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Black German Shepherd Dog: Genetics, Care and More!

black german shepherd dog

The black German shepherd dog is a very striking variation of the breed standard . In this guide, we cover details about her genetics, puppy costs, and more!

German Shepherds are one of the most sought after breeds in the world, ranking 2nd out of 194 in popularity according to the American Kennel Club. Despite their decline in WWI due to their German association (which caused the breed to be renamed ‘Alsace’), these dogs are now often found in homes around the world.

Although there are multiple color variations, one of the most sought after is the black variant. Similar to the long-coated German Shepherds, the black variants are often declared as a defect, these dogs are not cross-breeds and carry the same attributes as their black and tan brethren. Due to their rarity, they are highly sought after – similar to the White German Shepherd.

Because both the black and white variations are so rare, they are seen almost as collector-type dogs, and because of that, puppy prices are higher even though they are considered a ‘flaw’ of show. Let’s dive in and find out how these beautiful pups came to be, and what to expect when looking to add one to your family.

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Black German Shepherd Dog

The Black German Shepherd Dog was the result of an accident. It is not known when the first black shepherd was bred, but the gene was determined to be considered recessive until solid black shepherds made it dominate. The gene only becomes dominant if the father is also black.

All German Shepherds carry the black gene, but it is not typical for their children to remain black after 8 months. A true black shepherd will be born black and will remain black for his entire life. If you have a litter full of brown or white puppies, there is a 0% chance that they will turn black.

It is easier to get two parents of a black German Shepherd dog to mate than one is black, or neither. The probability of getting a black Shepherd with two black parents is high. However, it is still possible to get a brown or white litter even with two dominant parents. Tan parents who carry the recessive gene have a chance to produce Black Shepherd puppies too, even if they are small.

Structure and size

Black German Shepherds will exhibit the same characteristics as all other German Shepherds. They are built in the same way and have the same genetic traits as their black and tan counterparts as well. Below is a summary of his physical traits that you can expect with your puppy.

  • The weight range of males is between 30-40 kg
  • The weight range of the females is between 20-30 kg
  • The height range is similar between male and female, around (60-65 cm male and 55-60 cm female)
  • Pointy ears
  • Long snout
  • Short legs
  • Long tail
  • Average tendency to bark
  • Average tendency to drool
  • Very energetic and requires a lot of exercise
  • Life expectancy of 10 to 14 years

The only significant difference is the color of the coat. Some people will say that Black German Shepherds are taller or larger, but the reality is that this varies greatly by dog, and there are larger black and tan German Shepherds just as there are some larger black variants.

Hair and color

black German Shepherd dog looks very similar to an average Shepherd. They exhibit the same traditional breed appearance with little difference. They often have straighter backs and tend to be larger compared to the standard shepherd. Their coat can range from long to short, with their long fur giving the appearance of feathers, flowing, or tails.

The Black German Shepherd Dog is solid in color, with a medium to long coat. There are variants of the black color found in Shepherds including black with tan, cream, silver, red, sable, and spotted.

These colors are found as a solid color (the rarest), single-color coats, or a two-color or particulate coat that is mostly solid with markings of another color. Other colors include gray, liver, light blue, and panda.

Other Unique Shepherd Colors

There are many different and unique colors of the German Shepherd. Although rare, pure white, solid blue, fawn, pure red, and speckled black and white are also found.

However, none of these colors are accepted when it comes to competitions as these colors are only found due to severe genetic mutations, or simply do not match the breed standards for show. A purebred color doesn’t necessarily come with health issues, and none of these do.

To find out if your German Shepherd is genuinely black, you need to make sure there are no other colored patches or stripes. Black Shepherds have unique characteristics associated with color, including a straighter back. You will notice that the average German Shepherd has a sloping back with short legs.

Although Black Shepherds still have short legs, they stand taller, making them appear bigger and stronger. There are black variants with spots, cream, silver, or tan patches or paired with a red coat, but these variants resemble the average Shepherd and are difficult to mix with the black version.


Black Shepherds are widely known for their loyal, stable, and courageous personalities. They are trained to protect and make excellent watchdogs, however they do not deserve the negative press they have received. They are often not aggressive unless they are trained to be.

