Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Adult (Dry)

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Rating: ★★½☆☆

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Adult dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition product line includes 17 dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

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

  • Royal Canin Pug
  • Royal Canin Boxer
  • Royal Canin Beagle
  • Royal Canin Bulldog
  • Royal Canin Shih Tzu
  • Royal Canin Rottweiler
  • Royal Canin Chihuahua
  • Royal Canin Dachshund
  • Royal Canin French Bulldog
  • Royal Canin Cocker Spaniel
  • Royal Canin Poodle (2 stars)
  • Royal Canin Golden Retriever
  • Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier
  • Royal Canin Labrador Retriever
  • Royal Canin German Shepherd
  • Royal Canin Miniature Schnauzer
  • Royal Canin West Highland White Terrier (2 stars)

Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Brewers rice, brown rice, chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, wheat gluten, corn gluten meal, corn, natural flavors, powdered cellulose, dried plain beet pulp, fish oil, grain distillers dried yeast, vegetable oil, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, sodium silico aluminate, fructooligosaccharides, sodium tripolyphosphate, salt, taurine, hydrolyzed yeast, vitamins [dl-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), inositol, niacin supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], dl-methionine, choline chloride, magnesium oxide, l-lysine, glucosamine hydrochloride, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta l.), trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], tea, l-carnitine, chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%18%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%37%39%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 39%

The first ingredient in this dog food is 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 second 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 third ingredient is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.

In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except feathers.

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.

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 is wheat gluten. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although wheat gluten contains 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is corn gluten meal, another plant-based protein booster.

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

The seventh ingredient includes corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

After the natural flavor, we find powdered cellulose, a non-digestible plant fiber usually made from the by-products of vegetable processing. Except for the usual benefits of fiber, powdered cellulose provides no nutritional value to a dog.

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, 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.

Next, we find grain distillers dried yeast, also known as GDDY.

GDDY is an ingredient obtained from the fermentation of cereal grains separated from distilling mash as a by-product of the ethanol (biofuel) industry.

This low-quality item is typically found in cattle feeds and is only rarely used to make pet food.

Although it contains over 40% protein, GDDY would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

What’s more, less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

In addition, we note the inclusion of vegetable oil, a generic oil of unknown origin in this recipe. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).

Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.

Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener1 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

And lastly, this food also includes 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.

Royal Canin Breed Health
Nutrition Adult Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Adult looks like a below-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 29%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten and corn gluten meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Adult is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

Not recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Royal Canin Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
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A Final Word

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

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

12/18/2015 Last Update

  • June Benson

    Your vet recommended it because when your dog crashes and burns from this crap food he will reap the rewards from it. Cha ching cha ching. I’m sure your vet also recommend unnecessary shots and spot on or oral flea and tick meds to..

  • sharron

    going to give orijen freeze dried tundra a whirl again, see how that goes

  • Cannoli

    brewer’s rice is one of the most nutrient deficient and processed food out there. yet this is the main ingredient in this food. Then they jam the rest of this food with synthetic vitamins to meet nutritional requirements

    In other words i would basically be feeding my dog rice cakes topped with GNC vitamins.

    A 2.5 rating is being way too generous here

  • Azul

    You’re welcome. 🙂

  • sharron

    hi – i guess i have it stuck in my head that she should be on kibble – all my other dogs in the past ate dry, never canned, so i think Lexee should be the same way, but she definitely isn’t when it comes to food – will keep her on can and have increased her walks to what they used to be – 20 mins, 3 x a day – thanks for your help!!!

  • Azul

    Canned is more species appropriate than kibble.
    Why don’t you just feed her canned if she doesn’t like kibble?

  • sharron

    i’ve been feeding the RC weight care canned food – she doesn’t care much for dry, any dry
    dog food – very difficult to get her to eat dry without her just about starving herself

  • Pitlove

    That is wonderful! Took almost 2 years to find a food my pitbull would eat for more than one small bag without turning his nose up to it.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Lanie-

    You have given us a perfect example of why it is difficult to chose a dog food based on websites like this and consumer reviews. Doesn’t matter the star rating so long as your dog does well on it and gets a clean bill of health from a trusted vet. Glad you found a food that does not upset your dogs stomach!

  • InkedMarie

    Type “how we rate dog food” into the search here on DFA. It’s all about the ingredients, NA/GA.

