The 13 Best Large Breed Dog Food in 2023

By Kevin Myers | 2023 Update

This (updated) guide lists all of the best large-breed dog food this year.

Being a parent to a large breed dog comes with big responsibilities, especially when providing them with the best nutrition. While the basic nutritional requirements of all dogs are pretty much the same, breed and life, stage-specific diets exist to match your dog’s particular dietary needs.

It’s important to understand that larger dogs require more than just sustenance – they deserve a diet that supports their robust physique, maintains their joint health, and fuels their boundless energy.

Our meticulously selected formulas are designed to cater to these requirements, ensuring that your loyal companion receives the optimal nutrition they need to thrive. Say goodbye to guesswork and give your furry friend the best, because they deserve nothing less.

In this post, we review our top selection of large-breed dog food based on our 40-point inspection list.

Let’s dig in!

The Best Large Breed Dog Food

Top PicksRatingTop Ingredients
#1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Grain-Free Dog Food
(Editor’s Choice)
4.9Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Tapioca Starch, Fish Meal
#2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Large Breed Puppy Dog Food4.9Chicken, Rice Flour, Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal
#3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Dog Food4.8Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Meal
#4. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Chicken Dinner Dog Food4.8Chicken, Chicken Broth, Carrots, Brown Rice, Peas
#5. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Dog Food 4.7Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Barley, Peas
#6. Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Dog Food4.7De-Boned Turkey, Whole Dried Egg, Potatoes, Peas, Tapioca
#7. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Dog Food4.7Deboned Chicken, Ground Brown Rice, Barley, Peas, Chicken Fat

#1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Chicken Grain-Free Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Tapioca Starch, 5. Menhaden Fish Meal

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,487 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 32% | Fat min. 13%, | Fiber max. 7% | Moisture max. 10%
  • Form: Dry

This grain-free chicken recipe by Blue Buffalo Wilderness is a favorite of large-breed dog parents with a delicious blend of flavors and nutrition. This protein-rich recipe uses deboned chicken, chicken meal, and Menhaden fish meal as the primary ingredients—ensuring your dog gets protein from only high-quality sources.

Bone and joint health are crucial in large-breed dogs. This formula provides everything needed to help maintain healthy bones by including optimal levels of Chondroitin and Glucosamine to support overall mobility. The added nutrients, such as phosphorus and calcium, help support healthy joint function and keep bones strong. And because it is a grain-free diet, it is also suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

#2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Large Breed Puppy Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Soybean Meal, 4. Corn Gluten Meal, 5. Chicken By-Product Meal

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,759 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 28% | Fat min. 13%, | Fiber max. 6% | Moisture max. 12%
  • Form: Dry

This formula from Purina One contains the best quality ingredients and is an excellent source of nutrition for large-breed puppies. It has natural glucosamine sources to help larger pups’ joints grow to their full potential. With chicken as the primary source of protein, the formula includes a variety of ingredients making an excellent nutrient profile perfectly suitable for large-breed puppies.

In addition to supporting healthy joints, this blend also includes a variety of dual-defense antioxidants and other crucial nutrients to support a robust immune system and healthy skin and coat.

#3. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Barley, 4. Oatmeal, 5. Flaxseed

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,413 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 20% | Fat min. 10%, | Fiber max. 7% | Moisture max. 10%
  • Form: Dry

Large-breed dogs are particularly susceptible to hip and joint problems as they age. The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula helps prevent these issues and keeps your dog energetic and adventurous. It is made from easily-digestible ingredients like deboned chicken, oatmeal, and brown rice for muscle repair and higher energy levels throughout the day.

This recipe contains glucosamine and chondroitin to rebuild cartilage and adds calcium and phosphorus to strengthen your dog’s bones and teeth.

#4. Blue Buffalo Homestyle Large Breed Chicken Dinner Canned Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken Broth, 3. Carrots, 4. Brown Rice, 5. Peas

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,392 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 10%, Fat (min.) 7.5%, Fiber (max.) 1.5%, Moisture(max.) 78%
  • Form: Wet

Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe is one of the few canned food specifically formulated for large and giant breeds. It primarily consists of greens and protein in the form of chicken meat, rice, carrots, sweet potatoes, and peas. This combination provides amino acids that build and repair muscle and a range of essential minerals and vitamins. 

