So, your pup has dreams of becoming the next Lionel Messi? Or should I say, Lionel Mastiff?
If you are a soccer fanatic or your dog loves to chase larger-sized balls, then a soccer ball could be the perfect toy for your pooch.
But with so many to choose from, which soccer ball is right for your dog?
We wondered the exact same thing…
All up, we tested over 13 different soccer balls, playing hundreds of games of fetch and chasing our dog until we were pooped, day after day.
Here are just a few of the different dog-proof soccer balls we reviewed…
We reviewed each soccer ball for its durability, quality and suitability for different breeds. All to answer a simple question:
Which soccer ball is best for your dog?
Want the answer? Read on!
- Best all-around dog soccer ball
- Best easy-grip dog soccer ball
- Best squeaky dog soccer ball
- Best plush dog soccer ball
What is a dog soccer ball and does your pooch need one?
At first glance, a dog soccer ball looks similar to the regulation soccer ball used by Major League Soccer.
However, as you will soon learn, dog soccer balls have one very important difference.
Your dog thinks he plays soccer like this…
But dogs don’t play soccer with their feet – they use their mouths.
When playing soccer, your pooch actually looks like this…
When powerful jaws and pointed teeth that are as sharp as daggers bite down, a traditional soccer ball doesn’t stand a chance. It will puncture and deflate.
If your dog loves to chase balls, your pooch might have even caused an early end to your game of soccer…
Nothing brings a friendly kickaround to an end faster than a popped soccer ball.
Even worse – if your dog is a chewer, he will actually enjoy popping your soccer ball. Some dogs just love to destroy toys.
A traditional soccer ball just can’t hold up to this kind of wear and tear – it’s too flimsy.
If you want to play soccer with your pooch, then you need a dog-proof soccer ball. These hard-wearing balls are designed to stay strong, even when your dog bites down hard.
Made from durable materials like rubber, these balls are puncture-resistant. Even if your dog’s sharp teeth pierce the surface of the soccer ball, it won’t deflate.
It is worth mentioning that while dog soccer balls are durable, I wouldn’t go so far as to call them indestructible. You see, these are best used as a fetch toy under supervision.
Once the game is over, the ball should be put away until the next playtime. Doing so will greatly extend the life of your dog’s soccer ball.
You may have come across hard plastic balls that are similar in size to a soccer ball. Made from thick, rigid plastic, these could be described as indestructible. Why not use these as a soccer ball? Well, they have a couple of flaws…
First, when your dog bites down on hard plastic, it creates sharp edges and spikes. You can see this clearly in the picture above. These sharp bits can cut your dog as he carries the ball, so it needs to be sanded down regularly to prevent injuries.
Also, these plastic balls are too hard to be kicked. Speaking of which…
That’s the very reason why I love using a soccer ball during playtime. It can be kicked! If you are sick of bending down to pick up balls to throw, kicking a soccer ball makes a refreshing change. Plus, you won’t get dog slobber on your hands!
If your dog loves to play in the water, choose a soccer ball that floats. While most do, you shouldn’t assume it will unless the manufacturer specifically lists that it does. You don’t want to fish out a soccer ball from the bottom of a lake or pool, do you?
I’ll add that traditional-sized dog soccer balls, which are around 8 inches, are best suited for medium to large breeds. Smaller dogs can have difficulty wrapping their jaws around the large ball size.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of soccer balls to choose from, even for your pint-sized pooch. Some soccer balls have grooves to make them easier for small mouths to grip. Others are miniature versions of a soccer ball. Whatever dog you have, there is a soccer ball toy to suit.
If you do want to buy a traditional soccer ball, then I recommend choosing a size 3. This is the smallest regulation soccer ball and are generally used for children under the age of 8. At 24 inches in circumference, it’s is easier to grip than adult balls.
Decided a soccer ball is a good toy for your dog? Awesome! Now all you need to do is check out these top performers to choose the best soccer ball for your dog…
Best dog soccer balls
In our hunt for the best, we tested and reviewed 13 different dog soccer balls.
It was a long journey, but eventually, we were able to narrow down the competition to 4 winners – each unique in their own way.
To start, I’m going to show you the best soccer ball for most dogs. From there, I make recommendations for those of you looking for something a little more specialized, such as a soccer ball that is easy-to-grip, one that squeaks, and another that is plush.
