervise play with any toys that are less durable.
Remember, investing in a quality toy is easier than dealing with injury and watching your dog struggle.
Now that you know what factors to consider when purchasing dog toys for Australian Shepherds, you can begin hunting for a toy your pet will enjoy!
Below are our top recommendations for the best toys for Australian Shepherds with options for every dog play style— from chewers to fetchers to intellectual solvers.
IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…
MJJYPET Dog Toys
Outward Hound Treat Puzzle
PawzoneSqueaky Dog Toys
MJJYPET Dog Toys is a variety pack of chew toys that offers your dog multiple playtime options. The toys come in three categories: rope , plush squeaky, and non-stuffed squeaky toys.
The Outward Hound Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy is an intermediate-level puzzle game that’s great for treat-motivated dogs.
The Pawzone Squeaky Dog Toys is a 2-pack of squeaky chew toys, perfect for families with multiple dogs. The dog toys are made from non-toxic, tough, and indestructible rubber.
Promotes dental health
Tassels of rope toys can be a choking hazard
Requires careful supervision while in use
Can become defective after a couple of uses
1. Best Overall: MJJYPET Dog Toys
- Made with durable and non-toxic materials and soft cotton
- Safe and suitable for teething and tooth cleaning
- Cost-effective variety of toys for hours of play
- Tassels of rope toys can be a choking hazard
- Squeakers can become defective or stop working after just a couple of uses
MJJYPET Dog Toys is a variety pack of chew toys that offers your dog multiple playtime options. The toys come in three categories: rope toys, plush squeaky toys, and non-stuffed squeaky toys.
These toys boast thick fabric, precise stitching, and natural, non-toxic materials that guarantee safe play and durability.
Some of the plush toys also come with squeakers to catch your dog’s attention, trigger their reward center, and make them feel good.
These dog toys will keep your Australian Shepherd immersed in an activity for longer and keep them from destroying your home.
They’re especially great for an Aussie puppy, as you can use them to help train your Aussie pup to be non-destructive from an early age.
MJJYPET Dog Toys are also excellent for playing tug-of-war along with other types of interactive play, and soothe your dog’s anxiety.
2. Runner-Up: Pawzone 2 Pack Squeaky Dog Toys
- Made from non-toxic durable rubber
- Withstands long hours of chewing
- Comes in a 2-pack for multiple dog households or for spare toy
- Promotes dental health
- Squeakers can become defective or stop working after a couple of uses
The Pawzone Squeaky Dog Toys is a 2-pack of squeaky chew toys, perfect for families with multiple dogs.
The toys are made from non-toxic, tough, and indestructible rubber and have been thoroughly tested so they won’t pop or puncture even when being played with by a very aggressive chewer.
Each toy has a built-in squeaker to attract your dog’s attention and keep it playing. They’ll offer plenty of stimulation and an outlet for its energy to prevent destructive behavior around the house.
They’re also great for playing fetch with your dog. Just make sure you reserve these toys for playing outdoors, as they’re quite hard and could do some damage to your floors, walls, or furniture.
This is a great chew-safe toy for your puppy, and as an added bonus it promotes strong jaws by thoroughly cleaning teeth and preventing plaque formation.
3. Best Value for Money: Outward Hound Interactive Treat Puzzle
- Interactive hide-and-seek game with multiple levels of difficulty
- Non-slip base
- Food-safe materials
- Non-removable parts that won’t pose a choking hazard
- Easy to clean with soap and water
- Requires careful supervision while in use
- Not suitable for dogs who are aggressive chewers
Australian Shepherds are intelligent dogs who enjoy challenging interactive games and toys.
The Outward Hound Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy is an intermediate-level puzzle game that’s great for treat-motivated dogs.
It has a non-slip base, and a unique plastic and wood design featuring moving parts that can be slid and opened to reveal treats.
To keep your pup engaged, this puzzle has two types of hiding spots for treats.
Your dog will have to use its sense of smell, seeking abilities, and innate instincts to learn how to move flippers with its nose or paw to get at the tasty treats.
If this becomes too simple, you can increase the difficulty level by placing the treats in hollow blocks that must be slid into place to release the treats, making the puzzle more challenging.
This game will keep your dog’s mind stimulated, reducing boredom and destructive behavior. You can also use it to keep your pup distracted during thunderstorms or fireworks.
Please note, although this toy has a safe and durable design, you may need to keep an eye on your dog to ensure they don’t gnaw on it while trying to get at their treats.
4. Alternative: QDAN Soccer Ball with Grab Tabs
- Comes in a medium or large size
- Extra long strap for easy handling and retrieval
- Pump and needle adapter included
- Complies with safety standards for children’s toys
- Not a suitable toy for aggressive chewers
- Smaller than it appears
- Pump is flimsy and may break during inflation
The QDAN Soccer Ball with Grab Tabs comes in two sizes, medium and large, so you can easily pick one that will be most compatible with your Australian Shepherd’s size.
This interactive dog toy is made from standard soccer ball material that makes it bouncy but with nylon tabs sewn at the seams so your Australian Shepherd can fetch, toss, tug, and retrieve the ball.
There’s also a longer strap that makes it easy for you, the dog owner, to get a firm hold on the ball when you need to.
While this isn’t a chew toy, it’s durable and should withstand plenty of play.
The toy’s lightweight design makes it perfect for water play. Pet parents can take their pups to pools, lakes, and beaches to clock in some quality outdoor fun.
This dog toy is packed and deflated to minimize the chances of punctures caused by mishandling.
The pump comes included, so you can inflate the ball as soon as it arrives and jump right into playing with your four-legged buddy.