    I’m glad your dog does well on this but that has nothing to do with the quality of the food.

    Unless your vet is a holistic vet or nutritionist, they don’t know all that much about nutrition. They get very little nutrition education in vet school.

  • Azul

    One look at the ingredients list answers your question.
    The foods on this site are rated by their meat based
    protein levels.

  • Azul

    The dry portion of their foods stays the same for about 3 weeks or so because I buy large bags. But the canned and fresh food portion changes on a daily basis. None of my dogs are picky, and they really seem to enjoy this feeding method. I can tell because they are all very excited at meal times, they literally jump up and down with anticipation, and start doing all their tricks so they can have their bowls quicker. lol

  • Amateria

    Well than it works for your dog simple, doesn’t mean it’s a good food doesn’t mean that someone can highly recommend it for everyone else’s pet, because like us every dog is different some don’t do well on this food at all and some thrive on it just the way things are.

  • Lanie Malvit

    Put her on royal canin weight management!

  • Lanie Malvit

    How can this only have 2.5 stars?
    I have tried many of the expensive brands, but royal canin is the only food my dog doesn’t get sick on. Also after only 3 weeks of him being on royal canin (royal canin medium sensitive digestion to be exact) his coat was much shinier and he is just 100% over all healthy!

    Shame on dog food advisor for rating this great food with such a low rating,
    Also my vet recommended royal canin, and i trust my vet MUCH MORE than i trust a website that ISN’T EVEN RUN BY VETS

  • aimee

    For weight loss a common method to determine amount to feed is to determine how many calories you had been feeding and then decrease that amount by 20% and reevaluate every few weeks. Ask your vet to guide you.

  • Pitlove

    Have you tried feeding her on a plate instead of a bowl? Bentley would only eat off a feeding tray for a long time. Now we are back to a normal bowl.

  • Pitlove

    Your last sentence was the point I was making. Some dogs do not enjoy that much variety though we as the human believe they do. My dog is one who prefers to be on the same food for at least a few months. I used to switch brands, proteins, etc every week.

  • Azul

    Canned food won’t cause weight gain. But too many calories definitely will. When you add the canned are you giving less dry?

  • Azul

    Hi Pitlove, I rotate foods with all different manufacturers, brands, and protein sources. I add canned and fresh (human) lol foods. None of my dogs are picky. They will eat whatever combo I give them. They will even eat plain kibble only, even after having much higher value foods like canneddog food and freshly cooked meat, eggs, ect.
    Every dog is different tho, so if your experience with your dog may be different than mine.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Azul-

    I used to do that for my dog. I found it made him more picky.

  • sharron

    is 1/2 cup of acana too much? – she weighs nearly 12 lbs and should be between 10.0 and 10.5 lbs – if i cut back to 3/8 cup then she’s hungry and i end up giving another 1/8 cup which ends up being 1/2 cup

  • aimee

    Weight gain comes from feeding more calories than expenditure. The form of the food is immaterial.

  • sharron

    hi – well i got her to eat the acana, had to put the food on the floor beside her bowl..go figure

  • sharron

    i’m in a middle of a power struggle right now – she’s holding out for wet food but i am determined to get her over that and eat dry – should be interesting because i’m the one that gives in first

  • Azul

    You’re welcome. There’s really no right or wrong way to mixit up. Just be sure to use up the open bags within a few weeks so they don’t go bad/stale.

  • sharron

    hi and thanks – taken her off the can,
    got her on acana, different formulas – having a power struggle right now getting her to eat it – but do not fear i will not give in – i’m pretty sure the extra weight came from the canned food

  • aimee

    Sharron,

    The royal canin low fat canned takes about 55% of its calories from carbohydrate, 29% from protein and 15.5 from fat.

  • sharron

    thanks!!!! i try hard – can i switch between the acana formulas at each meal or by the day, or by the bag

  • Azul

    You are a good dog mom. I think she’s trying to tell you that she doesn’t like to eat the same food/flavor all the time.
    Try buying the smallest bags and switching up the proteins with each new bag. That should keep her from getting bored and refusing to eat.

