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And Now, We Bring You a Durable Dog Toy Showdown

Ace takes on the Mighty Ocean Seahorse, the Go Dog Screech Owl, and the Kyjen Hard Core Fire Hose. Which toy will prove indestructable?

 |  Mar 25th 2014  |   19 Contributions


When I pull out my camera, Ace gets excited: Her ears stand at attention, her huge eyes widen even further, and she holds my gaze expectantly. She is wondering what kind of dog products we will be trying out today, and whether there will be treats involved. (This is in contrast to when I hold my iPhone’s camera towards her -– for some reason she immediately stops being cute or runs away.) I suspect that although she loves being bribed with treats to pose for all sorts of odd photos, she is secretly hoping we’ll be testing new toys.

Ace got her wish this week, when we compared three soft toys purchased from a local chain pet store. Each toy claims to be particularly durable. Because Ace loves to chew, shake, and tug her stuffed toys into extinction, I’m often curious about claims by dog toy manufacturers that their toys are stronger than others. But durability is not the only consideration –- even if a toy is tough, will it still be attractive to Ace?

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Who you callin' small?!

With great enthusiasm, Ace tested the Mighty Ocean Seahorse ($20.99). Mighty ranks their stuffed toys on the Dura-Scale, which goes from 5 (“Small dog durable;” Ace scoffs at this term) to 10 (“Mega-Strong –- most Durable!”). Browsing the website, I was impressed by the sheer variety of Mighty toys and by their truly beautiful design. The Mighty Ocean Seahorse is rated an 8 on the Dura-Scale (“Long lasting and really durable”).  Ace tried the regular-sized, which is made for dogs more than 20 pounds. She is 15 pounds, but I found this size appropriate for her, especially because she likes to play tug.

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Ace's blood lust -- er, stuffing lust -- was the undoing of the Seahorse.

The Mighty Ocean Seahorse is adorable. I mean, look at that curly tail! It includes a squeaker in its belly. I think it was the squeaker that made Ace focus her biting grip on the Seahorse’s stomach, and unfortunately that is where she tore this toy during our second play session. I was disappointed that my little dog had made a stuffing-leaking hole so soon in the toy’s tenure with us.

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Twins?

After the rather easy murder of the Seahorse, Ace had a taste for stuffing, and I was afraid for our next test subject, the adorable Screech Owl by Go Dog (about $12). This toy caught my eye because, like the Mighty toys, it is a good-looking stuffed toy that claims to be durable. Go Dog touts their Chew Guard Technology, which includes a “super tough, durable liner” inside their toys as well as reinforced stitching. They have a guarantee that allows you to get a one-time replacement if your dog’s Go Dog toy doesn’t meet your standards, which is pretty cool.

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HOOOOOOOOONK!!!!!!!

I think the Screech Owl should be renamed the Haunting Honking Owl, because that name better describes the sound the Owl’s squeaker makes. Ace was obsessed with this toy from its first honk. She tended to take the toy away from me and drive it into the floor with her face over and over so that it squeaked incessantly. She actually stood in front of her toy bin and stared at this toy after I’d put it away. Perhaps just as importantly, during our week of intermittent play, the Go Dog Screeching Owl held up without a tear.

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So hard core.

For our third act, Ace and I wrestled with the Hard Core Fire Hose dog toy by Kyjen ($10.49). As its awesome name implies, this toy is made from an actual fire hose encased in a woven nylon shell for extra durability. It even floats. The Hard Core Fire Hose comes in three sizes. Unfortunately, Ace and I tried the large size. While the size of the toy is comparable to other toys we have, because it is rather rigid and the woven nylon is smooth, she had difficult gripping the toy with her mouth. Also, because of the fire hose inside, it is a bit heavier than her typical toys.

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Like a snake unhinging its jaw, Ace tries to stretch her maw.

I think the Hard Core Fire Hose would be a fantastic outdoor toy, a good alternative to a ball or stick for playing fetch. It seems like it would be easy to wipe down if soiled. I’m not sure if it was the size of the toy or something about the toys itself (e.g., it is not fuzzy, it is not very soft), but Ace was not very interested in playing with the Hard Core Fire Hose.

Dogster Scorecard for the Ocean Seahorse toy by Mighty

  • Quality: Mighty toys are made with colorful, quality materials and cute details.
  • Style: The Ocean Seahorse is a beautiful toy. I love its curly tail and fun yellow coloring.
  • Function: Despite its rating of 8 on the Dura-Scale, the Ocean Seahorse did not hold up during routine play.
  • Creativity: Mighty offers a wide variety of adorable, colorful toys.
  • Value: For $21, I expected this toy to last longer.

Dogster Scorecard for the Screech Owl toy by Go Dog

  • Quality: The Screech Owl appeared well-made.
  • Style: The Owl is almost too cute to be mauled.
  • Function: The Owl held up to Ace’s attack. She was obsessed with its loud, honking squeaker.
  • Creativity: Go Dog’s line of durable stuffed toys is eclectic and interesting
  • Value: This durable toy is a great deal at $12.

Dogster Scorecard for the Hard Core Fire Hose toy by Kyjen

  • Quality: The Fire Hose is a heavy, solid toy that appears built to last.
  • Style: The Hard Core Fire Hose is the best name for a dog toy I have heard yet.
  • Function: Despite its promising design, Ace wasn’t very interested in playing with the Fire Hose.
  • Creativity: The Fire Hose is a unique toy. Water-loving dogs will appreciate that this toy can float.
  • Value: I think the Fire Hose is fairly priced at $10.49.

Bottom line

For Ace, the Go Dog Screech Owl was love at first bite, and the Owl held onto its stuffing and its honking squeaker.

Dogster readers, have your dogs tried any of these toys before? I’m especially curious to hear about dogs’ experiences with the Hard Core Fire Hose. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read more reviews from Ace's Mama here!

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About Ace's Mama: This East Coast transplant enjoys the bounty of San Francisco, including its micro-climates, farmers' markets, and secret stairway walks. When she's not walking with, talking about, or kissing the face of her Boston Terrier, Ace, she blogs about Ace's adventures. Product reviews writer and guinea pig at Dogster.

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