top of page

Best Toys for Herding Dogs: Top 5 Picks for Active Canines

An Australian shepherd herding a red herding ball in a backyard on fallen yellow leaves

Herding dogs, known for their boundless energy and sharp intelligence, are truly unique members of the canine world. These dogs, originally bred for managing livestock, possess a natural drive to work and a remarkable ability to understand complex commands. This combination of traits makes them not only excellent working dogs but also highly energetic and intelligent companions. Their active minds and bodies thrive on stimulation, requiring more than just physical exercise to be truly content. Ensuring they are mentally engaged is key to their overall well-being.

Understanding the essence of these amazing animals can help dog owners appreciate their needs on a deeper level. Their intelligence isn't just about following commands; it's about problem-solving, engaging with their environment in intuitive ways, and forming deep, understanding relationships with their human counterparts and most importantly make dog entertained. Because of their high energy and smart nature, herding dogs need a fine balance of physical activity and mental challenges. This makes finding the right toys and activities for them not just preferable, but essential for their happiness and health.

a doberman sitting behind the blue herding ball in a backyard

Selecting the right toys for your energetic herding dog, soft toys, chew toys, fetch toys, squeaky toys, plush toys etc, is a gesture of love and understanding. It acknowledges their unique blend of energy, intelligence, and curiosity, who were bred to be herding sheep. Dog toys that encourage both mental and physical stimulation are not merely diversions; they are vital tools that help channel your dog's instincts in positive ways, even a simple tennis ball. They offer an opportunity for your dog to solve puzzles, exert their energy, and stay engaged with their environment. Just as importantly, these dog toys can significantly deepen the bond between you and your dog, as you participate in their play, understand their preferences, and celebrate their victories. Choosing the right dog toys, therefore, is about more than just entertainment—it's about providing enrichment toys for your dog loves.

Finding the best dog toys for active dogs can be a challenging quest filled with trial and error. It's a journey marked by dog toys that may not durable dog toy and most dogs may loose interest or withstand their enthusiastic play. This struggle can evoke frustration and helplessness in dog owners striving to provide the best for their furry friends. Witnessing their excitement fade to disinterest can be disheartening. However, this journey highlights a deep commitment to understanding and nurturing the unique spirit of our lively companions, showcasing empathy and love of the dog owner for them.

Empathy here goes beyond understanding; it’s about stepping into their paws to see the world from their perspective. Energetic and smart dogs seek toys that challenge them, match their pace, and engage their curiosity like an interactive dog toy. The quest for the best toys is a shared adventure, a collaborative exploration. Finding that special toy brings mutual joy, strengthening the bond between dogs and humans. Bonding through play deepens the connection, fostering trust and joy in each moment.

The Significance of Play for Herding Dogs

Herding dogs, renowned for their intelligence, agility, and unwavering loyalty, hold a

An australian shepherd standing behind a yellow herding ball on grasses.

special place in the hearts of those who understand their spirited nature. These breeds, developed originally to help manage livestock, are characterized by their keen sense of duty and remarkable problem-solving abilities. They are not just pets; they are partners, members of the family who contribute to daily tasks with enthusiasm and dedication. Among these breeds, we have:

Australian Shepherd

Known for their beautiful merle coat and piercing eyes, Australian Shepherds are agile, intelligent, and eager to please. The herding breed is on challenging activities and enjoy having a job to do, making them excellent companions for active individuals or families.

Border Collie

Often cited as the most intelligent of all dog breeds, Border Collies have an incredible capacity for learning and a deep desire to work closely with their human partners. Their unmatched herding abilities and tireless work ethic are complemented by a gentle and loyal nature.


An Australian shepherd jumping after red herding ball on grasses near trees.

Immortalized by the iconic Lassie, Collies are not only striking in appearance but also incredibly gentle and protective. This herding breed is family-oriented dogs that are known for their ability to get along well with children and other pets.

Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)

Resembling a smaller version of a Collie, Shelties are just as intelligent and vocal, with a boundless energy that makes them excellent watchdogs and herders. They are affectionate with their families and display a reserved disposition towards strangers.

Welsh Corgi (Pembroke and Cardigan)

With their distinctive short stature, expressive faces, and robust bodies, Corgis are beloved for their strong-willed yet playful personalities. They are versatile workers and companions, eager to participate in family activities.

