If you’re looking for a way to tire out your energetic herding dog, or if you’re just looking for a new and interactive toy for your pup, a herding ball may be the perfect solution. We’ve tested out over 11 different herding balls, spending dozens of hours watching our hyperactive dogs chase them around the yard. Here’s our top pick.
Which herding ball is best for your dog?
Want the answer? Then read on.
What is a herding ball and does your pooch need one?
If you are looking for an interactive dog toy that will keep your pup entertained, a herding ball is a great option. These balls are too big or heavy to be picked up and carried, so your dog will have to push and chase them around. This type of play is perfect for keeping your dog active and engaged, and it can even help to relieve boredom or depression. Herding balls come in a variety of sizes and colors, so you can find one that is perfect for your dog. Plus, they are durable and built to last, so you can rest assured knowing that your dog will enjoy playing with their herding ball for years to come.
It makes it easier for your dogs to push with different parts.The herding ball should be as big as your dog.
Herding balls are large, hard plastic balls that can be used in backyard play.They are not able to be carried and bounce.Instead, these solid balls should be pushed by your dog.
Herding dogs especially will play for hours with herding toys.This is because there’s a reason.
Herding dogs were originally bred for work on farms.They are extremely intelligent and spend their time moving livestock, such as sheep, cattle, and ducks, from one place to the next.Herding dogs are one of the most intelligent dog breeds.
A few popular herding dogs include:
- Australian Cattle Dogs
- Border Collies
- German Shepherds
- Old English Sheepdogs
- Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties)
Herding animals was a tiring job, as you can see.This required a lot of energy from these dogs to chase animals across vast open fields.Dogs had to be able to focus on their task and respond to the movements of livestock. Herding is an exciting and rewarding job.
Although herding dogs are still available on farms, they are more common in suburban homes.Although I don’t remember when you last stepped in the suburbs I can tell you that there isn’t much land for sheep or dogs to run around on.
Even worse for the herding dogs who live in the heart of the city is the situation they are in…
Like with any dog, a lack of stimulation or entertainment can lead to problem behavior such as…
- Chasing cars, bicycles, cats, dogs, or people
- Nipping at the heels of other dogs at the dog park or even people
- Trying to herd people through doorways while blocking them from entering others
The best herding balls
We tested and evaluated over 11 different herding ball models in our quest to find the best.Although it was a lengthy journey, we finally narrowed the field to three winners. Each winner is unique in their own way.
Let’s start by sharing the best herding balls for all dogs.Then, I will recommend the best herding balls for small dogs and extra-large ones.
1. Best all-around herding ball
Only one herding ball was able to win the price, performance, and suitability test for dogs of all sizes – The Jolly Pets push-n-Play.
This hard plastic ball is made right here in America and comes in a variety of sizes.Two sizes were better at herding than others, however.
|Large||10 inches (1.4 pounds)|
|Extra-Large||14 inches (2 pounds)|
This heavy plastic ball measures 10 inches and is roughly the same size as a basketball. It’s perfect for pushing around in the yard.Dogs of all sizes will not be able to grab the ball from the hard plastic surface.They have to move the ball around in order to play with it, much to the delight and amazement of our testers.
Some testers took a while to understand what the ball was supposed to do.It’s different than other balls that can be carried. This is understandable.Our dogs loved to push the ball around with their feet.They couldn’t stop playing with the ball once they saw it in motion.
Medium-sized dogs and larger had no problem bumping the ball on a flat surface. They chased it away as it rolled off.Herding the ball was a bit more difficult for smaller breeds.Our next recommendation is for tiny puppies.
Even the largest test dog, a Mastiff who was a bit clumsy, enjoyed chasing the ball around the yard.His sheer size made the Push-n-Play 14-inch diameter seem comically small, I have to admit.The Mastiff is known for his ability to destroy any toy.This herding ball lasted for weeks, even though he kept hitting it around the yard.
2. Best herding ball for small dogs
While reviewing thebest dog soccer balls, we came across the Jolly Soccer Ball.It turns out that it is the ideal herding ball, approximately the same size as a Corgi.
Jolly Pets Soccer Ball offers a number of advantages over traditional herding balls, including its soft rubber surface.No matter how hard your little pup attempts to carry or bite the ball, it won’t cause any harm.
The Jolly Soccer Ball is available in two sizes:
|Small (6 inches)||Large (8 inches)|
The Jolly Soccer Ball is 8 inches in diameter and will not fit most small dogs. Your tiny dog will need to push, roll, and chase the ball around, just like a herding game ball.
3. Largest herding ball
I will be honest with you.It’s basically an inflatable exercise ball.Similar to the ones used for yoga stretches.
However, don’t rush to buy one.That’s what we did.We purchased three exercise balls: one budget ball from Walmart, and two more that were advertised as “anti-burst”.
Within a matter of days, all three balls burst.Exercise balls are not meant to be used outdoors.There are many sharp objects outside that could pop them.One exercise ball was lost when it scraped against a branch. Another got a splinter off our fence and slowly fell apart.
Over our month-long testing, the Mega Ball was our only choice for an exercise ball.Well, almost.But I’ll be back to you shortly.
The Jolly Mega Ball performed better than other exercise balls.Our observations show that the Jolly Mega Ball was made of thicker material which is more resistant to popping or tearing.
Horsemen’s Pride was the original creator of the Jolly Mega Ball. It was originally designed as a toy for horses to push around in their enclosures.Although horses can be as wild as dogs, I doubt you’ve ever seen one.
This doesn’t mean that the ball is invincible.It isn’t.If your dog is a rough herder, I recommend that you read my past picks.This is the best herding ball you can get.
The herding balls thatdidn’tmake the cut
The following herding balls were not as good as our top picks.
These aren’t bad products, however.Herding balls, by and large, are simple products. They can be pushed to roll.
We don’t see any reason to recommend them when they are compared to the top picks.
Personally, I loved theVarsity Ball.It is essentially a round version of the Push-n-Play.It’sveryhigh-quality, as one would expect from a product made in the USA.Its downfall was the price.We could purchase almost three 14-inch Push-n-Play balls for the price of one Varsity Ball.The Varsity Ball is a great option if you’re looking to upgrade.You might consider giving it a pass if you are looking for something more affordable.
Another herding ball was theVirtually Indestructible Ball, which was appropriately named. It was very similar in design to the Push-n-Play.This 10-inch model is relatively affordable. If you’re looking for a plastic herding ball that doesn’t require plugs, this might be a good option.The 14-inch model was a disappointment as it was significantly more expensive.
TheBoomer Balllooked very similar to the Jolly Pets push-n-play.It was rejected by us because the brand name and dog motifs were too deep into the plastic.Boomer Ball manufactures the largest plastic herding ball available. These don’t have the same motifs.Be sure to prepay before you pay.A 20-inch Boomer Ball costs close to $100.This is the only way to get the biggest, most unpoppable herding balls.
We also tested three exercise balls:
- A budget-priced exercise ball from Walmart withCalmbranding
- Dyna Pro Exercise Ball
- Live Infinitely Exercise Ball
No exercise ball lasted more than a couple of days when used as a herding ball. This wasn’t surprising because they are not designed to be used as dog toys. However, if your dog has been trained to play Treibball, then any of these would make an appropriate Treibball ball.
Phew, if you made it this far, congratulations! You now know which herding ball is best for your dog.
A recap of our results…
The best herding balls we reviewed:
- Push-n-Play– Best all-arounder
- Jolly Soccer Ball– Best for small dogs
- Jolly Mega Ball– Largest herding ball
Which herding ball does your pooch play with? Let me know in the comments below!