So you have or are considering adopting a large breed puppy? Great choice! Large breed dogs can be great companions — from making you feel safe to providing a life-sized snuggler. As you raise your large breed pup, there are special circumstances to consider ensuring your pup’s health and safety. Let’s examine the best approaches to your puppy’s health and well-being.

Socialization & Training 

A large breed puppy’s size, both as an adult and in their puppyhood, can alarm other dogs as well as their parents. We strongly encourage you to engage in healthy socialization early so your pup can learn proper dog and human interaction. Positive exposure to all types of people and dogs can teach your pup how to understand and respect both human and dog body language and boundaries.

DOGUROO offers a FREE Puppy Hour specifically designed to provide a safe environment for your pup to meet other people and dogs. Additionally, the structure of training classes can be a great way to teach your pup manners and obedience early so as they grow into those paws they become a well-mannered adult!


Puppies, regardless of size or breed, require a diet with higher protein, calorie, and nutrient levels in order to support their growing systems. For your large breed puppy, it is important you monitor these levels to ensure growth occurs in a safe and slow manner. This type of growth means your puppy’s bones and joints will be strong enough to support their ideal weight in adulthood. Below are our recommendations when selecting your Puppy Food formula:

  • Protein: High end of moderate (25–35%)
  • Calcium: ~ 1% (0.7–1.5%)
  • Phosphorus: ~ 1% (0.7–1.2%)
  • Calories: ~350–400 kcal/cup

Transition to Adult Food: The standard of transitioning from a puppy formula to an adult food when your puppy turns 1 year-old may not be the best timing for your large breed puppy. Consider a switch when your pup is between 6–8 months old unless your puppy’s food closely follows the guidelines above. You can always speak to our in-house food experts to see what timing is the best for your puppy.

Feeding & Bloat

In large breed dogs, one of the most serious and common conditions is bloat. Bloat is life-threatening and occurs when the stomach twists due to a rapid intake of food, water, or air. We encourage you to adopt these steps to ensure the safety of your large breed pup:

  • Three feeding times a day: Dividing your puppy’s daily food total into 3 meals both limits the amount of food in your puppy’s stomach at any one time and allows for constant nutrient intake throughout the day.
  • Be aware of of your puppy’s consumption: The height from which your puppy eats is less important than their overall rate of consumption. Moderate your puppy’s rate of consumption by placing a tennis ball in their bowl or using a slow-feed bowl.
  • Monitor activity level: Limit your dog’s activity 1 hour before and after mealtimes to allow for healthy digestion.

Large Breed By Definition

A dog is considered a large breed when, at adulthood, they stand around 25” and higher at the shoulder or weigh 60 lbs. or more. Check out which large breed dogs the American Kennel Club found to be most popular:

  • Boxer
  • Chow Chow
  • Collie
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhound
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Pointer
  • Vizsla
  • Weimaraner