The black German Shepherd is more than just a gorgeous color variation of one of the world’s most coveted canines. In fact, this rare and intelligent purebred is also a loyal companion and service dog.
And while there is a lot we know about German Shepherd dogs in general, there is still much to learn about the black German Shepherd color variation.
If you’re curious about this beautiful dog, you’ve come to the right place. We are covering 11 facts you probably didn’t know about the Black German Shepherd.
Let’s get started
But First, Here’s A Quick Overview of The Black German Shepherd
Black German Shepherds are the same breed as standard German Shepherds.
Height: 22-26 Inches
Weight: 50-90 Pounds
Coat: Double-coated, shedding
Coat Color: Black.
Life Span: 12 – 14 Years
Temperament: Intelligent, Confident, Fearless, Devoted
Energy Level: Moderate to High
Exercise Needs: Moderate to High
Common Health Conditions: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, Bloat, diabetes, epilepsy, hemophilia, cataracts, degenerative disc disease, urinary tract infections, dental disease, nose infections, panosteitis, allergies, thyroid problems, and bladder stones
A Few Clubs That Recognize The Black German Shepherd
- The American Kennel Club (AKC)
- The German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA)
- The German Shepherd DOg Club of San Gabriel Valley (GSDCSGV)
Black German Shepherd Overview:
The black German Shepherd is a color variation of the German Shepherd purebred. While most health, temperament, and physical traits are similar to that of other colored German Shepherds, there are some differences that potential owners should consider when investing in a black German Shepherd.
Outside of color, however, most German Shepherd dogs are intelligent, focused, hard working and devoted. They do well with experienced dog owners who are committed and able to spend lots of time with their dog when it comes to exercise, training and socialization.
The black German Shepherd, like most German Shepherds, are family favorites. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, the German Shepherd breed sits at number 2 out of 196 on the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dog breeds.
Curious to learn more about this rare and stunning color of dog? Here are 11 facts about the black German Shepherd we bet you didn’t know!
1. Black German Shepherds Are More Likely To Suffer Unfairly from “Black Dog Syndrome”
Though there is no scientific basis to prove it, sometimes black dogs are more feared than other colors.
Black dog syndrome? It sounds like something out of a horror movie, but it’s actually a real issue for shelters, dog lovers, trainers, veterinarians and enthusiasts.
According to Doctor Stanley Coren, a highly regarded canine coroner, Black Dog Syndrome is a term used to describe the bias (or lack thereof) many people have towards black dogs. Because of their coat color, many people assume that black dogs are more aggressive or less loveable.
Is there anything to this thought process?
Perhaps there is. In fact, some studies have suggested that some people have a more difficult time reading a black dog’s facial expressions, therefore struggling to understand what a dog is telling them. Other reasons for Black Dog Syndrome can be linked back to historical and mythical views about black animals in general.
In some cultures, black dogs are associated with evil, while in others they are a sign of a bad omen or bad luck.
However, scientifically speaking, there is no real reason anyone should fear black dogs and especially the black German Shepherd. They are just as loving, loyal, intelligent and amazing as their other colored counterparts.
2. Though They Are The Same Breed, Black German Shepherds May Be Larger Than Standard German Shepherds
Sometimes black German Shepherds are larger than regular colored German Shepherd dogs.
When it comes to most breeds, the color of a dog’s coat does not usually have any correlation with their size. Surprisingly, this is not always the case when it comes to the black German shepherd. In fact, the black German Shepherd is sometimes a bit larger than other colored German Shepherds and might even be confused for other breeds for this very reason.
Other differences between black German Shepherds and other German Shepherds include body structure. Black German Shepherds are often more aligned, having a straighter back and standing a bit taller in the hind legs.
German Shepherds in general tend to be shorter in their hind quartiers, giving them a somewhat sloping appearance from their profile. Black German Shepherds, however, are less likely to develop this genetic trait.
Black German Shepherds are also more likely to have a longer coat than other colored German Shepherds. While this doesn’t have any correlation with their health, longer coats can contribute to grooming maintenance and may mean that grooming a black German Shepherd takes a bit longer.
Aside from these four differences, black German Shepherds are otherwise just like all German Shepherd dogs. They are well-built and muscular, they are double-coated shedding breeds, they have long, plush tails, and their ears are pointed.
