Best Dog Food for Working Breeds 2024

Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 06/08/2023, edited: 02/08/2024

Best Dog Food for Working Breeds 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.

If you have a pup that spends their days rounding up livestock, helping people with disabilities, or working with emergency services, they'll need a diet that supports their active lifestyle. Working dogs are more active than your average canine and require a high-quality diet to stay at the top of their game.

Working dogs need a diet that's high in protein and fat to maintain high energy levels and promote muscle strength. If possible, food for working dogs should be human-grade and free from artificial additives and preservatives. Whole, human-grade protein sources are easier to digest and contain higher taurine levels, which boosts heart and muscle health.

Here's a look at some of the best dog foods for working dogs and how they can benefit a highly active hound.


Spot & Tango

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Vet recommended

Spot & Tango is an excellent grain-inclusive dog food for working dogs. Each Spot & Tango recipe comprises fresh, human-grade ingredients, including 50% meat. Spot & Tango features whole-muscle and organ meats, which contain high levels of essential nutrients like amino acids and taurine.

This unique brand offers personalized meal plans to ensure your dog receives the right amount of food per meal. To get started, hop over to the Spot & Tango website, then provide some info about your pup's gender, weight, age, activity level, and health. Spot & Tango will then calculate the ideal serving size for your dog — super convenient!

Spot & Tango fresh dog food meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profiles for all life stages. This brand is also personally recommended to clients by Dr. Georgia Jeremiah, member of Wag!’s licensed veterinary team:

“Spot & Tango offers customized human-grade meal plans for pups with the added benefit of being shelf-stable. Nutrient profiles are preserved through low-temperature dehydration, products have guaranteed nutrient analysis, and all recipes are developed by certified veterinary nutritionists. If your pup turns their nose up, Spot & Tango also offers a ‘Happy Pup Guarantee’ and will give you 100% of your money back after your 2-week trial.”

Read our full Spot & Tango dog food review for the lowdown on ingredients, pros, cons, FAQs, and more!

Spot & Tango dog food flavors

  • Turkey & Red Quinoa
  • Beef & Millet
  • Lamb & Brown Rice

Spot & Tango Fresh Dog Food

Spot & Tango Fresh Dog Food

Why Wag! loves Spot & Tango

  • Human-grade ingredients
  • Every recipe includes 50% USDA meat and above-average protein levels
  • No artificial preservatives or additives
  • Calorie-specific servings help balance your dog's nutrition

Considerations & concerns

  • High-quality food means higher prices
  • Only monthly delivery options in most regions

What pet parents say about Spot & Tango

"We recently switched to Spot & Tango fresh food for our dog Ziggy. He loves the taste and we love the high quality of the food! The convenience of delivery and pre-portioned packs is another plus. Thank you for making dog food that we're all happy with!"

"Spot & Tango delivered on everything they said they would. They have a great customer support system, and certainly would be willing to use them again. If you truly care about your pet, then don't hesitate to order from Spot&Tango!"

Read more reviews on Trustpilot.

Product image sourced from the Spot & Tango website. Copyright Breuer Premium Pet Food Company Inc.

Raised Right

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Vet recommended

Raised Right dog food is a human-grade fresh dog food that's free from GMOs and artificial preservatives. Raised Right's recipes are high in protein and low in carbs, making them ideal for working dogs.

Each formula contains around 20% protein, 2% carbs, and 8% fat as fed. Raised Right uses single-source protein, which aids digestion and is pawfect for dogs with food allergies. The meal calculator shows you how many calories your dog should consume daily, and meals are delivered directly to your front door.

All Raised Right dog foods meet the AAFCO's nutrient profiles for maintenance (adults) or growth (puppies). Raised Right dog foods are limited-ingredient; for example, its Original recipes contain 10 ingredients max.

This is another brand that Dr. Jeremiah personally recommends to her clients:

“Raised Right offers a human-grade dog food consisting of only whole foods and no fillers or synthetic additives such as vitamin and mineral powders. Their ingredients can also be traced back to the source, and each batch is tested for safety.”

Read our full Raised Right dog food review for a closer look at the products on offer from this furrific brand.

