Do I Need Breed Specific Dog Food Like Royal Canin For My German Shepherd?

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Breed specific dog foods have been developed by commercial dog food companies as a point of difference from the all breed dog foods categorised by stage of life, or dog size.

One such example of breed specific dog food for German Shepherds is the Royal Canin dog food brand.

Royal Canin claims the dog food formula has been developed for the breed specifically.

But, are you better off feeding your GSD a breed specific dog food like Royal Canin?

In this short guide we aim to answer that question by reviewing the Royal Canin dog food, and listing the similarities and differences between breed specific dog foods and all breed dog foods.

Please note this is an informational guide only – you should always seek the advice of suitably qualified health expert before making nutrition and food decisions for your dog.

Let’s jump into it….

 

TL;DR Summary – Royal Canin vs. WELLNESS CORE vs. Taste Of The Wild

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Royal Canin For German Shepherds
What Is Our Opinion On The Issues With Royal Canin For German Shepherds?

The biggest issues around the Royal Canin dog food are that:

  • It doesn’t contain real meat – the dogs won’t be getting real meat sources
  • It is mostly grains, corn and contains gluten – all of which are the primary ingredients – can contribute to dogs having low energy levels and be the source of skin conditions and allergies, plus weight issues
  • Also, there is no mention of omega fats – only chicken fat
  • Protein level falls a bit short of 30% at 22%
  • Fat level is 17%, but we question weather that is healthy fat

What Is Our Opinion On The Good Things About Royal Canin For German Shepherds?

The good things about Royal Canin dog food are that

  • It has a wide range of vitamins, and healthy vitamins
  • Is great for joint health with chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine – great for dogs like GSD’s with joint issues
  • Appears to be digestible
  • Contains only natural preservatives – no artificial preservatives

Where To Check Out Royal Canin For German Shepherds?

 

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WELLNESS CORE For Large Breeds
What Is Our Opinion On The Issues With WELLNESS CORE For Large Breeds?

The biggest issues around the WELNESS CORE dog food are that:

  • There really aren’t many apart from the fat level being at 12% – could be a bit higher towards 18%

What Is Our Opinion On The Good Things About WELLNESS CORE For Large Breeds?

The good things about WELNESS CORE dog food are that:

  • Contains real meat – chicken
  • 100% grain free
  • Great crude protein levels at 34%
  • Contains 6% fiber as well as probitoics for digestibility
  • Contains high quality vegetable fillers like potatoes, peas, spinach, broccoli etc.
  • Contains both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
  • It has a wide range of vitamins, and healthy vitamins
  • Is great for joint health with chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine – great for dogs like GSD’s with joint issues
  • Contains only natural preservatives – no artificial preservatives

Where To Check Out WELLNESS CORE For Large Breeds?

 

Are there any other dog food options? Yes, you could also check out Taste of The Wild which is similar to both of the above dog foods. We would rate in better than Royal Canin, and slightly less than WELLNESS CORE in terms of nutrition and health.

Where To Check Out Taste Of The Wild Bison and Venison?

 

Do I Need Breed Specific Dog Food Like Royal Canin For My German Shepherd?

What Do German Shepherds Eat?

Before we can determine whether breed specific dog food like Royal Canin is better than all breed type dog food, we need to know what a German Shepherd’s diet might look like.

We previously wrote buyer’s guides and reviews on both adult and puppy dog foods in Best Dog Food For German Shepherds, and Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppies.

We also wrote a guide on the general German Shepherd Feeding Guidelines.

In each of these guides we discuss what a German Shepherd’s diet & nutrition and diet might look like:

“General guidelines all come down to good nutrition in the ingredients used, and a balanced diet of proteins, fats/oils, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and water”…

“[Dog food should be] high quality/nutrition and highly digestible…Meat such as chicken should be listed as the first ingredient…protein level [should be]at 30% or more…fat content should be at 18% or more…and if there is a rather wide spectrum of ingredients such as omega fatty acids and vitamin E [or C], that’s good too…there should be no food colouring [and few artificial preservatives]”…

…you may also want to stay away from foods high in grains (contains gluten), corn, greasy fats & generally processed ingredients. Natural ingredients like rosemary for example which is a plant based vitamin can be good.

Premium dry dog food is usually the best because the good ones are usually economical, lower in salt and sugar, and dry food in general is easy to store and serve.

Puppies have their own set of feeding guidelines which partly involves either puppy milk or soft foods early on, before weaning them onto solid foods as they mature.

 

Royal Canin German Shepherd Dog Food Review

What Is Royal Canin Dog Food For German Shepherds? 

Royal Canin has two ranges of dog food for German Shepherds – the German Shepherd breed specific dog food, and the dog food for Large Breeds like the German Shepherd, and this is called the MAXI range.

The breed specific range is the one in the bronze/brown color packaging. The MAXI range is the blue coloured packaging.

The Royal Canin German Shepherd breed specific dog food comes in two types:

  • The puppy dry dog food for dogs 8 weeks to 15 months
  • The adult dry dog food for dogs 15 months and older

Both have almost identical ingredients – except the puppy food is adapted for a puppies. So, we will analyse them as one.

FYI – The dog food comes in 6 lbs, 17 lbs & 30 lbs

 

Analysis of Royal Canin Against German Shepherd Feeding Guidelines

Is meat listed as the first ingredient?