3. Black German Shepherd Mothers May Not Birth Black German Shepherd Puppies
Just because Black German Shepherds are black does not mean their puppies will be.
If you’re looking for a black German Shepherd puppy and assume a black German Shepherd mother will give you just that, think again. Just because you get a puppy from a black German Shepherd mother does not mean you’ll wind up with an all black puppy.
On the contrary, you’re more likely to wind up with a sable colored German Shepherd puppy, as black is a recessive gene in this breed and sable is the most common color.
For this reason, it can be difficult to find a black German Shepherd puppy, and breeders may have to breed their dogs for generations before being able to guarantee that their puppies will be black in color.
4. Black German Shepherds May Not Be Born Black
It can take up to 10 weeks for a German Shepherd puppy’s coat to change.
Another aspect that makes it somewhat difficult to get your hands on a black German Shepherd puppy is that these dogs are not always born black. In fact, they are commonly born grey or white, and it can take up to 10 weeks for a German Shepherd’s coat color to become permanent.
Most reputable breeders sell their puppies before then, when they are between seven and eight weeks old. This means that you could bring home a white or grey puppy and wind up with a black German Shepherd puppy a few weeks later.
If you are lucky enough to get a black German Shepherd puppy, don’t get too excited. Even if your German Shepherd puppy is born black, he may still change color as he ages.
In fact, most German Shepherds actively change coat color as they age throughout their lifetime, with dramatic changes taking place between 10 weeks to two years old, and more subtle changes continuing on well into their senior years.
5. Black German Shepherds Can Be Prone To The Same Health Issues as Standard Colored German Shepherds
The black German Shepherd can be prone to the same genetic health issues as his other colored counterparts.
When it comes to German Shepherd health, the good news is that coat color has no impact. This is not true for all colors, however, as white and merle coated dogs have been shown to suffer disproportionately with deafness and something known as white dog shaker syndrome.
Black German Shepherd dogs, however, are prone to the same health issues as any of their other colored counterparts.
With a lifespan of between 9 and 12 years, the black German Shepherd can be prone to:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Degenerative disc disease
- Urinary tract infections
- Dental disease
- Nose infections
- Thyroid problems
- And Bladder stones
How To Avoid Certain Health Issues in a Black German Shepherd
Although most black German Shepherd dogs are relatively healthy, they can be prone to some serious genetic health issues potential owners should be aware of. The above listed issues not only have the potential to be devastating for dogs and their owners, but they may also be financially trying.
You can work to avoid these genetic health issues in your black German Shepherd by ensuring you get your dog from a reputable breeder or rescue. You might also consider having your black German Shepherd health screened at an early age.
What To Know About Diet and Your Black German Shepherd
Along with going through responsible sources to obtain your black German Shepherd and having him health screened, we also suggest investing in quality dog food.
Wet food, dry food, and even homemade or raw dog food can all be good sources of nutrients for your black German Shepherd, but it’s important you understand what this breed needs in order to thrive.
German Shepherds in general should eat a high quality dog food specified for their age, weight and activity level. Their dog food should be rich in real animal protein and contain a good source of vitamins, minerals, water, fatty acids and carbohydrates.
German Shepherd dogs should also have access to fresh water each and every day, especially considering their propensity for suffering from bladder issues and UTIs.
What To Know About Bloat and the German Shepherd Breed
All of the above health issues are serious and should be taken seriously in your black German Shepherd, but there is one that can come on suddenly, is difficult to screen for, and may be fatal.
Bloat, also known as Gastric Dilation Volvulus or GDV, is a serious and sometimes deadly condition that occurs when air fills the intestines and causes the stomach to flip. While Bloat can come on suddenly and unexpectedly, it can also be caused by bad habits and lifestyle choices.
Some common causes of Bloat in German Shepherds include eating too quickly, eating too much, eating or drinking immediately after play or exercise, or ingesting something your dog shouldn’t consume.
Symptoms of Bloat To Watch For:
- Excessive drooling
- Unproductive vomiting
- Distended abdomen
- Hardened abdomen
- Obvious pain
- And Collapse
If you notice symptoms of Bloat in your dog, it’s important to get him to a veterinary professional immediately for emergency care.
