Black Gold Signature Series (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Black Gold Signature Series Dog Food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Black Gold Signature Series product line includes four 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.

  • Black Gold Ultimate Puppy
  • Black Gold Ultimate Performance
  • Black Gold Ultimate Chicken Meal and Rice
  • Black Gold Ultimate Lamb Meal and Rice (3 stars)

Black Gold Ultimate Chicken Meal and Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Black Gold Ultimate Chicken Meal and Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, brewers rice, ground whole barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), oat groats, fish meal, dried beet pulp, dried eggs, canola oil, natural flavors, flaxseed meal, brewers dried yeast, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, salt, dicalcium phosphate, minerals (zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate monohydrate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, selenium selenite), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), menadione sodium bisulfite complex, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), dried yeast

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%16%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%33%43%

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 includes brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient includes oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.

The sixth item is fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

What’s more, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.

But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.

We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.

Without knowing more, we would expect to find at least a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is dried egg, a dehydrated 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 ninth ingredient is canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority 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.

After the natural flavor, we find flaxseed, 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.

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, brewers yeast and dried yeast can be controversial items. Although they are by-products of the beer making process, these ingredients are 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 and dried yeast contains about 45% protein, factors that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

Next, 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.

And lastly, this dog food also contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Black Gold Signature Series Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Black Gold Signature Series dog food looks like an average dry dog food.

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 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

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

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

Just the same, it’s unfortunate the company chose to incorporate menadione in all its recipes. Without this controversial supplement, this product line may have been eligible for a higher rating.

Bottom line?

Black Gold Signature Series dog food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

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

03/05/2010 Original review
08/24/2010 Review updated
10/06/2010 Review updated
07/01/2012 Review updated
04/21/2013 Review updated
04/21/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)
  • Pattyvaughn

    Like Betsy said, and have your vet fill out an FDA report too.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi lorant50,

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your pup.

    Please, don’t return the food to the company. If you do, I suspect that’ll be the last you hear of it. You NEED to make a report with the FDA:

    http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm.

    Contact them right away and don’t dispose of any of the food or the packaging and document everything.

  • lorant50

    I just want to make people aware,,,,I have the batch of BG Signature Series that is bad…we lost a puppy sometime early this morning. Was up and eating(diarrhea was finally subsiding) but she succumbed to the after effects of the food poisoning, in spite of trying to detox. We have one Great Dane that has solid stools but still have a dark green color to them..we have not fed anything different aside from the food to cause it. If we open the door outside ,,the outdoors even stinks before we clean the yard at the end of the day..even in the cold climate…beware if you are feeding this food. I am devastated this morning and worried that more will succumb. Once we switched foods..we noticed the dogs digging in happily instead of sniffing it and not anxiously eating and we are noticing they are not drinking nearly as much…I noticed things wrong from the previous batch..lots of drinking and hungry all the time but just did not relate it as cold weather set in and it was easy to say they are eating more and drinking more…so this may also be a problem that accumulates for a while and the prior batch could have been just as bad but they did not get sick until month 2?? There is no active recall and it takes victims like mine to get a recall…so we are in the dark…I will return it and the company may test it..but just like Diamond lied to me about the test and then the official recall came out in 2005…how do I know those tests are accurate…I know something is wrong and I think the best thing is to hope no others succumb to it and keep them on the detox and new food….

  • lorant50

    I have been an advocate for the Black Food Signature Series and have fed the Chicken/Rice for a couple of years. having to special order it for my Danes, Doberman and Poms. The last batch of 10 bags I purchased,,it seemed like my dogs were always hungry..even crying at Midnight for more food. I mentioned it when I went in last week to pick up more bags and figured it was just the cold weather..but I went thru 3 extra bags to keep them satisfied and adult dogs getting fed 4 x’s daily? So this time went thru the 1st 3 bags within a few days and all the dogs are sick…they have gas that is unreal,,they ruined the carpets with vomit and diarrhea and we pulled the food and are returning it. Even the stench is horrible outside. We used charcoal and bentonite clay prouducts to help detox it out of them…will not purchase again. I am still busy cleaning up rear ends of dogs with long coats. They claim no change to formula and the color is
    different and even the size of the food so something has changed….sadly here we go again looking for a food that they all do well on..we’ve fed the most expensive and they have run right thru too…but they were not sick like this…something is wrong with this food and it has not come out yet! EVERY dog here is sick and this is the 2nd batch that has not been right! Please email me at [email protected] if you have also had problems..they are claiming everyone elses’ is fine!

