Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

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

The Best Breed product line includes 13 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Best Breed Puppy Diet [A]
  • Best Breed Poodle Dog Diet [A]
  • Best Breed German Dog Diet [A]
  • Best Breed All Breed Dog Diet [A]
  • Best Breed Schnauzer Dog Diet [A]
  • Best Breed Large Breed Dog Diet [A]
  • Best Breed Cocker Spaniel Dog Diet [A]
  • Best Breed Senior Dog Diet (3 stars) [M]
  • Best Breed Field Dog Diet (4.5 stars) [A]
  • Best Breed Working Dog Diet (2.5 stars) [M]
  • Best Breed Lamb Meal with Fruits and Vegetables [M]
  • Best Breed Chicken with Vegetables and Herbs Dog Diet [A]
  • Best Breed Salmon with Vegetables and Herbs Dog Diet (3.5 stars) [A]

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 indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis25%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%14%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%31%44%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 31% | Carbs = 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 ingredient 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.

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

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 six 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. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

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 alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Next, we note the use of fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

In addition, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

And lastly, this food 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.

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 28% 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 54%.

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 brewers yeast, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dr. Gary’s Best Breed is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken, salmon or lamb 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 and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Best Breed 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.

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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 entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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

07/03/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Wikipedia definition
  3. 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)
  • TheBookLady

    One thing that doesn’t show up on the label but that they talk about on their website is that there are many grades of chicken and chicken meal; beef and meal; etc. and the way the labels are written there is no way to tell just from looking at the label. The Best Breed website says they get the highest grade, and also talks about how the moisture content of the raw ingredients don’t reflect it in the finished food. It’s an interesting read. I believe it should be taken into consideration in reviewing their foods.

    I was given a few sample bags a couple of days ago. Our foundling kitten picks the pieces of this out of the transition blend I made for him and eats them. He’s a great little guy and not picky at all, but he definitely prefers this, even over wet food!

    Our border collie cross likewise likes this. She’d finished her bag of Earthborne Holistic Coastal Catch (Salmon) just this morning, so I emptied the sample bag of the Best Breed Salmon (grainfree) into her dish. She’d already eaten, and she normally is very precise about how much she will eat, putting a straight line down the middle of her dish in the morning and then eating the other half at night. Even though she’d already finished everything, she wanted to try this anyhow.

    We’ve been going back and forth between two other brands, Earthborn Holistic and Taste of the Wild. I’ll be giving this one a try.

  • Calla Winston

    I tried the large and all breed. My dogs went from pooping once a day to three time a day. Switched to Acana. Same price better food. Only pooping once a day.

  • 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! ———


  • 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.  

  • 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. :/