Tips on Preventing Potential Health Issues In Your Black German Shepherd
You can help keep your German Shepherd in ship shape by making sure you follow the below tips from experts:
- Keep up with routine vet visits
- Invest in a quality dog food
- Keep up with routine grooming
- Keep up with routine exercise
- Ensure you care for your German Shepherd’s teeth
- And have your German Shepherd health screened to better prepare for health issues
6. Black German Shepherd Dogs Are Intelligent and Loyal
Black German Shepherds are athletic, loyal, and highly intelligent.
As a breed, German Shepherds are known to be intelligent, devoted and affectionate. These are some of the traits that make them such wonderful service dogs. In fact, German Shepherds are some of the top most employed dogs when it comes to police work, military work, and public service assistance.
That said, the intelligent and devoted black German Shepherd comes at a price. Highly intelligent dogs like the black GDS are more prone to suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and behavioral issues like chewing, digging, barking and fear-based aggression if their needs are not met.
As such black German Shepherds will do best with experienced dog owners who understand intelligent working breeds.
The black German Shepherd is not a dog who is going to be happy just lounging around the house all day. This is a dog who will need lots of mental and physical stimulation including routine exercise and jobs to do around the house.
The good news is that the black German Shepherd can be an excellent helper. He can be trained to sort laundry, bring in the mail, clean up his toys and even load the dishwasher.
It’s also important to note that the black German Shepherd is not an outside dog. Though he will enjoy spending time outside in the backyard each day, he is meant to live inside with his human family.
He is very people oriented and will do best in homes with owners who are able to be around him often and spend lots of quality time ensuring their dog feels like a valued member of the family unit.
7. The Black German Shepherd Is A Heavy Shedder
These dogs are double coated and can have longer fur than their other colored counterparts.
If you’re not into dog fur, don’t get a black German Shepherd. This double-coated dog breed is a serious shedding breed that sheds year round. He sheds especially heavily during the shedding season which is in spring and fall.
So, what does this mean for you when it comes to grooming maintenance? It means you should prepare for lots of hair!
Remember, black German Shepherds are also more likely to have longer coats than their other colored German Shepherd counterparts. This means that they can be more prone to matting and tangles, and can suffer from skin issues, patchy fur and even doggy odor if their coat isn’t maintained.
To best ensure your German Shepherd’s coat is looking its best, we suggest investing in a quality dog comb like the one listed below.
Smartelf Pet Slicker Brush
A slicker brush is designed to comb through longer pet hair without causing pain. The above slicker brush by Smartelf works to not only demat and detangle, but it also removes loose hair on the top of the coat so that you’ll have more success when it comes time to work on the undercoat.
And speaking of the undercoat, you will also want to invest in an undercoat rake. Like all double-coated dogs, the black German Shepherd has a top coat that is coarse and long and an undercoat that is dense and wooly. This undercoat is designed to protect him from the elements, but it can also collect loose hair, debris and buildup.
If the undercoat is not raked out, it can lead to skin infections and other issues for your black German Shepherd.
Using an undercoat rake like the one listed below can help ensure your black German Shepherd’s coat is healthy and looking its best.
2 Sided Undercoat Rake By Pat Your Pet
The above undercoat rake by Pat Your Pet is a two sided rake designed to gently and meticulously rake through your dog’s thick fur and get to the undercoat. This rake has a dual head that helps detangle fur on one side and then comb through the undercoat on the other.
This brush is also designed with rounded teeth so it will never harm or scratch your German Shepherd. This makes grooming pleasant as opposed to painful.
8. The Black German Shepherd Is Rare
There are very few black German Shepherds born in the world each year.
Are you wondering why you never see a black German Shepherd in your neighborhood? Well, it could have something to do with the fact that black German Shepherds are incredibly rare.
In fact, it’s estimated that only around 6.8% of German Shepherds are born black. And, as we’ve learned above, it’s not always guaranteed that a puppy will be born from a black German Shepherd mother.
So, how do you get your hands on a black German Shepherd? It could take lots of time, research and patience.
Experts suggest that if you want to get a black German Shepherd puppy, it’s best to go through a breeder who specializes in this color of the breed. The good news is that two black German Shepherd dogs will likely produce black German Shepherd puppies.
You can also get black German Shepherd puppies through a breeder who breeds two black and tan colored German Shepherds.
