The 13 Best Large Breed Puppy Foods

By Kevin Myers | 2023 Update

This (updated) guide covers all of the best large-breed puppy foods available this year.

The foundation of a large breed puppy’s growth and vitality is laid during their formative years, making the choice of the best puppy food crucial. This guide helps you understand their nutrition, presenting a carefully curated selection of the finest large breed puppy foods. From optimal protein levels to joint-supporting ingredients, discover the options that prioritize your pup’s health and set them on a path to a robust and vibrant future.

All of these products are top-of-the-line best foods selected on the basis of my 40-point inspection.

If you are changing your pup’s diet, I highly recommend checking out my latest guide here on the proper way to switch dog food.

Let’s dive in…

The Best Large Breed Puppy Foods

Top PicksRatingTop 5 Ingredients
#1. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy Food
(Editor’s Choice)
4.9Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Ground Brown Rice, Salmon Meal
#2. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Chicken and Rice Canned Food4.9Chicken, Liver, Meat By-products, water, Rice
#3. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food4.8Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Bison, Pea Protein, Egg Product
#4. Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Chicken Dog Food4.8Chicken, Ground Corn, Ground Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Grits
#5. ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food4.8Chicken, Rice Flour, Soybean Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn
#6. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed Dog Food4.7Chicken, Ground Wholegrain Corn, Ground Wholegrain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Grits
#7. Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food4.7Chicken, Corn, Wheat, Chicken Fat, Ground Grain Sorghum 
#8. Holistic Select Large Breed Puppy Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Dog Food4.7Lamb Meal, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, 4Pumpkin, 5Cranberries

#1. Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy Food


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

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,533 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 29% | Fat (min.) 13% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

Due to a faster potential growth rate and a longer growth cycle, your large breed puppy requires complete nutrition to support its physical composition. 

The Wellness Large Breed Complete Health dry dog food offers balanced everyday nutrition prepared with delicious deboned chicken and includes added DHA and regulated calories for healthy brain, bone, and eye development. This formula is one of the best puppy foods for large breeds.

#2. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Chicken and Rice Canned Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Liver, 3. Meat By-products, 4. water, 5. Rice

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Small, Medium, Large Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,292 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 10% | Fat (min.) 7% | Fiber (max.) 1.5% | Moisture (max.) 76%
  • Form: Wet

Nourish your growing puppy and serve specialized nutrition with Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Classic Chicken & Rice Entree Canned Dog Food. This is a complete meal as it includes real chicken as the main ingredient, along with other purposeful nutrients for their developing muscles and immune system. 

The added DHA guarantees excellent cognitive development, while omega-6 fatty acids ensure healthy skin and a shiny coat.

#3. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Buffalo, 2.Lamb meal, 3. Bison, 4. Pea protein, 5. Egg product

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Small, Medium, Large Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,656 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 28% | Fat (min.) 17% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

The nutrient-rich and digestible recipe is a combination of natural ingredients with real buffalo and other protein-rich options. Ingredients such as roasted beef, venison, and bison in this meal are excellent for lean nutrition and supporting growth in large-breed puppies.  

Every product under the Taste of the Wild banner is a winner, but this one’s my personal favorite for large-breed puppies as it offers perfectly balanced nutrition and guaranteed levels of DHA.

#4. Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Grain-Free Chicken Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Peas, 3. Chicken Fat, 4. Freeze Dried Chicken, 5. Pumpkinseeds

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Large Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 4,230 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 33.5% | Fat (min.) 18.5% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 9%
  • Form: Dry

Instinct’s Raw Boost is full of calories and the perfect raw-diet that supports the growth spurts of big puppers. It has a guaranteed 33.5% protein content that helps build muscle and regulate hormone production for steady growth. Non-grain carbs like peas and tapioca are used to fuel your large pup through their most active stage of life. 

Moreover, the food contains freeze-dried chicken meat to give your dog an extra protein boost and increase their overall strength. Puppies are also vulnerable to allergies and rashes, which is why the formula contains omega fatty acids to fight inflammation and promote a soft, healthy coat

#5. ORIJEN Puppy Large Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Deboned Turkey, 3. Eggs, 4. Chicken Heart, 5. Whole Red Lentils

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,760 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 38% | Fat (min.) 16% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 12%
  • Form: Dry

Orijen Large Puppy Food is a worthy premium option for those looking to feed their puppies the best possible diet. It’s packed with premium-grade proteins from chicken, turkey, and mackerel to promote more muscle growth in larger puppies. Nearly 85% of those proteins are animal-based and offer a lot more nutrients than just amino acids.