German Shepherd

One of the most popular breeds, German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and strength. They are best dog breed in various tasks such as search and

a Belgian malinois holding a red herding ball on grasses in wide range grasses

rescue, police work, and serving as guide dogs. Despite their intimidating appearance, they can be gentle companions to their families and dedicated protectors.

Each herding breeds embodies unique characteristics and unwavering spirit, reflecting their shared heritage as essential partners in pastoral settings. They have a deep connection to their human families, showcasing their role as loyal household members, not just pets. Their joy in play and work underscores the special bond they share with those who value their remarkable qualities.

Play is crucial for herding dogs, providing an outlet for their intelligence and energy. It goes beyond physical activity, boosting mental stimulation and emotional well-being. Through play, they sharpen herding skills, strengthen bonds with their families, and thrive happily.

Understanding the needs of an active canine companion goes beyond providing physical outlets for their energy. It's about recognizing their inherent need for companionship, structure, and mental engagement. These spirited animals thrive on attention and interaction, yearning not just for exercise, but for meaningful activities that challenge their intellect and satisfy their instinctual drives. This means incorporating training sessions that foster their problem-solving skills, offering interactive dog toys that make them think, and ensuring they have a solid routine that includes plenty of time for both play and rest. An active canine's well-being is a delicate balance between physical vigor and mental acuity, wrapped in the warmth of a loving relationship with their human families. It’s about nurturing their body and soul, appreciating their boundless energy as much as their quiet moments of companionship.

Criteria for Selecting the Best Toys for Herding Dogs


Durability is a cornerstone in selecting the perfect toys for herding dogs, whose robust energy and intelligent engagement demand toys that can stand up to their vigorous play. These dogs possess a remarkable blend of strength, stamina, and curiosity, making flimsy toys a poor match for their spirited play sessions. Opting for a indestructible dog

An australian cattle dog herding a yellow herding ball on grasses in a backyard

toy not only ensures safety, preventing the ingestion of broken parts, but it also fosters a sustained interest in the toy, allowing for deeper cognitive engagement and physical exercise over time. Durable toys acts as a reliable companion for these energetic dogs, offering them a consistent outlet for their herding instincts and a dependable tool for interactive play with their human counterparts. It's about providing them with a source of joy and stimulation that's as enduring as their boundless spirit.


Toys that engage both physically and mentally are paramount for the well-being of herding dogs. These intelligent and active breeds thrive on challenges that ignite their minds and expend their energy. Look for toys that require problem-solving, such as puzzle feeders that reward them with treats for figuring out how to access them, or toys that mimic the movements of prey, encouraging them to think and act like they would in a herding scenario. These interactive playthings not only keep their bodies fit but also sharpen their intellect, preventing boredom and related behavioral issues. They're not just toys; they're tools that foster a vibrant, attentive, and happy demeanor, cementing the bond between dogs and their humans. In selecting these stimulating toys, you're not merely entertaining your pet; you're honoring their heritage and nurturing their innate talents and needs.


When it comes to our beloved herding dogs, ensuring the toys they interact with are safe is paramount. This means selecting toys made from non-toxic materials that won't harm them if ingested. These pups are like family, and just as we'd protect a child by choosing safe, non-harmful toys, we should extend the same care and concern to our canine companions. Additionally, choosing toys of appropriate sizes is crucial. A toy too small could be a choking hazard, like an indestructible chew toy, while one too large might be difficult for them to play with effectively, leading to frustration rather than fun. Safety isn't just about preventing accidents; it's about creating a secure environment where our dogs can play and explore with confidence. By being mindful of these factors, we're not only ensuring their physical well-being but also showing them our love and commitment to their happiness and safety. For teething puppies, it's essential to select toys specifically designed for their age and chewing needs, as they explore the world through their mouths, and gives no harm to dog's teeth.


The most heartwarming aspect of playtime isn't just watching our herding dogs chase

2 herding ball standing behind a red herding ball near fences

after a ball or solve a puzzle—it's about the moments of connection that these activities foster between pet and owner. Interactive toys, like those that require a human to throw a frisbee, guide a laser pointer, or participate in a tug-of-war, create unique opportunities for bonding. These moments of cooperation and shared joy are precious, reinforcing the deep emotional bond we share with our pets. When we engage actively in our dogs' play, we're not just passing time; we're communicating our love and affection in a language they understand perfectly. By selecting toys that encourage this kind of interactive play, we're investing in our relationship with our pets, building a foundation of trust and mutual respect that goes beyond the simple act of play.