  • sharron

    hi – the DFA calculator says 218 cals for overweight – i was told 4-5 years ago by a nutritionist that Lexee should get 200 cals/day and that isn’t for overweight issues (don’t know if that is right or not) – been told since then, that some nutritionists have a tendency to go lower on the amount cals a dog should be fed per day – what do you think?
    thanks

  • sharron

    hi – i picked up the trial size bags of the acana lamb/pear, small breed, and the duck – she gets tired of the same food all the time – she did stay on the RC a lot longer than i thought she would – she doesn’t like a lot of the dog foods, believe me i have tried most of them during the past 6 years

  • sharron

    i tried the RC dry first, no go, then the RC can, still a no go, then the dry and wet, a no go with that too – all i had left to try was the Acana which i took out of the closet and put in her dish, she was beside me when i did this and she ate it all up – she didn’t ask for the Acana – and yes i did feel her tummy and she is fine – just being picky again

  • Azul

    She obviously prefers Acana over RC. Smart dog.

  • Storm’s Mom

    What happened (what did you feel, what was her reaction) when you pressed hard on her belly, as Pitlove suggested?

  • sharron

    good morning – she’s just being picky she’s doing the same thing this morning

  • Pitlove

    You can try pressing hard on her belly (kind of massaging it) and see if she has a painful reaction. If so she may have an upset stomach and thats why she won’t eat. If not, then possibly being picky.

  • sharron

    oh yes, there’s water for her all the time – she’s not a heavy drinker but i think she’s getting enough, she drinks more after chewing a bone and i usually add water to her dry food

  • sharron

    i don’t know why she won’t eat – she hasn’t done this in a very long time

  • Storm’s Mom

    Does she have access to water during the day, and does she drink it regularly (several times a day)?

  • sharron

    will have to give in and mix in can –
    was trying to get her to eat just dry
    but i think the can has become the lifestyle for her – i thought perhaps feeding her can food has caused the weight gain – thanks so much for your help

  • Pitlove

    If she can not handle being fasted then you need to get her to eat something, especially if she is on any meds. Do you have any canned you can offer?

  • sharron

    ok thanks

  • sharron

    could be that it’s only kibble and not wet mixed in – she’ll have me up during the night because she will be so hungry and then the bile starts

  • Pitlove

    I feel like to get her to lose 1 pound or 1 1 1/2 pounds you could feed her for an “overweight” dog

  • Pitlove

    IMO no. I’m only concerned about calories and that is what has worked for me.

  • Pitlove

    Fasting them overnight will not hurt them, but I would be curious about why she won’t eat.

  • sharron

    how long can this dog go without eating, last time she ate was 5:30 this morning

  • sharron

    i just used the DFA calculator and i entered in 10 lbs, senior, inactive, and 353 cals = 280 cals/day
    when i used 10 lbs, overweight, and 353 cals, i get 218 cals – she’s overweight and inactive, how do figure out the cals she needs when she’s both

  • sharron

    so in your opinion it comes down to the amt of calories bring fed and it doesn’t matter what the dry food is eg: grain free, high protein, high fat etc etc.

  • Pitlove

    I personally don’t find that protein, fat or carb levels have anything to do with my ability to keep my dogs lean. I watch calories. Thats it. I like using higher calorie foods but feed a lot less (I choose “senior, neutered, or inactive” on the dog food calculator) so I’m still meeting their caloric needs, but I save money because I don’t feed as much.

    If my dogs don’t walk or exercise a lot that day, I don’t give a treat. If I need to give canned food because someone is being picky, I cut back the dry food to make up for the added calories. I do however, stay away from really high fat foods since I don’t have active or working dogs.

    The easiest thing to do is to feed whatever food she will eat for the weight she should be and not the current weight (unless that is her ideal weight of course) and watch calories. Doesn’t matter if you give low fat, low calorie treats. They can still add up fast if you are over doing it.

  • sharron

    so she’s better off eating a higher protein, higher fat food that would have a lot less carbs? – how high do i go with the protein and fat – what should l look for in a dry food

  • Storm’s Mom

    That was just for the wet. But keep in mind that with ANY food, if you have low fat AND low protein, you will automatically have HIGH carbs.

