The 4 Best Herding Balls for Dogs: Reviewed

Written by Abby Parks
Updated: December 5, 2022
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Best forProduct
Best OverallJolly Pets Push-n-Pull Play Ball
Best Interactive BallBoomer Ball
Best IndestructibleThe Virtually Indestructible Ball Dog Toy
Best ValueHorsemen’s Pride Mega Ball

Key Points:

  • The #1 Best Over herding ball for dogs is the Jolly Pets Push-n-Pull Play Ball.
  • A herding ball for dogs is designed to train dogs from popular herding breeds how to herd sheep and cattle. Typical training involves clicker training and rewards to guide your dog to respond to verbal cues to push the balls in various ways.
  • A herding ball for dogs can also make for a great interactive toy to help reduce problem behaviors in your dog caused by boredom.
  • The best herding balls are made of materials like tear-proof polyethylene. When selecting the correct size ball for your dog, choose one that is taller than your dog’s shoulders and is too large for them to pick up with their mouth.

Herding dogs were originally bred to protect, gather, and move livestock. Many of their modern descendants maintain these instincts today — herding dog breeds like German shepherds, border collies, Old English sheepdogs, shelties, Australian shepherds, corgis, and more. If these dogs don’t get to do some kind of herding, they can easily become bored or destructive. They may even try to herd other dogs, which could result in a dangerous situation. Some often try to even herd children!

If you want to keep your herding dog content and healthy, it’s a good idea to provide them with an outlet for their energy. That’s where herding balls come in. If you want to keep your herding dog content and healthy, it’s a good idea to provide them with an outlet for their energy. That’s where herding balls come in. Herding balls are wonderful tools for bringing out your dog’s herding instincts. They are also a fantastic way to wear out your dog, keep them entertained for hours, and hopefully reduce any problematic behaviors.

Herding balls bring out the best in your dogs. Whether you use them for entertainment or training, you’ll have fun watching your dog play for hours with these large, sturdy balls. Herding balls can provide hours of rewarding entertainment and much-needed stimulation, which will fulfill your dog’s natural instinct. This fulfillment can ward off bothersome behaviors such as overly chewing, barking, chasing people and vehicles and trying to “herd” humans by nipping at their ankles.

You can use a herding ball for dogs to train your dog to respond to herding cues, putting them on a path to actually using one of their innate greatest talents. Herding balls also provide interactive play and can reduce problem behaviors in intelligent, easily bored dogs. Here’s a complete guide to the best herding balls for your dog.

  1. Boomer Ball
  2. Boomer Ball
    • Ideal for cattle dogs and other herders
    • For entertainment and interactive play
    • Durable and hard to bite
    • Available in small, large or enormous sizes
    Check Amazon
  3. The Virtually Indestructible Ball Dog Toy
  4. The Virtually Indestructible Ball Dog Toy
    • Tear-proof polyethylene
    • Prompts herding instincts
    • Provides interactive play
    • Available in blue or red in three sizes
    Check Chewy
  5. Horsemen's Pride Mega Ball
  6. Horsemen's Pride Mega Ball
    • Inflatable, heavy-duty ball
    • Ideal for entertainment or training
    • Comes with included foot pump
    • Protective covers available from manufacturer
    • Available in three sizes.
    Check Amazon

Top Picks: The Best Herding Balls

#1 Best Overall: Jolly Pets Push-n-Pull Play Ball

The Jolly Pets Push-n-Pull Play Ball is our recommendation for the overall best herding ball. This herding ball provides hours of fun for dogs with an urge to push, shove and move their toys. It has a 14″ diameter and is made from tough, dog-proof polyethylene that most dogs can’t tear or bite. The company also makes smaller versions that may be more suited to smaller breeds as well, so you can find the ball that works best for your pup.

Customers have high praise for this toy, which they found excellent for dogs of all sizes. Most said their dogs intuitively knew how to use it. This jolly big ball is a cure for boredom that will keep any dog entertained for hours, both herding and non-herding dog breeds alike.

The Jolly Pets Push-n-Pull Play Ball is made of bite-proof polyethylene, making it sturdy and durable, even against dogs that like to chew. However, some dogs may not like the hard plastic feel of the ball (as opposed to the typical rubber feel of other dog toys). In addition, since it is made of hard plastic, the ball can be loud if used on cement or indoors.

Pros and Cons of the Jolly Pets Push-n-Pull Play Ball

ProsCons
The ball is durable with bite-proof polyethylene construction.
The ball is made of a hard plastic, which some dogs do not like.
It is larger than a dog’s jaws, making it hard for them to break or chew.It can be loud if your dog plays with it on cement or indoors.
The ball is an excellent toy for dogs of all sizes, but the company also makes smaller versions if those work better for your dog.
It is a great tool for bringing out your dog’s natural herding instincts, and helps to cure boredom and burn off extra energy.