Top 5 Picks of Dog Toys for Active Canines

There are many dog toy option on the market , but not all of them are created equal. To help you find the best dog toys for your active herding dog, we've compiled a list of our top 5 picks.

Interactive Puzzle Toys

Interactive puzzle toys serve as an excellent tool for mental stimulation, illuminating the spark of intelligence in our canine friends' eyes. Engaging with these toys requires focus, patience, and problem-solving skills, offering an enriching mental workout that keeps their minds sharp and engaged. This form of play is not just entertainment; it's a loving

a Border collie standing next to a blue herding ball on grasses

gesture towards maintaining their cognitive health, helping prevent boredom and related behavioral issues. By providing challenges that satisfy their natural curiosity and desire to learn, we nurture their mental well-being, strengthening the emotional connection they share with us. Such toys are a testament to how we value and care for every aspect of their lives, ensuring they're not just physically active but mentally vibrant and happy.

Durable Tug Toys

Tug play emerges as a remarkable form of exercise, wonderfully blending physical exertion with moments of sheer joy and excitement. When our furry friends engage in a friendly tug-of-war, they're not just having fun; they're also getting a comprehensive workout that stretches and strengthens a wide range of muscles. From their neck and shoulders to their legs and core, the act of pulling and tugging helps keep them limber and promotes overall physical health. It's a cardio workout that also enhances their body's flexibility and agility, preparing them to handle more vigorous activities with ease. Beyond the physical benefits, tug play is a gentle reminder of the strength of our connection, where every pull and playful growl reinforces the bond we share, making every moment of tug play not just beneficial for their bodies but precious for our hearts too.

When selecting toys for our cherished pets, the choice of materials and design plays a crucial role in ensuring their longevity and safety. Opt for toys made from natural, robust materials like rubber or durable fabrics that can withstand the enthusiastic play

an American bulldog standing behind a red herding ball on grasses

without quickly tearing apart or becoming hazardous. Toys that are specifically designed with double-stitched seams and non-toxic, chew-resistant materials not only promise to last longer but also keep our furry friends safe from ingesting harmful substances. Furthermore, toys with replaceable parts or those that can be easily cleaned contribute to their durability, allowing our pets to enjoy their favorite playthings for as long as possible. By choosing well-constructed toys, we show our pets how deeply we care about their happiness and well-being, providing them with endless hours of safe and enjoyable playtime.

Fetch Toys for Long-Distance Play

Enhancing cardiovascular health is a wonderful benefit of engaging in fetch play with our beloved pets. This dynamic activity gets their hearts pumping and blood flowing, much like a joyful sprint across open fields. It's not just a physical exercise but a celebration of life's vibrant energy, shared between us and our furry companions. Each throw and retrieval encourages them to run faster and farther, significantly boosting their heart rate and promoting better blood circulation. This, in turn, strengthens their heart muscles and reduces their risk of heart-related issues. Just as importantly, it brings a sparkle of happiness and vitality to their eyes, a testament to the enduring love and care we share with them.

Herding Balls for Natural Instincts

Herding balls offer an exceptional way to tap into the natural herding instincts of certain breeds, providing them with a safe and controlled outlet for their innate desires. These specially designed balls, often larger and more durable, allow dogs to mimic the herding behavior they were originally bred for, giving them a profound sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Watching our canine friends skillfully maneuver these balls around the yard, one can't help but admire their concentration and joy. It's not just a game for them; it's a return to their roots, a dance with their ancestral instincts. For us, it's a heartwarming scene, a reminder of the diverse talents and predispositions that make each of our pets unique. By incorporating herding balls into their playtime, we not only enrich their physical exercise routine but also nourish their mental and emotional health, acknowledging and celebrating their heritage.

