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Small and toy-sized breeds no longer bear much resemblance to their wolf ancestors. Selective breeding throughout the world has given rise to an entire category of dogs that remain "puppy sized" their whole lives.
Small breed dog food should reflect the diets that these animals were fed when they were first developed in their homelands. It helps to familiarize yourself with the history behind some of America's most popular small dog breeds so you can keep your pet healthy and happy.
Beagles' disposition and energy make them the perfect family pet. While they are very energetic, they have a special tendency to burn carbohydrates during times of stress or while working. Without adequate carbs in their diet, their bodies will instead burn protein, which can cause muscle cramps.
As a result, a high-carb, high-fat, low-protein diet provides the rich, easily accessible energy stores this animal needs. Focus on ingredients like poultry, eggs, potatoes, and vegetables.
Rick's Dog Deli Meal Match: Chicken & Oats
Chihuahuas first originated in Mexico, where they worked side-by-side with Aztec priests, controlling the rodent population. Archaeologists have found evidence that ancient Chihuahuas lived almost twice as long as their predecessors, likely due to a better-quality diet free of toxins.
Foods that would have been present in indigenous Mexico, such as avocado, poultry, and brown rice, make the best diet choice.
While the Miniature Schnauzer may have been bred from its larger cousin, the Giant Schnauzer, they have a personality all their own. As they're one of the few breeds that don't shed their coat, Mini Schnauzers are ideal for people with allergies.
Their diet in their native Germany would have included pork, beef, potato, wheat, and beet pulp, so lean on these ingredients for meal times.
Rick's Dog Deli Meal Match: Beef, Pork, and Barley
If you see a similarity between the French and English bulldogs, that's not your imagination. This breed was developed by English immigrants to France, and they still retain some of their original look.
Because of this double ancestry, the French bulldog does well when fed ingredients found in their original English and French diets: beef, wheat, oats, and beet pulp.
Rick's Dog Deli Meal Match: Beef & Sweet Potato
Originally bred as 15-lb. rodent control, today's toy breeds are better known as friendly home companions. Yorkies are one of the slowest dog breeds to develop their skeletal structure. As a result, they should be fed puppy food much longer than other breeds to ensure they get the right level of nutrients. Puppies are born black; once their coat color changes, that's a good indication that they're ready to switch to adult meal formulations.
Preferred ingredients are beef, beets, wheat, potato, and barley.
Rick's Dog Deli Meal Match: Beef, Pork, & Barley
Dachshunds were developed in Germany as a hunting dog; their body type is ideal for sniffing out burrowing animals.
Their original diet would have included beef, wheat, corn, cabbage, and carrots, they are likely to thrive best on a meal consisting of these ingredients.
Rick's Dog Deli Meal Match: Beef, Pork, & Barley
Sometimes known as Toy Spaniels, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were developed in England alongside Cocker Spaniels and they appear to share many of the same traits.
Their native diets would have consisted of the same ingredients as the Cocker Spaniel, namely, poultry, lamb, wheat, oats, and potato.
Boston Terriers are a uniquely American breed, as they are a "melting pot" of the White English Terrier and the English Bulldog. They first appeared in their namesake city and were first registered as a breed in 1893.
Native ingredients in the Boston Terrier's diet would have included beef, dairy, wheat, beets, corn, and fish.
Shih Tzus were first originated in Tibet, although they came into China so long ago that many people think of them as a Chinese breed. Their original diets would have had very high fat-to-protein ratios and modern-day Shih Tzus still thrive on a higher fat diet. Because they don't store fat but convert it to energy within hours, there is little worry about them becoming overweight with the right feeding pattern. Smaller, more frequent meals are best.
Preferred ingredients for the Shih Tzu are poultry, soy, rice, and wheat.
Pugs also originated in Tibet and their diets came from the rocky, mountainous landscape. Because their dietary needs are so unique, almost no commercial dog foods provide the right blend of nutrients, as they simply don't contain the ingredients that would have been found in the Pug's native land.
Pugs do well, however, on a diet rich in fats derived from beef and pork, lower protein content, and grains from barley, wheat, and rice.
Whether your dog is five pounds or 50 (or somewhere in between), the quality of their diet is just as important as the ingredients. And the best dog food for small breeds is always one with high-quality, unprocessed ingredients.
At Rick's Dog Deli, our meal formulations contain 100% human grade ingredients, gently cooked, then flash frozen to lock in the nutrients. While there is no guarantee what you're getting with a commercial pet food, the meals from Rick's Dog Deli have been developed with your dog's biology in mind.
We have seen firsthand the impact that wholesome, natural food from Rick's Dog Deli makes on our clients' beloved pets. Get started with our interactive Meal Builder or call/text 407.505.2839 to start a custom order.