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Best Dog Food for Australian Shepherds


This article is written by Pet Circle's qualified veterinarian, Dr Maree Monaghan BVSc (HONS)

Despite their name, the Australian Shepherd was originally developed by ranchers in the USA who needed a tough, versatile working dog to help handle sheep, cattle and other livestock. Australian Shepherds are a highly active breed that need premium quality nutrition to meet their energy and protein needs, support their bones and joints and keep their glorious coat in tip top condition

Four reasons why it's important to choose the right dog food for Aussie Shepherds are:
  1. Health conditions: Your vet is the best person to give you advice on diet if your Aussie Shepherd has any diagnosed health conditions. In many cases, there may be a prescription diet that can help manage your dog's condition. For health support, there are a range of non-prescription diets which assist in preventing certain conditions and supporting your Aussie Shepherds specific needs.
  2. Quality: The quality of the ingredients and the digestibility of the nutrients they provide should be a key factor in choosing a food. Premium foods are designed to be highly digestible (which means smaller, firmer stools) and do not change ingredients batch to batch like grocery type brands, which means less tummy upsets. They also tend to contain higher levels of added beneficial nutrients, such as omega fatty acids for joint and coat health, and some are backed by testing to ensure they deliver the results they promise. Learning how to read pet food labels and knowing the ingredients in your dog's food is a crucial part of knowing what is the best food for them.
  3. Age: Dogs of different ages have very different nutritional requirements. Australian Shepherd puppies require energy-dense food which meets their intense growth rates, while senior dogs are often less active and have a slower metabolism which means that they require fewer calories and less fat, but an easily digestible diet, to help them maintain good body condition.
  4. Complete and Balanced: When choosing a food, the most important consideration after any health factors is that the diet is complete and balanced for your Aussie Shepherd's life stage, and size. Dog food must meet the AAFCO or FEDIAF pet food control guidelines in order to ensure that your dog receives all the nutrients they require in the correct ratios.


  1. Best for Active Dogs: Black Hawk Lamb & Rice
  2. Best for Skin and Coat:Wellness Core Grain Free Ocean Formula
  3. Best for Adult Diet: Royal Canin Medium Dog
  4. Best Natural Diet: K9 Natural Lamb and King Salmon Feast Freeze Dried Dog Food
  5. Best Puppy Diet: Open Farm Chicken and Salmon Puppy Dry Dog Food
  6. Best for Joint Support: Hill's Science Diet Canine Adult Healthy Mobility
  7. How We Review Our Products

    Our Pet Circle Vet Squad comprises 30 vets with over 120 years of collective, independent veterinary expertise. Our Vet team uses their health and husbandry knowledge, along with their own personal and clinical experiences to evaluate each product and provide detailed, informative reviews, free of any commercial bias. We then collate this information into our 'best of' recommendations.

    Top Australian Shepherd Food in Australia

    Black Hawk Original Adult Lamb and Rice


    • High in protein with pasture grazed lamb and beef
    • Australian made holistic formula
    • Zinc and vitamin B12 for heart health, lean muscles and a healthy metabolism.


    • A high fat content so may cause weight gain
    • Contains chicken so not suitable for dogs that are sensitive to chicken

    Black Hawk is manufactured in Parkes, New South Wales using fresh local ingredients that each have a specific purpose. It comes in a variety of sizes to suit your individual needs with an easily resealable bag for convenient storage. Fish oil and emu oil are added to supply omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.

    What our customers say: "Really happy with this product, after looking at a lot of dry food this product has high fat and protein that I could not find in other brands. Because my Malinois requires high fat and high protein to maintain acceptable body condition this was the only product I could find that works"

    What our vets say: "I like Blackhawk for Aussie Shepherds because it is Australian made with the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids for joint support. Not to mention, keeping their skin and coat healthy and shiny" - Dr. Nicole

    Shop Black Hawk for Dogs

    Wellness Core Grain Free Ocean Formula Dry Dog Food


    • Rich in omega oils from fish and flaxseed for healthy skin and haircoat
    • All natural diet with no artificial colours or flavours
    • Beef-free and poultry-free diet ideal for dogs with dietary sensitivities


    • One of the more expensive brands of food
    • Made in USA
    • Not suitable for dogs with intolerances or allergies to fish.

    Wellness CORE is built upon the nutritional philosophy that cats and dogs, based on their primal ancestry,thrive on a natural diet built upon hearty animal proteins. At the heart of every tasty CORE bite is a careful balance of quality natural ingredients: fresh meat first, with nutrient-rich plant-based superfoods, vitamins and minerals.

