Best Toys for German Shepherds in 2020

German shepherds are a lovable and loyal dog breed, gentle with their owners, and able to step up in a crisis. Just like every other breed, they need regular food, water, and playtime to stay healthy. And when it comes to encouraging activity in dogs, toys are an excellent option.

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Toys provide an exciting way to encourage play, whether it be in the form of physical exercise or mental stimulation. Dog toys can also help focus your dog’s attention from potentially destructive behaviors like chewing on furniture. The real challenge arises when it comes to finding a toy suitable for your dog’s needs.

Amongst the thousands of potential dog toy choices out there, only a fraction are suitable for the larger size and strength of German shepherds. To help make your shopping process more straightforward, we’ve compiled a guide to shopping tips and the best toys for German shepherds in 2020.

Different Types of Dog Toys for German Shepherd

Dog toys come in various shapes and forms to find the perfect piece to entertain your dog. German shepherds enjoy regular activity, and toys can make getting regular exercise more engaging for them. Overall, you’ll find that most German shepherds are tough but tend to be more reserved when interacting with their owners and families.

With this combination of personality traits, many chews can be a good fit for German shepherds. Chew toys are one of the most simple pieces you’ll find, allowing them a way to work their jaws without gnawing on items in your home. The best options for this breed are very durable toys, which can last through regular use. Some will even help improve your dog’s dental health!

Additionally, puzzle toys can be very engaging for some German shepherds. You can often find these toys at different difficulty levels, for challenges at various stages of life. Some allow for playtime to focus on retrieving toys, while others can distribute snacks. If you want a toy that gives entertainment and mental stimulation in one, these are an excellent option.

Finally, you’ll also likely come across balls and other fetch toys when searching for German shepherd dog toys. Fetch is an excellent game to let your dog work out their energy throughout the day. Some products, like ball launchers, give you a way to throw long distances without straining your arms too much in a session.

You’ll find these and other types of toys on our top picks list below, but what should you keep an eye out for when shopping?

What to Look for in a Good Toy for German Shepherd

As a breed, German shepherds are most relaxed when it comes to everyday life. They enjoy regular playing and activity, but they’re not inherently aggressive. As a larger breed, they can be tough chewers with their healthy bite, and not all toys will last. A German shepherd will be protective of their owners if necessary, but when it comes to playtime, they enjoy a variety of games.

To start, you’re going to want any toys for your German shepherd to be durable. As mentioned, these dogs have strong jaws, which means they’ll likely chew through a toy, even if they do not intend to be rough. The tougher a toy is, the more playtime your dog will get out of it without needing to hunt down a replacement.

Equally essential to picking out dog toys are safety considerations. Most dog toys go into their mouths at one point or another, so you want to pay attention to what’s going into the make of the toys. Size is a significant factor in this as well, as toys that are suitable for smaller breeds can be enough for a German shepherd to swallow it. Toys for less aggressive chewers can quickly come apart, causing many of the same problems.

Lastly, you want to think about your dog’s preferences. While you can make some generalizations about breeds, each pup likes different things. Be ready to try out different toys until you find the ones your dog will love. Additionally, make sure you’re getting a toy suitable for their life stage (puppy vs. adult), so you don’t cause damage to your pup’s teeth.

Overall Best Dog Toys for Adult German Shepherds

Best Overall – Frisco Hide and Seek Plush Volcano Dog Toy

Puzzle toys can be very appealing to dogs, and the Frisco Hide and Seek Plush Volcano falls into this category. The core design has six stuffed volcanos that you can put inside the volcano in different places for your dog to pull out. This playstyle makes for a good solution for pups that enjoy pulling stuffing from couches.

The dinosaurs on their own make for fun toys, both for fetch and cuddling. Each dino has a built-in squeaker to make your German shepherd interested in playtime for extra excitement. While the toy can be sturdy through its intended use, you should always supervise your dog while playing with it to keep the volcano intact.