Since the recipe is free from grains, it makes an ideal choice for puppies with allergies. As an alternative, the brand uses lentils, peas, and beans because they’re easier to digest and provide just as many carbs. The food will also be a pleasant surprise for finicky puppies since it’s coated with freeze-dried liver that gives the kibbles a meaty flavor.

#6. Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed Dog Food


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

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,586 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 14% | Fiber (max.) 4% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

This special Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food recipe offers complete and balanced nutrition for growing pups. The formula is crafted to meet the nutritional requirements of large and giant breed puppies to aid in their overall health and development.

The presence of DHA and natural fish oils alongside other protein-rich ingredients, play a vital role in optimal cognitive development.

#7. Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Corn, 3. Wheat, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Ground Grain Sorghum 

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,723 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 26% | Fat (min.) 14% | Fiber (max.) 3.7% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

Giant pups are highly active and are susceptible to becoming underweight if they do not consume enough calories. Thankfully, we have Eukanuba Puppy Food to save the day. This high-energy formula is specifically made for athletic puppies and features nearly 357 kcal per cup. Most of its calories come from wheat, sorghum, and chicken fat to promote digestion and a healthy coat at the same time.

The abundance of protein at 26 is mainly derived from deboned chicken to accelerate muscle growth. The food is also enriched with DHA and calcium to support bone and brain development. Special prebiotics are included in the recipe to build your pup’s gastrointestinal system, while vitamin E content helps strengthen their immunity.  

#8. Holistic Select Large Breed Puppy Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Lamb Meal, 2. Oatmeal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Pumpkin, 5. Cranberries

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,766 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 25% | Fat (min.) 15% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

Holistic Select has the perfect blend of gentle ingredients to feed sensitive puppies. Its two main ingredients are lamb meal and oatmeal – both crucial for building muscle blocks and fueling your dog’s daily activities. Digestive enzymes make the food even easier to process, and probiotics help strengthen your puppy’s gut health.

Since the formula is made for large breeds, it has glucosamine to reinforce their joints and prevent mobility issues later in life. Omega-3 fatty acids are also included in the mix for softer, shinier coat health. You’ll also get fresh fruits like cranberries, apples, and pumpkin in the recipe – all of which make the food tastier, healthier, and more appealing to your puppy.

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


Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Peas, 3. Fish Meal, 4. Natural Flavor, 5. Chicken Fat

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,555 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 35% | Fat (min.) 14% | Fiber (max.) 6% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

Offer only premium protein and nutrients to your large-breed tail-waggers and help them with optimal development and lean muscle building.

The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy Chicken recipe is not only a great grain-free dry dog food, but it is also loaded with high-quality ingredients for maximum nutrition for your four-legged friend during their formative stage. Specifically designed for large breeds, this is among the best puppy food you can get your hands on.

#10. Nom Nom Fresh Food


Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Ground turkey, 2. brown rice, 3. eggs, 4. carrots, 5. spinach

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Small, Medium, Large Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 1,479 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 10% | Fat (min.) 5% | Fiber (max.) 1% | Moisture (max.) 72%
  • Form: Fresh

When it comes to homemade food suitable large-breed puppy, Nom Nom is your best bet. That’s because their diets are tailor-made for every unique pup. You can start by selecting from four different recipes; our favorite for larger puppies is the Turkey Fare. It’s made completely from real foods like ground turkey, brown rice, peas, carrots, and spinach. 

Nom Nom cooks fresh food in specialized kitchens and delivers it to your doorstep in sealed containers. The meals are bursting with flavors and offer more energy, better absorption, and improved growth potential for puppies compared to dry kibbles. Although the subscription is a little expensive, the health benefits of Nom Nom for your puppy in the long term are definitely worth it.

#11. Chicken Soup for the Soul Large Breed Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Turkey, 3. Cracked Pearled Barley, 4. Whole Grain Brown Rice, 5. Salmon

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,518 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 27% | Fat (min.) 13% | Fiber (max.) 5% | Moisture (max.) 10%
  • Form: Dry

Loaded with nutrition and delicious fruits like blueberries, Chicken Soup for the Soul is an ideal choice for fussy large puppies. It uses deboned chicken and turkey for protein to build muscle fiber. Carbohydrates are sourced from brown rice, barley, and oatmeal to keep your dog energized.

Moreover, the formula is also enriched with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, as well as DHA to develop a healthy nervous system. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are added to promote a shinier coat and reduce skin inflammation. All of these nutrients are sourced from mouth-watering foods like carrots, salmon, apples, and duck, making the food equally appetizing and nutritious.

#12. Purina ONE SmartBlend Large Breed Puppy Dog Food


Top 5 Ingredients:  1. Chicken, 2. Rice Flour, 3. Soybean Meal, 4. Whole Grain Wheat, 5. Whole Grain Corn

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • 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

Give your growing pup the best and most balanced diet for maintaining ideal body condition and help strengthen their joints and bones with Purina ONE SmartBlend for Large Breed Puppy dry dog food. I can personally vouch for this blend as it supports your little pup’s overall health and well-being with a unique formula made from high-quality ingredients.