2. Best Interactive Herding Ball: Boomer Ball

The Boomer Ball is well constructed, versatile, and encourages interactive play. You can play soccer with your dog or toss the ball down a hill and let your dog herd it back to you. It is available in several sizes, from 4 inches up to 10 inches in diameter, so you can find one that is right for your dog. However, it is not a toy for chewing or being held in your dog’s mouth, so you should choose a size that is too big for your dog to carry.

The Boomer Ball is made with polyethylene so it is durable and can withstand tough dogs and dogs that love to chew. Your dog can bite and chase to their heart’s content and burn off all that extra energy without destroying the ball or eating it. It also provides excellent mental stimulation for your dog as they herd it around the yard.

However, because it is so hard and heavy, you will need to be sure to supervise your dog so that they do not injure themselves when playing with it. It can be quite loud if your dog is playing with it on cement or indoors. Some customers reported that they had to put a time limit on playtime since their dogs became so exhausted when playing with the ball.

Pros and Cons of the Boomer Ball

ProsCons
This ball is ideal for cattle dogs and other herding breeds, both for entertainment and for interactive play.Not all dogs like the hard plastic of the ball.
The ball is durable and hard to bite.The ball is hard and heavy, so it can be loud and dangerous if played with indoors or on cement.
The size and weight encourage pushing and herding behavior.Dogs can become exhausted when playing with this ball, so they may need a time limit with it.
The ball comes in several different sizes.
Best Interactive Ball
Boomer Ball
  • Ideal for cattle dogs and other herders
  • For entertainment and interactive play
  • Durable and hard to bite
  • Available in small, large or enormous sizes
Check Amazon

3. Best Indestructible Herding Ball: Virtually Indestructible Ball Dog Toy

As its name says, the Virtually Indestructible Ball Dog Toy is tough enough to take on the roughest, toughest dogs. This large ball is made from heavy-duty polyethylene that will stand up to rough play, biting, and chewing. It is designed for cattle dogs and Aussies, as well as for all dogs that enjoy chasing, pushing, and herding objects. It also floats, so you can use it for water play. Best of all, it comes in three sizes, including a 6-inch size that’s perfect for small dogs.

However, as the ball is so hard, it should only be used outdoors to prevent damaging furniture. In addition, not every dog will love the ball; customers reported that in some cases (particularly if they ordered a ball that was too big for their dog) dogs can be intimidated or nervous of this toy.

Pros and Cons of the Virtually Indestructible Ball Dog Toy

ProsCons
Like its name, this ball is virtually indestructible and can withstand the toughest dogs and strongest chewers.Can only be played with outdoors (it is hard and heavy and can easily damage indoor furniture).
It is made with tear-proof polyethylene.While small breeds often love playing with this ball, some dogs can be afraid of it, particularly if you get a size that is too big for your dog or if they use it on cement in inside where it makes loud noises.
It prompts herding instincts and provides interactive play.
There are three sizes available.
Best Indestructible
The Virtually Indestructible Ball Dog Toy
  • Tear-proof polyethylene
  • Prompts herding instincts
  • Provides interactive play
  • Available in blue or red in three sizes
Check Chewy

4. Best Value: Horsemen’s Pride Mega Ball

The Horsemen’s Pride Mega Ball is a huge ball that is designed as a toy for dogs or horses. It is large enough to supply a herding challenge for almost any dog. However, customers have noted that it is not as sturdy as the other balls on our list, but the manufacturer sells separate ball covers that may help protect it. It is inflatable and comes in three sizes: 25 inches, 30 inches, and 40 inches. However, that may be too big for some dog breeds, depending on your dog’s temperament.

Unlike the other options on our list, this ball is inflatable, so it is much lighter in weight. However, that also means that it takes longer to blow up and have it ready for your dog to play. In addition, without a cover, the ball can be easily popped due to its inflatable nature. Customers reported that the protective cover is a must-have if you want the ball to last more than a few play sessions.

Pros and Cons of the Horsemen’s Pride Mega Ball

ProsCons
This ball is more flexible and lightweight than the other options on our list, so it is not as dangerous.You will need to inflate the ball before your dog can play with it.
There are three sizes available: 25 inches, 30 inches, and 40 inches.The ball is not as sturdy as the hard plastic ones, and without a cover, it pops and tears easily.
The manufacturer also sells separate ball covers to help protect the ball when your dog is playing with it.The ball is very big and might scare some dogs.
The ball is large enough to entertain your dog and encourage their herding instincts.
Best Value
Horsemen's Pride Mega Ball
  • Inflatable, heavy-duty ball
  • Ideal for entertainment or training
  • Comes with included foot pump
  • Protective covers available from manufacturer
  • Available in three sizes.
Check Amazon

How to Choose the Best Herding Ball for Your Dog

How do you choose the best herding ball for dogs for herding dogs? Here are three things to consider:

  • Size
  • Durability
  • Purpose

Size

Your dog’s herding ball should be too large for your dog to pick up in their mouth, and taller than your dog’s shoulders. For most dogs, any ball more than 10 inches in diameter will work. Herding balls for blue heelers and other large dogs should have diameters of 14 inches or more. If you’re buying herding balls for small dogs, look for balls that are 6 to 10 inches in diameter. A herding ball should be too large for your dog to pick up, but not too heavy for them to push around.