Mammoth Cottonblend Three Knot Dog Rope

If you’re ready to play tug of war with your dog, you’re going to need a rope that can stand up to your German shepherd’s strong jaws. Mammoth’s Three Knot dog rope toy is overall durable, and it can last through regular use when it comes to either tug, fetch, or whatever other game your pup enjoys. The durability means it can take a bite, but it’s still best not to leave it out as a chew toy.

As your dog does gnaw on this rope, though, it will help with their dental health, as the fibers can help floss your pup’s teeth. The design uses only one-hundred percent natural cotton, making it safe for play. The large size is excellent for bigger dogs, giving plenty of space between your dog’s mouth and your grip for a quality game of tug of war!

ZippyPaws Skinny Pelts Squeaky Plush Toys Three Pack

Stuffed toys can be a good pick for German shepherds, and we like this Zippy Paws three-pack option. Each doll is in the shape of a different wildlife animals, including a fox, raccoon, and squirrel. The toys all have two squeakers inside, and they’re also stuffing free. Even if your dog chews through it, you won’t have a mess to clean up and can still get some use from it.

The eyes on these plushies are stitched on, so you don’t have to worry about any buttons popping off and ending up in your dog’s mouth. Overall, the designs are durable and can last for some time with strong chewers. The long-style of these toys makes them suitable for even games of tug of war, and you can wash the toys as needed.

Nylabone Power Chew Wishbone Toy

When it comes to making a useful chew toy, Nylabone’s Power Chew Wishbone gets our attention. Made from durable nylon, you can count on this wishbone-shaped toy to last and give plenty of place for chewing. The design also makes it easy for your dog to get a grip on it, making it more straightforward for them to gnaw as they like.

This toy uses artificial flavoring to help catch the attention of pups who may not like non-flavored toys. The flavors are still safe for dogs to eat, and the artificial design helps dogs who may have allergies you need to consider. The texture of the toy also helps with keeping your dog’s teeth clean and breath fresh. Nylabone also makes this toy in the USA.

Zippy Paws Burrow Squeaky Hide & Seek Hedgehog Den

If you want a plush puzzle toy that doesn’t take up a lot of space, then this hedgehog den design will do the job. Your dog can enjoy finding the hedgehogs tucked into different parts of the stump, and each toy has a squeaker for enjoyment as a solo toy. All parts are machine washable, making for a simple clean after it’s gone through some use.

The eyes on all hedgehog plushies are sewn on, so there’s no risk of them popping off and getting eaten by your dog. While the base den set only comes with three hedgehogs, you can easily order refill packs for when it’s time to retire the ones you have. The den itself doesn’t have any stuffing inside, either, which makes for easy cleanup if your German shepherd ever plays aggressively enough to tear a hole in it.

Chuckit! Paraflight Flyer

Balls may make for the classic “play fetch” toy, but dogs enjoy frisbees just as much. The Chuckit! Paraflight Flyer is ready for enjoyable games outside, with a soft material that doesn’t risk damaging your dog’s mouth while playing. Because the disc shape is broader than the typical ball, you can easily take it from your dog’s mouth without making a mess in the process.

That material does mean it’s not a good option for dogs that chew a lot on their toys, but this disc will easily withstand regular wear and tear. We love that the Paraflight flyer is bright-colored, making it easy to see where it flew off too. The material is also suitable for playing in the water so that you can use it in plenty of different situations. With a little practice, this disc will fly far, letting your pup have fun while chasing the toy.

KONG Classic Dog Toy

German shepherds may not be innately aggressive, but they do have strong jaws backing them up, which means they can chew through toys quickly. KONG is a brand known for its durable toys, so you can rely on them to last and keep your furry friends entertained. The classic dog toy design allows for plenty of play and entertainment for when your pup is on their own.

You can fill the toy with treats to give your dog some mental stimulation, as well as a snack—making it great for travel. Additionally, the toy is also bouncy, making for a fun game of fetch when playing outside. If your German shepherd is a heavy chewer, you can order this toy in a larger side for even greater durability.

