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Breed-Specific Dog Food

If you've ever owned a dog, you'll know that every dog is unique. Dogs can have breed-specific characteristics, though, like joint or coat issues. To support these specific characteristics, Royal Canin has created special nutrition that meets the needs of individual dog breeds. Read all about breed-specific dog food in this article!

If you’ve ever owned a dog, you’ll know that every dog is unique. However, there are some characteristics that overlap within a specific dog breed. We can recognise a Dachshund by its long back, a Labrador Retriever by its large appetite, and a German Shepherd by its thick and long coat. Besides physical appearance, you can also group dogs because of breed-specific medical conditions like joint or digestive issues. For those breeds it can really help to get a special diet that contains all the nutrients they need to support their medical condition.

Royal Canin has a wide variety of breed-specific dog food, ranging from food for spaniels to German Shepherds. In case there’s no breed-specific food available for your dog, you can choose a size-specific dog food. There’s food for small, medium and large dogs, with each diet having a special formula or adjusted kibble size and shape. This way your dog will still be able to get the nutrition he or she needs.

If there is breed-specific food available for your dog, you might be wondering what’s so special about this type of food. That’s why we’ll explain what breed-specific dog food is and how your dog can benefit from it.

Is my dog a purebred?

First of all, breed-specific food isn’t just for dogs with a pedigree. There are many purebred dogs with families that can be traced back to a certain breed, even though they don’t have an official pedigree. Secondly, even a crossbred dog with the physical appearance of one breed can have nutritional needs that are specific to another breed.

Let’s say you own a Labrador Retriever. This dog breed’s name suggests that it has much in common with the Golden Retriever, but they actually have very different needs. Labrador Retrievers tend to gulp down their feed, so they will need kibble that helps them eat slower and chew more. On the other hand, Golden Retrievers are more prone to develop heart issues, which means they’ll need a diet to support healthy cardiac function. So despite their similarities, both of these breeds will actually benefit from a diet tailored to their breed-specific needs.

Characteristics per breed

Many dog breeds can be recognised by their body shape, coat type or way of eating. But they can also be recognised by one or more health conditions, like sensitive skin, irregular bowel movement, frail joints, an aptitude for obesity or a tendency to develop dental plaque. By giving your dog a very specific diet, you can offer support to those areas that need a little extra help!

What is breed-specific dog food?

If a food is breed-specific, it means that the recipe and ingredients are tailored to meet the nutritional needs of your dog. We’ll explain how this works with the following examples.

Labrador Retriever

Characteristics of a Labrador retriever:

  • Thick undercoat and sensitive skin
  • Greedy eater
  • Quickly become obese
  • Active dog
  • Sensitive to bone and joint issues

ROYAL CANIN® food for Labrador Retrievers is a special formula that supports all of the aforementioned characteristics, like ingredients that support the joints and adjusted caloric content for weight maintenance. Are you curious about this food? Check out the Royal Canin Labrador Retriever diet for more information.


Characteristics of a Chihuahua:

  • Very small breed with a small jaw
  • Picky eater
  • Sensitive to plaque because of jaw size
  • More likely to be obese

ROYAL CANIN® food for Chihuahuas has an adjusted kibble size and contains special aromas that stimulate your dog to start eating. You can read all about this on the Royal Canin Chihuahua product page.


Characteristics of a Dachshund:

  • Joints and muscles need extra support because of the long back
  • Sensitive to plaque and tartar formation

ROYAL CANIN® food for Dachshunds contains ingredients that support the joints and muscles, as well as an adjusted calcium level to decrease plaque formation. For more information you can check out the Royal Canin Dachshund diet.

Shape, texture and size of the kibble

Apart from a special blend of ingredients, the size, texture and shape of the kibble also play a big role in breed-specific food. Smaller dog breeds obviously need smaller kibble and large dogs need bigger kibble. But the texture and shape can also have a beneficial effect for certain dog breeds, as will be explained with some examples down below:

  • Certain textures will stimulate to be less greedy and to chew more slowly. This can help a Labrador be less greedy while it puts less strain on the digestive system of a German Shepherd;
  • Adjusting the shape of the kibble to the size and shape of the dog’s jaw, to make it easier to pick up and chew the food;
  • Extra flavour or a crispy exterior with soft insides can stimulate the appetite of picky eaters like a Chihuahua or Yorkshire Terrier.

Royal Canin believes the different types of food are necessary because every dog is unique. By researching breed-specific traits, they’re able to develop the right food for every dog. All the diets contain high-quality protein sources, unique nutrients and are designed to have a specific shape, size and texture to fit different jaw structures and biting habits. This way there’s a different food for many dog breeds that will help them stay healthy and offers the dogs the support they need!

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