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Does feeding depend on the breed?

The tailor-made meal plan: The right diet for dogs of different breeds

Dogs, our loyal companions, come in a fascinating variety of breeds that not only differ in appearance, but also in their needs and nutritional requirements. In this blog article we will look in detail at the question of whether and how the diversity of dog breeds influences nutrient requirements and whether breed should play a role when choosing food.

Size plays a crucial role

Differences in the size of dog breeds are not only visible externally, but also have a significant influence on their nutritional requirements. Small dogs often only weigh a few kilograms, while their larger counterparts can weigh up to 100 kilograms.

But do the nutrient requirements of large dogs increase linearly with their size? Not necessarily.

Large dogs require even less energy per kilogram of body weight.
A lower energy density is advisable for the food for large dog breeds, which often travel at a leisurely pace, in order to avoid becoming overweight.

Feeding recommendations and energy requirements

The feeding recommendation apparently only depends on the weight of the dog. However, there is much more to it than that. It is determined through scientific calculations by calculating an energy requirement in kcal/kJ from the analytical components. This results in a subsequent calculation of the convertible energy (ME), which is crucial for determining the feeding recommendation.

The feeding recommendation is based on the dog's weight, the convertible energy (ME) and a daily energy intake . This daily energy intake is also an important factor and reflects the energy requirements in relation to the dog's activity. Average values ​​are used to calculate daily energy intake, although these vary greatly depending on activity and breed (such as Newfoundlands, Great Danes and terriers). Therefore, this is only a feeding recommendation and must be determined individually depending on breed, age and activity .

Nowadays, obesity is becoming more and more common in dogs and cats. This can be explained by these differences in energy balance. Of course, a house cat has to eat more to meet its nutritional needs than a lap dog. Likewise, a young dog has higher energy and nutrient requirements, based on body mass, than an adult dog. Adult dogs with low activity levels - dogs that simply accompany their owners on their daily walk - need a diet with a low energy density to avoid becoming overweight. From the seventh year of life (large breeds) or from the tenth year of life (small breeds), the lower activity and the beginning of aging processes reduce the energy requirement by up to 30%. Seniors who tend to be overweight should therefore be offered food with a reduced energy density.

Delicate palates of the dwarf breeds

Tiny breeds like Yorkshire Terriers or Chihuahuas have their own needs. Their owners tend to offer them fresh food in small portions and different flavors. For this reason, there are special food options in small pack sizes or fresh bags. Dry food with crispy outside and soft inside kibble is also available for picky small breed dogs.

Focus on working breeds

Service, hunting or herding dogs such as Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Jack Russel or Irish Setter , which cover many kilometers every day, have a higher basal metabolic rate. Energy-rich food is essential for them. Sprint athletes, on the other hand, such as racing dogs or dogs in agility, benefit from a higher carbohydrate content.

Health in view

Certain hereditary diseases such as joint diseases or heart problems are more common in certain breeds. Here, the right diet can make a preventative or supportive contribution. Additional nutritional supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, green-lipped mussels, glycosaminoglycans, taurine and carnitine can have a positive effect on joint health and heart muscle function.

Hereditary diseases in dogs can be divided into different categories:

Respiratory diseases: An example of this is tracheal collapse, in which the windpipe collapses due to a change in the cartilage substance. This causes the windpipe to narrow and can cause serious breathing problems. Smaller breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers, Toy Poodles and Pomeranians are particularly susceptible.

Eye diseases: Progressive retinal atrophy, which leads to the slow death of the retina and ultimately blindness, primarily affects breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute, Australian Shepherd and various spaniel and retriever breeds. There are genetic tests for various affected breeds.

Musculoskeletal disorders: Hip dysplasia, an abnormal development of the hip joint, leads to osteoarthritis and mainly affects medium to large breeds, including the Bernese Mountain Dog, Boxer and German Shepherd.

Blood disorders: Von Willebrand disease, an inherited blood clotting disorder, causes prolonged bleeding after injuries. Affected breeds include the Doberman, German Shepherd and Golden Retriever. Genetic testing is available for some breeds.

Skin and hair diseases: Nasal parakeratosis, a genetic defect that causes the nose to dry out, specifically affects the Labrador Retriever. There is a suitable genetic test for this.

Cardiovascular diseases: Aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the main artery, occurs as a congenital heart disease in many breeds, including the Boxer and Golden Retriever.

Hormonal Disorders: Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, shows a racial predisposition in breeds such as the Afghan Hound and Boxer.

Immune diseases: Atopy, an environmental allergy that manifests itself as severe itching, primarily affects breeds such as the Boxer, German Shepherd and Golden Retriever.

Nervous system diseases: Degenerative myelopathy, a neurological disease that leads to the destruction of the spinal cord, is primarily known in German Shepherds. A genetic test is available.

Diseases of the genitourinary system: Cryptorchidism, a disorder of the descent of the testicles, poses a high risk for smaller breeds such as the Dachshund and Schnauzer, but also for Boxers and Cocker Spaniels.

Digestive System Diseases: Gastric torsion, a life-threatening twisting of the stomach, occurs primarily in large, deep-chested breeds, including St. Bernards and German Shepherds.

Influence of lifestyle

A dog's nutritional needs not only depend on its breed, but are also strongly influenced by the lifestyle and activities of its owner. A sporty lifestyle, for example, requires a diet adapted to the increased activity.

Formula for calculating the required energy intake

Below we will show you a simplified formula on how you can calculate your dog's energy needs. Keep in mind that this formula is a general estimate and cannot fully account for individual needs and specific health requirements:

Daily energy intake (kcal) = Basic needs × Activity factor × Age factor

  • Basic requirements : Depends on the dog's body weight. A general estimate is 70 × (body weight in kg) 0.75 . Please note the esponent of 0.75. The theory states that an animal's energy needs are not directly proportional to its body weight, but to a power thereof. The use of 0.75 as an exponent reflects a generally accepted estimate that energy requirements relative to body mass are more efficient in larger animals than in smaller ones.
  • Activity Factor : Selects values ​​between 1.2 (for inactive or older dogs) and 2.0 (for very active, working dogs).
  • Age factor : May vary; typically 1.0 for adult dogs, 1.2 for puppies and young dogs (due to growth), and 0.8 for older dogs (reduced metabolism).

If you need help, please write to us at: or use our personal food advice


The diversity of dog breeds brings with it different needs, which are reflected in the diet. It is worth considering the specific characteristics of the breed when choosing food to ensure that your four-legged friend receives the best possible care. Because a balanced diet is not only crucial for the health, but also for the well-being of our beloved dogs.

Do you have a dog that needs a lot of energy?

Then we have exactly the right thing for you. We have specially developed a strain for an active dog life . They contain some beneficial nutrients that can be beneficial for energy production & circulatory activities .

Check out our products for more endurance & energy here

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