Who Owns Canidae Dog Food? The Story Behind This Popular Pet Brand



Canidae is a well-known and respected brand in the world of premium, natural dog food. Pet owners are increasingly seeking out high-quality, nutritious options for their canine companions, and Canidae has positioned itself as a leader in this space. But who exactly owns Canidae dog food, and what’s the story behind this popular pet brand?

In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll delve deep into the ownership, history, manufacturing processes, product lines, and philanthropic efforts of Canidae. From its humble beginnings to its current status as a go-to choice for pet parents, we’ll uncover the details that make Canidae a standout in the crowded pet food market.

The Origins of Canidae Dog Food

Canidae’s story begins in 1996 when brothers John and Scott Sturtzenegger founded the company in Bern, Kansas. Motivated by a desire to provide healthier, more nutritious options for their own family pets, the Sturtzenegger brothers embarked on a mission to create a superior dog food brand that prioritized natural, high-quality ingredients.

“We started Canidae because we were frustrated with the quality of pet foods on the market. We wanted to create a food that we could feel good about feeding our own pets.” – Scott Sturtzenegger, Co-Founder of Canidae

From the very beginning, Canidae’s focus was on crafting dog food formulas that excluded common allergens and fillers like corn, wheat, and soy. Instead, they turned to meat proteins, wholesome grains, fruits, and vegetables as the foundation for their recipes.

Canidae’s Mission and Commitment to Natural Ingredients

At the core of Canidae’s philosophy is the belief that pets thrive best on a diet that closely resembles the natural, protein-rich diets their ancestors evolved to eat. This principle has guided the company’s approach to pet nutrition from day one.

Key Tenets of Canidae’s Natural Pet Nutrition Philosophy:

  • Meat-Based Protein Sources: Canidae formulas are made with high-quality animal proteins like chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish as the primary ingredients.
  • Wholesome Grains and Carbohydrates: Canidae uses easily digestible grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and barley as sources of complex carbohydrates and fiber.
  • No Corn, Wheat, or Soy: These common allergens and fillers are completely absent from Canidae’s recipes.
  • No Byproduct Meals or Artificial Additives: Canidae avoids rendered byproducts, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives in their formulas.
  • Nutrient-Dense Ingredients: Canidae incorporates fruits, vegetables, probiotics, antioxidants, and other beneficial nutrients to support overall pet health.

This unwavering commitment to natural, premium ingredients has earned Canidae a loyal following among pet owners who prioritize their dogs’ well-being and nutritional needs.

Who Currently Owns Canidae Dog Food?

While Canidae was founded by the Sturtzenegger brothers in 1996, ownership of the company changed hands in 2005 when it was acquired by Diane Lekovic. Lekovic, a former executive at Iams and Eukanuba, brought with her a wealth of experience in the pet food industry.

Under Lekovic’s guidance, Canidae has remained steadfast in its dedication to producing high-quality, natural dog food formulas. Her leadership has ensured that the company’s core values and mission have remained intact, even as Canidae has grown in popularity and expanded its product offerings.

Canidae’s Manufacturing Process and Facilities

To maintain the integrity of their natural pet food products, Canidae takes great care in their manufacturing processes and facilities. All Canidae formulas are produced in state-of-the-art facilities located in North America, with a focus on quality control and safety measures.

Key Details About Canidae’s Manufacturing:

  • Vertically Integrated Production: Canidae has a vertically integrated production process, meaning they control every step from sourcing ingredients to packaging and distribution.
  • Dedicated Facilities: Canidae’s formulas are produced in dedicated facilities that do not process any other pet food brands, reducing the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Quality Control: Canidae maintains strict quality control measures, including:
    • Ingredient testing and analysis
    • Microbiological testing
    • Ongoing facility audits and inspections
  • Safety Protocols: Canidae adheres to stringent food safety protocols, such as:
    • Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program
    • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) compliance
    • Rigorous sanitation and pest control procedures

By maintaining this level of oversight and control over their production processes, Canidae can ensure that every bag of their dog food meets the highest standards of quality and safety.

Popular Canidae Dog Food Product Lines

Over the years, Canidae has developed a diverse range of product lines catering to different dietary needs and preferences. Some of their most popular offerings include:

  1. Canidae PURE: This grain-free formula is made with just seven main ingredients, including fresh chicken, turkey, or lamb as the first ingredient. It’s designed to be a simple, limited-ingredient diet for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies.
  2. Canidae Grain Free PURE: Building on the success of the original PURE line, these formulas are also grain-free but feature a broader range of protein sources like wild-caught fish, bison, and duck.
  3. Canidae Under the Sun: This line is crafted with sustainably sourced ingredients and features formulas that are grain-free, high in protein, and rich in antioxidants and probiotics for digestive health.
  4. Canidae All Life Stages: As the name suggests, these recipes are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of dogs at all life stages, from puppies to seniors.
  5. Canidae Overweight/Diabetic: For dogs that need a lower-calorie, lower-fat diet due to weight management concerns or diabetes, this line provides a balanced, nutrient-dense solution.

Across all their product lines, Canidae consistently emphasizes the use of high-quality, natural ingredients and avoids artificial additives, flavors, and preservatives. This commitment to clean nutrition has earned them a reputation as a trusted and reliable brand among pet owners.

How Canidae Gives Back

Beyond producing exceptional pet food, Canidae has also demonstrated a strong commitment to giving back to the community and supporting animal welfare causes. The company’s philanthropic efforts are an integral part of its ethos and brand identity.

Canidae’s Charitable Initiatives:

  • Donations to Animal Shelters and Rescue Groups: Canidae regularly donates a portion of their proceeds and surplus food to various animal shelters and rescue organizations across the United States.
  • Sustainable Manufacturing Practices: Canidae prioritizes sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, minimizing their carbon footprint and environmental impact.
  • Partnerships with Non-Profit Organizations: Canidae has formed partnerships with organizations like the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Assistance Dog United Campaign to support service dog training and access programs.
  • Employee Volunteer Programs: Canidae encourages its employees to volunteer their time and resources to local animal welfare initiatives and community projects.

By aligning their business practices with charitable causes, Canidae has established itself as a brand that truly cares about the well-being of pets and the communities they serve.


As we’ve explored in this comprehensive blog post, Canidae dog food has a rich history and a steadfast commitment to natural, premium pet nutrition. From its humble beginnings as a passion project of the Sturtzenegger brothers to its current status as a leading brand under the ownership of Diane Lekovic, Canidae has remained true to its core values and mission.

Through their meticulous manufacturing processes, diverse product offerings, and philanthropic efforts, Canidae has earned a well-deserved reputation among pet owners who prioritize their dogs’ health and well-being. Whether you’re a long-time Canidae enthusiast or considering trying their products for the first time, you can trust that this brand delivers on its promise of high-quality, natural dog food.

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to explore Canidae’s range of formulas and discover the difference that their natural, meat-based recipes can make for your furry companion’s vitality and overall health. With Canidae, you can feel confident that you’re providing your dog with the very best in nutrition, backed by a company that truly cares about the welfare of pets.

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