Bred to protect, gather and move livestock from one place to another, herding dogs are some of the smartest and most energetic dog breeds. Even today, that instinct and drive is very strong in modern herding dogs, including Border Collies, German Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs, and others. If they don’t get to do some herding, these dogs can easily become bored or destructive, and may even try to herd other dogs, or worse, children! To keep your herding pooch happy and mentally and physically engaged, it’s a good idea to give them an appropriate outlet. This is where herding balls for dogs come in. Durable, fun and engaging, herding balls can help wear out your furry companion and reduce their problematic behavior while keeping them engaged for hours on end.
Not sure which model is right for your four-legged friend? Our guide below will help you choose the best dog herding ball for your pooch plus answer the most frequently asked questions related to this quintessential toy.
The Best Dog Herding Ball
Ideal for athletic herding dog breeds
Large enough for dogs who weigh 110 lbs
Can be filled with gravel or water
Durable, made in the USA
Floats on water
The number one spot on our list belongs to none other than the Push-n-Play herding ball from Jolly Pets. Every dog deserves a safe and durable toy to play with, and herding dogs are certainly no exception.
The best thing about this large indestructible dog ball is that it was designed for outdoor fun and can be used by large dog breeds who will have a blast herding it around the yard. It can also be filled with water or sand to give your highly energetic pooch the workout they deserve. Summer is the perfect time to bring out the kiddie pool to help your dog cool off and watch his Push-n-Play ball float above water. If you have an energetic German Shephard on your hands or a tall Great Dane, then this 14-inch ball can be the perfect playtime companion for your pet.
Made of non-toxic polyethylene plastic
Designed for large dog breeds
Does not bounce
Hard plastic, built to last
Floats in water
The hard plastic ball from Doggie Dooley is virtually indestructible, catering to the herding instincts that live inside our herding dog breeds. If your pooch takes pleasure in destroying and shredding small balls, then buying them this heavy-duty ball will direct their energy towards herding it and pushing it around the yard.
This toy is made of thick polyethylene plastic, so it’s built to last. Both its weight and size make it ideal for large dog breeds (over 100 pounds) who will benefit from the extra workout session it provides.
Heavy-duty polyethylene ball
Ideal for energetic and chew loving dog breeds
Promotes exercise and mental stimulation
Designed for chasing and herding
Available in 5 different sizes (4 in. 6 in. 8 in. 10 in.)
Next on our list is the Boomer Ball from The Company of Animals who have decades of experience in dog training under their belt. Their product was designed for breeds who are big fans of chasing and conquering their toys. Breeds such as Boston Terriers, Pugs and Pekingese will have a field day with the Boomer Ball.
Tough dog toys such as this one are also used to keep animals such as elephants and polar bears entertained and mentally stimulated, so needless to say, this is one durable herding ball. There are 5 different sizes to choose from, where the small 4-inch ball is ideal for dog breeds like the Cavalier Spaniel and the 10-inch ball is large enough to entertain Great Danes and Bull Mastiffs.
Bouncy soccer ball
Ideal for all dog sizes
Does not deflate when punctured
Promotes healthy exercise and play
Suitable for water games
Join your pooch for an afternoon of fun and games with this large soccer ball from Jolly Pets. Made of a special flex material that helps preserve its shape even after it gets punctured, this is one long-lasting toy that is sure to entertain your pup for a long while.
Bouncy and non-deflating, the Jolly Pets toy is great for both solo and interactive play. Summertime is also a great opportunity for you to play a game of catch in the pool using this floating toy that comes in three different colors. There are even two scented options: the orange ball smells like vanilla and the green one is apple scented.
Durable and lightweight
Made of non-toxic PopFoam
Suitable for herding breeds
Intended for interactive play
The Beast toy from goDog is an extremely durable ball designed for tough play, making it ideal for herding dog breeds. Both strong and lightweight, the Beast is made of tough molded nontoxic PppFoam that prevents it from going flat even when punctured. In other words, it should last quite a while!
