So, you haven’t fallen for the mumbo jumbo…
Because, you’re here to find the best tug of war toys for dogs.
You already know that nonsense about tug making your dog aggressive is just plain silly.
Good for you! And for your dog.
My dogs dig tugging a ton. And so do I!
In fact, I think it’s more fun than hitting the gym. So on lazy days I’ll whip out one of the tug toys instead.
But, you’re not hear to find out about my workout habits!
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- Best Tug of War Toys for Dogs Comparison Table
- Best Tug of War Toys for Dogs Reviews
- How to Find the Best Tug of War Toys for Dogs
- My Favorite Tug of War Toys for Dogs
Best Tug of War Toys for Dogs Comparison Table
Redline Leather Tug Toy
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RedLine Bite Suit Tug Toy
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Twin Critters Tug-of-Wool Toy
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Redline Puppy Bite Rag
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The Nero Ball
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Best Tug of War Toys for Dogs Reviews
You love your dog. And you want the best there is for your pooch. Right?
And, no doubt you’ve seen a ton of tug toys for your dog.
But the truth is only a few of those toys are worth anything.
Most of them are poorly made with cheap materials and won’t make it through even 1 tug session. I’ve tried a bunch of tug toys with my dogs, some of which I’ll share with you here.
I’ll share what I like and don’t like and I’ll share my opinion on the favorites in our house.
There’s also a handy comparison table and buyers guide to help you make the best choices.
So, no more yakety yak!
Here are the top of the heap when it comes to tug toys for dogs…
Redline K9 Soft Flat Rolled Leather Tug Toy with 2 Handles
My dogs actually own this tug toy. I used it to teach both of my dogs how the rules of tug work.
First my GSD Zè had his training with it – he’s upgraded to a bigger one now that he’s mastered grip and drive. And now my GSD-X Lexi is learning with it.
You can check out a picture of our’s further down. You’ll see it’s still in pretty good shape!
As you can tell from the name, this tug toy by Redline K9 is made from soft leather. But don’t let the word ‘soft’ fool you.
The 2 ends of the leather are rolled together and overlap along the middle of the toy.
The handles are made from a type of nylon material and they are thread all the way through the toy. This is a great feature because it means they won’t rip off. Which is often a problem with tug toys.
On the inside of the rolled leather you’ll find a soft cushioning material along the entire length. This creates just enough ‘give’ in the toy to satisfy your dog and build grip.
This is all stitched together down the center of the toy which makes it super strong. Another great feature, because there’s no stitching on the sides to fray and pull lose.
Another feature I really like is the fact that it’s flat. This makes it a great choice in tug toy to help a dog new to tugging, realize they actually have a grip. And to develop that grip.
Tug toys get wet during play, we all know that. So I like that this tug toy is made from leather. It keeps the toy from becoming slimy. But it doesn’t stink when it’s dried.
As a rule I don’t sing the praises of product without pointing out at least one flaw.
So 2 things here…
This toy gets dirty. And because of the leather I don’t wash it. So it’s not the lovely grey color it used to be – it’s brown!
But my dogs still love it and it’s still as soft as it was on the first day.
Also, the 10 inches might not enough room for your dog to grip without accidentally taking out your hand.
But having these accidents is normal when you’re first teaching your dog to play tug the right way.
Although in my opinion, having a shorter grip space makes teaching your dog where they may and may not grip quicker and easier.
I love this Redline Tug Toy. It’s tough as nails but it’s soft enough to develop and stimulate your dog’s grip.
Personally I love the size, it’s easy to slip in your back pocket if you’re using it for a training reward. And I think it’s perfect for medium to large dogs. Or for dogs just starting to learn tug for the first time.
Because it’s soft and flat, it’s also a fab tug toy to use for older pups in the later stages of teething.
This toy is a favorite in our house. And whether you have an older puppy just starting out or and adult dog, I consider it one of the best tug of war toys for dogs. And a must-have in every pooch toy cupboard.