Adult recipes

  • Original Turkey
  • Original Beef
  • Original Pork
  • Original Chicken
  • Turkey & Pumpkin Paté
  • Beef & Pumpkin Paté
  • Pork & Pumpkin Paté
  • Chicken & Pumpkin Paté

Puppy recipes

  • Turkey Puppy Growth Recipe
  • Beef Puppy Growth Recipe
  • Chicken Puppy Growth Recipe

Raised Right Dog Food

Raised Right Dog Food

Why Wag! loves Raised Right

  • Human-grade ingredients
  • High in single-source meat protein, low in carbs
  • Limited-ingredient recipes — no fillers here!
  • Convenient delivery options

Considerations & concerns

What pet parents say about Raised Right

"My dog, a Cane Corso, loves his Raised Right! We feed him in his crate and when he sees us opening a batch, he runs to his crate and waits while he drools. I love that it has few ingredients and no synthetics."

"My dogs love the food. It is eaten in seconds. They really enjoy the choices they have. The dogs seem healthier with this food. I would highly recommend this food."

Read more reviews on Raised Right.

Product image sourced from the Raised Right website. Copyright Raised Right Pets LP.

Taste of the Wild Grain Free Dry Dog Food

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Vet recommended

Taste of the Wild is a family-owned, US-based premium dog food company. Based on your dog's ancestral diet, Taste of the Wild's recipes attempt to recreate what your pup's inner wolf would enjoy eating.

Grain-Free is Taste of the Wild's most pawpular sub-brand. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free dry food contains around 30% crude protein and 17% crude fat, which is more than enough for a working dog breed. These protein and fat levels differ slightly from recipe to recipe.

This dog food contains a signature blend of K9 Strain Probiotics, which are specifically designed to help with quick digestion in active dogs. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free dog food also contains an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA that helps with brain development and will keep your working dog's brain in the best condition possible.

All adult Taste of the Wild Grain-free dry dog food recipes meet the AAFCO's nutrient profiles for maintenance (adults) or all life stages.

Taste of the Wild comes also personally recommended by Dr. Jeremiah:

“Taste of the Wild offers both wet and dry dog and cat foods for all life stages incorporating species-specific probiotics, antioxidants from ancient grains, fruits and seeds, and omega fatty acids.”

Read our full Taste of the Wild dog food review to learn why we give this brand 4 (and a half) paws up!

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free dry food flavors

  • Appalachian Valley Small Breed (Venison & Garbanzo Beans)
  • High Prairie (Roasted Bison & Roasted Venison)
  • Pacific Stream (Smoke-Flavored Salmon)
  • Pine Forest (Venison & Legumes)
  • Sierra Mountain (Roasted Lamb)
  • Southwest Canyon (Wild Boar)
  • Wetlands (Roasted Fowl)

Limited-ingredient recipes

  • Angus Beef Limited Ingredient
  • Trout Limited Ingredient
  • Turkey Limited Ingredient

Taste of the Wild Dog Food

Taste of the Wild Dog Food

Why Wag! loves Taste of the Wild

  • High-quality kibble
  • Rich in protein and fat to support an active lifestyle
  • K9 Strain Probiotics to support healthy digestion

Considerations & concerns

  • Isn't human-grade
  • Includes meat meal
  • Contains pea and potato protein which are low in nutritional value
  • Concerns about whether grain-free foods are healthy for dogs

What pet parents say about Taste of the Wild

"I was surprised to see that my dog loved a reasonably priced dog food of such quality. I did notice a renewed zip in his step, and his fur looks fuller and has a wonderful gloss. I like the way it looks and smells also."

"When it comes to Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream dog food, my Lab Goes Crazy over it! I mean he hops around, and drools over it! He has a lot of allergies so I have to be careful what I feed him. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream dog food is the only one that works for him. If he's happy, and healthy, then I'm happy too!"

Read more reviews on Consumer Affairs.

Product image sourced from Chewy. Copyright SCHELL & KAMPETER, INC.

Joy High Performance

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Vet recommended

Joy manufactures calorie-dense and protein-rich recipes that cater to working dogs. The flagship High Performance line features dog foods that list named meat meals as the first ingredients. While these ingredients aren't human-grade, they are excellent protein sources, containing ruffly 300% more protein than fresh meat.

For example, Joy High Performance Plus 26/18 consists of 26% crude protein and 18% crude fat to support high energy levels. Joy High Performance dog foods are also enriched with omega fatty acids to support joint and skin health.

