Best Breed Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Dr. Gary’s Best Breed product line includes 12 dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Best Breed Puppy Diet
  • Best Breed Poodle Dog Diet
  • Best Breed German Dog Diet
  • Best Breed All Breed Dog Diet
  • Best Breed Schnauzer Dog Diet
  • Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet
  • Best Breed Cocker Spaniel Dog Diet
  • Best Breed Senior Dog Diet (3 stars)
  • Best Breed Field Dog Diet (4.5 stars)
  • Best Breed Working Dog Diet (3.5 stars)
  • Best Breed Chicken with Vegetables and Herbs Dog Diet
  • Best Breed Salmon with Vegetables and Herbs Dog Diet (3.5 stars)

Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Dr. Gary's Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, dried beet pulp, chicken fat [preserved with natural mixed tocopherols (vitamin E)], egg product, pearled barley, brewers dried yeast, menhaden fish meal, natural chicken flavor, lecithin, menhaden fish oil, flax seed, canola oil, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, dl methionine, l-lysine, monosodium phosphate, salt, cranberry, alfalfa meal, new zealand sea mussel, ascorbic acid, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), glucosamine, garlic powder, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dehydrated, kelp meal, vitamin E supplement, biotin, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium chloride, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%14%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%31%44%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The third ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fourth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The fifth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The sixth ingredient is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The seventh ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The eighth item is brewers yeast, which can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The ninth ingredient is menhaden fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

We are pleased to note that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item appears1 to be ethoxyquin-free.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With five notable exceptions

First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, we find canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while some condemn it as an unhealthy fat.

Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its source material.

Yet others find the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.2

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

In addition, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener3 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.4

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Best Breed Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Best Breed Dog Food looks like an above average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 28%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the brewers yeast and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Best Breed Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

01/03/2012 Original review
07/04/2013 Review updated
07/04/2013 Last Update

  1. Best Breed website
  2. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)
  3. Wikipedia definition
  4. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • Dean and Nancy Lambert-Powers

    We have a chunky monkey Pembroke Welsh Corgi and 3 other PWC’s and a Pitbull. The whole Idea of switching to the Adult Formula Best Breed was to get the Large Scale, Picky eater (surprising huh) to get a food that he liked that was healthy and low calorie. HE LOVES this food, as do the other 4! They all seem to be doing quite well on this food. Our Chunky Monkey is losing weight as well. We will keep buying this food and we are thrilled they are on a holistic diet and that the food is made right here in Ohio! The feed store we purchased it from checked all of their other brands, and this was the lowest calorie, highest nutritional value for dogs with weight issues! We pay more per month, but it’s worth every penny!

  • dani

    Secrets To Dog Training: Stop Your Dog’s Behavior Problems! ———

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  • Stephanie A Schriber

    My mixed Pit has major Thyroid problems and was going down hill very fast. I was having to ask for help on vet bills because I had gotten to the point where I was unable to pay for them by myself. I also have a red nosed pit who wouldn’t gain weight on any other dog food. He was tested for everything under the sun so we could narrow down the problem. He was just healthy and full of energy. Who can afford to feed their dog three times as much as recommended though?
    I had a guy recommend Dr.Gary’s to me. He was a salesman for it, but he told me if it didn’t work he would get all my money back. So I went with it. Two months later, my dog Kylah is starting to improve A LOT and Diesel has gained weight and looks like he should. I am a true advocate for this dog food and I highly recommend it to everyone! (Both my dogs are on the working dog formula, if you dont want your dog to gain weight they offer many other kinds)

  • corgi mom

    I love this food and so does my Pembroke Welsh Corgi! She is a very picky eater , I was having trouble trying to get her to eat other foods, I have not had a problem with her eating since she started eating this food! she loves it! She eats the “all breed” formula (yes I measure the amount of food she gets). I found that her hair is much more silky , soft and shiny. I also like the fact that this food was developed by a vet here in ohio. I am comfortable knowing my dog is eating local , made in the USA.

  • vickie lee

    We have been using this food for our Labs for one year. They do well on it, and we have not had ear problems like with other food. Our female dog just had puppies and we gave her Best Breed and Royal C. food together to use up a bag. She separated the two and only ate the Best Breed. We were amazed by this, as she is not picky. I can say this will be our dogs food. Like the small company a lot.

  • Jennifer Arthur

    I wanted to add that I saw today they now offer a grain-free option.

  • Kristal

    No. It is a small niche brand not owned by any larger corporation.