This interactive toy can be used in the pool as it floats, or of course during playtime in the yard as it’s great for games of fetch. That said, it doesn’t bounce. Importantly, the toy is pet-safe and meets children’s safety standards, plus it’s made with eco-sensitive manufacturing processes. The Junior model is ideal for small dogs as it has a diameter of 4 inches, but if you have a bigger pooch, a larger size is available too
Best Dog Herding Ball Buying Guide & FAQ
And there you have it - some of the best herding balls for dogs that the pet market has to offer. Still not sure which toy ball is right for your furry companion? Not to worry - in this buying guide, we cover everything you need to know about herding balls, including how to pick the best one for your pup.
What to Consider When Buying a Dog Herding Ball
Herding dogs can be a handful - but only if you lack the right tools to deal with their behavior. These dogs were bred to herd sheep and cattle in farms, and even our modern, apartment-living pooches haven't lost this need to protect and move animals from one place to another. Of course, most of us don't own livestock nowadays, which is why our pups tend to exhibit their herding instincts on less suitable things, such as other dogs, bikes, even children!
Fortunately, herding balls were created to cater to this instinct, but there are certain things that you need to consider before buying one for your pooch.
Herding dogs are incredibly smart, highly energetic breeds who need their very own tough dog toys to keep them thoroughly entertained in the yard. These toys come in the shape of round, durable balls that were specifically designed to make backyard herding possible for your pooch. Giving your dog the chance to release his pent up energy on herding balls will prevent him from nipping at your heels and chasing after cars and bicycles. These balls are typically made of tough polyethylene to stop your dog from biting them and tearing them to shreds. Some of them have a glossy surface that prevents dogs from picking them up and chewing on them. Non-toxic balls can be the perfect afternoon companion for herding breeds who need to a toy to push around within the safe confines of your garden.
When shopping for a herding ball for your pooch, there are several things you need to consider. If you have an enthusiastic puppy on your hands, you will need to purchase a ball that complements his size. Balls designed for herding can be dense and heavy at times, so choosing the right one for your pup will encourage him to play with it. Luckily, some manufacturers have come up with a size guide that you can use to check the dimensions of the ball. Generally speaking, Great Danes will find enormous balls worthy of their time and will have a blast chasing them around the yard. In contrast, smaller breeds will find happiness in equally small balls that they can easily herd and bark orders at during playtime.
Dogs love to chew on things, and balls are no exception. Their passion for chewing can get them into trouble and can also put them at risk of swallowing small shards that often become choking hazards. Playtime should be about having fun and exercising using safe, unbreakable toys, and this is where herding balls can come in handy. Indestructible dog toys can be lifesavers when it comes to smart and highly energetic dogs who can cause a ton of damage when bored. Fortunately, the cure for boredom comes in the shape of heavy duty balls that were specifically built for outdoor use. Tough herding balls can be used in both swimming pools and gardens, and their durability makes them the toy of choice for Australian Shepherds and other breeds who need a long-lasting toy to shove around the yard. Puncture proof balls are also available in case you needed a bouncy ball capable of surviving your pooch and their sharp teeth during playtime.
Check out our guide on Dog Chews.
Weight is one more thing that you need to consider before buying a herding ball for your dog. A lightweight ball can be fun and appropriate for indoor use if you have a basement or a special playroom where your puppy can practice his herding habit. Similarly, large dogs require a ball that is compatible with their height and weight. If a ball is too small for herding, they will grow bored of it and will probably start looking for something else to chase.
- Extra Features
Herding balls can be slightly altered in terms of weight and made to wobble using sand or water. These balls are usually fitted with plugs so you can easily fill them up and use them to give your energetic pooch the workout they deserve. Heavy, water-filled balls inject more fun into playtime because they tend to move slower and this wobbling effect can be attractive to herding breeds. Keep in mind that these balls are not made for kicking or bouncing. If your pooch gets fixated on the plug and tries to chew it off, then buying them an ordinary herding ball may be the way to go. Heavy balls are also not designed for indoor use and can collide with your furniture or tumble down the stairs and injure someone, especially if they are large and filled with gravel.
Benefits of Giving Your Dog a Herding Ball to Play With
Playtime is synonymous with toys and fun. Giving your pooch a proper dog toy will keep them entertained for hours on end while keeping them away from your volleyballs, tennis balls as well as furniture and expensive leather shoes. Herding balls offer a wealth of benefits for your dog including providing them with a safe and fun outlet for their herding behavior.