Collieball: A Game of Joy and Agility

a Rotweiler herding a herding ball on grasses in a park

Collieball captures the essence of joy and agility, creating an enriching playtime experience tailored specifically for Border Collies and similar herding breeds known for their quick reflexes and sharp minds. This game utilizes balls that are medium to large in size, perfect for these breeds to engage with comfortably without risking injury. The balls are crafted from durable, dog-friendly materials, ensuring they can withstand the vigorous play sessions these energetic canines are known for. Rubber and heavy-duty composite materials are preferred for their bounce and resilience, providing endless hours of fun. Collieball is not just about physical exercise; it's a cognitive challenge that stimulates their minds, encouraging them to think, react, and strategize their next move. Watching a Collie dart and weave with a Collieball is a sight to behold—a beautiful display of agility, intelligence, and the sheer happiness that comes from doing what they love most. It's a game that strengthens the bond between pet and owner, showing in every leap and catch that the language of love is universal.

Interactive Treat-Dispensing Toys

Interactive treat-dispensing toys meld the joy of playtime with the excitement of snack time, offering a rewarding experience that captivates and satisfies. These ingeniously designed toys release treats as pets solve puzzles or exert some physical effort, providing a delightful incentive for perseverance and cleverness. The process of retrieving treats from these toys can greatly enhance a dog's problem-solving skills, keeping their minds sharp and engaged. Beyond the mental stimulation, the anticipation of a tasty reward adds an extra layer of joy to the activity, making each success a small celebration. It’s a beautiful merging of nutrition and entertainment, fostering a healthier, happier pet who feels profoundly connected and understood by their human companions. This approach not only nourishes their body but also strengthens the heartfelt bond between pets and their owners, making every play session a cherished moment of companionship and mutual achievement.

Other Dog Toys

While plush toys, chew toys, squeaky toys, rubber toys, rope toys, and seek toys certainly bring joy and entertainment to our furry friends, they haven't made it to the top of our list for a few heartwarming reasons. These toys, although fantastic for solitary play, often miss the mark when it comes to fostering a deeper connection between pets and their owners. They may not always encourage the same level of intellectual engagement or shared moments of triumph that interactive games and treat-dispensing puzzles provide. It’s the difference between watching your pet play from the sidelines and being

a herding ball herding a red herding ball on grasses in a backyard

an active participant in their joy and development. These traditional toys do have their place in a pet's life, offering comfort and satisfying their natural instincts, but they lack the added layer of bonding and mental enrichment that we cherish. Our goal is to highlight activities that not only entertain but also enrich our pets' lives, drawing us closer together in a mutual expression of love and understanding.

Why These Toys Make a Difference

In choosing these toys, our focus has always been on enriching the lives of our beloved pets through engagement, stimulation, and the deepening of bonds. Each toy is selected with the belief that playtime is not merely a way to pass time but a crucial element of a pet’s physical and emotional well-being. The joy of a Collieball game or the challenge of a treat-dispensing puzzle represents more than just fun; it embodies a commitment to providing our furry family members with a fulfilling life. We understand that pets thrive on attention, activity, and love, and these toys are our way of ensuring they receive plenty of each. It’s about creating memorable moments that pet parents can share with their companions, enhancing the sweetness of their daily lives together.

a horde of herding dogs herding a red herding ball on sand near trees

The difference these toys make is tangible in the delighted barks and wagging tails that greet each play session. More than just enhancing their day-to-day happiness, these toys play a pivotal role in maintaining a pet's physical health and sharpening their cognitive abilities. The visible improvement in a pet’s agility, mental acuity, and emotional satisfaction is a testament to the power of thoughtful play. This approach goes beyond mere entertainment, laying a foundation for a stronger, more resilient bond between pets and their owners. It’s a recognition of our pets' needs for stimulation, love, and companionship—a recognition that enriches both their lives and ours, painting our shared experiences with broader strokes of joy and understanding.

Caring for Your Dog’s Toys

Maintaining and cleaning your dog's toys is not just about keeping your home neat; it's an act of love that ensures the safety and happiness of your furry friend. Here are a few tips to help you take the best care of those cherished playthings:

  1. Regular Inspection: Make it a routine to check your dog’s toys for any signs of wear and tear. Look out for loose threads, torn pieces, or anything that might pose a choking hazard. It’s essential to repair or replace damaged toys promptly to avoid any accidents.

  2. Cleaning Guidelines: Different materials require different cleaning methods. For plush toys, most can be machine-washed in a gentle cycle with pet-safe detergent. Rubber or nylon toys, on the other hand, can be cleaned with warm, soapy water. Always read the care instructions that come with each toy to ensure proper cleaning.

