Best Dog Food For Dobermans

best dog food for dob

Originally introduced to the United States in 1908, the Doberman was bred primarily for protection and was used as a guard dog, police dog, and even as a war dog.  Once known as an aggressive breed, through decades of careful and selective breeding, the Doberman has come to be regarded as a reliable family pet. In 1977, the Doberman became the second most popular breed in the U.S., and still ranks in the top 20 most popular breeds today.

Adventurous and loyal companions, Dobermans are a very active and muscular breed, requiring special nutrition with a balanced ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.  Feeding your Doberman a high-quality diet to keep his immune system strong, and keeping him fit with regular exercise may help keep some of the Doberman’s more common health problems at bay.  We’re giving you our top food choices to help keep your Dobe running strong.

RankProductRatingCheck Price
Human GradeOllie Fresh Dog Foodbeef@3xCheck Price
#1Purina Pro Plan Focus Large Breed67459_MAIN._AC_SS190_V1531946598_Check Price
#2Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult49175_MAIN._AC_SS190_V1550760736_Check Price
#3Diamond Naturals Large Breed Adult Chicken & Rice Formula59933_MAIN._AC_SS190_V1521221030_Check Price
#4Nutro Max Large Breed Adult Recipe with Farm-Raised Chicken97174_MAIN._AC_SS190_V1537479434_Check Price
#5American Journey Large Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Protein125807_MAIN._AC_SS190_V1500579690_Check Price

Considerations When Choosing A Food For Your Doberman:

Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a serious health problem affecting all ages of Dobermans.  Dysplasia occurs when the two parts of the joint do not fit together properly, in this case, the ball and socket of the hip.  Over time, this misalignment can lead to osteoarthritis and severe pain for your Dobe. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis once the hip dysplasia has developed.  While some dogs lead normal lives with hip or elbow dysplasia, others need surgery just to walk around. This is primarily a hereditary condition in Dobermans, so you cannot prevent the disease. You can however, choose a food with high-quality ingredients and joint support supplements, like glucosamine and chondroitin, to help keep arthritis at bay.


Bloat is a major consideration for large dogs, particularly deep-chested breeds like Doberman Pinschers.  It often occurs after a dog has wolfed down a large meal and then exercised vigorously. When you encourage your Dobie to eat slowly, it helps them avoid swallowing excess air.  Consider feeding your Doberman two meals a day, not just one large meal, and never free feed. Most vets recommend large kibble because it forces the dog to chew the food (as opposed to inhaling a bowl full of small kibble) and extends the meal.  Keeping them from exercising 1-2 hours after the meal allows them to digest the meal entirely.  

Bloat can progress into a condition known as gastric torsion or GVD: Gastric Dilation Volvulus.  Essentially, the stomach, which has filled with air, twists and flips over on itself, preventing the air from escaping.  The bacteria in the stomach continues to produce gas, which makes the situation worse. This is a horribly painful condition and requires immediate emergency treatment as gastric torsion is life-threatening.  Look for excessive drooling, repetitive, unproductive vomiting, and a swollen or enlarged abdomen.

Insert Bloat infographic (Quick Reference Guide) from

Skin and Coat Problems: Hypothyroidism and Color Dilution Alopecia

If your Doberman’s thyroid isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, one of the first signs may be hair loss and dry, scaly skin.  Your vet will diagnose hypothyroidism with a blood test, and thyroid pills can help restore the coat, but you may want to consider a food with supplements like Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and Vitamin E to help support skin and coat health as well.

Color Dilution Alopecia is a condition that affects primarily blue- and fawn-coated Dobermans.  According to the University of Prince Edward Island, as many as 90% of blues and 75% of fawns are affected by this hereditary condition.  By the age of 2 or 3, your dog’s hair starts falling out, exposing dry, scaly skin. This condition is ultimately diagnosed by your vet via a skin biopsy.

Canine Heart Disease or Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a type of heart disease that affects the heart muscle.  The hearts of dogs with DCM have a decreased ability to pump blood, which often results in congestive heart failure.  Unfortunately, Dobermans are one of the breeds that are predisposed to this condition.

For those of you not keeping up with the news, the FDA is currently investigating a potential dietary link between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and dogs eating certain grain-free dog foods.  The foods of concern have legumes, such as peas or lentils, or other legume seeds, or potatoes listed as primary ingredients. At this time, there is no proof that these ingredients are the cause of the DCM cases that have been reported to the FDA.  But in the FDA’s July 2019 update on diet and canine heart disease, the report states that more than 90% of foods in the reported DCM cases were grain-free, 93% of those foods contained peas and/or lentils, and 42% contained potatoes/sweet potatoes.

