Get To Know The Black German Shepherd!

Get To Know The Black German Shepherd!

The black German shepherd is a much-loved breed that has become very sought after in recent years. This rare colored dog is unique to any other kind of german shepherd, as they have a distinct coat of jet black fur – and they can only ever be black.

Like normal German shepherds, they are sweet and caring, fun-loving, and energetic. This breed is great for just about anyone looking for a companion that will keep them on their toes (and struggling to keep up)!

There are few differences between this black-coated breed and the classic German shepherd beyond their coat colors. Despite those small variations, black German shepherds have quickly become one of America’s favorite dogs and are in high demand.

Origin of the Black German Shepherd

This breed was first discovered in Germany and was originally bred as a herding dog. These shepherds were bred to be hard-working and protective. Eventually, after being recognized by the masses, German shepherds become one of the most popular dogs.

They are now more commonly used as companions rather than work dogs. However, German shepherds are also well-known as police dogs as well as used in the military. Black shepherds are commonly trained as guard and attack dogs – even though they are not naturally aggressive.

Despite how they are commonly used, black German shepherds can just as easily be a family dog. They make good companion animals and can easily be trained to be guard dogs. They are gentle by nature and are great around children as long as they are properly socialized.

Black GSD vs Standard GSD

The biggest difference between these two dogs is the color of their coat. This color variation can occur randomly whenever two standard German shepherds breed and are the result of recessive genes that are not easy to detect. If two black shepherds are bred, their puppies will be black. That is the only way to guarantee that the puppies will be black.

Other than this color difference, these two dogs are nearly identical in temperament and appearance. Black german shepherds have a straighter back, which actually proves to be beneficial since typical German shepherds are at risk of having hip dysplasia.

The black variety also looks a bit more stoic and aggressive, which is why many people like them. Like any German shepherd, these dogs require plenty of time and care from their owners. They are considered high maintenance and need to be entertained and trained regularly.


Black German shepherds are very similar to traditional german shepherds in appearance.  However, there are a few slight differences in appearance.

Black shepherds have almond eyes and a straighter back than the common shepherd. Their coat also tends to be straighter and less fringed.

Overall, a black German shepherd’s beautiful black coat is what really makes them stand out from the rest and is why they have become a more desirable breed.

Love fluffy German Shepherds? Learn all about long-haired German Shepherds.


Black German shepherds are about 22 to 26 inches tall. They tend to be 1 to 2 inches taller than a standard German shepherd, but their features stay very much the same. Like most dog breeds, the males tend to be slightly larger than the females.

Male black shepherds weigh anywhere between 50 to 90 lbs which are considered to be pretty big for a dog. Anyone looking for a smaller-sized black German shepherd should get a female as they will lean towards the lower in of the weight range.


German shepherds have a medium to long coat that is straight and dense. It can sometimes be wiry on the outer layer and softer on the inside layer. Because they have a double coat, German shepherds are heavy shedders. This is especially apparent during shedding season when they lose much more hair than normal.

A typical German shepherd can come in 11 different colors, but the black German shepherds will only come in black. Unlike some dogs whose coats can change with time, this breed is going to stay the same shade of black.

If a breeder is selling puppies that have a black German shepherd and a standard shepherd parent, it will be apparent (by their coat) whether the puppy will be a true black shepherd after 10 weeks.

Fun Facts about Black German Shepherds

Get To Know The Black German Shepherd!

Here are some fun facts about black shepherds that some people might not know:

  • They are the same breed as German shepherds; they just carry a recessive gene that shows up randomly.
  • Puppies bred from a black and a normal shepherd can appear black for up to 10 weeks before their coat changes. If it doesn’t change, that means they are a black shepherd.
  • Despite their rare color, this recessive gene has no negative side effects on the animal.
  • All black German shepherds are considered to be purebreds.
  • Though they may look aggressive, black shepherds are no more so than any other German shepherd breed.
  • Even though they are more rare, black shepherds usually don’t cost any more than other types of German shepherds.