This recipe contains easily-digestible grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and barley to support the intestinal system and fuel your dog’s energy reserves. Glucosamine and chondroitin help prevent joint/hip problems. Owners of sensitive and allergic dogs can also rejoice as the food is free from artificial additives, corn, wheat, soy, and other useless filler. 

#5. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Chicken & Turkey Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Lentils, 4. Peas, 5. Dried Ground Potatoes

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,492 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 34% | Fat min. 12%, | Fiber max. 6% | Moisture max. 10%
  • Form: Dry

Designed to provide optimum holistic nutrition, Wellness Core is a no-brainer when it comes to feeding large and giant breed dogs. The grain-free formula is designed with natural and wholesome food like chicken meat, vegetables, and fruits, making it more nutritious and easier to digest than dog food with artificial ingredients.

Aside from the primary proteins and carbs, the formula also contains a range of micronutrients such as antioxidants, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin. These micros support joint and bone health and help strengthen the immune and digestive systems.

#6. Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Adult Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. De-Boned Turkey, 2. Whole Dried Egg, 3. Potatoes, 4. Peas, 5. Tapioca

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,573 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 27% | Fat min. 13%, | Fiber max. 4% | Moisture max. 10%
  • Form: Dry

This Now Fresh antioxidant-rich formula is a recommended diet for large dogs over 50 pounds. This adult recipe is for dogs older than a year and contains nutrients your growing dog needs for healthy bones.

The recipe uses turkey, duck, and salmon as protein sources and a range of other high-quality ingredients to provide optimal nutrients to larger breed dogs. The antioxidants are extracted from wholesome ingredients such as cranberries, spinach, blackberries, pumpkin, and carrots and serve as an excellent foundation for a robust immune system.

#7. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Large Breed Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Ground Brown Rice, 3. Barley, 4. Peas, 5. Chicken Fat

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,400 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 26% | Fat min. 12%, | Fiber max. 5% | Moisture max. 10%
  • Form: Dry

Ensure the proper development of your large breed dog by nourishing them with the right food. If you are looking for an option that can help strengthen cognitive function and help with overall immunity, this recipe by Wellness is ideal.

This protein-rich formula includes high-quality ingredients like salmon meal and deboned chicken to provide a great nutrient profile, giving your dog the premium nutrition it deserves.

#8. Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Corn Gluten Meal, 3. Rice, 4. Beef Fat, 5. Whole Grain Corn

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 4,390 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 30% | Fat min. 20%, | Fiber max. 3% | Moisture max. 12%
  • Form: Dry

If your large or giant breed dog can’t seem to gain weight on its current diet, it’s time you switch to Purina Pro Plan 30/20 Formula. It’s designed for canines with extreme physical demands and has 484 calories per cup—an ideal amount for placing your dog in a caloric surplus. Almost 30% of its calories come from real chicken meat, which will help your dog gain muscle mass instead of just fat. 

Nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin are also present in the food, as active large-breed dogs are at greater risk of developing joint issues. Purina cares about your dog’s brain and cognitive health, so they also included DHA and EPA in this recipe. Your dog will also develop a healthier appearance and shiny coat from the omega-3 fatty acids. 

#9. Purina Pro Plan Focus Large Breed Weight Management Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Brewer’s Rice, 3. Whole Grain Wheat, 4. Poultry By-Product Meal, 5. Corn Gluten Meal

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,823 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 26% | Fat min. 12%, | Fiber max. 4.5% | Moisture max. 12%
  • Form: Dry

The Purina Pro Plan’s specialized formula for your large breed dog contains all the essential nutrients to keep them in the perfect shape. It contains all essential nutrients vital for large dogs already susceptible to joint and bone problems.

This specified weight-management formula offers the perfect protein-to-fat ratio and is loaded with the essential nutrients to keep your dog healthy and their bodies strong and lean.

#10. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Rice, 3. Oatmeal, 4. Dried Plain Beet Pulp, 5. Pumpkin

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,804 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 24% | Fat min. 14%, | Fiber max. 4% | Moisture max. 10%
  • Form: Dry

Holistic Select is a simple formula that contains all the nutrients a large dog needs to stay healthy and happy. Its primary ingredients are chicken, oatmeal, and rice, which provide your dog with muscle-nourishing proteins and healthy carbs to keep them lean and active.

