Black German Shepherd Breed Information & Facts

Many people already know about the classic black and tan German Shepherd. But there are many more colors.

Black German Shepherds are just a rare type of German Shepherd. These black dogs are very rare, but unlike what some people think, they are not a mix.

The all black coat occurs naturally within purebreds.

Black and tan might be a classic color, but there is something alluring about the black coat. People love the color and these dogs keep the same qualities people love about the breed.

Keep reading to learn all about this rare all-black variety. We share how they are bred, their appearance, how to find puppies and much more…

Breed Overview

Black German Shepherd

Black German Shepherds are a rare type of German Shepherd with a magnificent solid jet black coat. What makes them unique is their solid black coat which gleams under the sun. This coat is also sometimes a bit fluffier and straighter than other Shepherds.

You will also hear these dogs being called: Black Shepherds, All Black German Shepherds and Black GSDs. All of these names are used for the Black German Shepherd.

Some people think these dogs are a mixed breed or genetic mutation, but the black gene occurs naturally.

German Shepherds with black coats are purebred and recognized by the American Kennel Club. They are just a rare color variation. They are not as common as the tan and black variety because puppies need two copies of the recessive gene to have a solid black coat.

Their rarity is what makes them so desirable.

People love this breed for its loyalty, intelligence and confidence. The Black German Shepherd has all of these amazing qualities. The only difference is its black coat color. Coat color does nothing to change their temperament or health.

Black German Shepherds are just as loving, smart, energetic and courageous!

Sometimes you can find them working as police dogs, rescue dogs, and service dogs as they are very high-energy and always ready to work. They are also a great choice for a family, they will keep your family safe and be your most loving companion.

Appearance

Black German Shepherd dogs

You will instantly recognize this dog for its solid jet black and glossy coats. Sometimes they might have a small white marking on their chest, or some brown hairs on their paws, but that is normal.

These dogs are easily confused with a bi-color German Shepherd.

A bi-colored has a mostly black coat, but has another color like tan or silver on its chest and legs. Some common examples include the black and cream, black and tan, black and red, black and silver, and black and tan German Shepherds.

The all Black German Shepherd must have a solid black coat. If any other color is visible they would be classified as bi-colored.

Physically Black German Shepherds have all the wolf-like characteristics that define the breed. They have the same long muzzle, erect semi-pointy ears, almond shaped brown eyes, black noses, and lean bodies.

As adults it is not hard to spot a Black German Shepherd, but as puppies it can be a challenge.

Puppies are usually born with black, white or gray coats that eventually change into their adult color at about eight weeks of age. You will only know if you have a black puppy if they stay solid black after eight weeks. If you get an older puppy from a breeder then you will know if it has a black coat.

Size

Color in general has no effect on body size. This breed has an average weight range between 50 and 90 pounds and can grow to be between 22 and 26 inches.

These dogs look like a classic German Shepherd with a black coat.

However, they do sometimes have straighter backs. Most German Shepherds have a slight slant, like a banana, to their back and might have a slight wave to their fur.

Black German Shepherds have a straighter back and tend to have a longer and straight coat. They often are described as having flowing coats with some feathering. If you see feathering and a huge mane around their face, then you know they are a long-haired and will only have a single layer.

All types of German Shepherds can either be short or long-haired.

German Shepherds that are short-haired are known for having short double-coats. These dogs have a straight overcoat and a dense undercoat that sheds quite often.

There is also another coat type that is single-layered. These dogs are known as long-haired GSDs.

History

The black coat has existed as long as the breed itself. They were first seen in the late 19th century.

German Shepherds were first bred by a man named Captain Max von Stephanitz who wanted to create the perfect working dog in the late 19th century.

All German Shepherds are descendants of Hektor, a dog that von Stephanitz purchased and considered the perfect example of the breed he wanted to create. Hektor was a black and yellow dog that had the wolf-like qualities and temperament von Stephaniz wanted.