Best all-around dog soccer ball
Let me be straight up. This ball is made from heavy-duty rubber. If you are looking for something lightweight to kick a long distance, then skip this pick.
I was actually shocked when I stepped up to kick the ball with all my might. I was not expecting the ball to be so solid – it doesn’t have the same give as a regulation soccer ball.
However, it’s this exact quality that makes it good for toy destroyers and large breeds with a powerful bite, such as German Shepherds. This ball can take a LOT of abuse. Check it out…
Even with hundreds of punctures, it still kept its shape. No deflating or popping here! This is as close as you will get to an indestructible soccer ball.
The Jolly Soccer Ball is available in two sizes:
|Size||Ball Size||Dog Weight|
|Small||6 inches||0-40 pounds|
|Large||8 inches||40+ pounds|
If you want the size to be close to a regulation soccer ball, choose the larger ball.
However, if your dog is a smaller breed, such as a Boston Terrier or even a puppy, choose the small size, or your dog won’t be able to wrap his jaws around it.
The smaller size was considerably easier to carry by small to medium dogs.
We didn’t have any punctures during testing. However, based on my observation of how the dogs carried the larger ball, I have a suspicion that the larger size will break first.
Because it’s so large, the few dogs that could carry the ball around chewed it with their incisors and canines – the sharp pointy teeth at the front of your dog’s mouth.
Not that this should be an issue. After all, this should be used as a fetch-and-play toy only under supervision, not given to your dog as a chew toy.
The Jolly Soccer Ball is available in 3 colors, and 2 are scented:
- Blue – unscented
- Green – apple-scented
- Orange – vanilla-scented
The smell soon fades. We could barely notice it after a few play sessions. So, choose whichever color you prefer.
I will also add that this soccer ball floats. If you kick the ball and it bounces into your pool, you won’t have to worry about it sinking to the bottom.
Best of all, the Jolly Soccer Ball is manufactured right here in the USA. I wish more companies did this.
If you are looking for a puncture-proof soccer ball for your pooch, then this is as good as it gets.
Best easy-grip dog soccer ball
Straight up, the Chuckit! Kick Fetch is nothing like a traditional soccer ball.
It has these grooves that make this ball perfect for dogs of all sizes. They provide your dog with something to bite while he carries it back to you. Even a puppy can get a grip!
It’s canvas cloth and rubber exterior hide a foam core. It’s the foam that makes the Kick Fetch so easy to kick. I was able to get great distance with minimal effort.
I would add that if your dog is a chewer, you’ll be better off sticking with our first recommendation. The canvas will soon tear if chewed on by a large dog, such as a Boxer or Labrador.
But if your dog carries it instead of chewing it, then the Kick Fetch is durable enough to see a year out. Besides a few puncture holes on the rubber area, the ball held strong during testing.
The Kick Fetch is available in two sizes:
If you are looking for something close to the size of a regulation soccer ball, I recommend the larger size. It gives you more surface area to kick.
Chuckit! also makes a glow-in-the-dark version for nighttime kickarounds. It’s fun watching the shadowy black shape of your dog chase after this glowing ball that appears to “carry itself back to you.”
While the glow-in-the-dark version held up just fine during our testing, I want to point out that users found this model less durable than the bright orange version. Perhaps this is why the glow-in-the-dark version is considerably cheaper.
Whichever version you choose, both float. If you are looking for a soft and easier-to-grab soccer ball, then the Chuckit! Kick Fetch is unbeatable. Just don’t forget to take it away from your dog once playtime is over!
Best squeaky dog soccer ball
Does your dog love soccer and things that squeak? Nerf combined the two into a heavy-duty toy that kept our dogs entertained for hours – wagging their tails excitedly every time they made it squeak.
Unfortunately, if you want a soccer ball that squeaks, you need to compromise on size. Speaking of which, the Nerf Soccer Squeaker is available in three sizes…
Given that the largest size is about half that of a regulation soccer ball, these are better made for throwing than kicking, especially the smallest size.
On that note, the smallest ball is roughly the same size as a tennis ball and fit in our Chuckit! Dog Ball Launcher. The large ball is about the size of a softball.
