Best Large Breed Dog Food

Last Update:
This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.
chow chow dog breed

By adulthood, many large breed dogs will easily reach 100 pounds (or more!). To ensure that yours grows to their fullest potential, you’ll need to offer them a large-breed friendly food.

This should start during puppyhood and go throughout their senior years. And, you’ll also want to choose the best large breed dog food during each of their life stages. 

Our favorite option is Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed dry dog food

This formula offers plenty of antioxidants for immune support in large breed adult dogs. And it also has glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints. These are essential for large breeds — they need more fats and vitamins than smaller dogs. 

And we also have some great picks for you if you have a puppy or senior, as well as a few allergen-friendly options.

Our Best Large Breed Dog Food

  1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food (Best Overall)
  2. Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Dry Dog Food (Best for Puppies)
  3. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food (Best for Seniors)
  4. Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Canned Dog Food (Best Wet Food)
  5. Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grains Large Breed Dry Dog Food (Best Budget Food)
  6. Solid Gold Wolf King Bison & Brown Rice Recipe Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food (Best Premium Food)
  7. Ollie Dog Food (Best Fresh Food)
  8. Rachael Ray Nutrish Big Life Large Breed Hearty Beef Recipe Dry Dog Food (Best for Weight Gain)
  9. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food (Best for Weight Management)
  10. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Large Breed Dry Dog Food (Best for Allergies) 

10 Best Large Breed Dog Food Reviewed 

The brands and formulas below follow the AAFCO nutrient profile guidelines. Please consult with your veterinarian before switching to any new food. 


Best for Adults

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large Breed Chicken Brown Rice
  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 6% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 352 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High fat dry dog food with l-carnitine for strong muscles and a healthy heart in large breeds

Your large breed dog needs plenty of healthy fats and protein. These support their muscles and joints.

Even after they’ve reached adulthood, bigger dogs can be susceptible to health issues that affect these body parts. So it’s essential to give them the best nutrition to protect them. 

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Large-Breed Formula is perfect for the well-being of big dogs. It starts with real meat, whole grains, and garden-grown fruits and vegetables. But, it also includes antioxidant-rich ingredients and essential fatty acids for full-body support. 

Protein-rich deboned chicken and chicken meal contain glucosamine and chondroitin. These aid in joint health and flexible cartilage. And they also provide l-carnitine, which is essential for lean muscle development. 

Brown rice, oatmeal, and barley offer a plethora of vitamins that can benefit your giant breed. These include calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D — essential for healthy bones and teeth. 

Fish oil and chicken fat provide both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Not only do these aid in joint mobility, but they also give your pup a shiny coat. 

On top of these wonderful ingredients, Blue Buffalo also provides their “LifeBits” blend. It includes antioxidant heavy ingredients like parsley, turmeric, and barley grass. These aid in immune support and help reduce inflammation in overworked joints and muscles. 

This formula doesn’t contain corn, wheat, soy, or chicken (or poultry) by-product meals.

Dog parents say this is the best food to switch to when your pup becomes an adult. And, they note that their dogs love the flavor. 


Best for Puppies

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Dry Dog Food

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 433 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-calorie and high-protein dry puppy food with probiotics for digestive health

Puppies tend to have sensitive stomachs. But, they still need to eat plenty of calories, protein, and fat to have steady and healthy growth. So how do you meet both of those needs for your large breed pup? 

Holistic Select Natural Large and Giant Breed Puppy dry dog food is a perfect choice. It has larger kibble pieces, prebiotics, and probiotics for digestion support. And, it’s higher in calories for growing dogs.

This formula starts with lamb meal and chicken meal. These provide 25% of Crude Protein, perfect for pups that need to build lean muscle mass. And lamb contains B vitamins and iron for extra energy.  

Salmon oil supplies essential fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin. And they also aid in helping keep your pup’s joints supple. This is essential in large breeds. Their solid muscles and joints need to support their frames. 

While this recipe is free of fillers like corn, it does include oatmeal and brown rice. But, these easy-to-digest carbs contain nutrients like prebiotics for a healthy digestive tract. 

After cooking, they sprinkle live probiotics on the food too. These help keep large breed puppies regular and reduce the chances of bloat and sensitivities.  

Puppy parents note that their dogs enjoy this formula and say that it hasn’t caused any adverse reactions. 


Best for Seniors

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Senior Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Senior Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Split Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 10% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 304 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Dry senior food made without GMOs and with extra fiber for dogs 6+

As your dog gets older, their body will go through quite a few changes. Their metabolism will slow, they won’t be as active, and they may even have a hard time moving around. 

This is why offering the right food is so essential. You want to provide your good boy the best, especially as he ages. So why not feed him Nutro Natural Choice large breed dry dog food? 

This nutrient-packed food starts with real chicken, chicken meal, and chicken fat. These contain high sources of amino acids like lysine and l-carnitine. They help reduce blood pressure and boost metabolic function. 

Whole flaxseed and vitamin E extract provide omega fatty acids for joint support. Flaxseed also contains prebiotic fiber for digestive health — along with whole grain brown rice and split peas. These ingredients also offer vitamins like thiamine and magnesium for extra energy

This formula only includes non-GMO ingredients. It doesn’t include any chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy. It’s recommended for senior dogs six years and older. 

Not only do dog parents love the ingredients in this food, but they also appreciate the benefits. Many claimed healthy skin, renewed energy, and even weight loss with their senior dogs. 


Best Wet Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Beef & Rice Canned Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Beef Canned
  • First 5 Ingredients: Water, Beef, Liver, Wheat Gluten, Chicken
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 9% Crude Protein, 2% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 82% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 309 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: High-protein dog food with calcium and phosphorus for strong bones 

Let’s be honest; wet food isn’t cheap for large breeds. But, for picky eaters or those that need a few extra calories, canned food is perfect when mixed with dry kibble.

Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed wet dog food offers a whopping 48% of Crude Protein (when measured on a dry matter basis). So if you have a dog that needs to gain a few pounds, try adding this formula to the mix. 

It starts with deboned beef, beef liver, and real chicken. These provide taurine and biotin. The vitamins promote muscle conditioning and protect your dog’s heart. Plus, beef liver provides omega-6 acids — a crucial part of cognitive function. 

The only other ingredients in this formula that aren’t animal proteins are wheat gluten and rice. While these aren’t usually the ingredients you’d want to see in food, they play an essential part in creating the “gravy” that the meat is in. And rice is a super easy grain for dogs to digest. 

This formula is manufactured in Purina-owned U.S. facilities. The cans are BPA-free. And, the recipe doesn’t include artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Their chelated vitamins — like calcium and phosphorus — follow the proper ratios for bone strength. 

Large breed owners appreciate that this canned food is packed with real meat. But, they note that the food is messy, so be prepared for possible cleanup.


Best Budget Food

Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grains Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grains Large Breed Chicken Rice Food
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Rice, Barley, Pork Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 4.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 376 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Wallet-friendly dry dog food with omega fatty acids for joint support 

Large breeds need a lot of calories — sometimes even more than a healthy adult male. If you have a large or giant breed dog, you may be spending quite a bit of money to feed them. But high-value doesn’t have to mean unaffordable. 

Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grains Large Breed dry dog food contains all the high-quality ingredients as premium brands, but without the price tag. And it also includes quite a few vitamins and minerals to keep your large friend healthy and happy.   

It starts with deboned chicken as the first ingredient. And, for extra protein, Whole Earth Farms also adds real chicken and pork meals. These include taurine for heart health, L-carnitine to metabolize fat, and glucosamine for joint support. 

Rice, barley, and flaxseeds offer roughage and prebiotics for easier digestion. And they also provide essential vitamins like manganese and selenium for mental clarity and immune system support. 

Chicken fat provides amino acids to aid in joint health. And it can also help boost brain function as well. For extra immune function, antioxidants from dried beet pulp, apples, and beets are included too.  

Whole Earth Farms Healthy Grains is soy, wheat, corn, and pea-free. It’s also made right in the US. 

Pet owners were happy to switch to this cost-saving food. But, some admit that their dog does get tired of the flavor after a few months, so be sure to switch it up. 


Best Premium Food

Solid Gold Wolf King Bison & Brown Rice Recipe Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food

Solid Gold Wolf King Bison & Brown Rice Large Breed
  • First 5 Ingredients: Bison, Ocean Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Pearled Barley
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 22% Crude Protein, 9% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 40 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Premium dry dog food with probiotics for overall immune health 

If cost isn’t a concern for you, and you want to get your dog high-quality and top-tier food, try Solid Gold Wolf King dry dog food. This premium formula is crafted explicitly for large breeds and their unique needs — like healthy fats and probiotics. 

Real bison meat is the very first ingredient. This novel protein, coupled with ocean fish meal, provides plenty of B vitamins and iron for energy.

nd, it’s a leaner protein, which keeps your large dog from gaining weight while maintaining muscle mass. 

Brown rice, oatmeal, and pearled barley offer prebiotic fiber for easier digestion. And, they coat the tummy to satiate your dog’s appetite and keep them regular. Also, to reduce potential inflammation in the gut, salmon oil is added. 

Superfoods like pumpkins, cranberries, carrots, blueberries provide plenty of antioxidants for a robust immune system. These also offer vitamins like beta-carotene for healthy eye and brain development. 

This formula also contains 90 million live probiotics per pound to promote healthy gut bacteria and overall immune health in your dog. 

Dog moms and dads appreciate that this food is low in purines and filled with prebiotics and probiotics for sensitive pups. 


Best Fresh Food

Ollie Beef Dog Food

Ollie beef
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Carrot
  • Guaranteed Analysis: (wet matter basis) 9% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 7% Crude Fiber, 70% Moisture
  • Caloric Cotnent: 1540 kcal ME/kg
  • Key Feature: Human-grade fresh dog food crafted to your dog’s needs

It can be notably harder to feed larger dogs, as they need specific nutrients and ratios that smaller dogs don’t. And, large breed formulas with human-grade ingredients are hard to find. But, Ollie makes it easy to get customized food for your canine, and it’s delivered right to your door.  

Ollie is a human-grade and minimally processed dog food made right in New Jersey, US. Their recipes include lamb, beef, chicken, and turkey — all made with garden-grown vegetables and natural animal proteins sourced from US ranchers and farmers. 

To get your dog’s customized diet plan, you’ll take Ollie’s online quiz. They will ask about your furry friend’s weight, height, breed, potential allergies, and activity level.

From there, they will craft a plan for your pup for complete and balanced nutrition. And, they let you choose between the four recipes they have (or a combination of all four!). 

After choosing the recipe, they will deliver the food fresh to your door every two weeks. And each order comes with a feeding guide, storage container, and scoop — so you know exactly how much to feed your dog. 

Dog owners love the convenience of this food, as well as the high-quality ingredients, vitamins, and supplements. 


Best for Weight Gain

Rachael Ray Nutrish Big Life Large Breed Hearty Beef Recipe Dry Dog Food

Rachael Ray Nutrish Big Life Large Breed Hearty Beef
  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Chicken Meal, Soybean Meal, Dried Peas, Ground Whole Corn
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 25% Crude Protein, 12% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 360 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-protein and high-fat dry dog food with grains for healthy weight gain 

Your big dog needs lots of calories. And, some large breeds have difficulty keeping their weight on, like Greyhounds, Dalmatians, and even German Shepherds.

If you want your dog to gain healthy weight and still keep their muscle mass, try Rachael Ray Nutrish Big Life Large Breed dry dog food. 

First, this is a higher protein and fat formula. So not only is it tasty, but it also provides plenty of calories and nutrients to your pup.

It starts with real deboned beef and farm-raised chicken meal. These animal proteins contain glucosamine and chondroitin — amino acids that protect joint health and help build lean muscles. 

Ground whole corn and pearled barley are filling higher calorie grains. They provide essential vitamins like selenium for cognitive function. And, they’re full of prebiotic fiber for gut health. 

Rachael Ray Nutrish dry dog food adds chicken fat and menhaden fish oil for healthy fats. These offer omega-3 and omega-6 essential acids for strong joints and healthy fur. 

Large dog owners say that their dogs love this food and gobble it up when it’s served. Some note that their pups did get stinky burps when switching to this formula. 


Best for Weight Management

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken
  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Pea Fiber, Corn Gluten Meal
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 24% Crude Protein, 9% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 13% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 291 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-fiber and low-calorie dry dog food for weight loss and maintenance

While some giant breeds have a hard time gaining weight, some have difficulty losing it. If you have a less active breed or just love food too much, you can still feed them delicious food while keeping their diet balanced and nutritious. 

Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight dry dog food offers the same high-quality ingredients as other formulas, with fewer calories. 

It starts with chicken, chicken liver, and chicken meal. This lean protein supplies glucosamine for joint health — which is especially important for overweight dogs. And it also provides taurine for a healthy heart.  

Fiber-rich carbohydrates like barley and pea fiber make this recipe perfect for dogs who need a boost in their metabolism and regulate their digestion. But these ingredients also offer magnesium to reduce inflammation in the joints and muscles and zinc for metabolic function. 

Coconut oil is equipped with medium-chain triglycerides. These MCTs are omega fatty acids that are easier for dogs to absorb. And they can help lower blood pressure, boost metabolism, and keep your dog’s coat shiny. 

Pet owners boast about how this food changed their dogs’ life and made it easier for them to “diet” for healthy weight loss


Best for Allergies

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance LID Large Breed Lamb
  • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Brown Rice, Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 23% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 370 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Limited ingredient dry dog food that’s chicken and pea-free for dogs with allergies

An easy way to help your dog avoid potential allergens and ingredients that cause sensitivities is to offer them a limited ingredient diet.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets dry dog food is an excellent choice. Not only does it start with a novel protein — but it’s also chock-full of vitamins and minerals. 

It starts with real deboned lamb and lamb meal. This single protein source provides omega fatty acids to soothe irritated skin, glucosamine to lubricate joints, and B vitamins for extra energy. 

This dry dog food isn’t grain-free. Instead, it provides easy-to-digest and low glycemic grains like brown rice and rice bran. These offer extra fiber for healthy digestion and calcium for strong bones. 

For anti-inflammatory benefits, sunflower oil is included as well. And it can also improve digestion and prevent early arthritis, a common issue with giant breeds. While there are better oils out there (like coconut oil), sunflower oil can be beneficial. 

This formula has just eight ingredients (not including vitamins and minerals). It’s free of wheat, soy, corn, peas, and chicken. It’s formulated by a team of veterinarians and animal nutritionists with over 125 years of combined experience.

Pet parents love that this food only uses simple ingredients and chelated vitamins for their dogs’ immune systems. 


dog eating

What to Look For in Large Breed Dog Food

What exactly should you be looking for in large breed dog food? Here’s what to keep your eye on. 

Do Large Breed Dogs Have Different Dietary Needs? 

For the most part, large breed dogs need the same nutrition as small and medium dogs. However, they do need more fats and proteins in their dog food to keep up with their larger muscles, joints, and bones.

And, they need fewer calories per pound compared to small breeds — usually 25 calories per pound instead of 30. 

Large breed puppies will also need a higher concentration of vitamins like potassium and calcium to ensure proper bone growth. 

What Is a Large Breed Dog?

For a dog to be considered a large breed, they need to be at least 55 pounds and 24 inches in height (at the shoulder). Giant breeds are over 110 pounds and around 26 inches or taller at the shoulder. 

Do Giant Breeds Need Different Food Than Large Breeds?

No, giant breeds don’t need a different diet than large breeds, but they will need more calories.

And, be sure to choose a high protein and high-fat formula for both large and giant breed dogs to keep up with their frames. 

Ingredients You Want In Large Breed Dog Food

What should you look for when buying large breed dog food? Here are the top ingredients and components.  

High-Quality Proteins

High-quality proteins are vital for large breed dogs. Due to their insane size and need for muscles, large breeds are better off with real animal protein sources as the first ingredient.

While some dogs can have a vegetarian diet, I wouldn’t recommend it for dogs over 50 pounds. 

Instead, choose animal-based protein sources like beef, chicken, lamb, or fish. And, if you can’t get all meats, meat meals are another high-quality option. 

Vitamins, Minerals, and Other Supplements 

Commercial dog foods already measure the correct vitamins and minerals in the proper ratios for dogs. 

But, large breeds need a formula made just for them. That’s because these contain more concentrated sources of glucosamine, l-carnitine, and calcium for extra joint and muscle retention.

Kibble Size

Kibble size is essential when feeding your big furry friend. If the kibble is too small, they’ll just gulp it down. This can cause tummy aches and even bloat in extreme cases — which can lead to Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV). ]

Large breed food formulas have larger and more curved kibble. This is essential — for your dog’s stomach and to help clean their teeth! 

Should Large Dog Breeds Eat a Grain-Free or a Beg Diet?

First, a BEG diet is a “boutique, exotic, and grain-free” diet that usually consists of proteins like kangaroo, bison, or buffalo to avoid proteins that may cause intolerances.  

Now that you know that, no, they don’t have to.

The only time your dog will need a grain-free or novel protein dog food is if they’re allergic to certain ingredients like grains or meats like chicken or beef. 

Is Dry or Wet Dog Food Better for Large Breed Dogs?

Dry food is better because it offers more calories and nutrition at a more affordable price. To feed your dog all wet food, you’d need to feed them 2-6 cans a day. And dry food is more convenient than wet food and is easier to store.

However, wet, fresh, and dehydrated foods can still be fed exclusively if you can swing the cost. Or you can top your dog’s kibble with wet food to entice them to eat and give them some extra nutrition. 

german shorthaired pointer puppy

How Much To Feed A Large Dog

How much should a large dog eat? Well, yours will need at least 25 calories per pound that they weigh. So the average 100-pound canine will need at least 2,500 calories daily. You’ll want to split this amongst at least two feedings a day. 

Puppies will need slightly more nutrition. A large breed pup will need about 30 calories per pound that they will weigh in adulthood.

So if your dog will be 50 pounds when fully grown, they’ll need about 1,250 calories a day. And, you’ll also want to feed them more often, at least 3 times a day (or every 6-7 hours). 

Unlike small breeds, large dogs take longer to reach adulthood. Most bigger breeds will reach their adult stage at around 18 months, so you shouldn’t switch them from puppy food until then. 

Since large dogs have shorter life spans, they will also age faster than small breeds. You’ll want to switch them to a senior-friendly formula at around five or six years of age.

And, once they reach seniorhood, you’ll want to lower their calories to approximately 22 calories per pound that they weigh. 

Our Verdict

As you can see, you don’t have to sacrifice quality or nutritious ingredients to feed your large breed dog. Many formulas are made just for them and keep them healthy from their puppy months to their golden years. 

Our top pick is Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed dry dog food

It’s an excellent formula for dogs over one year until they reach their senior years. And it aids in muscle and brain development while offering joint support. 

But of course, there are many other great options, too, from a limited ingredient diet to weight maintenance choices. No matter what, your large breed will be in good hands with these recipes. 

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Photo of author
AUTHOR
Kim Studdard is a freelance writer for many websites in the pet universe. When she isn't spending time with her family and pets, or saying "Look a dog" everytime she sees one, you'll find her reading a book or traveling the U.S.

Save 30% on your next dog food order!

We have partnered with Chewy.com to offer the best deal on high-quality dog food to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.