#13. Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed Food


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

  • Life Stage: Puppy
  • Suitable for: Large, Giant Breeds
  • Caloric content (per kg): 3,934 kcal
  • Analysis: Protein (min.) 28% | Fat (min.) 13% | Fiber (max.) 4.75% | Moisture (max.) 12%
  • Form: Dry

Provide your large breed puppy the wholesome nutrition they deserve with Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed Formula Dry Dog Food. The kibble is prepared from a combination of high-quality protein and other nutrition, sourced mainly from chicken, to provide the building blocks your puppy requires for growth and development. 

This delicious and crunchy kibble is also rich in antioxidants to strengthen the immune system. This is one of the best large-breed puppy foods on the market right now.

Once you are done with the best puppy food for large food list below, check out these excellent resources as well:

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick

The Best Large-Breed Puppy Food – A Buyer’s Guide

Your four-legged companion may be tiny at the moment, but if it is a large-sized breed, it will soon grow bigger than its peers. Research and studies have unveiled the distinct growth patterns and needs of these future giants.

From tiny paws to massive strides, grasping the significance of tailored nutrition is the key to ensuring your large breed companion thrives every step of the way.

How Large is a Large-Breed Puppy?

Before you begin, you must understand the term ‘large breed’ dogs.

A “large-breed puppy” typically refers to dog breeds that are expected to reach an adult weight of 50 pounds or more. However, the exact weight threshold can vary slightly depending on different sources and organizations. In general, large-breed puppies include breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Great Danes, and others that are known for their substantial size when fully grown.

It’s important to note that these breeds have different growth rates and developmental needs compared to smaller breeds, which is why they often require specific nutritional considerations during their puppyhood.

Controlling Size through Diet

Embracing the growth journey of a large breed puppy demands a balanced approach to their diet—one that acts as a compass to steer clear of excessive growth. The delicate balance between nurturing their potential and safeguarding their well-being is at the heart of this guide. Rapid growth, though tempting, can pave the way for a myriad of health concerns.

Here, we unravel the art of controlled development, nurturing their vitality while sidestepping the pitfalls. Let’s get right into strategies that harmonize appetite and growth, ensuring your furry companion flourishes without compromise.

Food and Growth – The Relationship

Understanding how your puppy grows is tied to grasping how their diet shapes their development.

Roughly half of their caloric intake is dedicated to sculpting muscles and fortifying their skeletal structure. Yet, this transformation is an intricate symphony that solely thrives on protein-rich calories. Fat-derived calories impact size but disregard bone strength. Nourishment should prioritize strength alongside size for balanced growth.

If you feel your pup is gaining too much weight too fast, you need to take it to the vet to get a BCS check. Body Condition Score or BCS is like BMI for dogs. Your vet will be able to give you an accurate number and tell you whether your pup needs to lose or gain some pounds.

Factors to Consider When Buying Large Breed Puppy Dog Food


For your large breed pup, protein is crucial for muscle development. Optimal dog food should contain over 27% protein. Puppies require more protein than adults due to growth demands. Prioritize animal meat sources for quality building blocks, avoiding by-products.

Fatty Acids

Large breed pups need less fat because they are susceptible to obesity. The only case where you can feed your pal a puppy food with more than 10 percent fat is if it is a highly active and athletic breed. However, low in fat diet doesn’t mean low in fatty acids.

Fatty acids aren’t just good for skin and coat, they are also great for joints. Large breed pups with a rich coat will need puppy food with a higher amount of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.


Healthy bones and joints should be your core concern when choosing the best dog food for large breed puppies. Calcium is essential for bones. However, most large breeds are unable to regulate the absorption of calcium. They tend to absorb more than other breeds, and that may cause calcium retention.

Calcium retention is just as bad for your fur baby’s bones as calcium deficiency. Look for food with not more than 1.5 percent calcium.


Phosphorus is the second most important nutrient for your pup’s bones and joints. Look for dog food with a healthy ratio of calcium and phosphorus. The ideal ratio of calcium and phosphorus is between 1:1 to 1.3:1.


Since bones and joints are foremost concerns in large breed pups, it is a good idea to pick a puppy food with glucosamine.

Feeding Instructions

When selecting puppy food, remember that even low-fat options can lead to weight gain if your pup overeats. Portion control matters. Offer four to five small meals throughout the day to manage their intake effectively.

When switching your pup between foods, keep the golden rules of dog food transition in mind. It will help your pup avoid complications that might arise from a sudden diet change.

