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May 11, 2023

Should I Be Feeding a Large Breed Dog Food?

  • Large Breed
  • Skin and Coat
  • Dog Food
  • Dog Health
Dog sitting in the kitchen next to Go! large breed dog food

Just like collars, leashes, and toys, your pet’s food is not one-size-fits-all. Large breed dogs have different nutritional needs and considerations than small breed dogs, and these should be considered when choosing their diet. Keep reading to learn about the unique dietary requirements of large breed dogs, how these requirements can be met by providing large-breed-specific foods, and how to know if these specially formulated diets should be on the menu for your pup!

Is my dog considered a large breed dog?

Don’t let those puppy dog eyes fool you - although some large breed dogs try their best to disguise themselves as small breed dogs (I’m talking about the wannabe lap dogs!), according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), typically only those that grow to an adult weight of 70 lbs or more are classified as large breed dogs.1 See the list below to see what breeds typically fall under this category.

List of large breed dogs

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC):

Afghan Hound
Airedale terrier
Alaskan malamute
American Eskimo Dog
American foxhound
Anatolian shepherd dog
Belgian shepherd dog
Belgian Tervuren
Bernese mountain dog
Berger Picard
Black Russian Terrier
Bouvier des Flandres
Cane Corso
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Curly coated retriever
Dogue de Bordeaux
English Mastiff
French Bulldog
Golden retriever
Gordon setter
Great Dane
Great Pyrenees
Ibizan hound
Irish wolfhound
Labrador retriever
Neapolitan mastiff
Newfoundland dog
Scottish deerhound
St. Bernard
Tibetan mastiff

Large breed nutritional considerations

Caloric density

Compared to small breed dogs, large and giant breeds have relatively slower metabolism. This means that they require fewer calories per kilogram body weight, and therefore a food that is less calorie dense. Large breed dogs also have larger stomachs, and providing a less calorie dense diet allows you to provide a larger quantity of food to allow your pup to feel full, while maintaining an ideal body condition.

Portion controlled feeding

All dogs, no matter their size, are at risk for obesity, however, extra weight can have serious health consequences for large breed dogs as this extra weight can place stress on the joints, which are already tasked with supporting a large frame. This can ultimately increase your dogs risk for orthopedic diseases as they get older.

You can reduce the risk of obesity by paying extra attention to the amount of food and treats that you are providing.
Go! Solutions logo
Taylor RichardsPhD Student - Companion Animal Nutrition

All dogs are unique, and the amount of food they require will depend on their age, activity level, breed, and the diet being provided, so ensure that you are monitoring your pets body condition score and adjusting their food amount accordingly.

How much should I be feeding my large breed dog?

It is important to feed your dog the correct amount of food to reduce their risk for obesity and subsequent joint problems and keep them looking and feeling great. When deciding how much to feed your pup, several factors must be considered, including their age, breed, activity level, and climate. Use our feeding chart as a guide, adjusting the quantity fed to achieve your dog’s ideal weight. For accuracy, we recommend weighing your dog’s food using a kitchen scale (1 cup = 250 ml dry measuring cup).

Joint health

As mentioned above, large breed dogs are prone to joint problems, in part due to their large size, since they have such large bones and these bones are responsible for supporting all of their weight. This is why it is important for their diets to include functional ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin to help support joint health and manage inflammation, and help keep your large pet moving comfortably into their golden years.

If you are looking for a dog food to feed your large breed buddy, we recommend the Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Large Breed Adult Salmon recipe with grains. This formula has glucosamine and chondroitin to support hip and joint health, along with L-carnitine to support heart health and promote fat burning to keep your pup in great shape! It is also rich in omega fatty acids which help to keep your pet's skin and coat healthy and hydrated, so they can look their best. This diet is also jam-packed with antioxidants from fruits and veggies for immune system support, along with probiotics and prebiotic fiber to support healthy digestion. Lastly, the healthy grains in this diet provide energy in the form of carbohydrates, so your dog can play fetch all day long!

Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Large Breed recipes for dogs

Recommended Solution

Large Breed Dog Food

Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Large Breed dog food recipes are crafted by experts to help your best friend look and feel their absolute best, from strong joints and sturdy bones, to healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat.


If you have a large breed dog, it is important to think about their different nutritional considerations. To do this, a diet tailored specifically for large breeds may be an awesome option for you.


  1. AAFCO, Association of American Feed Control Officials: Official Publication. 2018, Atlanta, GA: Association of American Feed Control Officials.


Author icon

Taylor Richards

PhD Student - Companion Animal Nutrition

Taylor received her BSc in Honours Animal Biology, with a minor in Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, at the University of Guelph. She is currently completing her PhD in Companion Animal Nutrition in the Department of Animal Biosciences, also at the University of Guelph.