No. These are the first ingredients listed on the packet:

Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, brown rice, oat groats, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp

Is the protein level at 30%?

No. The guaranteed crude protein level is 22 %

Is the fat level at 18%?

No. The guaranteed crude fat level is 17%

Are there vitamins and/or naturally occurring vitamins?

Yes – there is a wide range of healthy vitamins listed such as different types of Vitamins A, B, C, D and E

Are there omega fatty acids?

There is no mention of omega fatty acids, only chicken fat.

Any food colorings or preservatives?

Yes, natural preservatives – preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid, plus rosemary.

The most common artificial antioxidants used in the pet food industry are ethoxyquin, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). Commonly used natural antioxidants include tocopherols (vitamin E), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid, and rosemary – Source

Any grains, corn or greasy fats?

It contains cereal grains, corn and gluten such as Brewers rice, brown rice, oat groats, corn gluten meal and wheat gluten

Is it highly digestible?

Royal Canin states: “A longer colonic transit time, plus a higher colonic permeability in large breed dogs, can lead to more fermentation and poor stool quality. German Shepherd Adult contributes to supporting this breed’s sensitive digestive system with highly digestible LIP proteins and a selection of specific fibers to limit intestinal fermentation and to help maintain a balanced intestinal flora.” – Source

Anything else to note?

Yes – there is glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in this food – which are supplements that are great for hip and joint care. It also contains EPA and DHA.

What Else Do Royal Canin Say? – Source

  • German Shepherds have more sensitive skin than other breeds.
  • This breed has a double-layered coat with dense undercoat.
  • German Shepherds are more prone to hip dysplasia than other breeds.
  • German Shepherds have a long muzzle, powerful jaws and strong teeth
  • Roayal Canin supports the breed’s sensitive digestive system
  • Royal Canin support the breed’s sensitive skin, double coat and bones and joints with an exclusive complex of nutrients (EPA and DHA)
  • The kibble has a harder texture, and its size and shape encourage chewing – easy to grasp and chew for German Shepherds
  • Overall, Royal Canin partners with veterinarians, breeders and other pet experts to recognize the effect of each nutrient as they develop a formula perfect for a particular breed–studying that breed’s lifestyle, life stage needs, and their tendency to develop certain health issues. If they have a breed formula, it’s because that breed requires it.

 

How Does Royal Canin Compare To Other Top Rated Dog Food? – WELLNESS CORE For Large Breeds Review

Two of the top rated dry dog foods similar to Royal Canin that we listed in our Best Dog Food For German Shepherds Guide, and Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppies Guide are Wellness CORE, and Taste of The Wild.

We chose to do an analysis of WELNESS CORE for Large Breeds below:

 

What Is WELLNESS CORE for Large Breeds? 

WELLNESS CORE comes in a range of flavors for adult dogs, as well as having formulations for puppies, and large breeds in particular.

It is a dry dog food like Royal Canin.

FYI – The dog food comes in 4 lbs, 12 lbs & 26 lbs bags

 

Analysis of WELLNESS CORE For Large Breeds Against German Shepherd Feeding Guidelines

Is meat listed as the first ingredient?

Yes. These are the first ingredients listed on the packet:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal

Is the protein level at 30%?

No. The guaranteed crude protein level is 34%

Is the fat level at 18%?

No. The guaranteed crude fat level is 12%

Are there vitamins and/or naturally occurring vitamins?

Yes – there is a wide range of healthy vitamins listed such as different types of Vitamins A, B, C, D and E

Are there omega fatty acids?

Yes, there are Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty acids listed

Any food colorings or preservatives?

Yes, natural preservatives – preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid, plus rosemary extract, green tea extract plus a range of other natural preservatives.

The most common artificial antioxidants used in the pet food industry are ethoxyquin, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). Commonly used natural antioxidants include tocopherols (vitamin E), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid, and rosemary – Source

Any grains, corn or greasy fats?

It is 100% grain free.

It contains REAL vegetables and high quality fillers like Potatoes, Peas, Tomato Pomace, Dried Ground Potatoes, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Chicken Flavor, Pea Fiber, Potassium Chloride, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Parsley,

Is it highly digestible?

It has 6% crude fiber content and has probiotics for digestion.

Anything else to note?

Yes – there is glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in this food – which are supplements that are great for hip and joint care. 

What Else Do Royal Canin Say? – Source

  • 100% grain free
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for stronger joints
  • Optimal calorie levels for healthy body weight 
  • Larger kibble size for proper chewing
  • Fiber and probbiotics for digestive health
  • Omega fatty acids for healthy coat and skin
  • Real Chicken
  • Spinach, Flaxseed and healthy fillers that include vegetables
  • Naturally preserved

 

Resources

1. https://www.royalcanin.com

2. https://www.wellnesspetfood.com

2. http://www.petmd.com/dog/centers/nutrition/evr_dg_do_I_need_breed_specific_dog_food

 

**NOTE: this guide is our opinion and analysis based on the listed ingredients and information of the dog food packaging.

It is not a detailed or guaranteed analysis on the proportions of the ingredients, or the specific nutrients in each dog food.

It is not the opinions or views of Royal Canin, WELLNESS CORE or Taste of The Wild.

 

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