Through lots of inbreeding and crossbreeding native shepherd dogs with Hektor, von Stephanitz was able to create the breed we know today.

When creating the breed von Stephanitz was more interested in the dog’s abilities, work-ethic, loyalty, courageousness, and obedience. He was not interested in color.

It is not exactly known when the first Black German Shepherd was born but all German Shepherds carry the black gene. Black is considered one of the initial colors of the breed.

In 1907 the first German Shepherds arrived in America and were recognized as a breed in 1908. Among the colors accepted was the black.

Is A Black German Shepherd Rare?

Short Haired Black Shepherd
The black gene is a natural part of the breed.

Black German Shepherds are very rare. It is estimated that they make up only 6% of all German Shepherds in the world.

What makes them rare is that the black gene is recessive and less frequently found. Other colors like black and tan and sable are dominant which makes them far more common.

All German Shepherds carry the black gene, so they can produce a black puppy. The gene is simply hidden because they have another dominant gene that represses the black coat. If you have two black and tan German Shepherds, they could produce a black puppy in one of their litters. It just does not happen frequently.

This black gene is recessive so a puppy must inherit two copies of the gene to have pure black coat.

The surest way of breeding black german shepherd puppies is to breed two black parents together. These dogs will have black puppies, but they can also produce non-black puppies. How the genetics works is complicated, but two black parents are more likely to give you a litter of black puppies.

Personality

Breed Characteristics
Family Friendly★★★★(4)
Energy Levels★★★★★(5)
Ease of Training★★★★(4)
Shedding Frequency★★★★(4)
Price★★★★★(3)

The color of a German Shepherd does not change its personality and temperament.

A Black German Shepherd will act just like any other. This means that they will have the same loyalty, intelligence, confidence, and friendliness that the breed is widely known for.

These dogs are so loyal and connected to their humans that moments being away from you might seem like a punishment. It is important that you spend lots of time with your puppy playing and bonding, but also teach it that being alone is a good thing.

German Shepherds are patient and stable dogs that are able to handle most situations with grace. They will not panic when put to the work and will try to accomplish any task.

Their fearlessness, obedience, and eagerness to work makes them excellent working dogs. But Black German Shepherds can be more than just working dogs, underneath that tough and aloof character there is a good-natured, loving and friendly dog.

They are incredibly playful and affectionate with their family and are a good choice for kids as they are very gentle.

Families need to be aware though that these dogs were bred to be working dogs. This means that they are really active are always on high alert. They will be suspicious of strangers at first before warming up to them. This makes them great guard dogs, but high maintenance.

Known Health Problems

Long Haired Black Shepherd

There are some health issues common to the breed that Black German Shepherds are affected by. But the color black does not affect how healthy the dog is. It will be just as healthy as any other Shepherd and has a lifespan of between 10 and 13 years.

One of the most common issues is elbow and hip dysplasia, which affects all large breed dogs. This condition can cause malformation of the hip and elbow joint which can cause your dog to limp later in life.

Other common health issues are degenerative disc disease, von Willebrand’s disease, degenerative myelopathy and bloating.

Degenerative myelopathy is a genetic spinal cord disorder that results in gradual muscle wasting and loss of proper movement.

Bloating can occur in many active and large breeds. It occurs when your dog overeats and gas builds up in the stomach. It is important that you never overfeed your Black German Shepherd or let it eat too fast. Do not leave food laying around all day and give them their meals in smaller portions at different times of the day.

The American Kennel club requires all breeders to test their dogs for elbow and hip dysplasia. They also recommend that breeders test for degenerative myelopathy.

Training

German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent dogs. It is one of the reasons why they are the dog of choice for police and military work. Black German Shepherds are not the exception. Color has no effect on their intelligence. These dogs will be just as smart, obedient and eager to please.

Training and socializing a Black German Shepherd will be just the same as with any Shepherd. A black puppy will not need any special treatment.

The best way to train your Black German Shepherd is by using positive re-enforcement. Every time they do a behavior you want, you reward them with a treat. If they do something you don’t like, then you just ignore them.

