The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Dog Toy for Every Breed

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Dog Toy for Every Breed

Finding the appropriate toy can be challenging when there’s so much choice on the market – from squeaky balls and frisbees to plushies and interactive puzzles! Luckily, here at Petco we have plenty of different toys for your pup to play with!

Understanding your dog’s breed and playstyle are keys to selecting an appropriate toy. Here are a few guidelines to help you select an appropriate toy for your pup.


Sinn suggests looking for toys made by well-respected manufacturers like Kong, Outward Hound and Chuck-It as they adhere to higher standards for manufacturing quality toys that withstand chewing without fraying or opening up during an intense chew session. Look for plush toys with double stitched reinforced seams to withstand teething and paw-pulling; we especially like the Bruto Plush Toy which is soft enough for small dogs but durable enough for our pint-sized Yorkie tester’s industrious chewing action!

Herding breeds designed to chase and carry can benefit from tug-n-toss toys such as the Jolly Pets Teaser Ball as they will provide both physical and mental stimulation for them, says Aeppli.

Many large breeds, such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers and Great Danes can benefit from puzzle toys designed to stimulate both their brains and bodies. Sinn says “you also want something simple at first so they don’t become frustrated,” like the Outward Hound Hide-a-Squirrel toy which provides enough engagement while remaining accessible enough for working breeds.

Flat-faced breeds like Pugs, Frenchies, Bulldogs and Shih Tzus tend to prefer food over toys and can struggle with slow feeders or puzzle toys that require patience. Instead, these pups might enjoy playing with noisy stuffed toys with noisy interiors that will hold their attention for extended periods.


Be it an intellectual canine who requires a mind-challenging puzzle toy to prevent them from shredding your slippers, or an unpleasant breather who needs an oral hygiene toy that corresponds with his/her doggy toothpaste, engaging toys are essential in maintaining mental and physical wellbeing in dogs of all shapes and sizes. Without the appropriate toy your pup may lose interest quickly or chew through or swallow pieces of it which could prove hazardous.

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Durability should always be taken into consideration when selecting the ideal dog toy. Too small toys pose a choking hazard and may easily slip down your dog’s throat during play; too difficult or hard for your pup to manipulate toys can also become frustrating and uninteresting – for instance if one fits too narrow into their mouth they might struggle getting their kibble out, eventually leading them away from it altogether.

Age can also play a factor when it comes to selecting toys for your dog. Younger dogs, particularly puppies, tend to be more playful and destructive so sturdy toys that can withstand rough play as well as strong teeth may be necessary. On the other hand, older dogs may prefer toys made with softer materials or designed for gentler play such as plush toys.


As a dog parent, safety should always come first. Toys that will stand up to your pup’s chewing and play habits without breaking or disintegrating are ideal; tug-of-war toys like this SoCal Spring Pole have received rave reviews from owners; tuggers may find this ideal; for cuddle bugs who like carrying toys around in their mouth, plush or soft fabric toys might be preferable.

Durability and material choice are equally as essential. For heavier chewers, seek toys made of resilient materials like rubber that can withstand repeated biting. Be wary of toys with small parts that might come loose or be swallowed as these could pose serious choking hazards.

As with any toy, make sure your new toy will engage your pup’s interests and keep them engaged. Watching how they play can give an indication of which toys they prefer; all must be used under adult supervision though! Toys provide mental stimulation that prevent boredom while redirecting attention away from undesirable behavior. Without these mental activities in place, dogs may become overstimulated and resort to destructive behaviour as a means of alleviating their boredom and anxiety.

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Dogs love toys for many reasons – they provide relief from boredom and destructive behavior, strengthen bonding between owner and pet, and promote bonding between the two of you. But choosing the perfect toys can be tricky: durable yet safe toys must pique your pet’s interest while remaining durable over time – this means tug-of-war may attract some canines while others might prefer chewing rope or rubber toys; cuddlers usually enjoy plush toys; interactive tail teasers may activate their prey drive and encourage playful interactions.

When selecting the appropriate dog toy for your breed, take into account their age and size. Puppies require toys with soft materials to prevent tooth damage while adult dogs can handle tougher chew and fetch toys. Small breed dogs like Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and Shih Tzus may require scaled down versions of larger toys that they can transport easily for playing purposes.

Dogs with advanced cognitive capabilities may get bored easily and begin acting out, so it’s essential that their toys stimulate their minds. Puzzle toys such as West Paw’s Zippy Burrow can keep dogs engaged by hiding squeaky “mini” toys inside. Working breeds or active dogs that require plenty of physical exercise often benefit from this form of stimulation; keeping their minds active also prevents boredom while potentially treating certain health conditions such as anxiety.