5. Alternative: Raffaelo Plush Squeaking Dog Toys
- Two squeakers to keep the dog engaged and interested
- Added smell to attract dog’s attention
- Soft rope material helps clean teeth as dog chews
- Durable construction
- Will not stand up to very aggressive chewing
- Too small for larger dogs
This one is for dog owners with puppies who like to chew. This adorable monkey plush toy is made of a soft, comfortable plush and rubber material that’s sure to please your dog.
It’s a fairly durable toy that should hold up to a few months of play, and the rope plush material improves dental health by helping clean your dog’s teeth as it chews.
The chew toy has two squeakers, located in the monkey’s head and abdomen.
The constant squeaks as well as the toy’s distinctive scent will attract your Australian Shepherd’s attention and provide hours of fun.
You can use this toy to play tug-of-war, making it a great toy for dogs who like interactive play with their owners.
On the other hand, this dog toy can keep velcro dogs engaged when their owners are not around, helping minimize their anxiety levels.
If you’re used to finding damaged furniture and shoes when you get home, this is a great toy to distract your dog from destructive behaviors.
6. Alternative: DR CATCH Dog Puzzle Toys
- Encourages slow feeding
- Reduces the risk of choking or indigestion
- Provides mental stimulation during mealtimes
- Fosters problem-solving skills
- Durable and easy to wash
- Not suitable as a main feeder for larger dogs due to capacity
- Aggressive or energetic eaters may get hurt trying to get at food
This feeder puzzle toy from DR CATCH is a perfect choice for Australian Shepherd dogs that enjoy interactive play, and creative puzzles, and are very food-motivated.
The disc-shaped feeder has built-in sliders that cover 14 holes in which you can place different types of treats, regular kibble, or any other types of food your dog might enjoy.
The toy taps into your dog’s natural seeking abilities and helps it train its sense of smell as it uses its nose or paw to move the sliders and reveal the treats inside.
Since the food is separated into multiple compartments and requires solving puzzles to reveal, feeder toys like this one are a great way to encourage your pet to eat at a slower pace, which prevents obesity and improves its digestion process.
Plus, while this toy has only one difficulty level, it offers plenty of mental stimulation, preventing boredom and reducing the likelihood of destructive behavior.
7. Alternative: LEGEND SANDY Balls Treat Dispensing Dog Toy
- Combines chasing, chewing, and puzzle-solving play styles
- Comes in a range of colors
- Bite-resistant and extremely durable
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Hard to clean
- Combining chewing with a feeder toy may lead to more aggressive chewing
- Requires supervision
Does your dog like playing interactive games with you?
The LEGEND SANDY Treat Dispensing Dog Toy is an interactive, textured puzzle and a chew toy that dispenses treats, combining multiple play styles to keep your dog entertained.
This textured squeaky ball will attract the dog with squeaks, makes a great fetch toy, and dispenses treats to keep your dog interested and stimulated even when it is playing by itself.
Like other treat toys, it dispenses treats slowly to prevent your dog from eating too quickly, which helps prevent obesity, bloating, and indigestion.
You can also adjust the difficulty levels with treats of different shapes and sizes. This toy will dispense treats easily, especially if they’re smaller, but your dog will have to work hard for the bigger ones.
As a bonus, it helps clean your dog’s teeth to maintain their oral health.
The ball is made with 10-mm thick natural rubber, so it’s super durable, which makes it perfect for teething puppies and dogs that are particularly aggressive chewers.
And it doesn’t have any hard parts that may come off, so it’s safe for dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Best Toys For Australian Shepherd FAQ
Below, we’ll answer some of the most common questions regarding toys and how to keep your Aussie Shepherds entertained.
How Do I Keep My Australian Shepherd Entertained?
Australian Shepherds are a herding breed, so they have plenty of energy and need a lot of stimulation throughout the day.
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercises and outdoor time, and make sure you also entertain your dog with plenty of games and toys, both indoors and out.
As a bonus, this will also ensure that your dog does not get bored and become destructive when you’re not around.
What Do Australian Shepherds Like To Play With?
Every individual dog is different, and Australian Shepherds are no different, so you might have to try a few different toys before you find one that really speaks to your pup.
Frisbees, puzzle toys, and soccer balls are all great options, and a chew toy rarely goes amiss. But if you have a bored puppy and no toys on hand, they’ll also always be happy with a simple run.
Do Aussies Like To Play Fetch?
Aussies love to play fetch! And it’s a great way to keep their minds and bodies stimulated and ensure they’re getting enough excitement and exercise.
How Do I Tire Out My Australian Shepherd Puppy?
Physical activity is always the best way to tire out an Australian Shepherd puppy.
If you don’t quite have as much energy as your puppy, a game of fetch is a great way to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercises while letting you relax.
However, if you’ve got some time and energy, you can take your dog out for a run to really burn off some of that excess energy.
The Australian Shepherd is an active and energetic dog breed that needs plenty of mental and physical activity.
Exercise and interaction are important, but you may not always have as much time for your pet friend as you’d like.
That’s where toys come in to help. Toys will keep your Australian Shepherd dog engaged, minimizing destructive behaviors that result from boredom.
The best toys for an Aussie should be sturdy and stimulating, meeting your dog’s need for activity without draining your wallet on a replacement every few weeks.
We hope our guide has helped you find your Aussie a new favorite toy that perfectly suits its playing style. Please remember, Anything German Shepherd provides information and canine education.
We do not provide veterinary advice. Therefore, you should not use our content as a substitute for professional veterinary guidance.