If they are properly trained and socialized with children and others outside of their family, they will be happy to watch over your baby while he sleeps. They see their main job as protecting their family, so they will keep a watchful eye on your property and will notice when little things are out of place.

They will need to warm up to strangers, however if you smell like someone in the house who has been warmed up, they will be nice to you immediately. Once you are his friend, you are his friend forever. Family counseling has its downsides, as it means that they don’t like to be left alone for long periods and may feel anxious or stressed. This could cause them to destroy your house or bark loudly if they are not well trained.

Although not suitable for first time owners (they are too smart for their own good), Black Shepherds can be the perfect family dog ​​if they are properly socialized. Note that some Shepherd mixes may be a bit more suitable for first-time dog owners.


If they have a medium layer, you will have a low-maintenance grooming program. If its coat is long, it will need to be brushed daily, unless you want to risk knots and tangles. They have a double coat, which means that they peel a lot. Expect two blowouts (massive molts) a year when spring and fall rolls around. Even with daily brushing, you will likely have to vacuum your home once a day to keep it clean.

There are steps you can take to keep hair loss under control. If your Black German Shepherd dog has a longer coat, you will want a removal tool to help you control its undercoat. You can also use some of the many hair loss shampoos on the market to help keep your puppy’s hair shedding to a minimum.

Training and exercise

The black German Shepherd dog is very intelligent, which can make them easy to train – unless they are not trained young enough. They thrive on routine, positive reinforcement, and reward. Tell them they are good boys / girls after every trick they do. Introduce them to lots of things: young people, noisy machines, wearing hats, other animals, and farm equipment if they are workers.

Pastors need to get to know children at an early age to understand that they can be irritating at times. Deal with the bad behavior right away, or it will continue. When it comes to training on a leash, wear a harness early if you plan to train your pup. For many dogs, the natural intention is to pull, so it is wise to stop this behavior early on. The same applies to cage training. Make sure you have the correct cage for your German Shepherd before you begin.

You will want to take out your Black Shepherd often. They are very active dogs and require up to 60 minutes of exercise a day. They like to hike in the mountains, swim, or play ball on the patio with you. Try several different things with them, as it will prevent them from getting bored.


The bigger the dog, the more they will eat. Typically, owners will feed their Shepherd puppy 4 meals a day. Larger dogs are predisposed to bloat so it is essential to feed them slowly as they grow, or this bloat could be fatal. As the black variant tends to be larger than their regular counterparts, they will grow faster and require more food than average. Fully mature dogs typically need 1.19 grams of protein per pound of body weight and 0.59 grams of fat per pound of body weight.

  • Male puppies require 2,200 to 3,000 calories
  • Female puppies require 1,700 to 2,500 calories
  • Adult men require 1,300 to 1,800 calories
  • Adult women require 1,000 to 1,500 calories
  • These are just guidelines. Pay attention to the individual needs of your dogs.


There are many specific problems related to the German Shepherd breed, and unfortunately, larger breeds such as the black ones tend to suffer from particular health problems more than the smaller ones.

  • Hip Dysplasia – Malformed Hip Joints
  • Elbow Dysplasia – Malformed Elbow Joints
  • Bloating or gastric diatoms: when gas accumulates in the stomach from overeating …
  • Epilepsy – Loss of control of the limbs causing violent movements
  • Hemophilia – Blood that cannot clot
  • Diabetes – From overeating, the inability to produce insulin

The above are the most common, but sheepdogs can also develop cataracts, degenerative disc disease, panosteitis, allergies, pancreatitis, thyroid problems, and cancer.

Many of these problems can stem from your Shepherd puppy, so be sure to ask the parents for information before adopting him, if possible. Keep in mind that the vast majority of these problems occur when they are older.

Colors for competition

Color during competition is important when showing the dog. Multiple colors are not allowed in most competitions, including pure white, solid blue, fawn, pure red, and speckled black and white as mentioned above. Some colors like gray, liver, light blue, and panda are considered defective by major kennels, but not always.

For commonly accepted colors, pure black is included. In order for the dog to be considered pure black, all its points such as the lips, the nose, the border around the eyes and the pads must be black. His eyes also need to be black, as some kennel clubs do not accept pure black with blue eyes.