Joy High Performance dry dog foods meet the AAFCO's nutrient profile for all life stages, except for Joy High Performance Plus, which is suitable for maintenance (adults), excluding dogs over 70 pounds.

Joy is another brand that Dr. Georgia recommends — check out why she thinks it's one of the best dog foods for working dogs:

“Joy offers fresh and freeze-dried dog foods, as well as high-protein treats. They gently cook their small batches weekly and avoid including fillers and additives.”

Joy High Performance flavors

  • High Performance 26/18
  • High-Energy 24/20
  • Super Meal
  • Adult Formula 26/18
  • Special Meal
  • Maintenance Plus
  • Puppy Food

Joy Dog Food

Joy Dog Food

Why Wag! loves Joy High Performance

  • Reasonably priced
  • Specially formulated for active lifestyles
  • Enriched with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

Considerations & concerns

  • Not human-grade — meat meal is the first ingredient
  • Contains a couple of controversial ingredients like menadione
  • Only available at select retailers and vendors; products can be hard to find for some pet parents

What pet parents say about Joy High Performance

"Been giving our dog this since we got him at 8 weeks and Breeder has used for years. I have to say our Lab does very well with this food and we will give this to him all the time but it is getting harder to find so we called mfg and now have to go to a distributor to get it."

"I have a 13.75 year old EXTREMELY finicky Chow Chow. In July of this summer he lost his “mother”, a 15 year old Shiba Akita, who raised him from the time we brought him home at 8 weeks of age and in August, he lost his “boy” when said young man went off to college. My Chow refused to eat his Joy dog food he had eaten his entire life even when mixed with .25 pound FreshPet dog food daily and lost 16 pounds over the course of three weeks dropping him down to 53 pounds. I was afraid I was going to lose him also. I contacted personnel at Joy dog food and was advised to change him to Joy High Performance 26/18 dog food because of his age. [...] Long story short, he has put almost all of his initial weight back on and I am no longer scared I’m going to lose him. The fact that I was able to contact personnel at Joy Dog Food directly, explain what was going on with my dog, ask for their help, get a solution and save my dog’s life is just another reason why my dog(s?) and my family’s dogs will continue to be fed Joy Dog Food."

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Product image sourced from the Joy Dog Food website. Copyright Joy Dog Food.

Victor Classic Dry Dog Food

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Victor markets itself as a premium dog food brand, with every ingredient in its recipes serving a nutritional purpose. Victor Classic is the brand's highest-quality range, formulated to support growth and active lifestyles. Each recipe (except Multi-Pro) lists named meat meal as the top ingredient, with at least 70% of protein coming from meat sources in all variations.

Victor Classic Hi-Pro Plus is the brand's best food for working dogs, with 30% crude protein, 20% crude fat, and 406 calories per cup. Victor's patented VPRO blend adds amino acids, minerals, and vitamins to help support joint health, digestion, immunity, and coat health. Yeast culture prebiotics strengthen the immune system and aid digestion.

All Victor Classic dry dog food varieties meet the AAFCO's nutrient profile for all life stages.

Read our full Victor dog food review to find out more about this brand!

Victor Classic dog food flavors

  • Hi-Pro Plus
  • High Energy
  • Multi-Pro
  • Professional
  • Elite Canine

Victor Dog Food

Victor Dog Food

Why Wag! loves Victor Classic

  • Excellent protein-to-fat ratio
  • 70%+ protein from meat sources
  • VPRO Blend adds amino acids, vitamins, and minerals
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

Considerations & concerns

  • Multi-Pro variety lists grain sorghum as the top ingredient
  • Meat meal listed as the first ingredient — not human-grade
  • Some recipes contain filler ingredients like tomato pomace

What pet parents say about Victor Classic Dog Food

"I highly recommend this to anyone especially if you have a very athletic dog! I will continue to feed my dogs this brand! My dogs absolutely love it! I recommend this to anyone asking for dog food suggestions."

"I recently switched all my dogs (I have 6) to this food after the breeder for my new puppy suggested this food. They are doing wonderful on it. No issues switching at all and their coat looks so much better already. Definitely recommend. Great price too."

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Product image sourced from Chewy. Copyright Victor Pet Food.


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