I’m happy to report that the durable rubber held up well to strong bites during play. Our Labrador tester loves crushing balls by biting them. She couldn’t crunch her way through the large size.
Even so, if you have a hardcore chewer like a Pit Bull, this squeaker won’t last long. If your dog is a power chewer, check out the Orbee-Tuff Squeak ball instead. This soccer ball is best used as a fetch toy and not a chew toy.
Despite the hard-wearing rubber, I was surprised that this ball had a good bounce once thrown. I couldn’t get any ball to squeak when bounced, but once caught by our testers, they were delighted to find that it squeaked. Our Australian Shepherd in particular was thrilled with this discovery.
If you want a soccer ball that squeaks, this is as good as it gets!
Best plush dog soccer ball
Okay, so this isn’t a toy that is made for dogs. It’s actually designed for young kids who find firm soccer balls too hard to kick. But I’ll tell you what – it outperformed the plush soccer ball that was made specifically for dogs by a long shot.
Now, I must stress that this recommendation is only suitable for dogs that don’t enjoy chewing and ripping the stuffing out of plush toys or aggressively shaking their toys. Take our Golden Retriever, for example. She was happiest just holding the soccer ball in her mouth and carrying it around the house.
As a plush toy, this soccer ball isn’t really suitable for outside play. If you do, it’s going to get dirty really quickly. But for indoor play with your dog, there is no soccer ball I would recommend more…
It’s like kicking a pillow. Because it’s soft, you don’t have to worry about breaking a window or even marking up your walls. It’s great if you are snowed in and can’t take your dog outside for a kickaround – set up a game of living-room soccer instead!
For regular play, the seams held strong, and because the ball isn’t overstuffed, our dogs could easily wrap their jaws around it. Highly recommended.
The dog soccer balls that didn’t make the cut
Ordinarily, we love Planet Dog toys. However, at 5 inches, their Orbee Tuff Soccer Ball felt more like a throwing ball than a soccer ball. It isn’t a sealed ball. It has a hole in either end, something that isn’t immediately apparent when shopping online. I did appreciate that it is American-made, though.
Nerf’s newer model, the Soccer Crunch Ball got rid of the squeaker altogether. Instead, it has a material that needs to be compressed in the right way to make a crinkly sound. In our tests, it didn’t always work. Our dogs preferred the older squeaky version.
The Interactive Treat Dispensing Soccer Ball had a couple of flaws that stopped us from recommending it. First, it doesn’t hold up to strong bites. Larger dogs, like a Boxer or Rottweiler, will quickly chomp their way through the soft rubber. Smaller dogs will be equally disappointed. The smaller dog biscuits we used fell right through the holes.
Ethical Pet’s Spot soccer balls were made from a springy latex and came in a pack of three. At 2 inches, they are a choking hazard. I can’t even recommend these soccer balls for a small breed like a Pomeranian or Chihuahua, and the squeakers fail quickly.
The rubber-spiked Gnawsome Squeaker soccer ball was a huge success. It had a louder squeaker than our top pick, which our dogs loved. However, the spikes that are glued into the ball began to peel away after just a few sessions of play. If this were better made, it would be our top pick.
Ethical Pets made the only plush soccer ball designed specifically for dogs. At 4½ inches, it was a decent size. Oh, and it squeaks! However, it was considerably less durable than our top pick. I also noticed that it shed a small amount of fuzz when rolling across my couch.
The Paws Ballistic dog soccer ball had a handle on either side to play tug-of-war. Unfortunately, the ball punctured in the first casual play session. After this, it quickly began to deteriorate.
We also tested a few soccer balls on rope, such as the Top Paw Play soccer rope and the Sports Dogs Toss & Fetch. Truth be told, the addition of a soccer ball didn’t add much to these tug toys. If you want a rope toy, skip the soccer theme, and check out our guide on the best rope toys for dogs.
If you made it this far, congratulations! You now know which soccer ball is ideal for your dog.
A recap of our results…
The dog soccer balls we recommend:
- Jolly Soccer Ball – Best all-around
- Chuckit! Kick Fetch – Best for small to medium dogs
- Nerf Soccer Squeak – Best for squeak-toy lovers
- Plush Soccer Ball – Best for indoor play
Which soccer ball do you use to play with your pooch? Let me know in the comments below!