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How Much to Feed a German Shepherd: Dog Feeding Chart

Last Updated: October 29, 2023

The German Shepherd doubles as a large breed and a high-energy working dog. With such a profile, your dog needs a good amount of food to meet his daily energy needs. However, you should balance food amounts with the right nutrient content to ensure your dog stays healthy. So, how much to feed a German Shepherd daily?

An adult German Shepherd will require between 2⅔ and 4¼ cups of food daily, adjustable according to the dog’s weight and activity level, and split into two meals. Considering GSDs grow to between 50lb-90lb, the amount of food you feed your German Shepherd depends on weight and activity.

This answer can sound undefined for a GSD owner looking for specific feeding details for their dog. That’s why the rest of the article details how much to feed your German Shepherd. Since daily dog food amounts depend on a dog’s nutritional requirements, we must start there.

Let’s begin!

How Much To Feed a German Shepherd

German Shepherd Dietary Needs

Giving attention to a German Shepherd’s dietary needs means considering what should be in your dog’s food.

If you are a veteran of dog matters, you know that a German Shepherd’s diet should include all the nutritional requirements recommended for all dogs in the right amounts. 

Below is a quick review of your German Shepherd’s minimum nutritional requirements, beginning with a quick summary:

  • Proteins and essential amino acids – 18%
  • Energy foods – Calculated for each dog by weight. 
  • Fat and fatty acids – 5.5%
  • Minerals and Vitamins – Indicated for each mineral in minimal amounts.

Proteins and Essential Amino Acids

Going by the AAFCO dog food profile, your adult German Shepherd food should contain a minimum of 18% protein daily for energy production and other body functions. Puppies and nursing GSDs need 22.5%, and seniors require less.

Your German Shepherd’s protein supply can come from chicken, beef, turkey, pork, lamb, fish, and eggs, albeit in moderation.

Manufacturers include amino acids essential for dog health with your dog’s daily protein requirements.

If you feed your German Shepherd with commercial food, you should check the ingredients label to ensure the protein content is equal to or above the recommended amounts.

Energy Foods 

Since German Shepherds are high-energy dogs, they need at least 2 hours of exercise daily. That also means they require their daily supply of energy foods in the right amounts. 

The caloric needs of a German Shepherd depend on the dog’s weight. For example, going by the National Research Council nutritional guide, a 70lb GSD has an average energy requirement of 1,740 kcal, while a 90lb GSD will need 2,100 kcal.

AAFCO’s presumed caloric density in dog food is 4000kcal in a Kg of dry matter. This does not specify an exact daily energy requirement. Instead, it means that when you feed your GSD with food that’s prepared following the guidelines, his daily portion should provide the required energy amounts.

Commercial dog foods use grains like rice, wheat, and corn to include the energy requirements in dog food. Homemade dog food for German Shepherds can use the same energy foods or substitute them with others like potatoes, oatmeal, pasta, and, once in a while, quinoa.

The energy foods requirements also include your dog’s dietary fiber needs. This comes from foods like rice, oats, and wheat brans or soybean hulls. 

German Shepherd with a bowl of kibble

Fat and Fatty Acids

Fat is a concentrated source of energy for your GSD. Apart from enhancing the taste and texture of your dog’s food, fat also keeps the coat and skin in a glowing, healthy appearance.

Your GSD’s food should contain a minimum of 5.5% fat from animal and plant sources. The amount can increase to 8.5% for puppies and nursing dogs. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are also essential in your dog’s diet.


For an active German Shepherd like my Willow, diet minerals are crucial for healthy bone, muscle, nerve, and cartilage health. 

But minerals also support overall body development and function, the regulation of hormones, and the proper flow of oxygen and body fluids. 

Your GSD’s food should include minerals like calcium, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, chloride, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc, among others. The daily recommendation for each mineral varies and can go from a low of 0.10g for magnesium to a high of 18.8g for zinc.

Sources of minerals in your dog’s diet are as varied as the minerals themselves. 

For example, zinc is derived from meat and fiber sources, while magnesium comes from bone products and seed oils. See the AAFCO recommendations for the full list of specific mineral quantities.


Although dogs need vitamins in very small amounts, they are crucial in processing other food nutrients and for your dog’s overall health. Vitamins can be water-soluble (Vitamins C and B) or fat-soluble (Vitamins A, D, E, & K).

