The 10 Best Dry Dog Food For Large Breeds (2020 Top Picks)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

A large breed dog is any pup that weighs 50 pounds or more when they’re fully grown. Some common large breeds include Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, and Huskies.

If you’re the pet parent of one of these big fur babies, you should know that the best dry dog food for large breeds is a little different from other kibbles. They need some specific stuff in their diet for them to live the healthiest, happiest life.

We’ve reviewed some dog foods that would be great for your large breed. After all, we all want our big babies to be healthy and goofy!

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Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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DIAMOND NATURALS Dry Food for Adult Dogs, Large Breed 60+ Chicken Formula, 40 Pound Bag, 40 lb (838_40_DBD)
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Salmon 11-lb
ORIJEN Dry Dog Food for All ages, Original, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 25lb
Pro 1
Very affordable, large-breed specific recipe
Multiple high-quality proteins
High protein and fat counts for energetic dogs
Pro 2
Contains L-carnitine and glucosamine
Calcium/phosphorus ratio promotes good bones
Good levels of joint supplements
Best Overall
Rank
Ranked #1
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DIAMOND NATURALS Dry Food for Adult Dogs, Large Breed 60+ Chicken Formula, 40 Pound Bag, 40 lb (838_40_DBD)
Pro 1
Very affordable, large-breed specific recipe
Pro 2
Contains L-carnitine and glucosamine
Custom Button
Runner-Up Choice
Rank
Ranked #2
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Salmon 11-lb
Pro 1
Multiple high-quality proteins
Pro 2
Calcium/phosphorus ratio promotes good bones
Custom Button
Best for Active Dogs
Product Name
Rank
Ranked #3
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ORIJEN Dry Dog Food for All ages, Original, Grain Free, High Protein, Fresh & Raw Animal Ingredients, 25lb
Pro 1
High protein and fat counts for energetic dogs
Pro 2
Good levels of joint supplements
Custom Button
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Sources researched
15
Sources researched
Customer reviews
15,855
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
13
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested

10 Best Dry Dog Food For Large Breeds in 2020

Diamond Naturals Premium Large Breed Formulas

Best Overall: Premium Quality and Best Value For Money

Overall Score91%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count90%
Joint Supplements90%
Kibble Size90%
Affordability95%

PROS

  • Large-breed specific recipe
  • Very affordable
  • Two flavors, allows dogs to avoid allergens
  • Contains L-carnitine and glucosamine

CONS

  • Some sellers may sell knock-offs – check carefully when buying

Pet parents of large breeds who are looking for a decently-priced but premium quality large breed dog food, this is our top budget choice. This recipe from Diamond Naturals is specifically created for large breed adult dogs, and it contains all a big pooch would need to stay happy and healthy. 

Another thing we like about this dog food is that there’s a chicken and a lamb recipe. If your pup is sensitive to chicken, they won’t need to avoid this dog food completely – they can just eat the lamb recipe.

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High Quality, Low Price 

The ingredient list on this well-priced dry food is impressive. Although the lamb flavor contains only lamb meal and no real meat, both flavors have lower protein and fat counts that are perfect for large breeds. 

The carb ingredients are superb. Rice, oats, barley, and sorghum are all acceptable grains and add some much-needed fiber. But the fruits and vegetables are where this food shines. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the superfoods in this kibble include kale, chia seeds, blueberries, and dried kelp (which helps fight hypothyroidism). 

Add high Omegas for a shiny coat and joint-strengthening supplements, and you’ve got a supremely valuable product.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Large Breed

Runner-Up Choice

Overall Score85%
Ingredient Quality85%
Fat Count90%
Joint Supplements85%
Kibble Size85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • LifeSource Bits add extra vitamins and minerals
  • Calcium/phosphorus ratio promotes good bones
  • Multiple high-quality proteins
  • Rich in antioxidants

CONS

  • All flavors contain chicken

Our second place for the best large breed dog food is Blue Buffalo Wilderness. Made for large breed adult dogs specifically, it’s packed with nutrition and available in three tasty flavors. 

