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Behavior Dogs

Best Dog Toys By Breed and Play Style

best dog toys by breed and play style

Just like humans, dogs have unique preferences and characteristics that influence their play styles. In this guide, we’ll explore how to choose the best dog toys by breed and play style, ensuring they stay entertained and engaged.

If you’ve ever had a young dog, you know it can be a challenge to find safe dog toys to keep dogs busy. Like all pet lovers, we have an ongoing commitment to the well-being of our beloved dogs that extends beyond the basics of food, shelter, and medical care. Dogs are well-known for their boundless energy and innate curiosity. They can only truly thrive when they are mentally and physically stimulated. As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of providing our canine friends with outlets for their natural instincts, and one impactful way to achieve this is through the incorporation of interactive toys into their daily lives.

There are two important factors in determining the best dog toys for your pets: their breeds and their play style.

Know Your Dog Breeds!

Different dog breeds have distinct characteristics and energy levels. It’s essential to consider these traits when selecting toys for your canine companion.

When you bring a new dog into the house, whether they are purebreds or mixed breeds, you should understand their primary drives. Some dogs have a natural herding instinct while others have a desire to run and run. Some prefer to bite and nip their way to maturity, while others want to use their mind. Different dog breeds have distinct characteristics and energy levels. It’s essential to consider these traits when selecting toys for your canine companion.

Every dog has a special characteristic that stands out in their behavior. Your goal, as a responsible dog owner, is to know which things your dog prefers to do. Knowing this will help you select the best dog toys every time!

High-Energy Breeds (e.g., Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers)

Best dog toys by breed and play style
  • Characteristics: These breeds are known for their boundless energy and love for physical activities.
  • Recommended Toys: Opt for toys that encourage physical exercise, such as fetch toys, tug ropes, and interactive toys that dispense treats during play. These dogs are often fans of plush toys. You may want to opt for an ultrasonic dog toy like Hear, Doggy. These toys have squeakers that only your dogs can hear! They are especially great if you work from home and need some quiet time during your zoom meeting.

Working Breeds (e.g., German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies)

Best dog toys by breed and play style
  • Characteristics: Intelligent and often enjoy tasks that stimulate their minds.
  • Recommended Toys: Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and those that require problem-solving can provide mental stimulation for these breeds. We love giving our pets all natural chew toys in addition to the smart toys, like these interactive puzzle toys from Nina Ottosson. We also love treat-dispensing toys like these from Planet Dog.

Toy Breeds (e.g., Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Terriers)

Best dog toys by breed and play style
  • Characteristics: Generally smaller in size and may have more delicate features.
  • Recommended Toys: Opt for smaller toys that are easy to carry and chew, such as plush toys or smaller rubber toys. But, don’t forget to pickup some interactive toys that match their fiery spirit and intense temperament! These fun interactive “smart” Cheerble toy balls are just the ticket for encouraging exercise and burning off some of their energy! Another fun plush toy favorite is Lambchop from Multipet International.

Hunting Breeds (e.g., Retrievers, Pointers)

Best dog toys by breed and play style
  • Characteristics: Often have a strong prey drive and enjoy activities that tap into their hunting instincts.
  • Recommended Toys: Toys that mimic prey, like Hyper Pet’s new line of interactive plush dog toys are ideal for high-energy hunting breeds. Focus on loud squeaky toys or plush animals, can be enticing for these breeds. Additionally, fetch toys that resemble birds or small game are excellent choices.

Know Your Dog’s Play Style

Of course, every dog is unique and every dog has their own play preferences regardless of breed. So, we grouped a few common characteristics for you.

Dogs That Need Lots of Physical Exercise for Health

Dogs, irrespective of their size or breed, require regular physical exercise to maintain their health. A lack of physical activity can lead to pet obesity, joint issues, and other health concerns.

Interactive toys, such as fetch launchers and smart bones, not only encourage movement but also make exercise enjoyable. By incorporating these toys into playtime, pet owners contribute to their dog’s cardiovascular health, muscle tone, and overall well-being. Every dog needs physical exercise each day to stay healthy, but some dogs (like huskies) need miles of exercise daily while others can get by with a rousing game of fetch. Whatever you choose, make sure your dog is getting plenty of regular exericise.

Dogs That Need Lots of Mental Stimulation and Cognitive Health

Dogs are intelligent and curious beings that thrive on mental challenges. Interactive toys designed to engage their minds provide the cognitive stimulation necessary for a balanced and fulfilled life.

Puzzle toys, for instance, require dogs to strategize and problem-solve, enhancing their mental acuity. This mental engagement is particularly important for breeds known for high intelligence and working abilities.

Another great option is to try out the “Talking Dogs” buttons from FluentDog. Not only can this help improve your relationship with your pet, it can help give them the ability to communicate their needs.

Dogs That Need Lots of Behavioral Management

Dogs, like humans, can experience boredom and frustration. Without appropriate outlets for their energy and curiosity, dogs may exhibit undesirable behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, or digging.

Interactive toys act as constructive distractions, redirecting their attention away from destructive behaviors towards activities that fulfill their natural instincts. Try incorporating a snuffle mat into their routine. Plush puzzle toys like Hide a Squirrel can also help relieve anxiety (and financial pressure as you find yourself buying toys!) as they can tear a toy apart and you can put it back together!

Dogs That Need Lots of Bonding and Social Interaction

Engaging in interactive play and plenty of walks with your dog strengthens the bond between pet and owner. The shared experience of playtime fosters trust, communication, and a sense of companionship.

Whether it’s a game of fetch or controlling a remote toy, the interaction becomes a joyful shared activity that deepens the emotional connection between you and your furry friend.

Dogs that Need Help Alleviating Anxiety and Boredom

Dogs, especially those left alone for extended periods, can experience separation anxiety and boredom. Interactive toys provide a source of entertainment and mental engagement, reducing feelings of isolation and anxiety. They create a positive association with alone time, making it less stressful for dogs when their owners are away.

Incorporating interactive toys into a dog’s routine is not just a luxury but a vital component of responsible pet ownership. These toys contribute to the physical health, mental well-being, and behavioral balance of our canine companions. By recognizing and addressing their innate needs for stimulation and activity, we not only enhance their quality of life but also ensure a harmonious and joyful relationship between our dogs and ourselves.


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