Even then, however, remember that black German Shepherds aren’t always born black, and those that are could still change color as they age.
9. Black German Shepherds May Be More Expensive Than Other colored German Shepherds
Because they are rare, black German Shepherds can be more expensive.
The average price of a German Shepherd puppy through a reputable breeder is between $700 and $1,500, but that price can go up if you’re looking to locate a black German Shepherd puppy. In fact, some black German Shepherd breeders charge over $2,000 for their rare and unique colored dogs.
Still, it’s important not to cut corners when looking for a black German Shepherd. Going through irresponsible breeders promising black German Shepherd puppies at a bargain price does not guarantee you’ll wind up with the black German Shepherd of your dreams.
Furthermore, it could mean you’re more likely to end up with a sick puppy or a dog who grows up with behavioral issues.
It’s best to go through reputable sources like qualified breeders or rescues when looking to get a black German Shepherd dog, or any dog for that matter.
Most importantly, remember that you’re investing in a dog, not a coat color. It’s much more important that your dog is healthy and happy than black coated.
10. Black German Shepherds Are Some of the Most Popular Family Dogs in the United States
German Shepherds are second only to Labrador Retrievers in the United States, according to the AKC.
Black German Shepherds, (and all German Shepherds, for that matter) are the second most popular dog in the United States. According to the American Kennel Club, German Shepherd dogs are second only to the Labrador Retriever.
When properly trained and socialized, they can make excellent additions to homes with children and other pets. They are hard-working, focused, intelligent and loyal. They enjoy learning new tricks and are adaptable, especially when all their exercise and mental stimulation needs are met.
That said, they are not the right dog for everyone. Remember that, like all dogs, black German Shepherds have pros and cons. It’s important to do plenty of research and consider your lifestyle, home environment, and schedule before deciding to invest in this dog breed.
11. It’s Important To Invest In The Right Products So Your Black German Shepherd Can Thrive
Making sure you’re prepared for your black German Shepherd will help you both start off on the right food.
The black German Shepherd is a special dog with a few unique needs. In order to ensure your black German Shepherd is as happy and healthy as possible, it’s important to ensure he has everything he needs in order to thrive.
And we would like to help.
We have done some research and listed some of our favorite products for the black German Shepherd dog and their owners below. Take a look!
PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
As you’ve probably realized, a black German Shepherd is going to be athletic and energetic. For this reason, he’ll require lots of routine exercise each and every day. Because he’s large and strong, it’s not uncommon for the German Shepherd to get ahead of himself during walks.
You can help combat pulling on walks by investing in quality dog walking equipment like the PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness listed above. This front-clip harness is designed to redirect pulling dogs gently and without putting dangerous pressure on your dog’s throat.
It also makes walking feel more natural for your dog, leading to a much more pleasant experience for the both of you.
Blue Buffalo High Protein Dog Food
The Black German Shepherd is a high-energy, athletic working dog who requires lots of real meat protein in his diet in order to thrive. Along with ensuring your balck German Shepherd is eating a dog food that is specified for his age and weight, it’s also important to make sure his dog food has high-quality ingredients.
We like Blue Buffalo High Protein Dog Good because it is loaded with everything a large, active dog like the black German Shepherd needs. It also is available in hard kibbles, which can help reduce the risk of dental disease by helping combat tartar and plaque buildup as your dog chews.
The above dog food is also made without any by-products, fillers, additives, or other ingredients that can lead to potential health issues in your black German Shepherd as he ages.
UPSKY Slow Feeder Puzzle Bowl
Like most large, deep chested dog breeds, the black German Shepherd can be more susceptible to digestive issues like Bloat. Because Bloat is often caused by eating too much or eating too quickly, it’s a great idea to invest in a slow feeder.
Slow feeders make it so that your dog must slow down when he eats, thus reducing the amount of air he swallows during mealtimes.
A slow feeder like the above puzzle bowl by UPSKY not only helps to reduce Bloat, but it also contributes to increased mental stimulation and helps build good eating habits for your black German Shepherd.
It’s a win-win!
And there you have it – 11 facts about the black German Shepherd we’re sure you didn’t know. We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about this beautiful and rare color of dog and that you now understand why you don’t see that many of them.
Now it’s your turn to share with us. Do you have a black German Shepherd? Tell us about your unique dog in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.