What is a Black German Shepherd?
Black German Shepherds are surrounded by mystery and myths.
Many people think an all-black color is a defect in the breed resulting from a cross breed or a hybrid.
The German Shepherd Dog is one of the most recognized and popular breeds in the world. The most common color people associate the German Shepherd with is tan with a black saddle.
Unlike some breeds, the German Shepherd Dog comes in a variety of colors and markings. These colors include the all-White German Shepherd, Sable German Shepherds, and the all-Black German Shepherd.
Black German Shepherd Overview and Facts
The German Shepherd breed got its start in 1889 in Germany by a man named Captain Max von Stephanitz. Stephanitz’s original vision for the German Shepherd Dog was to create loyal, obedient, herding dogs.
Stephanitzs fine-tuned the German Shepherd over many years, insisting the breed has a proud look, intelligence, and work ethic.
Working ability was a top priority to Stephanitz. Therefore, he didn’t disqualify breeding dogs due to their coat color.
A Black German Shepherd is not a variation of the German Shepherd Dog or a separate breed.
A Black German Shepherd is an authentic German Shepherd and has the same traits and characteristics that make this breed one of the most popular dogs, year in and year out.
The only thing that separates Black German Shepherds from being different from any other German Shepherd is their solid black color.
The Black German Shepherd Dog and the White German Shepherd Dog often have a negative stigma attached to them just because of their color.
The Black German Shepherd is accepted and recognized within the breed standard of the German Shepherd Dog by the American Kennel Club. The black color is not a fault, and Black German Shepherds are accepted in dog shows and sport work.
The Black German Shepherd Dog makes up only 6.8% of all the German Shepherds globally, thus not making them as popular or known as other color variations to dog lovers.
Black German Shepherd Genetics
It is unknown when the first solid Black German Shepherd was bred, but it is believed to have been an accident.
Many people assume a Black GSD comes from black parents. This is true but can also be false.
The all-black coloring of a German Shepherd comes from recessive or dominant genes.
Two German Shepherds with black and tan coloring, for example, can produce one or more puppies in a litter that is all black.
These black puppies rarely occur because both the black and tan mother and father must carry the solid black recessive gene in their lines, somewhere. A black puppy from this breeding will carry the black recessive gene.
A Black German Shepherd Dog that has the dominant black gene can produce black puppies in any litter regardless of the genetics of the other dog.
A black puppy will inherit the dominant black gene from a black dominant canine parent.
If you bred a dominant black male with a black and tan female, let’s pretend they have a litter of four black puppies and four black and tan puppies.
The four black puppies have the dominant black gene. The four black and tan puppies carry the black recessive gene.
Breeding a black male dominant to a female black dominant will produce a litter of dominant black puppies.
Black German Shepherd Physical Characteristics
The most significant physical difference between a Black German Shepherd and a German Shepherd of another color is the solid black coloring.
All German Shepherds Have the Following Characteristics
- A large athletic build
- A long sweeping tail
- Erect ears
- Alert, almond-shaped brown eyes
- Black nose
- Long necks
- A double coat
- Heavy shedders
The Black German Shepherd may have a longer coat, but this is not exclusive to a Black German Shepherd. Genetics plays a role in your German Shepherd’s coat.
The Black German Shepherd Breed Has 3 Coat Variations
- Stock Coat
- Long Stock Coat
- Long Hair
Black German Shepherd Weight and Size
Black German Shepherd Males
- 23-26 inches (60-65 cm) tall at the withers
- Weight between 66-88 lbs. (30-40 kg)
*Withers – the ridge between a dog’s shoulder blades and the tallest point of their body.
Black German Shepherd Females
- 21-24 inches (55-60 cm) tall at the withers
- Weight between 49-71 lbs. (22-32 kg)
The German Shepherd breed standard calls for the above heights and weights to help keep the German Shepherd Dog built for work, health, longevity, and performance.
Please remember that breed standards are guidelines.
Some people argue that Black German Shepherds are larger and have straighter backs than other German Shepherds.
This is because Black German Shepherds originated from working lines, and responsible breeders work to improve this trait rather than dilute it.
The size of Black German Shepherd Puppies will be determined by genetics regardless of color. The same is true for the line of your German Shepherd’s back.
American lines breed for a sloped back while working lines are proud of a straight back.
Black German Shepherd Dog Training
All German Shepherds need to be socialized from an early age, need training and direction from a strong leader, require daily exercise, and need to be included in your daily routine.
The Black German Shepherd is no exception to the above.
A German Shepherd is an active dog that needs to be stimulated both mentally and physically. This breed can be headstrong, so rules need to be in place and enforced from a young age.
On the flip side, German Shepherds are intelligent dogs that are easy to train, eager to please, and want to be valuable contributing members to their household.
A Black German Shepherd will not thrive in an environment where they are left alone for long periods day after day. They will act out with destructive behaviors due to boredom, stress, or anxiety.
An adult German Shepherd will require a minimum of sixty minutes of exercise per day, and this number is higher during the puppy phase. If you are looking to become more active, a German Shepherd will force you off your couch.
German Shepherds are also known as pack animals, which means they want to be with you and your family as much as possible. As long as you are in sight of your German Shepherd, you will not be alone.
The Black German Shepherd Personality and Temperament
The German Shepherd breed is well-known for its loyal and fearless demeanor. The Black GSD is no exception to this rule.
German Shepherds are utilized as guard dogs, service dogs, military dogs, and in law enforcement because of their intelligence, work ethic, and courage.