Black German shepherds are a great breed all around since they have an amazing list of admirable qualities. Not only do they make great work dogs, but they can just as easily be companion dogs. They are fiercely loyal and loving and just want to be by their owner’s side day in and day out.

These dogs make excellent service animals to those with special needs or other disabilities since they are so gentle-mannered and calm. They are very intelligent and can be trained to do a variety of tricks and commands. A black German shepherd’s loyalty makes them excellent guard dogs – especially for families.

With the right training, they can become excellent family dogs that are great around children. However,  potential owners should understand that these dogs are very playful. They may have been bred originally as work dogs, but they also love to romp around and have fun.

Black shepherds need plenty of exercise and companionship in order to be happy and stay out of trouble. Their great intelligence also means that they need plenty of entertainment as they can easily become bored. The breed should be given plenty of activities to keep busy throughout the day.

Because this breed is so loyal and caring, they tend to have separation anxiety. They want to be with their owners all of the time, which can cause them distress when left alone. This stress can translate into barking and destructive behavior when their owners aren’t around.

Black German shepherds can also be quite wary of strangers since they have a protective streak. This can make them prone to snapping, barking, and antisocial behavior. This is why it is so important to socialize them when they are puppies.

Caring for a Black German Shepherd

Caring for a black shepherd can be high maintenance, but not any more than caring for a normal german shepherd. These dogs are energetic, eager, and fun-loving, making them quite the handful for anyone.

However, they can be trained. In the right living space, black German shepherds can work off much of their energy on their own. Many of the breed’s negative character traits can be easily remedied by plenty of training and socialization.

Anyone looking to get one of these dogs should do their research beforehand and have a good idea of the work required. These are big dogs, and they have certain needs that need to be met to truly flourish.


Black German shepherds are heavy shedders, which means that they need to be brushed often, as it’s the only way to keep the shedding under control. When it is shedding season, the breed will need to be brushed twice as much.

A good tip for brushing your dog thoroughly is to brush them outside. This makes it easier to really brush out as much hair as possible – without it going all over the house. Black shepherds with a longer coat will need more frequent brushing to prevent tangling and mats.

They should be professionally groomed 2 to 3 times a year, preferably during shedding season. Black shepherds also need their nails regularly trimmed and the occasional bath.


Black german shepherd puppies will need to be fed a high-calorie diet consisting of 3 to 4 small meals a day. Once they are around 9 months old, they can move to two average-sized meals per day. After they are a year old, they can be switched to a combination of wet and dry adult dog food.

The most important part of any dog’s diet is the protein, so go for a high-protein, high-quality food. Avoid cereal-based foods that are full of carbohydrates, dyes, and rendered fats.


Get To Know The Black German Shepherd!

Black German shepherds need to be exercised regularly to keep them happy and entertained. They have an abundance of unused energy that needs to be spent on a daily basis.

Anyone considering a black German shepherd should understand that they need a larger living space – preferably with a spacious backyard to run around in. Having a yard will help this breed to get their energy out on their own. Otherwise, they will need to be taken for daily walks and trips to the dog park.

They also enjoy playing with their owners and make great companions. Fetch is a great way to expend some energy, as well as interactive toys. Anything that keeps them busy is a great way to reduce some of that natural energy.


Black shepherds, like any dog, need rigorous training with plenty of positive reinforcement. They are wonderful dogs to train as they are eager to please, intelligent, attentive, and quick to learn. With this breed, socializing needs to be the main priority with training.

They are naturally wary and can become aggressive if not trained correctly. They need to be introduced to new places and new people frequently to help them understand how to behave and encourage their friendlier side. Also, if they are intended to be herding dogs, they need to be introduced to farm animals to make them feel comfortable.

Because this breed is so intelligent, they can quickly become bored. Because of this trait, their owner will need to keep training interesting. This can be done by using different treats and toys, regularly changing tactics, and training in new areas.

Fetch is a particularly good way to teach these dogs the basics like sit down and heel since it keeps them entertained and gets their energy out.