This formula also contains vitamins, antioxidants, probiotics, and glucosamine sourced from natural food. These micros meet your large breed dog’s nutritional requirements for proper body function and health. Another great feature of this dog food is its larger kibble size, making it easier for giant breeds to eat. 

#11. Natural Balance LID Lamb & Brown Rice Large Breed Bites Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Lamb, 2. Brown Rice, 3. Rice Bran, 4. Brewers Dried Yeast, 5. Canola Oil

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,600 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 22% | Fat min. 12%, | Fiber max. 4% | Moisture max. 10%
  • Form: Dry

Natural Balance and its LID Formulas are a no-brainer for canines with allergies. However, this Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe is made explicitly for big dogs. For one, it has larger kibble that is easier to chew. Secondly, it contains nutrients for improved joint, bone, and skin health—all of which are common concerns with large-breed dogs. 

Being a limited-ingredient recipe, it features a handful of high-quality ingredients like lamb meat, brown rice, and canola oil to aid in building muscle, supporting digestion, and energizing your dog for the entire day. It is entirely free from gluten, artificial colors, and flavors, as well as poultry, corn, wheat, and soy, making the food ideal for dogs with the most severe allergies. 

#12. Iams ProActive Health Adult Large Breed Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Ground Whole Grain Barley, 3. Ground Whole Grain Corn, 4. Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, 5. Chicken By-Product Meal

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,529 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 22.5% | Fat min. 12%, | Fiber max. 5% | Moisture max. 10%
  • Form: Dry

For big dogs, it is important to look for a recipe with nutrients and supplements that work as a natural source to stimulate joints, elbows, and knees and keeps the skeletal structure strong.

This formula by Iams is an excellent option if these are the main features you are looking for in a recipe. The diet not only includes chicken and eggs as primary sources of protein but various other ingredients rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants for the best health of your dog.

#13. Eukanuba Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Corn, 3. Chicken By-Product Meal, 4. Wheat, 5. Ground Grain Sorghum

  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,680 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein min. 23% | Fat min. 13%, | Fiber max. 3.9% | Moisture max. 10%
  • Form: Dry

Fortified with minerals and vitamins, this Eukanuba dry dog food for large-breed adult dogs is an excellent choice for picky eaters. The delicious flavors will keep your dog hooked, while the optimal blend of nutrition will ensure optimal health and well-being. This recipe offers high-quality ingredients and is among the top favorites of many dog owners because of its benefits.

If you want to serve your dog meals with the goodness of essential nutrients without breaking the bank, this variety is a great option. With chicken as the primary ingredient, this recipe has sufficient levels of protein for your dog and numerous other nutrients and joint-supporting supplements that make it such a hit with large-breed dog owners.

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

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Best Large Breed Dog Food – A Buyer’s Guide

If you are considering owning a large-breed dog, stop right here! There’s so much you need to know about them before you proceed. And if you already have one, this could be the right place to learn everything about his care, grooming, and, most importantly, his diet.

While large dogs share similarities with their smaller counterparts in terms of care and nutrition, they also have distinct biological differences that require attention. Health concerns can be more pronounced in larger breeds. As a responsible owner, it’s crucial to prioritize your dog’s well-being by selecting a convenient and nourishing diet that supports their optimal health.

I know that this may all seem a bit overwhelming, but I promise you it isn’t. To help you choose the right food for your large-breed dogs.

Within this comprehensive guide, we’ll not only cover essential care and feeding tips for your gentle giants but also provide additional invaluable information that you won’t want to overlook.

So, without any more fanfare, let’s dig deeper!

Is Your Dog Really a Large-Breed Canine?

Large breed dogs generally have specific diet and exercise requirements. So it’s important to identify exactly what constitutes a large breed dog. Most experts agree that if your dog is between 22 and 26 inches tall (as measured from the floor to the highest point of the shoulder), and weighs between 59 and 98 pounds, your dog is classified as a large breed canine.

You must focus on their specific dietary and exercise requirements to maintain their best shape and overall well-being.