The only thing that may not work for you is if your dog is sensitive to chicken. Every flavor, even the non-chicken ones, contain chicken meal.

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LifeSource Bits 

In addition to the great ingredients and added supplements, Blue Buffalo foods contain LifeSource Bits – Blue’s unique vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant mix. They’re sprinkled throughout the kibble, and add a great little boost to your dog’s immune system.

Orijen Dry Dog Food

Best for Active Dogs

Overall Score85%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count85%
Joint Supplements90%
Kibble Size80%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • High protein and fat counts for energetic dogs
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Contain DHA and EPA
  • Good levels of joint supplements

CONS

  • No flavor variation

If your large breed adult is particularly active or happens to be a hunting dog or a working dog, they’ll most likely need a little more protein and fat in their diet than others. 
The fat count is at 18%, which is on the higher side but still within the parameters for a large breed dog food.

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Nutritional Value 

Technically, puppies and adults would benefit equally from this food. Glucosamine, chondroitin, high Omegas, and DHA and EPA are all wonderful to see on this guaranteed analysis list. 

The only downside is that it only comes in one flavor, which contains chicken. If your pup doesn’t deal well with it, you may be better off with another food.

Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food

Best For Sensitive Stomach

Overall Score86%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count85%
Joint Supplements90%
Kibble Size85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • All recipes are grain-free
  • Very high in Omega fatty acids
  • High in joint supplements
  • Vitamin-rich vegetables and fruits

CONS

  • May be a little high in fat for less active dogs

Large breed adult dogs who need food that soothes a sensitive stomach would enjoy this food. It comes in nine flavors – chicken, turkey, salmon, beef, duck, lamb, rabbit, venison, and beef & bison – so your pooch can have a variety of flavors that are all geared towards soothing their tummy.

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Ingredients for Sensitive Stomachs 

All the recipes are crafted from wholesome ingredients that are easy on adult dogs’ digestive system. Be aware, though – every flavor except the salmon and venison contain chicken meal, even if the flavor isn’t chicken. 

You won’t find anything artificial, any by-products, or any grains.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free

Premium Option

Overall Score87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count90%
Joint Supplements90%
Kibble Size85%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Contain high-quality fruits and vegetables
  • High levels of Omegas
  • Probiotics added
  • High in antioxidants

CONS

  • Chicken meal or potatoes may aggravate sensitive stomachs

Our number one spot for best dry dog food for large breeds is Wellness Core. It’s packed with healthy ingredients (be careful of the hidden chicken meal) and has almost perfect nutritional values for a large breed dog.

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Nutritional Value 

34% protein and 16% fat is great for an adult large breed dog who gets a decent amount of exercise. It also contains everything else a large breed dog would need – a good calcium/phosphorus level, added vitamins and minerals, high Omegas, and glucosamine and chondroitin.

ORIJEN Puppy Large

Best For Large Breed Puppies

Overall Score88%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count90%
Joint Supplements90%
Kibble Size90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Created just for large breed puppies
  • Biologically appropriate nutrition
  • Joint support and muscle-building protein
  • Larger kibble size

CONS

  • Not the most affordable
  • No flavor variety

A large breed puppy can’t just eat any old puppy food. Kibble for large breed puppies is formulated to promote growth at the right pace.

If you’re the mom or dad of a large breed puppy, Orijen Puppy Large may seem a little pricey but it will get your pup off on the right paw. It’s packed with nutrition, not only in the real food ingredients it consists of but also in the added supplements.

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Perfect Puppy Nutrition 

38% protein and 16% fat are great for active, bouncy, growing puppies. Added joint supplements are important to start feeding your little pooch from a young age. 

DHA and EPA are also present, which are essential in a puppy food. These two assist in healthy eye and brain development, making sure your pup gets off to the best start.

Acana Singles Grain-Free Recipe Range

Best Limited Ingredient

Overall Score87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count85%
Joint Supplements90%
Kibble Size85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Large variety of flavors
  • Limited ingredient, easy to avoid problem ingredients
  • All grain-free
  • Rich in useful supplements

CONS

  • Pricey

Pet parents of picky eaters who suffer from tummy issues, this recipe range could save the day. Every flavor is high in protein and fat (17%, which may be too high for less active pups) and contains DHA, EPA, and joint supplements.