  • sharron

    she had breakfast at 5:30 this morning, dinner still sitting in her bowl since 4:30 this pm – one would think she would be hungry enough to eat right? but oh no, not her

  • sharron

    good god – 70% carbs!!!? is that for just the wet or the dry too? – if that’s why she has gained, i should eat it, maybe i can put weight on – i might as well go and get a bag of decent food that has less carbs and forget the wet food – was thinking of the performatrin small breed grain free or acana small breed

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hi sharron, you’re probably already aware of this, but when you say the can is 1.5% fat, you know you can’t compare it directly to the % of fat in kibble, right? You have to convert it to Dry Matter Basis in order to compare it to kibble. On that basis, the canned is actually 4% fat. Still very low fat, though.

    see: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/dry-matter-basis/

  • sharron

    ok i will keep her on the RC Chihuahua and the can and then see what the vet says – i really don’t want to change foods because she does well on these 2 foods – it’s just the weight increase that i don’t understand – thanks a bunch for your help!!

  • sharron

    hi – yes it sure is – good thing she’s little – the reason i buy it is because it’s really low in fat, like, 1.5% and she really likes it. she’s fussy about can food too – it’s really good for dogs with digestive issues – it keeps her digestive system in check – poops are good and no constipation

  • Storm’s Mom

    I’d get her thyroid checked out before making too many more food changes. Beyond that, honestly, I’m not sure what food you feed matters at this point. I’ve said before that I prefer to tinker with exercise instead of food. If you want to try something else…any of the 4 or 5 star foods listed on this site, that you can easily and consistently get at a store (not special order), and within whatever your budget is is where I would start. See if it sticks. *shrug*

  • Storm’s Mom

    No. I’m not a fan of “senior formulas” generally.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Wow! That’s really expensive canned food. That’s over $4/can. Isn’t there any other canned food that would work and costs less?

  • sharron

    do you think she should be on a senior formula since she’s 7

  • sharron

    in your opinion, what would be a good food to try other than RC – Acana Small Breed? – she’s not as fussy as she use to be, so perhaps i can get her to eat a “better” food, meaning less carbs than the RC has – i need a dry that has tiny pieces since she swallows kibble whole

  • sharron

    thanks for the info – i don’t anything about the thyroid – will definitely have the vet check it out when we go next week – thanks for your help!!!!!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Where the thyroid is concerned, it’s not so much about her weight being fine as it is about her not eating much AND being able to maintain or gain weight. That indicates a potential thyroid issue.

  • sharron

    hi – no i didn’t, her weight was fine back then – she’s due for her annual chk-up on May 4, will ask about then
    as for the kibble, she does eat it sometimes, when she gets tired of the wet stuff and then i switch her over to dry and back to wet, that’s what her vet suggested to do, i usually though will mix both dry and wet as it costs me $50.00 for a case of 12 cans of wet, so i throw in dry to make the wet lasts longer, i also soften the kibble a little bit
    she’s ok with kibble that is very small, if the kibble is bigger she tries to swallow it whole then she starts choking, so depending on the size i soften it if it’s big or i don’t if it’s tiny

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hi sharron, yes probably… but did you ever end up getting her thyroid checked? I know it was talked about and then the tooth issue was discovered (which leads me to wonder why you are feeding her kibble again, as I thought you weren’t going to after that?) ..so I lost track of whether her thyroid was ever actually checked and if so what the results were.

  • sharron

    been thinking – would feeding her a higher protein, higher fat food, but cut back on the amt fed, keep her full from one meal to the next – the norm for her is close to 4 oz/day – that’s wet or dry or both mixed

  • sharron

    thanks

  • Pitlove

    Hi sharron-

    For her to lose 1 pound you wouldn’t need a weight loss food imo. Use the dog food calculator tool on here to see how much she should eat of whichever food she likes. Only thing I’m not sure of is if it calculates it as you are talking about dry food only or if it works with canned as well. Maybe someone knows.

  • Amateria

    Based on the ingredients of that food I wonder what part of that helps with satiety lol, if I ate it I’d be hungry all day :p

    Anything for weight should work from what I’ve read and I hope that you find something for Lexee in the near future, because I’ve personally never dealt with weight food I can’t really help all that much, I mean Rusty is a coby chihuahua we think because he only has 1 roll on his back and also because of his short legs, but we just stick to the homemade for him regardless because whenever we changed he got sick with his pancreatitis.

    I’m just going to finish it here I’m having trouble writing this morning and I already re wrote the last few lines like 10 times and now it’s written not too badly so yeah I’ll leave it there.

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