List of Large/Giant Breed Dogs

To make this simpler, check out our list of the most common large/giant dog breeds and see if your furry companion is mentioned here.

Here is a list of the most popular large-breed dogs:

  • Weimaraner
  • Siberian Husky
  • Samoyed
  • Rottweiler
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Poodle
  • Pitbull terrier
  • Newfoundland
  • Labrador
  • Labradoodle
  • Irish setter
  • Hungarian vizsla
  • Golden Retriever
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhound
  • German Shepherd
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Golden Doodle
  • Doberman
  • Dogue De Bordeaux
  • English Pointer
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cane Corso
  • Collie
  • Bernese Mountain dog
  • Boerboel
  • Boxer
  • Australian Bulldog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Basset Hound
  • Airedale terrier
  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute

Dietary Requirements of Large Breed Dogs

For large breed dogs, knowing their special diet needs is crucial. Among many options, concentrate on the important factors. These dogs have a slower metabolism, so regular exercise is vital for their mental and physical health. Due to their size, they’re prone to certain health issues, requiring attentive care from owners for their best possible life.

Common Health Issues to Watch Out For

As previously mentioned, the bone and joint health of large-breed dogs remains a top priority throughout their lives. Common issues like hip and elbow dysplasia often affect them. By adhering to a diet designed for large breeds, you can enhance your dog’s comfort, ensuring healthier hips and smoother mobility.

Arthritis is also prevalent among larger dogs, especially in their senior years. This underscores the importance of providing a quality diet across life stages, sparing our beloved companions from joint discomfort as they age.

Consult DVM – Large dogs are also prone to heart disease, with studies revealing a higher susceptibility to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) compared to smaller breeds. Offering a well-formulated diet tailored to their needs can potentially reduce the risk of heart issues, safeguarding their current and future well-being.

Choosing the Best Large Breed Dog Food – Nutritional Requirements

Diets designed for big pooches are usually low in caloric density due to the slow metabolic rate of your four-legged friend. However, nutrition is what you need to pay attention to. In addition to the flavors and the perfect kibble size, you must also ensure your dog stays satiated and comfortable throughout the day.

Here’s everything you need to look for in your big pooch’s ideal diet:

Quality Protein

It’s the building block of the entire formula. Your big hound requires high protein for repairing tissues and building muscles for a healthy body. Focus on quality protein options such as chicken, turkey, duck, venison, lamb, meat, and beef.


Fats play a vital role in giving your dog the energy that keeps them going. Your big tail-wagger needs optimal energy to stay active and fuel a proper amount of exercise. Look for a balanced diet that includes essential fatty acids to keep your dog looking and feeling amazing from the inside out.


It is great to pick a formula that’s fortified with DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) supplements. DHA does not only help prevent allergies and boost the central nervous system in your pooch but also stimulates healthy skin and coat and fights inflammation.


To address bone and joint health issues, it is ideal to pick a diet that includes glucosamine as a vital nutrient. This is usually present in poultry and meat sources and works as a building block of cartilage that protects the joints from aging.


Ingredients rich in omega-3 are a great plus for your pooch’s diet. This essential acid can prevent inflammatory and degenerative conditions. Look for options like flaxseed oil, coconut oil, hemp oil, and whole fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.


This is especially important for dogs with sensitive stomachs. You don’t want to put your dog in trouble by offering a diet that could lead to digestive issues.

In addition to ensuring all the above-mentioned nutrients are present in the balanced meal, you must steer clear of any option that includes unidentified byproducts and fillers. Also, if you read the word ‘artificial’ on the label, it is definitely a bad option for your big boy. Stick to natural sources so your dog gets only the best.

Choosing the Best Food For Large Breed Dogs

Being familiar with your dog’s nutritional needs is only half the story. You must also know what to look for in brands and different formulas to select the best dog food. Here are a few important points you can use to get the best dog food:

1. Guaranteed Analysis: To keep your dog fit and at a healthy weight, proper macro balance is essential. Dogs require a minimum of 18% protein, 20% carbs, and 5.5% fat. Consult your vet and match their recommendations with the guaranteed analysis on your chosen dog food label.

