Each breed of dog has its own unique appearance and biological makeup, so it follows that different breeds may have slightly different dietary needs. There are actually more than 150 formal dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and many more types than aren’t formally recognized. Each has nutritional needs that have to be met in order to maintain peak health.
Some breeds have more specific nutritional needs than others and it is not necessarily essential to buy a breed-specific dog food, as there is a wide variety of different types of wet and dry dog foods available to cater for differences in diet, age, lifestyle and size.
What is the best diet for dogs?
Regardless of the breed there are some general nutritional needs that are important for all dogs. Companion dogs have evolved from their wild canine ancestors to function optimally on a mainly carnivorous diet, although they are able to digest an omnivorous diet that in addition to meat includes plants, vegetables and fruits.
Protein is very important for dogs, although, as for humans, there are differing views of exactly what percentage of a dog’s diet should be made up of meat-based protein. Some people believe the most natural canine diet is very high in animal protein and low in plant-based carbohydrates, and there are dog food manufacturers catering to this view. As a general guide, an adult dog’s food should consist of 15-30% protein and 10-20% healthy fats. Dogs at different life stages, such as puppies, pregnant or lactating dogs or with very active lifestyles will need more protein and fat to meet their nutritional and energy demands.
Do different dog breeds have specific nutritional needs?
Certain dog food manufacturers, such as Eukanaba and Royal Canin, offer a range of breed specific dog foods that have apparently been developed to provide optimum balanced levels of nutrition tailored to specific breeds of dog.
For instance, large breeds that are naturally more active and need a lot of exercise, such as German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies, will use a lot of energy and require a higher fat food. Other breeds may be more susceptible to issues related to food allergies and intolerances, and may do better on a specialist dog food with limited ingredients.
The articles in this section provide more information about which dog food may be best for specific breeds.