Home Info All You Need to Know About a Black German Shepherd

All You Need to Know About a Black German Shepherd

by David W.
Black German Shepherd Dog

Is it black color of a German Shepherd really making it different? Yes, a black German Shepherd is one more officially recognized variation of this breed. People used to think that this unusual color is a result of an undesirable genetic mutation. Others believed that it is a crossbreed variation. Fortunately, both concepts turned out to be false.

The only true thing is that this variation is pretty rare. In fact, it possesses the same qualities and levels of protection and loyalty as the dogs of other colors. Such dogs are good as a working variation too, so they are successful in the police, military, and social services. 

The history of black Shepherds started in Germany. That was a separate working line coming from Berger Picard. The breeders’ aim was to receive a working dog with better qualities. Together with GSDs of other colors, this variation arrived in the USA in the early 1900’s. 

Some Words About the History

Black color is a result of two black dogs bred together. Or it can be the offspring of mating black and tan dogs. Even if most puppies are born black, a black German Shepherd puppy retains the color while growing. Black is recognized as a standard color by the AKC and other kennel clubs.

The history of black Shepherds goes back to the entire history of the breed. The retired captain Von Stepanitz saw the Shepherds as perfect working dogs, so he decided to improve their standards. His dog, Horand, started the new variety of the breed, which was called the German Shepherd dog for a while.

As the breed was improving, it spread far beyond Germany and reached the US in 1906. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1908. There, the first black Shepherds appeared as a result of gene combinations but not a mutation as many still believe.

Common Characteristics of All Black German Shepherd Dogs

The overall characteristics of black GSDs do not differ much from those of other representatives of this breed. The only difference is that black Shepherds are rare, so they are rather expensive if you want to acquire a puppy from a breeder. The litter usually consists of 4-9 puppies, but some of them may not be black.


Black GSD

These dogs resemble wolves, so they look pretty aggressive. Such a dog has a prolonged muzzle and accurate square face. Their necks are long, sitting low when they are running. Their ears are semi-pointed and their foreheads are rounded. Their ears become upright when they are 16-20 weeks old. Their eyes are dark and almond-shaped, and their nose is black. The legs are thick and strong, and the body is heavy and muscular. These German Shepherds have a straight back and a bushy tail. The body contours are usually straighter than in regular dogs. 

The coat of a black Shepherd is medium-length. It has two layers. The outer layer is straight and thick, while the undercoat is soft. There are also long-haired black German Shepherd dogs whose fur is fluffy and wavy. These dogs tend to shed a lot, so it’s not a dog for you if you are allergic. The dog will need a proper grooming schedule to reduce the consequences of shedding. 

However, the color is only one – solid black. It comes from two parents whose recessive genes make this combination. That is why breeding two black dogs offer more chances to receive a completely black litter.

These dogs belong to large breeds. The males weigh 65-90 pounds (29 – 41 kg), and their height is 26 inches (0.7 m). The females weigh a bit less – 50-75 pounds (23 – 34 kg) and reach 24 inches (0.60 m). 


Black German Shepherd

Despite their severe appearance, these dogs are very loyal and pretty family-bound. They are sure that their job is to protect their owners. They are very watchful and start barking as soon as they feel there is a sort of danger around. Socialization is very important for a black German Shepherd puppy to help it interact efficiently with people and other animals.

These dogs are very energetic, and they prefer physical exercise to anything else. The black German Shepherd temperament is characterized by agility, continuous activity, and amazing endurance. They need a lot of mental stimulation too. These dogs can behave destructively if they are left alone for a long time. So, it is essential for them to be close to people and get the correct training.

The maximum running speed of these black dogs is 30 miles/hour (48 km/h), and they can jump at a height of 5 feet (1.5 meters). If you want to prevent your puppy from incidents and escaping, make sure that the wall of your backyard is over 6 feet (2 meters).

These animals need more than an hour of intensive exercise per day. Jogging or long walks will suit them very well. They also enjoy swimming and hiking.

Mental and playing activities may involve retrieving a toy or a newspaper or ball fetching somewhere in the backyard or park.

Black German Shepherd dogs are very intelligent. They learn easily and always want to impress their owner. House training and obedience can start at an early age. Socialization training should also start as early as possible. They need to learn how to deal with family members, friends, strangers, and other animals. When you train your dog, behave as an alpha, strictly and consistently, but don’t forget rewards, praises, and treats. 


The lifespan of solid black German Shepherd dogs is shorter than that of other GSDs. They can live 9-13 years. These dogs are prone to the same health issues as other Shepherds and large breed dogs.

