As Aussies we love to buy Australian products. We also want the best for our dogs on a sensible budget, without breaking the bank.
Is that you?
I find Black Hawk dog food hits that sweet spot, being better than many, and more affordable than others. It’s also made in Australia using ingredients sourced locally.
Caveat is, since the brand was taken over by New Zealand company Masterpet many moons ago, some Aussie consumers have had some negative stuff to say. But should you be concerned? More on this later…
Related: Comparable brands can be found on the affordable dog foods page or the Aussie dog foods page, so it may be worth checking those out as well.
Where to buy Black Hawk Dog Food
Black Hawk Dog Food Review
What the marketing says
It seems Black Hawk Pet Care topped the charts for best-rated dog food in Australia 2021-2022 on Canstar Blue, with pet owners who took part in the survey rating it highly for overall satisfaction and value for money.
Black Hawk came second in the “pet enjoyment” category to Eukanuba, which also pipped the post for “variety / range” along with Hill’s Prescription Diet.
You may choose to buy Black Hawk for your dog based on such glowing stats, but what do the ingredients really say about this dog food and how appropriate it is for your dog?
And what’s the negative stuff I keep hearing from consumers…? Let’s dig a little deeper!
What the ingredients really say?
I’m always skeptical of surveys. Most of the time they don’t offer a professional or knowledgeable insight into a product.
People can feed their dogs utter rubbish, and in the years before it starts taking a real toll on the health of their pets they will rave about the food and think it’s wonderful because their dog eats it enthusiastically.
Kid’s eat sweets enthusiastically! Does that make them nutritious and healthy?
Should you feed you kids lollies every day for breakfast, lunch, and tea, based on the metric “kid enjoyment”?
Nope, probably not!
Thankfully the ingredients in all the Black Hawk dog foods are pretty good, which is a much better metric for deciding if a dog food is right for your dog!
I find the Adult Lamb & Rice formula the best in terms of protein (25%) and fat (17%), which also means it’s the lowest carbohydrate formula in the Adult range – that’s a good thing, as your dog will benefit more from proteins and fat, especially those from animal ingredients.
Looking at the list of ingredients it would seem there are five main ingredients. By main I mean each one will be 10%+ of the formula, likely more. These are lamb meal, chicken meal, fish meal, ground rice, and oats. Possibly in equal amounts.
A “meal” is a pre-cooked version of a meat ingredient which comes as a powder. The upside is it’s protein dense, which assures us the protein in the food comes from meats (big tick), but on the flipside there’s some negativity about quality (which really depends more on the meat quality) and the fact it’s cooked multiple times to create those nuggets we call “biscuits”.
When it comes to dog foods, if you want assurances on meat quality, then you’re limited to premium raw or fresh diets which use “human grade” meats, rather than “pet grade” in kibbles.
A little sidetrack – do you know why Americans call kibble “kibble” and Australians call them “biscuits”? I don’t know the answer, but I suspect “biscuits” is the better marketing term as it sounds more appealing to us!
Back on track, it’s good to see three meat ingredients, and rice and oats are decent grains in moderation. Many dog owners are against grains, but usually the real issue is missed – i.e. a dog food not having much meat, being mostly a cheap grain OR a load of potato or tapioca.
Grain free formulas tend to have better ingredients, which is also a reflection of their higher price tag.
“Fish meal” is a little ambiguous, and it would be better to see a named fish like salmon. But that’s really my only quibble with the main ingredients.
When you consider Black Hawk dog food comes at an affordable price, especially in the big 20kg bags, the ingredients are still really good. Even the smaller less significant ingredients are decent, with a range of veggies, oils (canola, fish, and emu oil), plus chondroitin and glucosamine for joint support.
These are the reasons you should buy Black Hawk dog food, especially if you’re currently feeding one of the many dog foods full of wheat and cereal grains. If that’s you, consider Black Hawk an upgrade!
Grain or grain-free? Does it matter?
There’s a decent variety in the Black Hawk range, including grain-based, grain-free, and formulas for puppies, senior dogs, large breeds, and also a really good working dog formula which I find far better than others in that category.
Although I focus on a grain formula in this review, consider the grain-free formulas a little better in terms of ingredients, but a little pricier as well.
Grains in moderation can provide nutritional benefits for dogs, especially decent grains like the rice and oats in Black Hawk formulas, and the added benefit is a lower price for these formulas.
If you’re struggling to decide whether to go grain or grain-free, then I have an easy solution – rotate between formulas!
What consumers say about Black Hawk dog food
When I review a dog food I aim to be pragmatic and focus the review on what the ingredients and analysis really say about the product, and tell you what the manufacturers and retailers don’t want you to know.
Secondary to that, I receive a great deal of feedback from Australian pet owners on how they’ve found a product.
With Black Hawk there’s been some negativity, and I feel I must mention that to make this review complete.
Over the years I’ve seen many consumer reports of gas and indigestion from dogs fed Black Hawk dog foods. I’ve also seen many positive reports, which suggests only a few have had this “smelly” problem.
If you want to read more on those reports, then the comments section below is a great source of feedback from other dog owners.
If you decide to feed your dog Black Hawk, and your dog seems to get a lot of wind or belly ache, then my advice would be swapping to a different brand – these ones are in a similar price bracket.
Do you already feed Black Hawk to your dogs? Let me know your experiences in the comments!
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Black Hawk Products (Original)
The Black Hawk dog food products covered by this review:
If grains aren’t your thing, here’s the review of the Black Hawk Grain Free formulas.
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Black Hawk Dog Food Review Summary
Feeding a dog, for many, can be expensive. In truth the real cost can be from feeding many of the terrible quality foods which eventually lead to huge vet bills and heartbreak.
Hopefully Black Hawk dog food offers many a somewhat affordable base diet which can always be supplemented with fresh meats, offal, and species appropriate bones to really boost overall health.
Black Hawk isn’t the best dog food reviewed on this website, but it’s still better than many.
Black Hawk Ingredients
The ingredients of Black Hawk Original Adult Chicken & Rice dry dog food:
Chicken Meal, Ground Rice, Oats, Fish Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols [source of Vitamin E], Citric Acid, Rosemary Extract), Field Peas, Beet pulp, Kelp, Canola Oil, Salt, Essential Vitamins & Minerals, Natural Antioxidants, Emu Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Tomato Powder, Carrots, Dried Blueberries, Dandelion, Peppermint, Rosemary, Cranberries.
Black Hawk Guaranteed Analysis
The guaranteed analysis of Black Hawk Original Adult Chicken & Rice dry dog food:
Black Hawk dog food recalls
There are no known Black Hawk dog food recalls at the current time.
Previous Black Hawk dog food recalls:
- January 2020 – Various Black Hawk dog food formulas recalled due to mould. Voluntary recall. Affected formulas: Black Hawk Adult Chicken and Rice (3kg, 10kg and 20kg), Black Hawk Adult Lamb and Rice (3kg and 20kg), Black Hawk Adult Large Breed Chicken and Rice (20kg only) and Black Hawk Puppy Large Breed Chicken and Rice (20kg only).
- Decent protein and fat content from meats
- Well selected grains (oats are a good choice)