Life Span

Black shepherds generally have a lifespan of 9 to 13 years. This is a great number for larger dogs, and some can even live for longer. The biggest determining factor in this breed’s lifespan is going to come down to maintaining good health.

They need regular vet checks and should be kept on a strict food plan to avoid excessive weight gain. Keeping up with their health will go a long way in giving them a longer life and a greater quality of life.

Possible Health Issues for the Black German Shepherd

Though black shepherds are generally very healthy dogs, there are health conditions that they are more at risk of getting as with any dog, so owners should keep their eyes peeled for any signs of problems developing. Many health conditions can be reversed or slowed if caught early enough.

Black German shepherds should have regular, yearly vet appointments for checkups to confirm that there are no hidden health problems. Staying on top of their vet visits is very important as dogs don’t always show the symptoms that one might expect.

Much of their health will come down to proper nutrition, exercise, and weight management, but here are some of the common issues black German shepherds might experience:

Hip Dysplasia

Though black shepherds have a much better chance at not getting hip dysplasia, it is still a possibility. A few ways to try to prevent this is to keep their weight under control, exercise them, and feed them high-quality food. Some symptoms to look out for include:

  • lameness
  • decreased activity
  • swaying
  • pain
  • stiffness
  • loss of muscle mass
  • difficulty moving

Certain medications can be prescribed, but it is a chronic condition.


Osteoarthritis is another concern for this dog breed. It is a common form of arthritis that affects the joints causing pain and discomfort. Some signs to watch for are:

  • Stiffness
  • Lameness
  • Pain
  • Irritability
  • Swaying
  • Lack of movement
  • Weight gain

Medications can be used, but this is also a chronic condition that has long-term effects. Gentle exercise, therapy, and weight loss can all help to control and prevent osteoarthritis.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy is a chronic and incurable disease of the spinal cord. It is a condition that cannot be treated completely once the dog has it. Some symptoms they may show are imbalance, swaying, and scrapping of their hind feet when they walk.

Black German Shepherd: Quick Breed Overview

Get To Know The Black German Shepherd!

Size: They are 22 to 26 inches tall, 1 to 2 inches taller than a normal German shepherd.

Weight: They weigh 50 to 90 pounds, the females weighing the least.

Coat: Their coat is medium to long in length and is very straight. It can sometimes have a wiry overcoat.

Color: Black shepherds have a pure black coat.

Shedding: These dogs shed quite a lot, especially during shedding season. They will need regular brushing in order to keep their coat under control.

Socialization: Black shepherds require plenty of socializing when they are puppies to help them feel comfortable around people and other animals. They are friendly as long as they have been trained to be that way.

Intelligence level: These dogs are very intelligent and require plenty of entertainment to stay busy and happy.

Friendliness: These dogs are not usually the most friendly breed out there since they have a natural distrust for strangers, so they need to be socialized in order to combat this. They generally get along with other animals as well.

Good with Children: Black German shepherds are very good around children and show their calm nature with them. They need to be socialized as puppies to reinforce this temperament, and they will need to be well trained for safety reasons.

Activity level: These dogs are extremely active and require lots of exercises, dedicated playtime, and plenty of attention throughout the day.

Temperament: Black shepherds are generally good-natured, loving, and loyal to a fault with a strong desire to protect and be with their owners.

Destructive Behavior: These dogs are generally well-behaved if kept occupied and happy. However, they can become very destructive if they develop separation anxiety. This can result in chewing, clawing up doors, and other destructive behaviors.

Curious about other German Shepherd colors? Learn about the white German Shepherd.

List of Black German Shepherd Instagram Accounts

Anyone who is considering getting a black german shepherd should do their research as thoroughly as possible. This is an amazing breed, but they do have their needs. As a large dog breed that is very intelligent and active, they may not suit all lifestyles or living areas.

Anyone who is very serious about adopting one of these dogs should check out these Instagram accounts. They show a more personal look at what it’s like to own a black shepherd.

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