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This is where Acana really shines. Every flavor is grain-free and limited ingredient, and it’s easy for your dog to avoid problem ingredients and still have some flavor choice – Duck & Pear, Lamb & Apple, Pork & Squash, Beef & Pumpkin, and Turkey & Pumpkin.

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Raw Infused Dry Dog Food

Best Raw Food

Overall Score87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count85%
Joint Supplements90%
Kibble Size90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Raw-coated kibble
  • Freeze-dried raw bites
  • Variety of flavors
  • High in Omega fatty acids

CONS

  • Pricey option

This is the best of both worlds – dry kibble coated with raw, and sprinkled with freeze-dried pieces of raw meat. It’s the best dry dog food for large breed adult dogs who are quite energetic – the fat count of 17% will need to be burned off during their day.

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Benefit of Raw 

The addition of raw not only makes this food super tasty to your pup, but also adds some extra amino acids and vitamins and minerals. The freeze-dried meaty bits are also high in both protein and Omega fatty acids. You’ll notice that the Omegas are particularly high in these dry dog foods.

ORIJEN Senior

Best For Large Breed Seniors

Overall Score86%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count80%
Joint Supplements90%
Kibble Size85%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Contains DHA and EPA to keep seniors healthy
  • Easily digestible real food ingredients
  • Good levels of joint supplements for seniors
  • Fresh and raw mix

CONS

  • Too high in fat for inactive or less active seniors

Large breed seniors may be slowing down a little, but they still need a decent amount of protein and fat in their diet. This dog food has a high protein count but remains moderate in fat, making it perfect for older large breeds who still get daily exercise.

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All A Senior Needs 

As well as the great protein and fat numbers, this dog food contains some very helpful supplements that would benefit seniors highly. Firstly, glucosamine and chondroitin keep your older guy or girl’s joints as strong as possible for as long as possible. 

Secondly, DHA and EPA are usually found in puppy foods, but they’re fantastic to see in a senior’s diet. They keep aging eyes strong and brain cells sharp!

Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Adult Dry Dog Food

Best Without Glucosamine

Overall Score85%
Ingredient Quality85%
Fat Count90%
Joint Supplements75%
Kibble Size90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Contains ingredients high in antioxidants
  • “DreamCoat” Omega supplement added
  • Perfect nutritional values for the average large breed adult
  • Chelated minerals for better digestibility

CONS

  • May not be suitable for pups sensitive to chicken

If you’re already giving your large breed adult dog a separate glucosamine supplement, you can look at dog foods that don’t contain it. This is our top choice.

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Holistic Nutrition

With 25% protein and 15% fat, the nutritional numbers in this food are perfect for a large breed adult. They come from premium quality ingredients. It also features Halo’s DreamCoat supplement, which raises the Omega fatty acids to an impressively high level.


Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria #1: Ingredient Quality

This is always the first step to determining the best food dogs can eat. You’ll want to see wholesome, real food ingredients on the list. 

Look for protein, healthy carbs, and good quality fats. What you shouldn’t see is animal by-products, grains that contain gluten (corn, wheat, and soy), and anything artificial.

We’ve only chosen dog foods with premium ingredients to add to this list. Some of them contain grains (but they’re the good kind), some of them are grain-free, and some of them contain ingredients that are common allergens. But they’re all real, nutritious foods – nothing dodgy in these dog foods!

Criteria #2: Fat Count

Fat is what dogs get their energy from, but don’t be fooled into thinking that large breeds need more of it. Their bodies metabolize things in such a way that they need less fat than small breeds do. 

We’ve made sure that the dog foods on this list contain a moderate amount of fat – in the teens. Some are in the lower teens, some are in the higher teens, but the average sits right in the middle.

Criteria #3: Joint Supplements

Glucosamine and chondroitin are essential for large breeds. They’re quite prone to dislocating joints, so they need all the help they can get! 

