It’s probably difficult to find a pet parent who hasn’t indulged in a game of tug of war with their dog. Tug of war challenges and stimulates your pup, making it a popular form of play to burn off excess energy. But with so many options available and needs to balance, finding the right tug of war dog toy isn’t always easy. 

Here we look at why tug of war is such a popular pet pastime, provide guidance for pet parents doing their own research, and round up some of our favorite dog pull toy options on the market. 

Why Do Dogs Like to Play Tug of War?

Two dogs playing with a tug toy

While some pet parents may have misconceptions about tug of war leading to aggressive behavior, tug—as most positive trainers prefer to refer to it—is a natural and positive part of a dog’s play. 

“Playing tug taps into a dog’s natural drive to play hard and wrestle,” says author and dog trainer Victoria Schade. “[So] it’s a fantastic way to harness that drive and exercise your pup.”

Beyond exercise, tug has other benefits for dogs.

“Tug can be used in a bunch of different scenarios, such as a stress reliever, a training reward, a bond-builder, and a play outlet when bad weather has your dog cooped up and bouncing off the walls,” says Schade. 

Tug of War Dog Toys: Buyers Guide

Dog playing with a dog tug toy

Not all dog toys are right for a game of tug of war. For pet parents doing their own research, here’s what you need to know. 

What is a Dog Tug Toy?

A dog tug toy is a toy that’s designed for pulling back and forth—tugging—with your dog. Tug toys differ from regular dog toys in that they’re designed to be used by your dog specifically to pull—either on their own (in the case of suction cup dog toys), with a pet parent, or with another dog. Tug of war dog toys are available in a variety of materials, but rubber and rope are the most common as they’re durable enough to withstand the back-and-forth mechanics that accompany a game of tug.

Types of Dog Tug of War Toys

Dog tug toys come in all different shapes and sizes, but some of the more popular ones include: 

Rope Toys: Sturdily crafted ropes, featuring knot elements, that allow for gripping and back-and-forth pulling. 

Bumpers: Usually rubber toys, available in multiple different shapes and sizes, allowing for a grip on either side. 

Rings: Circular-shaped dog pull toys, generally made out of rubber or other sturdy material. 

Suction Toys: Toys that feature a suction on one end that mounts to a floor, with usually a ball on the other side that your dog can grip on to and pull against. 

What to Look for in a Dog Tug Toy

Dog pulling on a tugging toy

In looking for the proper dog tug toy, finding the right material is probably the most important buying tip. 

“Just because your dog turns his nose at a traditional rubber tug toy doesn’t mean he’s not interested in the game at all,” says Schade. “The toy itself might just be a bad fit.”

To that end, Schade recommends trying a few options out to “discover what motivates him.”

Beyond finding the right material suited to your pet’s needs, Schade provides a few tips at large that buyers can keep in mind. 

Look for durability. Seek toys that can stand up to rough play, as tug can be a vigorous game.

Consider the grip. Seek toys that are suited for your pet’s grip, but yours as well as you need to hold on in order to play. 

Pick toys with easy-to-hold features. Toys with grip rings or handles can be helpful for pet parents and passionate tuggers. 

Best Tug of War Dog Toys

Happy dog playing with a tug toy in the sun when it's beautiful day

Our Top Picks:

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The ideal dog pull toys for tug of war are durable enough to last, but entertaining enough to keep your dog engaged with a pet parent or another dog for a decent period of time. 

Here are a few of our favorite tug toy options for dogs. 

Kong KG1 Tug Toy

KONG Tug Dog Toy

In the world of dog toys, Kong is one of the most recognized brands, especially when it comes to durability. This tug toy is built with Kong’s trademark tough rubber that’s built to last, and designed with two handles on either side and a sturdy middle that allows for strong gripping and interactive pulling. 


  • Durable, crafted with Kong’s trademark tough materials
  • Available in three different sizes
  • Comfortable for dog and pet parent to grip

Things to Consider 

  • Stronger dogs may be able to break through

Ruffwear Pacific Loop Dog Toy

Ruffwear Pacific Loop Dog Toy

Built with a variety of durable materials and featuring two handles on either side, this tug toy from Ruffwear provides a great option for an engaging, two-way game of tug of war between pet parents and their dogs. 


  • A hard-working toy that’s built to last, with durability thanks to materials like polypropylene kernmantle rope and denier ballistic nylon.
  • With tug handles on either side, the toy is designed for easy bonding play between pet parents and their dogs, or for dogs to play with other dogs

Things to Consider 

  • Materials used in this toy make it ideal for bigger dogs with stronger jaws
  • Your pet should be supervised while playing with this toy, as no toy is indestructible

Tall Tails Braided Infinity Tug Dog Toy

Tall Tails Braided Infinity Tug Dog Toy

A tug toy interwoven in two fun colors that allows for long lasting interactive fun with your dog. The braided design is strong and sturdy, plus it helps to clean a dog’s teeth during a game of tug. 


  • Resilient braided toy, durable and designed for tug pulling of pressure at up to 1,200 pounds of force
  • Elasticity creates a gap to help dogs keep their teeth clean while pulling

Things to Consider 

  • Only available in one color scheme

Mammoth Cottonblend 5-Knot Rope Toy

Mammoth Cottonblend 5 Knot Dog Rope Toy

This rope toy from Mammoth is a classic tug of war dog toy. It’s woven tight to provide maximum strength and durability, but crafted from cotton that’s soft on your dog’s gums. Knots along the way provide different grip points for dogs and pet parents, making it ideal for an interactive tugging session. 


  • Built from cotton, making it soft on your dog’s gums when pulling
  • Long length options and different grip points make it ideal for tug of war

Things to Consider 

  • Cotton can be broken down easier than rubber, especially by bigger dog breeds

Wild One Triangle Tug Toy

Wild One Triangle Tug

Wild One takes the classic tug toy for dogs and modernizes it with neutral and of-the-moment colors. This cool-looking toy combines a natural rubber triangle with a cotton circular rope. It’s BPA free and tested to meet food-grade standards. We love the color selection and the simplicity of this option.


  • Available in 5 different colors
  • Comes in Standard and Small sizes.
  • BPA-free and meets food-grade standards
  • The dual texture helps keep pups engaged

Things to Consider

  • Some strong chewers may make quick work of the rope 
  • It’s not the most durable option on the list 

West Paw Bumi

West Paw Zogoflex Bumi Dog Toy

This tough, stretchy toy comes in a unique design that provides a grip on either side for pet parent and dog. As each side is gripped, the toy stretches to nearly double its length. 


  • Flexibility for stretching encourages engagement
  • Available in different color options

Things to Consider 

  • Flexibility makes it a little tougher to grip than toys with a rigid handle
  • Strong pulls can break the toy easier, so this option is ideal for smaller to medium sized dogs