  • RFBC

    Does diamond make this food?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Bob K –

    I’m not concerned with bloat. As I said in my previous post, none of my dogs have ever bloated – not on kibble, canned, dehydrated or raw.

  • Bob K

     Hound Dog Mom – What proof do you have that kibble causes bloat?   If you are concerned about bloat feed your dog smaller amounts more often.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Setter Owner –

    If you’re concerned about bloat your best bet would be canned, dehydrated, homecooked or raw. If you want to stick with kibble, there are plenty of kibbles other than Bil Jac that don’t swell a lot when water is added, but a good idea is to add water to the kibble prior to feeding anyways.

    I’ve never ran into a Bil Jac rep, but people always seem to be very impressed with their reps. I agree, it’s great when one company doesn’t mention or downgrade another, I think it’s a real bad look when one company mentions another in an attempt to downgrade the other.

    The thing with Bil Jac is it has some very questionable ingredients. I’ll use this analogy because I’ve heard others use it several times and I think it holds true concerning Bil Jac: if you start out with ground chuck no matter how you prepare it you can’t make filet mignon out of it. Meaning, if you start with poor ingredients you can’t make a good food, it’s impossible. You can process the ingredients in such a way as to make them more digestible and palatable (which Bil Jac does and, I will admit, the way they process their food sounds much better than the way other companies with similar quality ingredients process their food) but you can’t turn bad ingredients in to quality ingredients.

    I’d urge you to check out some of the 4 and 5 star foods on this site, especially consider canned, raw, or dehydrated as I mentioned earlier if it’s something you can afford. There are many foods that actually start with quality ingredients and process them well and there are many 4 and 5 star foods that people with large dogs feed and have no issues with bloat. I have bloodhounds (prone to bloat) and have never had one bloat.

  • setter owner

    We started using Best Breed when they had Catfish.  They no longer make this, but have changed to Salmon.  Used it for awhile and then the dogs started turning their nose and refused to eat it.  Changed to the large breed and when the bag is first opened they will eat it, but not with gusto.  By the time the bag is half gone the food has to be doctored in order for them to eat.  The food smells really bad, even when fresh, and makes the breath smell just like the food (whew!).  Have started having more and more problems with skin and ear infections in both dogs and the common demoninator is the food.  We pay a premium price for this food and don’t feel it is worth the cost.  We are now shopping around for something that will get them back on track and are considering BilJac.  I read your review on BilJac and while you didn’t give it rave reviews I feel you are basing your review on the ingredient list only and not contacting the manufacturer for the true meaning listing of ingredients or processing procedures.  Resently went to a dog show that had a Best Breed and BilJac rep there.  Of course both were well versed and told you eveything you wanted to hear, but was most impressed with the BilJac rep that talked only about ingredients and animal nutrition and did not mention or down grade any other brand.  Not true of the Best Breed rep. I did like the idea that BilJac doesn’t swell when placed in water and I know, based on experience, that Best Breed does. I have large dogs with deep chests and always concerned with bloat and swelling food in the stomach doesn’t excite me. 

  • Linda

    It says in the review that they are unsure about the ethoxyquin, but I have a pamphlet from them that states their food is ethoxyquin free.

  • Concerned2

    Thanks for the review. Not impressed with the working formula 22/22 protein/fat???  The rest look good, fondest of the field dog out of them all.  Might have to try it out.  

  • http://www.allvetmed.com/GastroGard-p/gas1.htm gastrogard dosage

    The Poodle is an intelligent and instinctive breed. Training is quite easy as a result of these instincts, which is probably why they were used in circuses some years ago. They are highly energetic and can become bored quite easily, which can then lead to them finding very creative ways in which to get into mischief. Exercise and mental stimulation are important to this breed.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    I have Cavaliers, too!  Just wanting to know, what formula are you using?  I’m assuming the cocker spaniel formula, but just would like to know.  Thanks!

  • Bjsliltails

    I have been using Best Breed for 7 months now with my Cavalier King Charles Spaniels which I show and breed.  Their coats are soft and shiny and I am not having a problem with yeasty smelling drainage from their eyes which I have had with other brands.  I have 2 girls with puppies currently and the moms have great milk supply and puppies are growing like little weeds.  Love this food.

  • Varonika

    This brand was at a Pet Expo yesterday in Columbus, the food is made in Ohio and uses the same distributor as Blue Buffalo. I am not at all impressed with the cat formula which they said was their biggest seller. I was given a sample of the working dog formula for my great dane. He refused it. :/