Most of the dog foods we selected do contain joint supplements. We have chosen the occasional product without it, just in case you happen to already be feeding your dog glucosamine supplements. 

If you aren’t giving your dog supplements but you like the food without glucosamine in it, we recommend that you add a glucosamine chew or tablet to their diet!

Criteria #4: Kibble Size

Large breeds have big mouths, and although they can scoff little kibbles, there are some dangers associated with letting your big guy or girl eat little food. 

A large breed dog can accidentally take in too much air while they’re wolfing down tiny pellets. This leads to a higher chance of your dog suffering from bloat – or air in the digestive system. This condition can be fatal, so it’s best not to neglect this factor. 

Generally, a food made for large breed dogs will have a larger kibble size naturally.

Criteria #5: Affordability

Affordability is always a factor. If you’re stressing yourself out because your large breed dog’s kibble is draining your bank account, your dog can feel it! 

Thankfully, feeding your dog a high-quality, healthy dry dog food doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We’ve included the Best Value for Money option for those budget-conscious pet parents who wish to treat their dog and keep them healthy while keeping their wallet just as healthy!


Questions & Answers

What should I look for in the best dry dog food for large breeds?

Large breed dogs need some specific nutrients in their diet. A great dry dog food for these big fellows should contain: 

Wholesome Ingredients 

Dogs’ best food should be filled with healthy, natural ingredients. There should be no artificial ingredients whatsoever! That includes colors, flavors, and preservatives. 

Protein, carbs, and healthy fats are essential. You’ll also find vitamins and minerals ending off the list. 

Animal Protein 

A high-quality animal protein is crucial. Plant proteins just won’t do the trick. Be aware that some dogs are sensitive to chicken or beef, so if your dog has one particular meat they don’t like, you’ll need to avoid it. 

Chicken, beef, turkey, salmon, and lamb are commonly seen proteins. Some foods contain more unusual ones like rabbit, whitefish, or bison. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, some foods with exotic proteins can lead to health problems. 

It’s best to stick to the basics! 

Decent Carbs 

Yes, dogs do need carbs! Generally, large breeds won’t have an issue with gluten-free grains, such as rice, oats, barley, millet, or sorghum. You don’t need to go entirely grain-free. 

Whether you choose grains or no grains, fruits and vegetables are always a wonderful addition to dry kibble. They pack a great vitamin and mineral punch, as well as add flavor. 

Moderate Fat 

Fat is what dogs use for energy, but don’t be tempted to think that a large breed dog needs more of it than others. Typically, small breeds need a high fat count, while large breed dogs need a moderate fat count. 

By moderate, we mean in the teens. Some large breeds (very active ones) will do well with a fat count in the high teens, while those who are less energetic will do well with low to mid-teens. 

Supplements 

Something you’ll need to see on the best dogs foods for large breeds is glucosamine and chondroitin. Your large breed adult will need all the joint help they can get, and these two supplements will keep their joints stable and strong. 

Omega fatty acids are superb for brightening up your pup’s coat and moisturizing his skin. They also help with digestion

L-carnitine is not often seen, but if the food you choose does contain it, it’s a helpful addition. It helps regulate your large breed adult dog’s metabolism and energy usage. 
Probiotics and prebiotics are always good to see. Pet parents of dogs with sensitive tummies, you’ll need these to soothe your dog’s digestive system!

Do I need to choose a dry dog food specifically for large breed dogs?

Although it’s best, large breed adults don’t specifically need to eat a large-breed kibble. They can make do with an “all life stages” type food. 

Puppies, though, need a food that is created specifically for large breed little ones. This is mainly due to the calcium/phosphorus ratio, which needs to be quite specific for these little big pups to grow properly – not too fast, and not too slow.

What common health problems do large breeds suffer from?

As well as these conditions, large breed dogs can be quite susceptible to becoming overweight. Obesity can be a serious problem – imagine having to carry all that weight on those little bones! Large breed dogs are already prone to bone and joint problems, so it’s essential to keep them at a healthy weight. 

As well as feeding your large pup the best dog food for large breed pups, you need to make sure they get plenty of exercises to keep their weight to an acceptable number.