  • lorant

    They sell if for $58.00 including postage..that same bag will sell for 28-36 bucks at your local feed store..most of that price is for shipping. I breed Great Danes and Pomeranians and have fed ALL the premiums to find most run thru them or get recalled later…BG has never been recalled and my dogs have never had such little stool volume and glossy coats..both the large ones and the small ones on the same 25/14 chicken ultimate series recipe….Great job BG..your hardest feat will be finding it in stock,,,I call the store and special order mine by the pallet! If you base your results on success you will find most these ratings are paid for by someone..I’ve had plenty of food companies offer to pay me,,but never the BG company!

  • pintobobster

    I’ve been feeding my dog this BG premium for over 10 years, they been happy there hair and skin bright…. even gave it to my gurl friends Jack Terrier who’s hair was falling out and he was having issues being sick…. since giving him BG with in weeks he was and is completely healthy again…. yea for BG …. and I pay $29.00 for a #40 bag…I believe in this food as I have used other brands just to find out my dogs lost more weight and sickly looking…. never again will I buy out of the bulk bins at any store!!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Someone on the forum just reported that they changed this formula.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Black Gold is going to be introducing a grain-free line this spring. Aside from the addition of menadione the ingredients actually don’t look horrible, might hit 4 stars. There’s going to be a fish formula with 32% protein and a chicken formula with 27% protein.
     

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LRK2PYF6JYG4HJX3WWF5OLOBO4 Meg

    I feed my dog BG Sig Series Ultimate Lamb meal and Rice. It has no corn, wheat or soy. I have never been happier with the results. I used to feed my dog Premium Edge that I later found out was produced by Diamond. I always wondered why some months he would be fine and other months he would have much looser stool. He also had skin problems on Premium Edge. Diamonds quality control has a lot to be desired. As far as pricing…locally I pay $32 for a 40lb bag of BG. I initially had a hard time finding this particular BG formula and the reps at BG helped me get someone local to carry it.

  • Bob K

     Pk440 – A 3 star rating is a decent rating.  If you know the % of ingredients please share it with us.  Corn meal is not a quality dog food ingredient.  If you read the detailed report, perhaps you have a better way to rate dog foods?  Compared to a 1 star food 3 stars is a huge step up. 

  • Pk440

    Black Gold is an excellent dog food!!! Even the people who wrote this article and rated the dog food DO NOT KNOW THE PERCENTAGES of ingredients used and falsely assume alot. They even go much further and assume the grade of ingredients. I assure you Black Gold has not forwarded their % ‘s over to the dog advisor, and Black Gold uses top grade AMERICAN  products. All their food was formulated by Doctors and board members of AFCO who regulate dog food. Folks don’t listen to all that is writen above. Try the dog food and see for your self how well your animals do on it. Mine do spectacular!!!!!!!!

  • Stephen

    I get the new black gold ultimate adult for 27.00 for a 40lb bag!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    nes – I just checked out Black Gold’s website and they do now have a corn/wheat/soy free formula however it still doesn’t look that great. They’re selling it for $58 a bag too, there are some much better quality foods than Black Gold you can get for the same price or cheaper. I mean, there are 5 star grain-free dogs you can get for that price so why spend the money on oat groats and and brewer’s rice…not to mention only 25% protein?

  • nes

    I think this review needs updated because I noticed the ingredient list is not the same as stated, just like the previous posts in this thread showed. I’d be interested to know if this food has gotten up to 4 stars to be on the recommended list before I buy.  ;-)

  • melissa

     Oat groats? Excellent! My parakeets just love them : )

  • MObigfoot

     I have fed Ultimate Adult for 6 or 7 years and just picked up 200+ pounds. My dogs look good and are very healthy.

    The current label reads:

    Signature SeriesUltimate Adult Dog Food

    INGREDIENTS:  Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Ground Whole Barley, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Oat Groats, Fish Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Dried Eggs, Canola Oil, Natural Flavors, Flaxseed Meal, Brewers Dried Yeast, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Dicalcium Phosphate, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate Monohydrate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium lodate, Selenium Selenite), Choline Chloride, Vitamins’ (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Calcium
    Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin B6),Thiamine Mononitrate (Source of Vitamin B I), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement), Dried Yeast

  • MObigfoot

     I have fed Ultimate Adult for 6 or 7 years and just picked up 200+ pounds.  The current label reads:

    Signature Series
    Ultimate Adult
    Dog Food

    INGREDIENTS:  Chicken
    Meal, Brewers Rice, Ground Whole Barley, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed
    Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Oat Groats, Fish Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Dried
    Eggs, Canola Oil, Natural Flavors, Flaxseed Meal, Brewers Dried Yeast, Calcium
    Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Dicalcium Phosphate, Minerals (Zinc
    Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate Monohydrate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper
    Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate,
    Calcium lodate, Selenium Selenite), Choline Chloride, Vitamins’ (Vitamin A
    Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Calcium
    Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin
    B6),Thiamine Mononitrate (Source of Vitamin B I), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite
    Complex, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement), Dried Yeast

  • Magento Developer India

    Such a nice dog on the earth…love this

  • Barry

    We’ve used the Ultimate Adult for the past 3 years with our dogs and can’t believe how good they look and their activity level is just superb. I heard it is 60% plus chicken. Why would you say it only has about 35% meat? Do you ever check with the company? It is the quality of the ingredients that matter and from what I hear Black Gold uses only the best most of which are human grade fats etc.

  • Pam

    I have used black 26/18 for a couple of years. All my field trial Springers do very well on it. When I had to switch dog to another higer priced dog food for a couple of months I noticed I had to feed larger amounts and didn’t get the results I did from Black Gold.

  • neil callais

    hi i use the black gold ultimate series the blue and gold bag. my dogs love it, and do well on it .it’s a 30 /21 and i like the extra fat content becuase with the bullies and the shows. it’s good to have the weight on them.was surprized to see that they use this (menadione)why can’t any one talk to the company and have them change that ? would hate for my dogs to have health problems becuse of this. but i feed alot of dogs and the price is right for my pocket book 24.85 uncluding tax for a 40 lb. bag. one thing i notice that alot of dog food companies are going with lighter weight bags for the same or more money .

  • Meagan

    The Ultimate Adult really does not look to bad. They could remove the Menadione and add more meat it’d be a good product. I would not object to feeding it if I was really in a tight spot.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Mike… Since we don’t track pricing information or try to predict results of any dog food in our database, it would be impossible for me to help you find a good replacement. Unfortunately, I cannot provide customized product recommendations for each reader. For more information, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Mike

    I have a field trial lab. She is out a MNH Bitch and FAC FC Sire. Most of the trainers, kennels, and breeders I know feed Black Gold. Usually the Red 30/20, Black 26/18, or Blue 24/20 formulas. I came across this site after having my in-laws dogs for 10 days. They feed Kirkland, I am unimpressed with their coat and condition. Granted they don’t brush or exercise their dogs enough. After a week with me with more exercise, regular brushing, and Black Gold 26/18 they are far healthier. I was going to recommend Black Gold but now I am not so sure. Can you recommend a better food that is only marginally more expensive (less than $1.00 a pound) that will satisfy the needs of a field trial dog?

  • Tonya

    I used to feed the Ultimate Adult and I took my dogs off of it. I didnt see any improvements with my dogs, but thats just my dogs. every dog is different.

  • ed

    I believe the company has upgraded the formula and removed corn gluten meal. The grade of chicken by-product meal used in this food is very high quality and is probably lower in ash than chicken meal. This grade is organ meat, skin and meat.

    The prices of these foods are unbeatable. This food is $.50 lb and has very high meat content from animal sources. Ultimate Adult is about $.40 lb.

  • Tiffanie

    I apologize. I was reading the review and the only thing that I saw was “Black Gold Ultimate Performance” and the ingredients I listed were for the only Ultimate Performance I could find on the Black Gold web site.
    I am researching this food for a friend and several ingredients gave me pause. Thank you for your time to analyze dog foods and give us unbiased ratings.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Tiffanie… We do not create a review for each dog food in a brand product line. But we do select an example product that best represents all the others in the group. In this case, we selected Professional Blend (23/16 formula) whereas the ingredients you mention are those of a completely different product. However, the product you mention would still only earn 1 or 2 stars.

  • Tiffanie

    I was looking at the Black Gold Dog Food web sites ingredient list and it reads a little different than your version. I don’t know if they changed their ingredients or if the list differs from the web site to the bag?…..

    Black Gold Signature Series Ultimate Performance 31/21 Ingredients:
    #1 GRADE Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Meal, Poultry Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols-Source of Vitamin E), Dried Beet Pulp, Brewer’s Rice, Natural Liver Flavor (Hydrolyzed Poultry Liver (Enzymatic) With Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (A Preservative), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Lecithin, Mixed Tocopherols (A Natural Preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (A Natural Preservative) and Rosemary Extract), Fish Meal, Cheese Meal, Dried Whole Eggs, Potassium Chloride, Flaxseed Meal, Salt, Dried Whey, Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Liver Meal, and Essential Proteinated Vitamins & Minerals.