Coat length does not matter, all coat lengths are accepted. Black and tan, black and cream, black and silver, red and black, black and red, sable, dark sable, black sable, and bi-color / bi-black are also accepted.

In the past 100 years, many pastors have won top awards in multiple competitions. One of the first was in 1899 when Krone won the Bunderssieger Zuchtschau Prize. Unfortunately, it is rare to see Black Shepherds win prizes in contests of any kind.

They are often overlooked at dog shows in favor of the breed’s classic look – black and cream. This does not mean that these dogs are bad at competition, it is more likely that the association with the breed is stronger with the tan or the color sable. If you want a show dog, I would recommend ditching the black variant in favor of the sable.

As family pets

The Black German Shepherd Dog offers great company, security, and loyalty and tends to get along with most people and animals. Provide a comfortable and supportive bed, lots of chew toys, and a great backyard if possible. They will need a lot of space once they get older and want an area that is all their own. Put your food and water bowl in a place that is comfortable and accessible.

Having a dog gate can be a necessity if they are puppies when you are trying to socialize them. Once they’re older, they probably won’t need it. Still, as protective as the breed is, it may be necessary to put them behind a door if they are too energetic when they see new faces.

Black German Shepherds can be comfortable living outdoors due to their large double coat. However, it is a bad idea to leave them alone for long periods as they will probably miss you.

Buy or build a doghouse outside so they have enough protection from the rain. Make sure it’s big enough, your black shepherd will be quite big!

Keep your dog clean and groomed, his coat will attract dirt and mud and can start to mat if he is not washed frequently. If you are going to leave, it is a good idea to have a babysitter in the house or take them to a kennel as they will require a lot of attention.

Find a puppy

Finding a reputable breeder is the most likely way to find a black shepherd. However, if you can find one at a local animal shelter, you will save a lot of money. It is not difficult to see a pure black shepherd with your eyes, as technically there are none.

As it is a birth defect, you will only find this color in a litter of puppies from black parents or in a rare litter of puppies from normal parents.

Again, this is part of what makes the Black German Shepherd dog  so rare. They usually only come from two parents of the same color to ensure 100% color match, which means you are finding the breed’s rare color to mate with another breed’s rare color.

Due to this rarity, you can expect the price of these puppies to be a bit higher, which we will look at in detail below.

Puppy prices

Due to the rarity of the breed, the average cost will be slightly higher. It is difficult to determine how many puppies will be in the litter, so even if you find a breeder that breeds the black variant, it may not work. Longer-coated black shepherds are also more expensive. Although standard sable puppies range from $ 900 and up, the black variant will cost you an average of $ 1,000 to $ 2,500. If you see anything outside of this range, be cautious.

There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect Shepherd. As mentioned, black German Shepherds are born black and stay black after 8 weeks. If the puppy is less than 8 weeks old, do not buy it. If the breeder says he knows for sure that the dogs’ fur will not change color – don’t buy them either. There is no way to know until they mature after 8 weeks.

Reputable breeders will have no problem showing you the parents or relative papers of the puppies you want to buy. A big red flag is if you are protective of this. A legitimate breeder will want you to trust them. Viewing the kinship can also determine potential health or quality issues for the puppy.

Beware of red flags as unscrupulous breeders will often attempt to pass off mixed breed puppies as a German Shepherd / Black Labrador Retriever mix for a purebred. While we have no problem with “designer dogs,” all puppy buyers should know what they are getting.


There is little difference between the commonly found German Shepherd and the black variety. These dogs are still large and in charge, showing off their striking coats, strong back, and tall stature. The main difference you can expect to deal with comes down to the price tag because they are considered a rarer coloring of the breed.

Interestingly, what is considered a “breeder defect” may end up being more expensive for the average consumer, but the market for dogs dictates what puppies will cost.

We can say this with confidence, it is a fact that the Black German Shepherd Dog is an absolutely striking breed, and you are sure to receive questions about your puppy, wherever you go.

Although they require a little extra care with frequent grooming and daily walks, these dogs will be your companion for life if you welcome them into your family.

Pictures of Black German Shepherd Dog

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I love the animals. Reading and writing about them, their customs, their peculiarities or the attention they require is exciting, and I also believe that it makes us better people. I share articles that solve the questions that dog caregivers face on a daily basis.

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