The Royal Canin Breed-Specific Puppy line receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Royal Canin Breed-Specific Puppy product line includes 5 dry dog foods, all claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Royal Canin Bulldog Puppy 30 (under 12 months)
- Royal Canin Chihuahua Puppy (8 wks to 8 months)
- Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier Puppy 29 (8 wks to 10 months)
- Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy 30 (8 wks to 15 months)
- Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Puppy 33 (8 wks to 15 months)
Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy 30 was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy 30
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, rice, oatmeal, brown rice, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten meal, chicken fat, natural chicken flavor, dried beet pulp (sugar removed), sodium silico aluminate, anchovy oil (source of EPA/DHA), dried egg product, fructo-oligosaccharides, psyllium seed husk, soya oil, potassium chloride, salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, l-lysine, taurine, dried brewers yeast extract (source of mannan-oligosaccharides), dl-methionine, 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, trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], marigold extract (tagetes erecta l.), chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols (source of vitamin E) and citric acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||16%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||34%||37%|
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 item 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 third 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 fourth 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 fifth item is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in many 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 sixth ingredient is wheat gluten meal. Like corn gluten meal (just discussed), this is yet another grain-based protein booster (meat substitute). Wheat gluten is not a quality ingredient.
The seventh 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.
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 affect the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, soya oil, 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 canola or flaxseed oils.
Next, the yeast extract mentioned here is most likely used here as a flavor enhancer.
However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in this ingredient can be controversial.
That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration has designated these food additives to be safe decades ago1, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.
So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.
We’re undecided about this issue and only call your attention here to the controversy.
Thirdly, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
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.
Royal Canin Breed-Specific Puppy Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Breed-Specific Puppy looks to be a average 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 33% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn and wheat gluten meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Royal Canin Breed-Specific Puppy is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
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
08/27/2010 Review updated
04/11/2012 Last Update