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Food & Diet

Guide to Choosing Breed-Specific Dog Foods

At A Glance

Choosing breed-specific dog foods is the best choice you can make when creating your pet’s diet chart. Their activity levels, development needs, health risks, and temperaments—breed-specific dog food takes everything into consideration.

Here are some factors you must check when choosing breed-specific dog foods:

  • Nutritional value
  • Ingredient quality
  • Portion size
  • Fillers and preservatives
  • Customer reviews

Last Updated on: Jan 12, 2024

custom oil-painted dog portraits by Poshtraits

Are you having a hard time creating a dietary routine for your pet? Giving your furry companion the right food is one that many owners struggle with.

Choosing breed-specific dog foods is a surefire way to solve this problem!

In this guide, we break down the science behind breed-specific dog food and how it can address your pet’s feeding woes.

Let’s begin!

What Is Breed-Specific Dog Food?

Breed-specific dog food is tailored to your dog’s breed type and nutritional needs. These dietary needs often consider factors like size, health issues, growth, build, exercise needs, and more.

A breed-specific diet addresses the fact that every breed type is unique, so their dietary needs will also differ from others.

Let’s take a look at some of the key differentiating factors in breed-specific dog foods:

Size-Based Breed-Specific Dog Food

corgi dog with food bowl

Generally, food for small breeds is very different from that of large or giant breeds, regardless of age. The main reason for this is differences in their expected development and growth.

Most small-breed puppies develop more rapidly in comparison to larger or giant ones. Typically, it takes a large breed puppy 18 to 24 months for their bodies to reach adult size. In contrast, a small breed puppy will fully grow within 12 months. The differences in the rate of physical development are also reflected in their nutritional requirements.

Another consideration related to breed size is choking hazard. Kibble made for large breeds can be dangerous when given to small breeds. Small breeds need kibble that is smaller in size.

Health Risk-Based Breed-Specific Dog Food

Health risks also vary by breed, and choosing breed-specific dog food can help reduce them. For example, small dog breeds are more prone to obesity than large dogs, so they need a lower calorie diet with weight-control formulas.

In contrast, large breeds often face skeletal and joint health problems over time due to improper nutrition. It is best to give them a diet that balances the ratio of protein, fat, and other nutrients.

Another example is the increased risk of dental problems in small dogs. Breed-specific dog food easily combats this issue by integrating dental enzymes into the ingredient mix of kibble made for small dogs.

Activity Level-Based Breed-Specific Dog Food

Athletic dog breeds need food that supports their active lifestyle and fuels their strength and stamina. The same isn’t appropriate for a breed that mostly lays on the couch and has a low activity level.

Metabolism-Based Breed-Specific Dog Food

golden retriever with his bowl

There’s a massive gap in the metabolic rates of small vs. large breeds. Large dogs generally have a slower metabolism compared to smaller ones. This naturally means that smaller breeds need a calorie-dense diet.

Of course, breed-specific dog food is carefully developed after considering all of these critical factors. This ensures that pet owners don’t need to create the proper diet for their pets all on their own.

Here are some examples of breeds and why they may require breed-specific pet food that’s appropriate for them.

  • Golden Retrievers are at risk of joint disease if they’re given a calcium-rich and calorie-dense diet.
  • Bulldogs are prone to food allergies and need strictly hypoallergenic ingredients.
  • Siberian Huskies have very high energy levels and require a diet that helps fuel their physical activity requirements.
  • Chihuahuas have very small jaws and will need kibble that is easy for them to chew and swallow.

Choosing breed-specific dog foods is the best way to provide your pet with the exact nutrition it needs. The approach takes away all the challenges of figuring out the proper diet and struggling with what to feed your furry friend.

While we agree that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all dogs, breed-specific food is as close as it gets. Of course, if your dog has a health condition or special dietary needs, creating a tailored diet with the help of a veterinarian is the best choice.


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I am a full-time mum of two kids and a beautiful golden retriever. Writing is my passion: from food journalism to pets, parenting tips, etc. I can write on just about everything under the sun. I have been writing for the past 7 years and during that time, I have been a regular contributor to several blogs and pet magazines. I have also written feature articles, POV pieces, and dabbled in a few different formats of writing over the years.