Durability

All dog toys should be strong enough for rough dog play. A herding ball for dogs should be tough enough for all types of dog play. Tear-proof polyethylene is a popular material used in these balls.

Purpose

As with any dog toy, think about what you want your dog to do with their ball. While many toys are designed for chewing and throwing, the best herding balls don’t bounce or squeak. They are not toys for fetch games, which are designed to encourage hunting instincts. Herding balls are big, heavy, and designed for your dog to push around and “herd”.

How To Use Herding Balls

A herding ball encourages your dog’s instincts to shove, push, and herd cattle. Dogs with this instinct need physical and mental stimulation that encourages these instincts. Herding dog breeds can develop many unwanted behaviors if they do not have the proper enrichment, so a herding ball is a great way to keep your dog happy and healthy.

A herding ball for dogs isn’t like a ball you would use to play fetch. It is larger and heavier. Your dog shouldn’t be able to pick up the ball in their mouth. Instead, their first instinct will be to push and shove the ball around your yard. This is great for cattle dogs and other dogs who enjoy mental and physical stimulation. It isn’t just for large dogs, however. A smaller herding ball is excellent for small dogs.

It is always wise to supervise your dog anytime they are playing with a herding ball. Many dogs can get so excited and focused that they do not realize they are overdoing it. It may be helpful to set a time limit for how long you let your dog play with their herding ball each day.

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Up Next…

Best forProduct
Best OverallJolly Pets Push-n-Pull Play Ball
Best Interactive BallBoomer Ball
Best IndestructibleThe Virtually Indestructible Ball Dog Toy
Best ValueHorsemen’s Pride Mega Ball
About the Author

Abby Parks has authored a fiction novel, theatrical plays, short stories, poems, and song lyrics. She's recorded two albums of her original songs, and is a multi-instrumentalist. She has managed a website for folk music and written articles on singer-songwriters, folk bands, and other things folk-music oriented. She's also a radio DJ for a folk music show. As well as having been a pet-parent to rabbits, birds, dogs, and cats, Abby loves seeking sightings of animals in the wild, and has witnessed some more exotic ones such as: Puffins in the Farne Islands, Southern Pudu on the island of Chiloe (Chile), Penguins in the wild, and countless wild animals in the Rocky Mountains (Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Moose, Elk, Marmots, Beavers).

The 4 Best Herding Balls for Dogs: Reviewed FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are herding balls called?

They are sometimes called exercise balls.

What are herding balls used for?

They are used for entertainment and training. Many dogs enjoy playing with these balls. Herding balls for blue heelers, Aussies, shepherds, and other herding dogs will help them develop their instincts. These balls are good for boredom. Playing with a herding ball creates the physical and mental workout these dogs enjoy. It can also reduce problem behaviors in dogs.

Do Australian Shepherds like herding balls?

They enjoy any type of play that engages them mentally and physically. These dogs love challenges, so herding balls are particularly fun for Aussies and other working dogs.

How do you train a dog to use a herding ball?

It is easy to train most dogs to use them. Place the herding ball in your yard, and give it a gentle shove. Once it starts moving, your dog will learn the game quickly and start herding the toy. Be sure you have enough room for your dog to run around with the ball. Taking your dog and your ball to a dog park is another great idea.

Are herding balls good for dogs?

They are excellent for dogs. They increase the dog’s agility while being a true challenge. The best herding balls for blue heelers, for instance, will train those dogs to sharpen their natural instincts and feel like they’re working. Herding balls for Aussies can help them train for special sheepherding competitions. Herding balls for large dogs help reduce problem behaviors these dogs may engage in when they get bored. For small dogs, herding toys supply interactive fun that will entertain both of you.

Why do dogs like herding balls?

They like them because these balls let them do what they do best. Every dog breed has particular traits and skills. Herding dogs were born to push things and round them up. A herding ball allows them to use that instinct, which is very enjoyable. Intelligent dog breeds enjoy the challenge of a herding game.

Are herding balls heavy?

They are slightly heavier than regular balls, but they’re not too heavy for most dogs. For cattle dogs and other big dogs, the weight of most balls is just right. If you’re buying herding balls for small dogs, you may need to consider using a smaller ball.

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