    What our customers say: "My 3yo toy cavoodle is a very fussy eater. I changed him over from Hills after I saw there wasn't much protein in them. With Core, the first 12 ingredients listed are real protein. At least I know I'm paying for real food and not chemicals like the other science brands""

    What our vets say: "I like to recommend Wellness CORE Grain Free Ocean Formula as it contains superfoods like Spinach which is high in magnesium and iron, Blueberries a natural antioxidant to protect against free radicals and Flaxseed an essential Omega 3 to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat" - Dr. Angie

    Shop Wellness CORE for Dogs

    Royal Canin Medium Adult Dry Dog Food


    • Made from highly digestible ingredients to support digestive health
    • Contains antioxidants and prebiotics to support natural immune defences
    • Rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat


    • Not made in Australia
    • Contains chicken so not suitable for dogs that are sensitive to chicken
    • One of the more expensive super premium foods

    This super premium dry dog food is made from high quality, highly digestible proteins and has a balanced fibre content to support healthy digestion. It is specifically formulated for medium breed adult dogs and combines a unique kibble texture and exclusive flavours making it appealing to even the fussiest of dogs.

    What our customers say: "My dog loves this food and keeps him super healthy and beautiful coat"

    Shop Royal Canin Medium Adult

    K9 Natural Lamb and King Salmon Freeze Dried Dog Food


    • Made from sustainably sourced, human grade ingredients with no wheat, rice, soy, gluten or artificial additives
    • Suitable for dogs of all breeds and life stages
    • Rehydratable, simply add warm water


    • High protein diet that is rich in meat so may need longer to transition on to
    • Not suitable for dogs with allergies or intolerances to fish
    • Not made in Australia

    K9 Natural Lamb and King Salmon Feast is a complete and balanced diet, suitable for dogs of all life-stages, sizes and breeds. Naturally rich in omega fatty acids, this diet also helps to support joint function and a healthy, shiny coat.

    K9 Natural foods are made with 'whole prey' ingredients and a very high meat and organ content, designed to suit the instinctive diet of dogs. Freeze-dried foods like K9 Natural provide an alternative to raw feeding whilst still retaining the nutritional qualities and tastes of the raw products. Freeze-dried foods are typically a little softer and crunchier than air-dried foods, and are typically rehydrated prior to serving to enhance digestibility. However, freeze-dried dog foods can be fed dry, straight from the packet if you prefer.

    What our customers say: "My dogs love it, even the fussy eater goes crazy when the food comes out."

    Shop K9 Natural Dog Food

    Open Farm Puppy Dry Dog Food


    • All meat used is from farms that follow Certified Humane® Standards
    • Meat is 100% antibiotic and growth hormone free and fruit and vegetables are non-GMO
    • All Open Farm packaging is recyclable through Terracycle


    • Not Aussie Shepherd specific
    • Not made in Australia
    • Contains chicken so not suitable for pups that are sensitive to chicken

    This delicious and nutritious puppy recipe provides your growing pup with a premium, complete and balanced diet to help them grow big and strong. Open Farm understands that puppies thrive on a diet rich in protein. That's why this recipe contains meat as the first ingredient, and contains zero artificial nasties. With humanely raised chicken and pork, fresh Pacific salmon, and superfoods like coconut oil, this diet is highly nourishing and wholesome for your high-energy pup.

    What our customers say: "If you did your research, you'd know that open farm is an ethical brand with amazing ingredients and quality. I'm super happy that I get to feed my pup good quality food that isn't eye wateringly expensive. Highly recommend!"

    Shop Open Farm Dog Foods

    Hill's Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility


    • Super premium brand that conducts laboratory analyses of their foods to ensure that they are meeting optimum levels of nutrient and consistency across batches.
    • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin which are the building blocks of healthy joints and cartilage
    • Formulated with L-carnitine to maintain lean muscle mass and calcium for healthy bones.


    • Contains chicken as main protein so may not be suitable for Aussie Shepherds with food intolerances
    • Not made in Australia
    • Only available in 12kg and 24kg bags

    Super active dogs like Aussie Shepherds need a diet to support their busy lifestyle. Hills Science Diet Healthy mobility as well as l-carnitine to maintain lean muscle mass and calcium for healthy bones. With a clinically proven antioxidant blend containing vitamins C and E, this formula will also help to support your Aussie Shepherd's immune system.

    What our customers say: "My 12yr old Miniature Dachshund has been on Hills Science Diet all her life and is thriving. She has a slight defect in her leg which could become arthritic. So far there's no indication of this and she is very active and jumps around like a dog much younger than her age."

    Shop Hill's Science Diet Adult Healthy Mobility

    What to look for in an Aussie Shepherd food

    When looking for a diet for your Australian Shepherd, you want to make sure you are meeting their nutritional requirements and energy needs while also providing long term support for their active lifestyle.

    Complete and balanced

    Aussie Shepherds need the correct balance of nutrients in easily digestible formulations to support their active lifestyle.

    Muscle, joint and haircoat support

    Look for diets with high quality protein sources, joint support ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin and omega oils to support skin and coat.

    How Much Do Aussie Shepherds Need To Eat?

    It is recommended to feed Australian Shepherds twice daily. The actual amount of food required depends on your dog's specific size, and the type of food you are feeding. The feeding guidelines on the food packaging provide a great place to start, and our Vet Squad are available 7 days a week if you have any questions about your dog's needs.

    Further Reading

    Choosing the right nutrition for your dog

    Premium pet food - is it worth it?

    Which pet food is Australian made?

    Australian Shepherd Breed Guide