RedLine K9 Bite Suit Tug Toy with 1 Handle
This is another tug toy by Redline K9 that is used in our house.
It’s actually the one my GSD Zè has upgraded to from the rolled leather one above.
This tug toy is made from a material called French Linen. And it’s a soft fabric but it’s tenacious like a crab!
I mean they make dog bite suits from French Linen. And if you’ve ever seen dogs chasing down someone during attack training you know how tough it’s got to be.
Just to give you an idea, check out this video from WatchTheDaily. It’s one of my favorite video online so I thought I’d throw it in here.
So now that you see how strong bite suit material is, you know this French Linen tug toy can take a beating!
This tug toy only has one handle. And having one handle has some great advantages.
Firstly, your hand is placed far away from the grip space. And a your dog is more inclined to bite on the opposite side of the tug toy, so your hand is safe.
Also, you have one hand free, which is great for touching your dog every now and then during your game. Which is important.
This Redline tug toy is 10 inches long, without the handle. And it’s 3 inches thick. It’s a nice thickness for a large, powerful jaw that’s still learning about tug of war.
The inside is a soft stuffing, but it’s reasonably tightly stuffed. This means there’s enough ‘give’ for gripping and biting.
It’s flexible, but it’s not flimsy at all.
And the stitching on this thing is super strong!
The French Linen is rolled over the stuffing and double stitched on the open sides. The handle is about 2 inches deep into the linen and also double stitched.
We’ve been tugging with this baby for the last 3 months and it’s still alive and kicking. And I believe it will be for a long time.
This is a great tug toy to add to your dog’s toy box. It’s durable, and definitely high quality.
It’s perfect for large dogs with powerful jaws. And it’s good toy to help your dog develop their bite and grip.
We use this tug toy regularly and it’s so hard to find something negative about it.
But if I had to find something to complain about, I’d say it’s a little cumbersome to slip into your pocket if you’re out training. But I just make sure I’m wearing something with big and deep pockets.
In my opinion as a pooch parent and someone who uses this tug toy almost on a daily basis this is up there with the Redline K9 Flat Rolled Leather tug toy I reviewed above. Without a doubt I consider it one of the best tug of war toys for dogs.
Twin Critters Tug-of-Wool Dog Pull Toy
Next up is this all-natural wool tug toy.
This tug toy made the list because it’s made from a 100% natural material – Merino wool. Which has some great benefits depending on your dog.
According to the manufacturer this tug toy is handmade in Nepal and contains no toxic chemicals.
And if you look closely, the toy looks like felt and you can’t see any joints.
Although it must have a join somewhere it’s so well made that it shouldn’t cause the toy to rip apart.
The toy is designed with 2 handles and they come in two sizes.
The small size ranges between 14 and 16 inches. And the large size is between 21 and 24 inches.
The sizes vary slightly because they’re handmade.
I’ve not been able to get to the exact thickness of the grip space but my guess is around 2 or 3 inches at most.
From my research, other dog owners are fairly happy with the durability of this toy. Some have claimed this toy has been in constant use for several months, without being destroyed.
Although some owners have complained that the toy disintegrated after their dogs had a chew on it. But keep in mind, this is not a chew toy, it’s meant for tugging.
I don’t recommend this tug toy if your puppy is still in their younger stages. Especially when their teeth are still sharp.
The wool will get stuck on their sharp little teeth and fray the strands. Or accidentally pull one of their teeth.
Although, I think is a great toy for older pups who are past their teething stage. And of course for adult and senior dogs this tug toy is fine.
The Twin critters Tug-of-Wool toy is not a bad choice for a tug toy. It has some features that I like.
It’s all natural. So you’re sure there are no harsh chemicals seeping into your dog’s mouth. And if your dog has an allergy to plastic this is the toy for you.
I’m impressed with how it’s made and I like the 2 handles. I think the grip space is too long.
