Best Toys for Great Danes – Our Experience

So many toys – so little time.

No Such Thing as “Indestructable”

Every time I see those words on the packaging of a chew toy it makes me chuckle. I’ve yet to find a toy that a Great Dane can’t destroy. So the only question that remains is how long will it last. We will be doing some personal reviews of specific chew toys in the near future, so I won’t go into deep detail here. We’ve had good luck with the Ultra Kong – this is probably as close to “indestructable” as you can get, but that’s not the only thing that makes for a good chew toy.

Rope Toy

Lucy did manage to tear this up, but it took a while.

We’ve also had good luck with rope toys like this one. It was a chew toy but we could also play catch or fetch with it (We’ll talk more about these game shortly). While she was able to pull it apart over time, the natural fiber rope helped clean her teeth and there are no tiny rubber pieces to bite off and swallow.

All Toys are not Chew Toys

Chewing isn’t the only thing Danes like to do. Lucy also loves to play “ball“. Her favorite move is to rear up slightly and pounce on the ball with both front paws, sending it across the room and instigating a short chase sequence.

She’s not much of a retriever and doesn’t fully grasp the concept of “fetch“. If I take her to the back yard and throw a ball she might go get it but chances of her bringing it back to me are 50/50. And if she does bring it back and I throw it again, she will look at me with a face that says, “What did you do that for!? I brought it back to you once, if you want it back again you’re going to go get it yourself this time.”

Lucy does however like to play “catch.” This is a short range high arching toss which she may catch or choose to let it bounce off her head before picking it up.

Balls come in a variety of sizes and materials. Again the Kong balls are good but too heavy for a game of “catch”. Half deflated soccer balls or footballs are fun (as long as you don’t want to use them any more). But they can quickly cross the line into a chew toy if you’re not watching.

To Tug, or Not To Tug

The rope toy we discussed earlier coud be seen as a “tug toy” but we are careful to not encourage that game. From a very young age we train our Danes to not tug or pull on toys (or thier leash for that matter). Primary reason for this is because they’ll win! Understand that I’m over 6′ tall and weigh well over 200 lbs., so I can hold my ground with her but my wife, not so much. The last thing I want is for my Dane to drag anyone to the ground while “playing.”

It’s a matter of safety that we choose not to play “tug” with our Danes.

She’s a Lover not a Chewer – Well sometimes…

Great Dane with stuffed toys

Lucy with her blue whale from Hawaii and Doug the Dog from the movie “UP”. In the background you can see her baby Blue from “Jungle Book”. She has a lot of Disney toys.

In Lucy’s quieter moments she loves her stuffed animals. Our children are grown and we don’t have any grandchildren yet, so when we’re on vaction (or sometimes just out shopping) Lucy usually gets a new stuffed animal. And she absolutly loves to love her stuffed animals.

Not all dogs will treat a stuffed animal with love and affection and sometimes we have to remind Lucy to “be gentle” if she starts playing too rough (by playing rough I mean shaking violently back and forth). That being said some stuffed animals are better than others as companions for your Dane.

We try to avoid toys with small appendages that can be tempting to chew off. And of course durable construction will help. You can find plush toys that are made for dogs but honestly many of them are just too poorly made for a Dane.

One of Lucy’s current favorites is her skunk. Over the past few years Lucy has tried to make friends with a skunk that lived under our front porch more than once. (I say “lived” because I finally encouraged the skunk to find a new residence just this year). So when we saw this skunk plush dog toy we knew she had to have it. This toy is great it checks all the boxes: durable construction, no small pieces to chew off, sized to fit comfortably in the mouth, and of course, the squeeker – the best toys have a squeeker. (Best for her, not necessarily best for us.) If you can’t find one at a local store like we did, you can get your very own “safe skunk” at this link.

Toys are Relative

Great Dane with logSo what is a “toy” anyway. Like any 4 year old who on Christmas morning is found playing with the box rather than the toy that came in the box – some of the best toys are the ones you find. For instance, Lucy thinks my fire wood is her personal stash of chew toys. Before mowing the lawn I have to go collect all the firewood that’s been distributed evenly around the back yard.

The Best Toy for Your Dane

In short the best toy for your Dane depends greatly on, your Dane. We’ve had 3 Danes so far and it’s safe to say that every Dane is different. They have different personalities – different dispositions – different likes and dislikes when it comes to play. Your Dane may have figured out how to play “fetch” while Lucy is content with running a quick lap around the yard (or the house if it’s cold or rainy outside) then go pick out a plush toy from her Toy Box to keep her company in the middle of the living room rug.

Try a variety of chew toys, balls, rope toys or plush, then let them pick out their favorites.

Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about about your Dane’s favorite toys.

7 comments on “Best Toys for Great Danes – Our Experience

  1. Michael

    Hey, I am a big dog lover and I was browsing the web to find some nice toys and I came across this really cool website, I also have a Dane and it is impossible to find the right ones for him as he destroys everything in a matter of minutes – need something hard wearing asap so can you recommend anything in particular?

  2. Dave Post author

    Hi Michael! I know what you’re talking about. Our last Great Dane was an aggressive chewer. I remember once buying a small tractor tire with a knotted rope through it thinking surely she won’t be able to destroy this. It lasted about a week and left skid marks on the walls. (lol)

    I plan on creating detailed reviews of specific chew toys in future posts, but for right now I can recommend natural Elk Antlers. This is the only thing we’ve tried that still looks the same as the day we bought it.

  3. Kat

    Hi, it’s true, what a toy is to one dog might not be of interest to another dog! It really is dependent on each individual. I laughed when I read about your Lucy’s idea of a toy being wood for the fire! Maybe it’s her way of keeping you moving and getting exercise lol! I hadn’t thought of toys not being indestructible until your take of it with a Great Dane. Which makes total sense. My dog has ruined her teddy, but that’s because she loves playing tug of war with my kids who also have fun, so the toy doesn’t last long. She’s not a chaser of it by any means either, so the toys purpose needs to adapt to the dog’s interests. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jan

    I really enjoyed reading about Lucy. My family and I have been thinking about getting a Great Dane. Your article did bring insite into some aspects of owning a Great Dane that I never thought of before. We have a couple of small dogs that love to play tug-a-war. It would have never have occured to me to not encourage the game of tug-a-war, but your article brought out a good point about why not to encourage the game with bigger and stronger dogs. I think I will keep that in mind.

    1. Dave

      I’m glad this article was helpful. I hope your family is able to include a Great Dane soon. They are great with kids!

      If you have any questions as you continue to pursue purchasing a Great Dane, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help you on that journey.

  5. Ali

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    1. admin

      Thanks for your interest. I’m glad you found this information helpful. Please let me know if you have questions or would like to see an article on a specific topic.

      We’re all in this together!


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