  3. Dry Thoroughly: After washing, make sure toys are completely dry before giving them back to your pet. Damp toys can harbor mold and bacteria, which can be harmful to both your pet and your family. Air drying under the sun is beneficial for eliminating bacteria, but ensure the toys don’t fade or get damaged by prolonged sun exposure.

  4. Safe Storage: Store your dog's toys in a dry, clean place when they're not in use. A dedicated toy box or shelf can prevent toys from getting dirty or lost and makes organizing them easier for you and your pet.

  5. Rotate Toys: Keep your pet engaged and the toys in good condition by having a rotation system. Offering different selections of toys each week can prevent boredom and minimize wear and tear, extending the life of your beloved dog’s playthings.

By incorporating these simple practices into your routine, you ensure that the tools for adventure and bonding remain safe, clean, and exciting for your four-legged family member.

Deciding when to replace your dog’s toys might feel like a guessing game, but there are a few signs to watch out for that signal it’s time for something new. When toys begin to show significant wear—such as deep tears, broken pieces, or parts that have been chewed off—it’s more than just an aesthetic issue; it can become a safety concern. Also, if your pet seems to have lost interest in a once-favored toy, it might be a hint to introduce something fresh to rekindle their excitement and stimulate their mind. Remember, each dog has unique play habits and preferences, so observing your furry friend’s behavior is key. Regularly updating their toy collection not only ensures their playtime is safe but also keeps it fun and mentally stimulating.

a herding dog jumping after a yellow herding ball on grasses in a park


Reflecting on the essential role toys play in a herding dog's life brings us back to the very core of their being. These spirited, intelligent creatures possess a natural drive to work, and toys serve as an indispensable tool to channel their boundless energy and sharp minds in a safe, constructive manner. Whether it's a game of fetch that mimics the chase or a puzzle toy that engages their problem-solving skills, each toy is more than just an object of amusement—it's a bridge to understanding their heritage and instincts. By carefully selecting and maintaining a collection of toys, we do more than entertain; we honor their history, cater to their innate needs, and nurture a bond that's as enriching as it is enduring. In essence, toys are not merely accessories in the life of a herding dog; they're a reflection of our love and commitment to their happiness and well-being.

Encouraging your beloved furry friend to explore new toys can lead to delightful discoveries about their personality and preferences. Watching their eyes light up with curiosity at a new texture or shape, or their tail wag with excitement over a novel sound or challenge, is a reminder of the joy and wonder we often overlook in our busy lives. Each new toy not only offers your dog a fresh form of entertainment but can also significantly contribute to their overall health and happiness. These new experiences help keep their minds sharp, their bodies active, and their spirits high. Plus, it provides you with the invaluable opportunity to deepen your bond as you learn more about what makes your dog truly happy. It's a beautiful reminder that, in life, sometimes the simplest changes can lead to the most profound effects on our well-being and the well-being of those we care about.

an Australian shepherd chasing after a red herding ball in an outdoor basketball field

Why You Should Consider a Collieball™ for Your Herding Dog.

The Collieball™ is carefully crafted for your herding dog, using durable, dog-safe materials for their play. It consists of an inner exercise ball and outer 1680 Denier ballistic fabric for toughness and bounce. Its vibrant colors spark curiosity, engaging your dog like it did for our Border Collie, Hucklerberry. Featuring heavy-duty stitching and a detachable zipper puller for safety. More than a toy, it's a companion enriching your pet's playtime with variety and excitement.

For herding dog breeds, the Collieball™ is a valuable tool among the other best dog toys that provides physical exercise and mental stimulation. These intelligent and active breeds need more than just physical activity; they thrive on tasks that challenge their minds and problem-solving abilities required for herding. By using the Collieball's unpredictable movements, these dogs engage their natural herding instincts, enabling them to strategize, predict, and react. This mental workout prevents boredom and related behavioral issues while keeping the dogs mentally sharp and content. The Collieball is essential for herding dog owners to ensure their canine companion remains happy, healthy, and mentally agile.

69 views1 comment

1 Comment

Mar 18

Bought ball for Christmas

Popped within 2 weeks

Still waiting on replacement

Customer service terrible . Oreo loved the ball

Just needs to be replaced

Been waiting months !

bottom of page