If you have a breed that is already predisposed to developing canine heart disease, such as the Doberman Pinscher, you may want to have a conversation with your vet about the health benefits and risks of the current grain-free dog food craze that has swept the nation as it relates to your Dobe.

Best Dog Foods For Dobermans

Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Large Breed

First 3 ingredients: Chicken, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat

Purina developed its FOCUS line to address a dog’s specific nutritional needs.  With real chicken as the number one ingredient, this formula also contains glucosamine and EPA, an Omega-3 fatty acid, to support your Doberman’s joint health and long-term mobility.  They’ve added Omega-6 fatty acids to support skin health and a shiny coat, and wheat bran, a natural prebiotic fiber, to support healthy digestion.

Purina is a highly-trusted brand, basing their nutritional expertise on over 85 years of research.  Purina Pro Plan is the food of choice for the last 10 Westminster Best In Show Champions, and 96 out of 100 AKC All Breed Champions.

One of the great things about Purina Pro Plan is that if your dog’s nutritional needs change, their Pro Plan FOCUS diet can change with it.  They offer a FOCUS Large Breed Puppy Formula, as well as FOCUS Large Breed Weight Management and FOCUS Sensitive Skin and Stomach.

It’s important to remember that even if you’re staying within the same brand, when changing foods, you should make the transition slowly over a 10 day period to prevent stomach upset and diarrhea.  Start day 1 with 25% new food, 75% old food, and gradually increase the new while decreasing the old until the transition is complete on day 10.

Wellness Complete Health Large Breed

First 3 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice

The ingredient list starts with real deboned chicken, a high-quality protein, and rounds out their formula with nutrient-rich whole foods like spinach and blueberries.  The large breed formula is a larger kibble size (triangular pieces about ½ inch across), and Wellness has regulated the calories to help your dog maintain a healthy body weight.  This food is free of wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. They add glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints, as well as guaranteed levels of Omega-3 and -6 to promote a soft, shiny coat.  Wellness Complete is made in the USA.

This is what Wellness has to say about how they source their ingredients:

“Our ingredients are primarily sourced from the United States and Canada. Our ingredient breakdown by geography is as follows:

* U.S. and Canada: 95%+

* Australia and New Zealand: 4%

* Asia (non-Chinese): less than 1%

* Europe: less than 1%

WellPet has one of the most strict sourcing criteria of any pet food manufacturer. All ingredient suppliers, whether domestic or international, need to meet certified nutrient levels and be manufactured in quality audited facilities. While there are many high-quality ingredients available in the U.S., in some cases there is not a readily available North American supply. For example, our Venison, Lamb and Rabbit are sourced internationally from New Zealand, Australia and Italy respectively. We feel that we have the appropriate quality programs in place at all our vendor locations and feel safe and secure with all the ingredients we source, whether they are sourced locally or globally.

As always, the Wellness Consumer Affairs Team is available to talk with you if you would like additional details. We ask that you please call us at (800) 225-0904, our representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Eastern Time.”

Diamond Naturals Large Breed

First 3 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice

A family-owned company, Diamond Naturals is consistently rated as one of the best values for the money.  This formula starts with cage-free chicken as it’s first ingredient, and is further enhanced with superfoods and proprietary probiotics for optimal nutrition and digestive and immune support.  Glucosamine and chondroitin support joint health, and Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids support healthy skin and shiny coat. Diamond Naturals contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and is made in the USA.

Nutro MAX Large Breed

First 3 Ingredients: Chicken Meal (Source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Whole Grain Sorghum, Brewers Rice

Nutro MAX is a highly-rated, affordable choice.  This large breed formula is made with farm-raised chicken, whole grains as a nutritious source of fiber, and added vitamins and minerals for complete and balanced nutrition.  Nutro MAX contains no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy protein, and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Nutro MAX is made in Nutro-owned and -operated U.S. facilities.

Please note that Nutro MAX also offers a Large Breed Puppy Formula.

American Journey Large Breed

Real, deboned chicken is the number one ingredient, and this formula is specially formulated to meet the unique needs of your large breed Doberman.  They’ve added controlled levels of calcium and phosphorous to support bone health, DHA for brain and vision development, carefully balanced omegas for skin and coat health, and natural fibers to support good digestion.  American Journey contains no poultry by-product meal, wheat, corn, or soy protein.


With a magnificent physique and keen intelligence, the Doberman Pinscher stands proudly among the world’s finest protection dogs.  Without a doubt, feeding your Dobe an excellent-quality dog food throughout his lifetime is critical for his health and longevity.

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