German Shepherds are often unjustly labeled as aggressive breeds. This is due to how the media portrays German Shepherds viciously protecting property or people in movies and the local news highlight reel showing police dogs apprehending bad guys who refused to give up and surrender.
Black German Shepherds are often viewed as more aggressive and intimidating than regular German Shepherds merely due to their black coat color.
A protective breed by nature, a well-socialized and well-adjusted German Shepherd of any color, makes a great family dog. They will be cautiously friendly with strangers and keep a watchful eye over their property and pack members.
If you are lucky enough to bond with a German Shepherd, they will quickly become your ride-or-die partner.
Black German Shepherd Health Problems
A black shepherd does not suffer from health-related issues due to its color. They are also not excluded from the numerous health issues that are common in large dogs or a standard German Shepherd.
Potential Health Issues to be Aware of:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)
- Thyroid Issues
Health problems plague all breeds regardless of proper care by dog owners.
A responsible breeder will eliminate known health problems from their lines.
Illness and disease usually occur in older dogs.
Feeding a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and catching potential problems early will help keep your German Shepherd healthy and active for as long as possible.
German Shepherds, on average, live between 9 to 14 years.
Black German Shepherd Myths
- Black German Shepherds are not purebred German Shepherds
- The all-black German Shepherd color is a fault within the German Shepherd breed
- Black German Shepherds shed less than other colored German Shepherds
- Black German Shepherds have more health issues than other colored German Shepherds
- Black German Shepherds are bigger than other colored German Shepherds
- Black German Shepherds are more aggressive than other colored German Shepherds
- Black German Shepherds are smarter than other colored German Shepherds
- Only Black German Shepherds have a fluffy long coat
- A Black GSD has Black German Shepherd parents
- Black German Shepherd Dogs are wolf hybrids
- Black German Shepherd puppies change color
Price of Black German Shepherd Puppies
Some people, and some breeders, will tell you that buying a Black German Shepherd puppy will cost more than any other German Shepherd color.
This theory is circulated because Black German Shepherds are rarer than standard colors and harder to come by.
Finding a Black German Shepherd in a shelter or a rescue organization may be challenging and may come down to timing, being at the right place at the right time. The main reason for this is because German Shepherds are a popular dog breed.
Finding a Black German Shepherd breeder can be done quickly online. Some breeders specifically breed to produce Black German Shepherds.
You may have a preference for a Black German Shepherd, but first and foremost, you should be interviewing a potential breeder for the health and temperament of their line.
Working titles, world champions, or show titles in the linage from the United States or a European country may or may not be important to you, depending on what you plan to do with your puppy.
German Shepherd puppies from reputable breeders average between $700 to $3,000. A black German Shepherd puppy should fall within this price range.
If supply and demand were an issue or I really liked the breeder’s line or reputation would I be willing to spend a couple of hundred more on a black puppy? Probably. A couple of thousand more? No.
I’d be suspicious of price gouging, I’d be wary of why this breeder is in business, and I’d keep looking.
On the flip side, a good breeder may be known for producing red and black German Shepherds when a black puppy pops up unexpectedly in a litter.
This breeder may be willing to sell the black puppy for a couple of hundred dollars less than a red and black puppy just to find it a good home and get rid of it.
Don’t be put off by this. If you feel good about the breeder, the puppy, and the circumstances, this may be a sign of being in the right place at the right time.
Finding a Black German Shepherd Dog
Owning your first German Shepherd is a life-changing experience. Bringing one home is a commitment that should not be taken lightly.
Please do your homework to ensure you can commit to this breed financially, emotionally, physically, and with your time. No breed is perfect, including the magnificent German Shepherd Dog.
If you have decided that you want a Black German Shepherd Dog, you now need to figure out how to find one.
If you have the time and patience, you can adopt via shelters or German Shepherd Rescue Organizations in your local area.
The other option is to buy from a reputable breeder. You can start by Googling German Shepherd breeders or Black German Shepherd breeders in your local area and then widen your search depending on what you find.
Another resource to get you started is the AKC Marketplace. Type in breed, gender, zip code, how far you are willing to travel, and click on Find A Puppy.
Good breeders are in the business to improve the breed they love.
Below are Indicators of Reputable Breeders
- They will welcome you to their location
- They will have one, if not both, parents on the premises
- They will be open about their dogs and their business
- They will interview you to ensure you are a good match for one of their puppies
- They will provide a written contract that will include payment arrangements, vaccinations, health guarantees, and registered paperwork
- They will have a business license and a website
- They will have referrals or reviews
- They will ask you to stay in touch because they want to know how their pups are doing
- They will take their puppies back if the new owner cannot deal with or handle the puppy
If a breeder is unwilling to produce paperwork, wants to meet you at a public place, or the price seems too good to be true, alarms should be sounding off in your head or your gut.
An 8-week-old black German Shepherd puppy without documentation could turn out to be a black Labrador Retriever German Shepherd mix.
A Black German Shepherd puppy with brown, tan, gray, silver, red, or white markings is not an all-Black German Shepherd. An exception to this rule is a spot of white on the chest. Although, this is considered undesirable by some Black German Shepherd enthusiasts.
Don’t let cute puppy eyes and sweet puppy breath sway an emotional decision that you may regret. Stay firm on what you want and what you are willing to pay.
Determining if a breeder is reputable is going to require some work on your part. Click here to learn more about distinguishing good dog breeders from bad ones, 12 questions to ask a dog breeder, and how to spot backyard dog breeders.
The Black German Shepherd is an exquisite variation of the German Shepherd breed that will supply owners with years of fun, humor, adventure, companionship, and loyalty.