Trixie Activity Flip Board Interactive Toy

If you want a puzzle toy that’s a bit more durable than the plush option we recommended before, this activity board from Trixie provides a good alternative. The plastic can stand up to regular wear and tear, and it can even go into the dishwasher for cleaning if necessary. Rubber feet help the toy stable while your dog plays.

The toy has three separate treat compartments, letting your dog have several different ways to play the game. The size is suitable for dogs at different life stages to be able to move, though it can be a bit tricky mentally for pups not used to puzzles. This toy makes an excellent choice for when you want to keep your dog occupied and have a nice reward at the end.

Overall Best Dog Toy for German Shepherd Puppies

KONG Puppy Dog Toy

The puppy years are a critical time to teach your puppy good play and toy habits. Chewing is also a concern, especially as puppies go through teething. For these situations, KONG toys can be indispensable. Designed as a hyper durable chewing toy, the puppy variation has a lot in common with the adult version of these toys while having a softer texture for developing puppy teeth.

Because of the durable construction, this chew toy should last even if your pup chews a lot. Additionally, you can put small snacks or pastes like peanut butter inside, which will come out over time when chewed. This feature makes the toy especially engaging for pups, catching their attention. The toy is also safe to put inside the freezer before play, which helps alleviate teething pains.

Mammoth Monkey Fist Bar Tug Rope

When it comes to teaching games for playtime, tug of war can be fun for German shepherd puppies. The Mammoth Monkey tug rope is a good toy for younger dogs. While not meant for the older years, the size is suitable for dogs to learn the basics of the game. The design is capable of flossing your puppy’s teeth at the same time as they play, for two in one.

This toy only uses one-hundred percent natural cotton, so it’s safe for your pup to put in their mouth—and it’s easy to wash if necessary. While this toy is great for playing, it’s best not to leave it with your puppy unsupervised, as some aggressive chewers can wear it down quickly.

Tips for Playing With Your German Shepherd

Toys can give dogs a way to enjoy playtime, either by themselves or with you. With a variety of toys available, there’s likely always to be a way to entertain your pup and catch their attention. When playing, though, it’s important to think so that you’re doing what’s best for your dog. Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t let your pup get too aggressive when playing. If you don’t stop your dog early, they can develop dangerous habits that may injure you or other dogs. German shepherds have strong jaws, which can cause a lot of damage!
  2. Use playtime as an opportunity to give your dog some exercise! Games like fetch, tug of war, and hide and seek mix fun with healthy habits.
  3. Try out different toys and games. Dogs have their individual preferences, just like people do. They also like variety, so don’t be afraid to mix things up.
  4. Try only bringing out toys during playtime. Limiting how long your pup has access to something will make them more excited when you bring it out.
  5. Don’t let your dog play with toys unsupervised. You want to be able to take away the toy if it breaks.
  6. Use treats to teach good habits while playing. This approach can be helpful when teaching rules to games.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if a toy is suitable for my German Shepherd?

While German shepherds are active, they aren’t naturally an aggressive breed. This combination means that you want durable toys, but your dog’s natural temperament can impact how they handle a toy. Your pup will let you know if they’re interested in a toy or not.

How often should I replace my dog’s toys? 

So long as a toy is still in good shape, your dog can use it. However, once you start to notice parts of the toy falling off or other damage (such as tug ropes fraying), you should replace it. Regularly check any toys and discard them as necessary.

How do I know if a toy is safe?

Aside from paying attention to the size in relation to your dog and durability, you also want to look at what the manufacturer has made the toy from. Since there’s no regulation for dog toy safety, sometimes potentially harmful chemicals can end up in the makeup. All the toys we’ve recommended here are safe, but always check when shopping on your own. You can also ask your vet for information if you feel unsure.


With so many types of dog toys available, it can be tricky to determine which ones are best for your breed’s needs, let alone their personal preferences. We hope that this guide has given you the info you need, along with a list of highly-rated German shepherd toys for you to consider. Happy playtime!

Chelsea Kuhel

Chelsea is the owner of a very huggable Boxer/Pitbull mix named Miles. When time allows she also cares for her 4 other animals, I mean children.

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