Royal Canin Breed-Specific Adult dog foods receive the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Royal Canin Breed-Specific product line includes 13 dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
The numbers at the end of each name appear to denote the product’s protein content1.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Royal Canin Pug 25 (over 10 months)
- Royal Canin Boxer 26 (over 15 months)
- Royal Canin Poodle 30 (over 10 months)
- Royal Canin Bulldog 24 (over 12 months)
- Royal Canin Shih Tzu 24 (over 10 months)
- Royal Canin Chihuahua 28 (over 8 months)
- Royal Canin Dachshund 28 (over 10 months)
- Royal Canin Cocker Spaniel 25 (over 12 months)
- Royal Canin Golden Retriever 25 (over 15 months)
- Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier 28 (over 10 months)
- Royal Canin German Shepherd 24 (over 15 months)
- Royal Canin Labrador Retriever 30 (over 15 months)
- Royal Canin Miniature Schnauzer 25 (over 10 months)
Royal Canin Boxer 26 dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Royal Canin Boxer 26
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, rice, chicken fat, oatmeal, wheat gluten meal, pork meal, natural chicken flavor, dried beet pulp, sodium silico aluminate, pea fiber, anchovy oil (source of EPA/DHA), soya oil, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, potassium citrate, sodium tripolyphosphate, DL-methionine, dried brewers yeast extract (source of mannan-oligosaccharides), taurine, 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 (vitamin B2), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], choline chloride, glucosamine hydrochloride, L-carnitine, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], L-tyrosine, tea (green tea extract), lycopene, chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols (source of vitamin E) and citric acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||21%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||41%||35%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains almost 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second item 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 rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
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 oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.
The sixth ingredient lists wheat gluten meal. Wheat gluten meal is made by drying the residue remaining after wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate extracted from it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior plant-based proteins low in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly 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 seventh ingredient lists pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
After the natural chicken flavor, we find 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.
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 have much of an effect on the overall rating of this product.
With five notable exceptions…
First, we note the listing of soybean oil is red flagged here only due to its rumored (yet unlikely) link to canine food allergies.
However, since soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and contains no omega-3′s, it’s considered less nutritious than flaxseed oil or a named animal fat.
Next, dried brewers yeast extract is a supplement derived from the cell wall of the common yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The extract is rich in manno-oligosaccharide (MOS) — a substance shown to improve the gastrointestinal health of an animal.
Thirdly, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Next, this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.
And lastly, this food does contain 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-Specific Adult Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Breed-Specific Adult looks to be 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Yet when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn or wheat glutens as well as the soy, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below-average amount of meat.
Royal Canin Breed-Specific Adult is a plant-based dry dog food using only a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
Those looking for a similar kibble for puppies from the same company may wish to visit our review of Royal Canin Breed-Specific Puppy food.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
01/23/2010 Original review
08/26/2010 Review updated
06/04/2012 Last Update
- Guaranteed Analysis on an “As Fed” basis ↩