Hip dysplasia is the condition when the thigh bone fits loosely into the joint. Some dogs suffer from pain and become lame on their rear legs. There is one more severe condition these dogs may suffer from. It is a CDRM. The abbreviation means Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy. It is a disorder in the spinal cord that can lead to paralysis of the hind legs.

Such a degenerative joint condition as osteoarthritis is common for senior dogs. It can result in disabled joints that cannot move. Surgery and medical treatment are needed in this case. There is also a syndrome of cauda equina. It affects the back and can result in lameness and severe pain in the back, hips, and tail.

The best way to prevent these diseases is to be sure that a reputable breeder you take your black German Shepherd puppy from has cared about the clearance of the breed and can provide you with the certificates that show that the puppy’s parents do not suffer from such conditions. You also need to go to the vet regularly to notice the very first signs of any disorder.


Black GSD with a toy

Black German Shepherd dogs have a set of traits and qualities that allows them to work in the police, military, and rescue teams. These dogs are very popular in the USA nowadays. They are very intelligent, obedient, fearless, and loyal, and these traits make them extremely fit for these jobs. They can also become great service dogs.

Don’t judge this variety of German Shepherds by its appearance. The dog has a pretty stable temperament, so it can withstand the most dangerous and difficult situations without getting into a panic. It can become a reliable guardian, a leader for the blind, and a companion for a disabled person. It is an amazing guard dog with its severe look, immense alertness, and courage. 

Though these dogs look aggressive, they are pretty caring and loving, so they become great family dogs, and they can live in any type of household. They are funny, friendly, and get along easily with little kids and teenagers. If properly socialized, they get on well with cats and other animals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a black German Shepherd different from other varieties of GSDs?

No, it is not. There is not any big difference between the black dogs and their counterparts of other colors. The most prominent difference is the coat color. Another difference is that their back is straighter than in other varieties. However, they have the same well-being needs and are prone to the same disorders as other German Shepherds.

How much does a black German Shepherd cost?

Since these dogs are rare, they cost more. The average price is $700-$2,000 for a puppy. If you compare it to a standard dog, the price for it ranges between $300 and $700. If you want such a black dog, but it is too challenging for you to pay so much money, you can look for one in the local dog shelter. Adopting an adult dog also has a lot of advantages.

Do black German Shepherd puppies change color?

If your dog starts changing the color from black to brown or another, or if some white hair appears on its coat, this dog is not black but a regular one. A black German Shepherd puppy can be born black, gray, or even white, and then get its solid black color at the age of 8 weeks. To be on the safe side, you can take a puppy home when it is ten weeks old.
However, some patches of white or brown on the paws or chest may appear. They may darken or not, but it does not mean that your dog is not purebred. White spots are often seen in black Shepherds, so you do not need to worry. Another way to avoid worries and confusion is to ask the breeder for certificates.

How big can black Shepherds grow?

These dogs can grow a bit bigger than other varieties of German Shepherds. The adult males are 24-26 inches tall (61-66 cm). The females are 22-24 inches (56-61 cm) tall. The average weight of male dogs is 65-90 pounds (29-41 kg) and 50-75 pounds (23-34 kg) for females.
These animals become mature at the age of 18 months -2 years on average.

How does color influence temperament?

These dogs look magnificent and more aggressive. In fact, they are as friendly and loyal as Shepherds of other colors. The temperament is almost the same. They are perfect working and family animals.

How rare are black German Shepherds?

German Shepherds typically have a single coat pattern, which is black and tan. But there are German Shepherds that are entirely black. The gene for fully black coats is carried by purebred German Shepherds, hence this is not the result of crossbreeding. However, it is significantly less common than the typical color.
Every year, only a few black German Shepherd puppies are born worldwide.
Do you ever wonder why there is never a black German Shepherd in your area? Well, it might have something to do with the extreme rarity of black German Shepherds.
Only 6.8% of German Shepherd puppies are thought to be born black. Additionally, as we’ve shown above, it’s not necessarily certain that a black German Shepherd puppy will come from a black mother.

Final Thoughts

Black German Shepherd

These pups are very loyal and loving. They are great companions and protective family members. However, they need a lot of grooming and continuous care and exercise. You will love to spend time outdoors with your black German Shepherd because it is energetic and cute.

It is pretty easy to train such puppies because they are very intelligent. If you need a friend for life, don’t hesitate for too long. A fascinating black dog is exactly what you need. This amazing creature is loved by many despite its severe look. That is a great benefit because such dogs are always alert, and they do not bear ill-willed strangers. So, you will feel safe and protected.

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