It gives your dog too many options when it comes to gripping the toy. So it’s likely that your hand might be nipped more than you like!
Also, some pooch parents complained that their dog pulled the tug toy apart in no time. But like I mentioned earlier this could be because they were chewing it.
If your pooch is not the guarding or hunting type, you should consider the Tug-of-Wool as a tug of war toy for your dog.
But in my opinion, it’s probably not for a dog that’s a power tugger with a strong jaw. Specifically German Shepherd’s Rottweilers, Bullie breeds and Terriers.
Redline Leather Puppy Bite Rag with Handle
The next tug toy for dogs is this Leather Puppy Bite Rag from Redline. It made the list as one of the best tug of war toys for dogs because it’s designed especially for pups.
The rag itself is soft suede leather which is perfect for pups and young dogs. The soft leather is a super feature because it protects their gums from bleeding. And you won’t run the risk of accidentally pulling a tooth.
The soft leather makes it easy for your puppy to bite but it’s tough enough to be tugged at.
The rag is made up of one piece of leather folded down the middle and double stitched along the open sides.
And it has one strong nylon handle. Which is triple stitched about 1/3 of the way into the leather.
The double and triple stitching means this toy will keep it’s shape over time and won’t fray.
Okay, so you already know this rag is made for puppies. But maybe you think your puppy is too young. Or your breed is too small.
If you do, you’ll be happy to know that this rag works well for dogs of all ages!
I’ve watched a 7 week old Boston Terrier learn the basics of tug with this rag.
It’s perfect for older pups too. And some pooch parents have reported that their adult dogs love playing tug with this rag.
You’ve probably noticed that I’m a big fan of the Redline range of dog tug toys!
But hey, nothing is perfect so it’s worth mentioning here that I would prefer the toy without a handle. It can get in the way of tug once your puppy is more experienced but not old enough to upgrade yet.
So, I recommend cutting it off when that time comes.
Also, I recommend using this rag for dogs with medium drive only. So if your dog is a high drive aggressive tugger you’re better off with the Redline Soft Flat Rolled Tug Toy or the Redline Bite Suit Tug Toy.
That being said, this Leather Puppy Bite Rag is one of the few safe tug toys for puppies. And a must if you’re planning on teaching your pup to master the rules of tug.
The Nero Ball
You might have heard about the The Nero Ball. It’s a pretty famous toy in the dog world. Especially among the Shutzhund crowd and in the military world.
This tug toy is used by K9 military units worldwide to train their 4-legged officers.
It’s different to the other tug toys I’ve reviewed here in design.
The Nero Ball is designed with a strong nylon rope, which is your handle. And it has a tough-as-nails rubber ball on one end. The ball is your dog’s grip space.
The ball is made from natural rubber so you can be sure there are no nasty toxins spending time in your dog’s mouth.
I like the fact that the ball has some ‘give’. This is great during tug because it gives your dog the feeling that they’re making headway.
But, from my research there are mixed feelings about The Nero Ball’s durability.
There are been several complaints about the nylon rope detaching from the ball. Which makes it lose points in my book.
Also, there are complaints about the ball being destroyed by aggressive chewers. Which is bad since the manufacturer claims the ball is great for chewers.
I think this tug toy is only suitable for adult dogs that are way past their teething stage. So I don’t recommend it for dogs under the age of 12 months. And for larger breeds I’d push it to 18 months.
I’m really in two minds about The Nero Ball. The complaints about its durability as a tug toy is a definite problem for me.
I mean what’s the point of having a tug toy that can’t take the tug punch?
And when it comes to chewing, I don’t think a hollow ball is a good candidate for a chew toy.
Although, as far as ball-and-rope tug toys go, I think The Nero Ball is the safest choice. I say this because the ball is not a tennis ball which most other toys like this have.
But, it’s not the kind of tug of war toy I’d buy and use for my dogs.
How to Find the Best Tug of War Toys for Dogs
Finding garbage tug toys is easy.