Additional Factors to Consider

Apart from the basic requirements for a good puppy food, you must also consider the following factors. These considerations will help you choose the best puppy food for your budget and receive the best bang for your buck:

1. Budget and value

Before you begin the hunt for a puppy food, consider your budget and the options available. Don’t go for a higher-priced food unless you’re sure you can keep up in the future.

Once you have a couple of foods shortlisted, compare their ingredients, calories, brand reputation, and guaranteed analysis section. Spending a few minutes comparing these factors will help you get the best value for your money in the long run.

2. Taste and preferences

When buying dog food, make sure your puppy’s preferences are also taken into account. Do they prefer wet food over dry food? Are they more attracted to poultry than red meat? Is your puppy fond of eating the same food repeatedly?

Answering these questions will help you pick a dog food that your puppy will love eating.

3. Guaranteed Analysis

Believe it or not, you can get a lot of information from the guaranteed analysis section alone. In fact, you should check the guaranteed analysis of each food separately and check whether it fulfills AAFCO’s guidelines.

For puppies, crude protein content should be at least 22.5%, and fat content should be at least 8.5%, as per AAFCO.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do large breed puppies need special food?

Yes, large breed puppies can grow too big, too fast. They need puppy food that gives them the right balance of essential nutrients, quality proteins but just enough fat to keep them active. With too much fat, they are at a risk of obesity and several orthopedic diseases.

Do large breed puppies need more food than a smaller puppy?

Not necessarily. Large breed puppies have larger stomachs and they may be able to eat more, but that doesn’t mean they should. The amount of food your pup needs depends on its activity level. It is important to balance the number of calories consumed with the number of calories your dog is able to burn.

When should I transition my large breed puppy to dog food?

As compared to smaller breeds, large or giant breed puppies take a little longer to reach maturity. Many of them are still growing until 20 months. Typically, for an average large breed puppy, the transition to adult large breed dog food is best initiated around 15 months of age.

Can large breed puppies eat adult dog food?

Growing pups should exclusively consume puppy food because it is specially formulated to meet their nutritional needs during their adolescence. Feeding adult food will deprive your puppy of important nutrients and might even make them grow too large without proper skeletal development.

How many meals should a large puppy eat in a day?

It is important to seek a vet’s help to predict your baby’s adult weight and adjust their meals accordingly. Most large breed puppies need 4 to 5 meals a day. If they have a bigger appetite and eat a lot in one meal, then it is best to limit it to 3.

How much protein should a large breed puppy food have?

Vets believe that large breed puppies should get a minimum of 27 percent protein and less than 10 percent fat. These proteins must come from animal sources such as real meat instead of by-products and meals. Food with less than 30 percent protein can affect your pup’s growth.

What else do large breed puppies need besides proteins?

A large breed puppy needs just enough fat to stay active. Fiber-rich food can aid their digestions and help them get the most out of the nutrients. Since these pups are susceptible to joint-related issues, their diet must have the right ratio of calcium and phosphorus.

Is raw food good for large breed puppies?

Raw food is always a great option for puppies, especially the ones that can develop into huge muscular adults. High-quality raw food is high in protein and low in fat, plus there are plenty of probiotics to keep their tummy out of trouble. With raw food, it is important that we feed a high-quality product to our pups.

Is grain-free puppy food good for large breed puppies?

A grain-free diet is generally lighter and easy to digest for puppies. Large breed pups are no exception. Grains do not actually add any nutritional value to your dog’s meal. There are far superior sources of fiber you can find in premium puppy food.

Is human food good for large breed puppies?

No, human food (especially table scraps) is never a good option for your pup. It is mainly because of the high amount of processing we put or food through. Besides, it is not possible to analyze the content of human food. Human-grade food, however, is good for pups if prepared in the right manner.

Do all large breed puppies have a huge appetite?

Not always! Just because they are large in size, doesn’t mean they will eat like a wolf. While a large breed pup is likely to eat more than a smaller puppy because of their larger stomach capacity, they are not necessarily greedy. It is entirely possible for your large breed pup to be picky.

Are large breed puppies susceptible to obesity?

Yes, large breed pups might eat more than a regular-sized puppy. If the nutrients aren’t balanced according to their needs, proteins, and fats in particular, then your little furry one can gain a lot of unhealthy weight. Overweight puppies are at a higher risk of bone and joint disorders as well as organ-related issues.

Are large breed puppies susceptible to joint issues?

Without a proper diet or when on free feeding, a large size puppy might grow too fast in size. In this scenario, they will gain more mass then their bones can support at that stage. Many studies have confirmed the relation between diet and joint-related health issues.

Further reading: