Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

11 Best Large Breed Dog Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

11 Best Large Breed Dog Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

labrador eating outsideLarge breed dogs need different nutrition than other breeds out there. They require more joint-supporting supplements, for instance, because their joints carry much more weight.

Most large-breed dog foods are designed specifically to counteract these issues. However, this isn’t always the case. Certain foods contain more of the nutrients that your dog needs, making them healthier choices.

Choosing dog food can be challenging. There are many rules to keep in mind. We did most of the legwork for you by picking out the best large breed dog foods on the market and creating reviews for them.

Keep reading to choose the best large breed dog food for your canine.

divider-paw

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (2024 Update)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Probiotics added
  • Omega fatty acids included
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Purina ONE SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Purina ONE SmartBlend Chicken & Rice
  • Chicken as first ingredient
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Inexpensive
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Ollie Fresh Dog Food Ollie Fresh Dog Food
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Human-grade food
  • Convenient delivery service
  • Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Taste of the Wild Grain-Free
  • Grain-free
  • High in protein
  • Omega fatty acids included
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula
  • Glucosamine added
  • Chelated minerals
  • Whole grains
  • The 11 Best Large Breed Dog Foods

    1. Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice Formula Dog Food — Best Overall

    Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice Formula All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

    Type of Food: Dry Food
    Life stage: Adult
    Main Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, white rice

    Out of everything available on the market, Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice Formula Dog Food is easily the best overall large breed dog food. It contains chicken as the first ingredient, which is a great option for any dog that isn’t allergic to chicken. It does include grains, though these are whole grains, making them quite nutritious.

    This food includes probiotics, which support your dog’s overall gut health. It’s also quite high in protein and suitable for puppies of all life stages. Therefore, you can start it when your dog is a puppy and continue the same food into their adult lives.

    Plus, this company makes all its food in the U.S.A., so it does uphold certain standards.

    This recipe includes omega fatty acids to support your dog’s skin and coat. Various antioxidants are also included, mostly from fresh fruits like blueberries.

    Pros
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    • Omega fatty acids included
    • Probiotics added
    • Made without corn, wheat, artificial flavors, or colors
    • Made in the U.S.A.

    Cons

    • Chicken is a leading cause of allergies


    2. Purina ONE SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Adult Formula — Budget Buy

    Purina ONE Natural SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Formula

    Type of Food: Dry
    Life stage: Adult
    Main Ingredients: Chicken, rice flour corn, gluten meal, whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal

    Purina ONE SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Adult Formula is inexpensive compared to most other dog foods out there. However, it is still decently high quality, making it a better option for those on a strict budget.

    It has chicken as the first ingredient, which is common in the dog food industry. However, this formula also includes things like gluten meal, which amps up the protein content. This ingredient is not animal-based, though, so it may be of lower quality than some other choices.

    Omega fatty acids are included to improve your dog’s coat and skin health. Natural sources of glucosamine are also added for healthy joints.

    Overall, this is the best large breed dog food for the money. It may have a few low-quality ingredients, but it still includes most of what your dog needs to thrive.

    Pros
    • Chicken as first ingredient
    • Inexpensive
    • Omega fatty acids
    • Glucosamine
    • High protein

    Cons

    • Includes low-quality ingredients


    3. Ollie Fresh Dog Food — Premium Choice

    Ollie Fresh Dog Food

    Type of Food: Fresh
    Life stage: All
    Main Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, lamb, or beef

    If you’re looking for a healthy food option for your large breed dog and have a larger budget, Ollie Dog Food is definitely an option worth considering. Larger dog breeds will usually have different nutrition requirements. Overall, owners will find that these dogs will need more protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates daily in addition to their hydration requirements. This means that ultimately you need to purchase more dog food to help them maintain a balanced diet and have enough energy each day.

    Just like smaller dogs, large breeds can run into health issues including digestive problems, food sensitivities, and allergies, which can make it hard to find a diet that works for them.

    Ollie only uses high-quality ingredients and abides by standards set forth by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control). Ollie contains all the daily vitamins and minerals that dogs need to stay energized and healthy, and all of their recipes are cooked at low temperatures to maximize their nutritional content. The best thing about their meals is that they can be delivered right to your front door. The downside is that the meal plans can get pricey, especially for large breeds that eat more food.

    Pros
    • High-quality ingredients
    • Human-grade food
    • Convenient delivery service
    • Customized plan recommendations
    • Easy cancellation

    Cons

    • More expensive than regular kibble


    4. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Smoke-Flavored Salmon Puppy Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

    Type of Food: Dry
    Life stage: Adult
    Main Ingredients: Salmon, ocean fish meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas

    If you have plenty of extra money to spend, you may want to look at Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. It includes mostly protein sources, including a variety of fish. Therefore, this food is quite high in protein, supporting active dogs and lean muscles.

    It also has a variety of different fruits and veggies. These provide natural nutrients that are essential for your dog’s overall health.

    Omega fatty acids are also included, which benefit your dog’s coat and joints. For large breeds, omega fatty acids are particularly important because their joints must support more weight.

    Taste of the Wild is a U.S.A.-owned business. However, it uses ingredients from around the world to create its products, including this formula.

    This food is completely grain-free, though it does include quite a few lentils.

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • Omega fatty acids included
    • High in protein
    • S.A.-owned business
    • High-quality ingredients

    Cons

    • Expensive


    5. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

    Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Type of Food: Dry
    Life stage: Adult
    Main Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal

    The Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe is quite popular. Overall, this food is a good option for large breeds. It has both chicken and chicken meals — two high-quality ingredients that provide amino acids and protein.

    This formula also includes whole grains, which provide extra nutrition that your dog needs to thrive. Grains are also an easy source of fast energy.

    Glucosamine is added to support healthy joint function. We also appreciate that the minerals included are chelated, which makes them easier for canines to absorb. Your dog is far more likely to get what they need from this dog food.

    However, there are also a few downsides. Firstly, this company participates in “ingredient splitting,” which makes the ingredient list a bit misleading. Peas are listed in several different forms, for instance. If you shoved all the peas together, they would likely be high on the ingredient list.

    Pros
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    • Glucosamine added
    • Chelated minerals
    • Whole grains

    Cons

    • High amounts of peas


    6. American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Dog Food

    American Journey Grain-Free Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Type of Food: Dry
    Life stage: Adult
    Main Ingredients: Deboned salmon, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, sweet potatoes

    American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Dog Food is a bit more expensive than most other brands out there. However, there are a few reasons for this. First, this formula includes quite a few different sources of meat, including salmon, chicken, and turkey. All these ingredients add to the recipe’s protein and fat content, making it a better choice for canines.

    However, peas are also included high on the ingredient list. Peas may be connected to some health problems in dogs, so we typically recommend avoiding them in high amounts. They also artificially raise the protein content of the food.

    Second, this food is made without any corn, wheat, or soy. It’s also grain-free, though it doesn’t necessarily include more meat than grain-inclusive foods.

    Fruits and veggies like blueberries and carrots are added for natural vitamins and minerals. It also includes salmon oil and flaxseed, which increase the omega fatty acids content. Fiber-rich chickpeas are added too, improving your dog’s digestive health.

    Pros
    • No corn, wheat, or soy
    • Quality fruits and veggies added
    • High in meat ingredients, like salmon
    • Added omega fatty acids

    Cons

    • Expensive
    • High in peas


    7. Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Chicken Dry Dog Food

    Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Chicken Dry Dog Food

    Type of Food: Dry
    Life stage: Adult
    Main Ingredients: Chicken meal, pearled barley, brown rice, oatmeal, peas

    At first glance, the Gentle Giants Canine Nutrition Chicken Dry Dog Food might seem a bit strange. It is not a mainstream dog food, after all. However, it is of higher quality than many other options out there.

    It is crafted with completely non-GMO ingredients, including farm-raised chicken. It also includes a few high-quality whole grains, like brown rice. It has many different fruits and veggies, like peas, spinach, and sweet potatoes.

    New Zealand mussels are added for increased glucosamine and chondroitin, which can support your large dog’s joints. Chelated minerals are also included, as are higher amounts of omega fatty acids. Probiotics are added to improve your dog’s digestive health.

    This food is a bit low in protein, though, likely because it includes large amounts of grains.

    Pros
    • New Zealand mussels added
    • Non-GMO ingredients
    • Chelated minerals

    Cons

    • Low in protein
    • High in peas


    8. Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe

    Wellness Complete Health Chicken & Oatmeal Natural Dry Dog Food

    Type of Food: Dry
    Life stage: Adult
    Main Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, peas

    The Wellness Complete Health Adult Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe is considered to be a premium recipe. It is more expensive than most other options out there, though you aren’t getting much for the extra money.

    It has deboned chicken and chicken meal as the first ingredients. The food is made without any GMO ingredients, fillers, or artificial preservatives. It also has the added nutrients that you would expect, like omega fatty acids and glucosamine.

    Plus, it is made in the U.S.A., though it uses ingredients from around the world.

    Still, this food has high amounts of peas, which may be a danger for some dogs. Oatmeal and ground barley are also included, though these whole grains are good options for many dogs.

    Pros
    • Omega fatty acids
    • Glucosamine
    • No GMOs

    Cons

    • High in peas
    • Expensive


    9. True Acre Foods Grain-Free Chicken & Vegetable Dry Dog Food

    True Acre Foods Grain-Free Chicken & Vegetable

    Type of Food: Dry
    Life stage: Adult
    Main Ingredients: Chicken, peas, pea starch, canola meal, poultry by-product meal

    The True Acre Foods Grain-Free Chicken & Vegetable Dry Dog Food is a new food. For this reason, we don’t know much about it yet.

    However, this food does look promising. Chicken is the first ingredient, and its formula is completely grain-free, making it a suitable option for canines sensitive to grains. This food is also made with quality veggies and fruits, such as cranberries. However, there are high levels of peas.

    Natural fibers are included, which help support your dog’s digestion. There are omega fatty acids too. There are absolutely no grains, wheat, corn, or artificial flavors in this food.

    Pros
    • Veggies and fruits included
    • Natural fibers
    • Omega fatty acids

    Cons

    • New, untested brand
    • High in peas


    10. Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Dog Food

    Merrick Premium Grain Free Dry Adult Dog Food

    Type of Food: Dry
    Life stage: Adult
    Main Ingredients: Deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes

    Merrick Real Texas Beef + Sweet Potato Recipe Dog Food is not a bad dog food; in fact, it is one of the better options on the market. However, it is also expensive. You would spend twice as much on this food as you would other formulas.

    However, the ingredients are top-notch. It has deboned beef as the first ingredient, followed by lamb meal and salmon meal. This formula is completely grain-free and poultry-free. However, it does not have high amounts of peas like most grain-free foods.

    It is also extremely high in protein. Most of this protein comes from animal sources, not veggies or gluten. Omega fatty acids and glucosamine are added to improve joints.

    This formula does not include any probiotics, though, and there are reports that it causes stomach upset, perhaps because of the rich ingredients.

    Pros
    • Good ingredients
    • Added glucosamine and omega fatty acids
    • Grain- and poultry-free

    Cons

    • Expensive
    • May cause stomach upset due to richness


    11. Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

    Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Type of Food: Dry
    Life stage: Adult
    Main Ingredients: Chicken, whole grain brown rice, whole grain sorghum, brewers rice, chicken meal

    While Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe isn’t terrible dog food, but it is low-value. It is expensive while not providing many extra benefits.

    The first ingredient is chicken, but this meat is followed by high amounts of grains. While these grains aren’t necessarily an issue, it does include controversial ingredients, like brewers rice.

    This formula is also low in protein at only 20%.

    That said, this formula is made with non-GMO ingredients. It doesn’t include any corn, wheat, or soy. Antioxidants are added to improve your dog’s overall health, as are glucosamine and chondroitin.

    Pros
    • Antioxidants included
    • Non-GMO ingredients
    • Glucosamine added

    Cons

    • Expensive
    • High amounts of grain
    • Low in protein

    divider-paw

    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best Large Breed Dog Food

    Searching for the best dog food for your big canine can seem a bit like learning a second language. What are by-products, anyway? How much protein do dogs actually need?

    In this section, we help you decipher this nutritional language so you can choose the best food for your pooch.

    Types of Meat In Dog Food

    All dog foods should start with some sort of meat. However, the type of meat also matters. The exact animal that it comes from doesn’t make too much of a difference unless your dog is allergic to something. In that case, you want to avoid that allergen.

    Beyond that, it is mostly the form that the meat is in. Here is what you need to know:

    • Whole meat. If a food simply lists “chicken” or something like “deboned beef,” then it is referring to whole meat. This sort of meat is similar to what you would eat, making it one of the better options out there. However, it also contains a large amount of water, which can artificially raise it to the top of the ingredient list.
    • Meat meal. There are many misconceptions about meat meal, but this is actually the best option. Meat meal is whole meat that has had all of its water content removed, making a sort of concentrated powder. It is more nutritious than whole meat per ounce.
    • Meat by-products. By-products can be high quality. This term simply refers to anything that humans usually don’t eat from an animal. This may refer to quality organ meats or filler products like feathers. But since you can’t know exactly what this means in each food, by-products should be avoided when possible.

    Additives to Look For In Dog Food

    Large breed dogs are known for being prone to certain health problems. For instance, hip dysplasia mainly affects large breeds. These dogs are heavy, so their joints tend to wear down quickly.

    Therefore, we recommend looking for a food that contains additives to help combat this problem, like:

    • Glucosamine and Chondroitin. These ingredients are often used together to treat arthritis in dogs. Even if your dog doesn’t have arthritis, these additives can help prevent it and can support your dog’s overall joint health. Most large breed foods include them for this reason.
    • Omega fatty acids. These fatty acids are extremely vital for a dog’s health, though they aren’t counted as “essential.” Most foods on the market have added omega fatty acids, which can help your dog’s joints, skin, and coat. They may even prevent aggression.
    • Antioxidants are essential for preventing oxidative stress, which can lead to a variety of different health problems. Dogs will accumulate this damage throughout their life, so fixing it is a life-long struggle.
    Labrador dog eating
    Image By: Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock

    What Is a Good Diet for a Large Dog?

    Generally speaking, a large dog needs a similar diet to most other dogs out there. However, they may benefit from extra ingredients, like omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Basically, you’re looking for high-quality, basic dog food that has these added ingredients.

    At least 30% of a large dog’s diet should be made of protein, especially when they are puppies. They need this extra protein to grow and thrive. However, it can continue to benefit them into adulthood, when it can be used to help support lean muscles.

    Protein quality varies. Animal protein is often better because it is complete, meaning that it includes all the necessary amino acids that your canine needs to thrive.

    Do Large Dogs Need Special Food?

    Not necessarily. You don’t want to feed a large dog any food designed for small dogs, of course. But the average dog food may be a suitable option.

    Simply put, you want to feed your dog quality food that contains extra ingredients, like glucosamine and omega fatty acids. These additives can benefit large dogs, but they are also good for all dogs. Therefore, some foods that aren’t necessarily labeled as being made for large breeds may still contain them.

    If a food has these ingredients, it may be a good option for a large breed, even if it isn’t labeled as such.

    Conversely, some foods may be labeled for large dogs, but they may not contain these important additives.

    divider-dog

    Conclusion

    We highly recommend Diamond Naturals Chicken & Rice Formula Dog Food for most large breed dogs. This formula includes the additives that large breeds need, like omega fatty acids and probiotics. It is not made with any corn, wheat, or soy.

    We also recommend the Purina ONE SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Adult Formula, especially for those on a tight budget. This formula includes glucosamine, omega fatty acids, and chicken. It also has a few low-quality ingredients, but you do get what you pay for.

    Another great option if you have the budget for it is Ollie Fresh Dog Food, which is as nutritious as it is convenient!

    In the end, most dog foods that are great for large dogs aren’t always labeled as such. As long as the food is high quality and comes with the ingredients that large breeds often need, it is often suitable for large dogs.

    Of course, you also have to consider your dog’s particular needs. If they have skin or coat problems, you should ensure that they are eating a food high in omega fatty acids, for instance. We hope that our reviews helped you select the best dog food for your canine.


    Featured Image Credit: PixieMe, Shutterstock

    Get Dogster in your inbox!

    Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
    Dogster Editors Choice Badge
    Shopping Cart

    Pangolia

    © Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.