But finding the best tug toys for those fun games of war is not as easy as it seems.
So I’ve put together this handy buyers guide to help you know what to look for and what to avoid.
After all, your dog’s safety is important. And believe me, so is yours! If you’ve ever accidentally been nicked by your dog’s tooth you know what I’m talking about!
The materials used to make a tug of war toy is without a doubt the most important thing to look at when you’re hunting for tug toys.
Going with high quality materials means you’re protecting your dog from nasty toxins.
And you’ll be guaranteed that the toy will last longer.
You want something that’s going to give you good value for money AND a toy that can handle being tugged at.
Sure, nothing lasts forever, but what’s the point of spending money on new tug toys every month?
The kinds of materials I like are:
- French Linen.
- Natural rope.
I recommend avoiding tennis balls or tennis ball-like toys. These types of balls tend to wear down teeth and many of them contain toxins.
The handles on tug toys are there for our benefit only. Your dog is going to love the tug toy regardless of handles.
So, deciding whether you want toys with handles or not is a personal choice.
Handles can be great if you and your dog are new to playing tug of war. I consider them a safety feature because they keep my hands out of the line of fire of my dog’s grip.
Although, I know many pooch parents often cut the handles off their dog’s toys.
In my opinion, it makes sense to go for tug toys with handles which you can cut off later if you want to.
Picking tug toys with 1 or 2 handles will depend on what works best for you and your dog.
I don’t think one or the other is better in this case. Just go with what feels comfortable for you.
Although, I think tug toys with 2 handles are more comfortable for us. And I also like the one-handed toys because it frees up one hand.
When it comes to tug toys, the material it’s made with will determine how durable the toy is.
But, no matter how good the material is, if the stitching is rubbish, the toy won’t last.
I’ve already shared which materials I think are ideal for tug toys. But it’s worth mentioning here that stitching is is super important too.
An exceptional tug toy will be stitched with heavy duty cotton. And you’ll find double and triple stitching around edges and handles.
When you’re picking a tug toy there are 2 things you should consider…
How old is your pooch?
If your dog is still a puppy between the ages of birth and 8 months they are still in their teething stages. If you pick the wrong tug toy, you run the risk of damaging their teeth and gums.
If your pooch is a senior citizen you might consider buying tug toys that are made especially for them. Or, tug toys for pups are a great option too.
What breed is your dog?
Is your pooch a terrier, a guarding breed, a retriever breed or a miniature breed?
The breed of your dog will have a big impact on your choices.
A terrier and guarding breed have strong powerful jaws. And they tend to be aggressive tuggers.
They need tug toys that will handle the heavy pressure of their grip.
On the other hand, the retrieving breeds are specifically bred with soft mouths. This is so they don’t damage the prey they are sent out to retrieve.
So although they may love games of tug, they’ll need a tug toy that’s gentle on their mouths.
Miniature breeds have small mouths, but that doesn’t make them love tugging any less! They just need a toy that’s the right size for them to grip on.
My Favorite Tug of War Toys for Dogs
By now you’re noticed not all tug toys are created equal.
And genuine high quality tug toys for dogs are hard to come by. Even although the market is flooded with them.
In my opinion the Redline Puppy Bite Rag (find it here on Amazon) is the best tug toy to start with. No matter what age, breed or size your dog is. It’s a great tug toy to teach your pooch the basics of tugging and it’s tough too.
As for the Twin Critter Tug-of-Wool toy, the only feature I like is the fact that it’s all-natural. But so are the Redline tug toys.
I know The Nero Ball is punted by everyone and their mother online. But, in my opinion, I wouldn’t use it for a tug toy or even as a chew toy for my crew.
There are much better chew toy options on the market.
So now you’re armed with what tug toys are all about and what’s on the market.
You now know what the best tug of war toys for dogs are. And you have some great recommendations here too.
So, you can shop with confidence and make the best choices for you and your dog.
Image Credit: Dog Running with Tug Toy
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