You may also like our guide on Chew & Teething Toys for Puppies.
Sharp canine teeth can leave a trail of destruction in their wake, especially in the absence of chew bones and other teething toys. Premium herding balls for dogs are the best product money can buy in terms of durability and longevity. Highly energetic pups can sometimes damage their toys beyond repair and this means dog parents will have to replenish their toy box with replacement toys on a regular basis to make up for this loss. Herding balls will save you money in the long run since they are specifically designed to be knocked around the yard. They also have a bite-resistant surface that dogs will have trouble sinking their teeth into and are too big to be chewed on, which makes them the balls of choice for herding dogs everywhere.
- Energy Outlet
Chewing, digging holes in the yard and excessive barking are all behavioral issues that appear in the absence of adequate physical and mental stimulation. Herding dogs were originally bred to steer cattle and sheep, so they are competitive and hardworking. These traits make them the perfect fit for agility training and other canine sports where they can put their skills to good use. Dog breeds such as Border Collies and German Shepherds will benefit greatly from herding balls since they will be able to express this behavior in the safety of your own backyard. Indulging in this activity will stop your pooch from herding pets and children or chasing after moving vehicles.
Take a look at our article on Dog Agility Tunnels.
- Bonding Tool
The recipe for maintaining a healthy bond with your pooch includes many positive ingredients such as love, trust and carving out enough time to spend with your dog on a regular basis. Herding balls that double as soccer balls are the perfect bonding toy and can be used to play catch in the swimming pool during summer or you can simply kick them around the yard while your dog chases after them. You can also bond with your pooch via a game of treibball.
Choose The Right Herding Ball Size
Herding balls are available in a wide range of sizes starting from small 4-inch balls that are designed for small dog breeds such as Cavalier Spaniels. Enormous 14-inch balls are on the opposite end of the size spectrum and these are tailormade for large dog breeds such as Great Danes and Mastiffs. Generally speaking, herding balls are supposed to discourage your pooch from chewing them due to their large size. Reading the manufacturer’s size guide beforehand will help you select the right herding ball for your dog.
Our Top Pick
Durable, practical and safe are three words that can be used to describe the Jolly Pets herding ball. Its 14-inch size makes it the ideal playtime companion for large dogs who need their daily dose of exercise to keep them healthy and entertained. This large indestructible dog ball was designed to survive summer games in the pool and is guaranteed to keep your pooch busy in the yard. All in all, a must-have product for herding dogs who need a reliable ball to play with every single day!
Q: What is a dog herding ball?
As its name implies, a herding ball is a toy ball that is too big and heavy to be picked up and carried by your pet. It's specifically designed to be pushed and chased around the backyard, making it an ideal toy for herding dog breeds.
Basically, this type of ball is an alternative to traditional and more fragile toy balls that can get punctured or torn to pieces by overly enthusiastic dogs who get carried away during playtime. Tough and often puncture-proof, a herding ball is a solution to extremely energetic herding dogs and athletic breeds who love chasing after their toys and controlling the way they move around the yard.
Q: What kinds of dogs should use a herding ball?
Dogs who indulge in destructive behavior due to lack of mental and physical stimulation need a toy that will curb this behavior. Herding dogs can end up hurting family members by nipping at their heels and barking at them in order to fulfill their herding instinct. These balls were meant to provide them with an outlet for this natural instinct. Otherwise, they will bark, chew and destroy your house out of boredom. So, all working breeds, as well as extremely energetic dogs, can greatly benefit from playing with herding balls.
Q: How can I train my dog to herd a ball?
Training your dog can be easily accomplished using their favorite herding ball and a few poles that double as a goal. First, you need to train your dog to touch your hand in exchange for treats. Next, attach a post-it note to that same hand and use your established reward system to make him touch it. One they get used to the idea, you can attach the same note to the herding ball. Reduce the size of this note every time your dog successfully touches it until they learn to touch the ball without the note. Use verbal commands to encourage them to move the ball either in your direction or away from you. Remember to use treats during this entire training session. Once your dog masters the skill of moving the ball around, you can add other balls to the mix until they are able to put all eight balls in the makeshift goal!