2. Taste and texture: Dogs have individual taste preferences. Experiment with samples or small portions before committing to a larger quantity to avoid waste. This helps determine if your dog prefers chicken, wet food, turkey, dry food, or other options.

3. Price and value: When buying dog food, ensure you evaluate the nutritional value and calorie content in relation to its cost for optimal value. If selecting a pricier option, consider long-term affordability, as diet changes can stress dogs. Make a choice that’s financially sustainable and beneficial for your furry friend.

Learn more about the biggest dog breeds in the world in this interesting video!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any special dietary requirements for large-breed dogs?

While canines share fundamental traits, nutritional needs vary based on breed size and age. New pet owners might not realize that optimal diets for larger dogs boast lower caloric density than those for smaller breeds. With a slower metabolism, larger dogs are prone to obesity without proper diet and exercise. Enhanced mineral and vitamin content in food is advised to safeguard vital organs in bigger pups.

How is large-breed dog food different from regular food?

Larger breeds need specialized care. Their unique dietary needs prioritize bone and joint health, with specific formulas rich in essential nutrients like calcium, proteins, and vitamins. These tailored diets also include glucosamine and chondroitin for optimal bone support.

Is it necessary to change my dog’s food to a specific large-breed diet if I am currently giving him a regular diet?

Ensuring your pet’s health means providing appropriate nutrients for their breed and life stage. Inadequate nutrition can cause deficiencies. Starting a specific-breed diet from puppyhood ensures proper nourishment for growth. This approach eases dietary transitions during adulthood as well.

How much should I feed my large-breed dog?

Feeding your large dog is contingent on factors like weight, age, and breed. Many foods offer feeding guidelines on their packaging. Typically, large breeds consume around 1 ½ cups per 22 lbs of body weight daily as a general rule.

How often should I feed my large-breed dog?

Most large-breed dogs do well with two meals during the day. The food can also be split into three small meals as per your pooch’s requirement.

Can I feed my small-breed dog large-breed food?

A prevailing misconception is that food meant for large breeds is more nutritious, leading some to feed it to smaller dogs. The truth is metabolism varies between small and large breeds, shaping recipe formulations. Small-dog recipes are higher in calories and fat due to their faster metabolism. Large-breed food might not suffice for smaller dogs while feeding small-breed food to large dogs can trigger obesity and health issues due to excess weight.

What are the common health problems in large-breed dogs?

Numerous health concerns among large breed dogs revolve around their bones and joints, leading to frequent occurrences of hip and elbow dysplasia. Additionally, issues like heart conditions (aortic stenosis, dilated cardiomyopathy), arthritis, obesity, entropion, and gastric torsion (bloat) are also prevalent.

Can my large breed dog have food sensitivities? Which symptoms should I watch out for?

Although less common in dogs, food sensitivities can affect any breed. Symptoms of a food allergy vary and may include itchy skin, vomiting, chronic ear issues, diarrhea, and flatulence, as well as respiratory symptoms like wheezing, sneezing, and coughing.

Dogs are omnivores, not strict carnivores. Grain-free diets are designed for dogs with allergies and digestive problems, not based on breed. Natural grains are generally safe for your large dog, and there’s no need for a grain-free diet unless specific issues are present.

Can I feed a grain-inclusive diet to my large breed dog?

Certainly, including grains in your dog’s diet is possible. Focus on high-quality, unprocessed grains for the best results. Opt for nutritious choices like oats, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal to provide your dog with wholesome options.

What nutrients are essential in large-breed dog food?

Beyond protein, fats, and carbs, an optimal meal for large-breed dogs should include vital elements like DHA, chondroitin, glucosamine, and probiotics. It’s crucial to avoid preservatives, artificial additives, unfamiliar byproducts, fillers, and additives for a truly beneficial diet.

Does life stage matter when picking up the right food for a large dog?

The suitability of a dog food product depends on its ingredients and nutrient composition. Some are designed for adult dogs, while others cater to all life stages. Ensure that the chosen blend aligns with your dog’s needs for the best results.


I trust you now have the information needed to make a well-informed choice for your large-breed dog’s diet. Prioritize your dog’s unique needs and make a decision that suits them best. Best of luck on this journey!