Vitamins in your GSD’s diet can come from dog-safe fruits such as apples, blueberries, bananas, and melons and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, green beans, and broccoli.


Though an extra in our focus for German Shepherd’s nutritional needs, water is a core element in your dog’s health. The approximate daily water intake for dogs is 40-60ml (1.4-2.0 ounces) for every kilo of body weight daily. Some will say an 8-ounce cup for any dog daily. 

Since, like us, dogs will regulate their water intake when they quench their thirst, an acceptable rule of thumb is to make clean water available for your GSD always.

Now that you know what should be in your GSD’s food, it’s time to be specific about how much to feed a German Shepherd daily. 

Two White German Shepherds

How Much to Feed a German Shepherd Per Day

Most German Shepherd owners feed their dogs with dry kibble. And, as a requirement, dog food should include a feeding chart on the packaging. 

However, the format and amounts on feeding charts can vary from one brand to the other. This variation in amount is usually due to the caloric content in the food. Additionally, most dog food feeding charts use dog weight to advise you on feeding amounts. 

So, considering that adult German Shepherds can grow to between 50lb-90lb (22.7kg-40.8kg), an adult German Shepherd will need around 2 -3⅓ cups of food daily for a dog with a weight between 50lb and 75lb and 3⅓ – 4¼ cups of food daily for a dog with a weight between 76-90lb. Give the amount in two portions for the morning and evening meals.   

The feeding cup size used here refers to the Purina 8-oz cup with 112g. So, here’s a summary of the feeding amounts with conversions of your dog’s body weight into KG and the cups into grams.

German Shepherd Dog Daily Food Amount 
Weight in Lb/KgAmount in CupsAmount in Grams
50lb-75lb (22.7kg-34.0kg2⅔ -3⅓291-370
76lb-90lb (34.5kg-40.8kg)3⅓ – 4¼370-476
German Shepherd daily feeding amount

German Shepherd Feeding Chart

Other dog food brands will also indicate how much is in a cup of dog food in grams. And, as a precision detail, some dog food brands’ feeding charts will detail how your dog’s activity level increases or decreases his daily food amount.

For example, the popular brand created particularly for German Shepherd dogs, and one of my favorites, Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food (from Amazon), has specifications for a GSD with low, medium, and high activity levels. In addition, the brand specifies that its 8-oz cup contains 85g of dog food with a preparation formula of 22% protein and 17% fat.

Here’s how much you will feed your German Shepherd daily if you go for the Royal Canin brand:

Dog WeightDaily Food Amount
Low Activity LevelMedium Activity LevelHigh Activity Level
57lb (27kg)3⅓ cups (281g)4⅜ cups (369g)5 cups (428g)
66lb (30kg)3⅝ cups (312g) 4⅞ cups (411g)5⅝ cups (477g)
75lb (34kg)4 cups (343g)5¼ cups (451g)6⅛ cups (524g)
84lb (38kg)4⅜ cups (373g)5¾ cups (491g)6⅝ cups (569g)
97lb (44kg)4⅞ cups (416g)6⅜ cups (548g)7½ cups (635g)
German Shepherd feeding chart

From what I’ve said so far, you should use the feeding guidelines on your dog’s food packaging to determine how much your German Shepherd should eat. And if you have doubts, your safest bet is to consult your dog’s veterinarian or the manufacturer. 

Consulting your vet also applies if:

  • You use homemade dog food for your German Shepherd.
  • Your dog has health issues.
  • Your German Shepherd is a senior.
  • The food brand recommended for your dog has no feeding guidelines on the packaging.

If you wish to know which commercial dog food is the best for your German Shepherd, our Essential Feeding Guide has everything you need to know.


How Many Grams is 1 Cup of Dog Food?

In general weight conversion, 1oz = 28.35g. That would mean an 8-oz cup has 226.8g. But kibble presents in pellets, which take up more space in a cup. So, the direct conversion of an 8-oz kibble cup into 226.8g is deceiving. As such, dog food manufacturers specify how much an 8-oz cup of their food will hold in grams.

Should I Feed My German Shepherd Twice a Day?

You should feed your German Shepherd twice daily to ensure proper nutrition and prevent bloat. That’s because German Shepherds are large dogs with a high level of exercise. As such, they use plenty of energy and require enough food amounts to replenish it. Read more details in our article on how often to feed a German Shepherd.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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