Training a German Shepherd is not difficult to do because of their intelligence.

They are quick learners that can a learn a new command with just a couple of repetitions. Keep training sessions fun, interesting and variable so that your puppy has something to look forward to each session.

It is also very important that you socialize your puppy since they can be naturally aloof and suspicious of strangers.

Training can be a great way to work their brains. They are incredibly smart dogs so mental stimulation is also important for them.

Exercise

Black German Shepherd jumping

These dogs come from a working line of dogs. They have lots of energy because it is required for their job. This will be no different if they are brought into a family home.

You might not have a job for your dog to do at home, so you are going to need to give it lots of exercise and play.

Taking them out on long walks or playing in the park or backyard for at least an hour each day will be enough to make them happy. They need intense exercise every day to free their pent-up energy.

Black German Shepherds are furballs that are full of energy and cannot sit still. They need to move and play to be happy. But once they have tired themselves out, they will be quiet and relaxed for the rest of the day.

If you are hoping for a low-energy dog, this breed is not it. Their high energy is part of the breed. This means that they are better suited for active families that can give them lots of outdoor time.

For some families the constant need to always be with you and doing fun things can be overwhelming. If you are looking for a calmer, fluffy black dog the Newfoundland might be an option. For the right kind of family this dog will bring so much liveliness, energy and joy into the home.

Differences

Fluffy all Black German Shepherd

Black German Shepherds are no different to other German Shepherds when it comes to temperament, personality and health. Their black coat does nothing to affect these traits.

However there are some differences that make them stick out. The main one is their lustrous solid jet black coat. No other color should be present on their coat. Too much tan and silver on their chest and legs would classify them as bi-colored.

It is also thought that they have straighter backs and tend to have longer and straighter hair.

These differences if true are likely not linked to the coat color and probably happened on accident when selectively breeding for black coats.

Though they are the same in all other regards they are still more expensive.

A black puppy can cost you between $800 to $2,000, which can be $500 to $1,000 more than a common black and tan. Why they cost more is because of how rare they are.

Comparison Table
TraitGerman ShepherdBlack German Shepherd
ColorBlack and tan, white, sable, bi-color, gray, liver, blue and more.Black
CoatHarsh, straight and slightly wavy.Slightly longer.
Size22-26 inches.Same.
ExerciseAt least an hourSame.
PersonalityIntelligent, courageous, obedient and loyal.Same.
Price$300 to $1,000.$800 to $2,000.
Life Expectancy10-13 years.Same.
PurposePolice, military, and serviceSame.

Black German Shepherd Puppy

Black German Shepherd puppy

When adopting a Black German Shepherd puppy you need to be very clear of what you want.

German Shepherd puppies can be born black and then change color as they age. A pure black will remain black all its life. You will need to ask your breeder for the lineage of any puppy so you can be sure that you are getting an all black.

Typically a German Shepherd costs between $300 and $1,000 from a reputable breeder. But because Black German Shepherds are so rare, they can cost between $800 and $2,000.

Anyone who offers you a black puppy at less than $800 is likely a backyard breeder who breeds puppies just to sell them. A backyard breeder might also try to sell you a bi-colored dog as black too.

When you go to buy a puppy ask to see it and all of its medical records and the history of the parents and their testing. A reputable breeder should allow you to do all of these things. They can guarantee to you that you are getting a purebred dog and that your puppy is actually black.

Summary

The Black German Shepherd is a color variation of the German Shepherd Dog. They are not a separate breed and are considered a standard color.

Unlike what some people believe black German Shepherds are purebred and occur naturally. They are just very rare because their coat is inherited from a recessive gene. This is the same for white German Shepherds.

The most noticeable difference between is their jet black coat.

Some people might even argue that they have straighter backs and longer hair. But this has not yet been proven. In all other traits they are just the same. They have all the qualities that make the breed the third most popular in America.

Many families adopt the Black German Shepherd they love having a unique color that stands out.

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