Black German Shepherd

Canis lupus familiaris

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© ToSha1/

Thought to be aggressive, they are actually affectionate dogs with a protective streak.


Black German Shepherd Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus familiaris

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Black German Shepherd Conservation Status

Black German Shepherd Locations

Black German Shepherd Locations

Black German Shepherd Facts

Name Of Young
Fun Fact
Thought to be aggressive, they are actually affectionate dogs with a protective streak.
Most Distinctive Feature
black coat
Distinctive Feature
erect ears
Other Name(s)
docile, aloof
Litter Size
5-9 puppies
Favorite Food
meat, dry kibble
Germany, United States

Black German Shepherd Physical Characteristics

  • Black
Skin Type
How much does it cost to own a black German shepherd?
50-95 lbs
22-26 in
Age of Sexual Maturity
3 years
Age of Weaning
Are black German shepherds dangerous?

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The black German shepherd is an extremely rare variation of the standard black-and-tan German shepherd. The black German shepherd is not a separate breed or a result of crossbreeding. Unlike the standard German shepherd, it is completely black, but is still a purebred Shepherd.

These dogs were originally bred in Germany to be working dogs, herding and guarding sheep against natural predators. They were brought to the United States in 1906 and recognized by the American Kennel Club two years later in 1908. From then, the popularity of the German shepherd spread widely and they are now the second most popular dog breed in the United States.

Black German shepherds are thought to be aggressive animals, but this is not the case in reality. Black German shepherds are loving, intelligent, and excellent pets.

Different Types of Black German Shepherd Mixes

Here are some of the common German shepherd breed mixes.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Black German Shepherd

They are great guard dogs. Black German shepherds have a protective streak. They are used to guarding and defending their charge so they make the perfect guard dogs.They are active dogs. Black German shepherds are agile dogs who need equally agile owners who can keep up with them. Their energy demands are quite high. These dogs need to be able to run and play. They are not for sedentary owners.
They are highly intelligent and train easily. Black German shepherds are brilliant working dogs and are known for picking up things quickly. They are eager to learn and please, a trait which makes them beneficial to have around the house.They shed – a lot. Black German shepherds sometimes have longer coats than standard black-and-tan German shepherds. If you have allergies or don’t like having fur everywhere, then this might not be the breed for you. Granted, there are ways to control this dog’s shedding, but they still shed profusely.
They make excellent companions. Black German shepherds are caring, loyal, and loving pets. They are devoted to their family and love having plenty of people to give them the attention they need. They function great with a big household. The more people, the merrier.They don’t like strangers. Black German shepherds are guard dogs which means they likely won’t be trusting of foreigners encroaching on their territory. They can be socialized from puppyhood to be more accommodating, but it is in their nature to protect their family.

Size and Weight

Black German Shepherd 2

The only difference between a standard German shepherd and a black one is that the latter is solid black.


Black German shepherds have similar characteristics to regular German shepherds, except that they are completely black. When it comes to height and build, these dogs aren’t any different from purebred German shepherds. They are medium-sized to large dogs with almost no sexual dimorphism. The males and females are typically around the same height, but the males tend to be slightly heavier.

Male black German shepherds grow to be 24 to 26 inches in height and weigh 65 to 90 pounds, while the females are usually 22 to 24 inches tall and weigh 50 to 70 pounds.

Height (male)24-26” Tall
Height (female)22-24″ Tall
Weight (male)65-90 lbs, fully grown
Weight (female)50-70 lbs, fully grown

Common Health Issues

Black German shepherds are a pretty hardy dog breed. While they do not have any health issues that occur as a result of their color difference, they are still prone to some diseases that affect bigger dogs and dogs in general. Black German shepherds are also prone to some health conditions as a result of the inbreeding that occurred early in their history.

Some of the common health issues black German shepherds are known to suffer from are hip dysplasia, diabetes, elbow dysplasia, dental infection, nose infection, bloat, degenerative disc disease, cataract, epilepsy, and thyroid issues.

When purchasing or adopting a black German shepherd, it is advised to choose one that was bred as a working dog as opposed to one bred as a show dog. This is because the breeding standard for show dogs causes them to be more predisposed to certain health conditions.

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary disease that causes malformation of the ball and socket joints of the hips. In order to keep the condition from worsening, do not overfeed your dog. Excess calorie intake causes the joints to grow faster than they’re supposed to which eventually leads to misalignment.

In total, black German shepherds commonly suffer from:

  1. Hip dysplasia
  2. Diabetes
  3. Elbow dysplasia
  4. Dental infection
  5. Nose infection
  6. Bloat
  7. Degenerative disc disease
  8. Cataract
  9. Epilepsy
  10. Thyroid issues


Black German shepherds are thought by many to be aggressive dogs. This is mostly due to their size and color, as some people tend to shun black animals. They are seen as intimidating and ferocious. In reality, black German shepherds are loyal and devoted dogs. They tend to be overprotective because they were bred to protect and shepherd sheep so this trait is in their nature. When properly trained, these intelligent dogs can be affectionate companions. They are not overtly friendly with strangers and will want to guard their family.

Black German shepherds should be socialized as puppies in order to make them more gregarious later as adults and less distrusting of strangers. Adult German shepherds who get adopted can attend socialization classes to get them familiarized with other dogs and people.

Black German shepherds experience some separation anxiety if left alone for too long. They are typically independent dogs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t crave attention from their owners.

How To Take Care of Black German Shepherds

Black German shepherds are a job to maintain and train, but definitely worth it. They need plenty of food and exercise. These shepherds are active working dogs and like to live in large spaces so if you live in a tiny apartment, this isn’t a dog for you.

The Best Dog Food For Black German Shepherds

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd
  • Rich in fiber
  • Supports muscle and joint health
  • Boosts immunity and muscle and brain growth
  • Especially formulated for German Shepherds
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Black German shepherds are highly active dogs, so their diet should be highly nutritious, low in fat and carbs and high in protein. They are also large dogs so their portions should be large as well. In order to correctly apportion your dog’s food, you can check the label on the back of the package to know how much to feed it based on its size.
Because Black German shepherds are prone to bloating, they are best fed with high quality dry kibble three to four times a day as puppies and then twice a day as adults. At A-Z Animals, our best choice is the Royal Canin Breed Health Dog Food. This food is specially formulated for German shepherds. It is rich in fiber and boosts muscle and joint health.

Maintenance and Grooming

One difference between black German shepherds and black-and-tan German shepherds is that black German shepherds tend to have more fur and feathered hair around their tips. Black German shepherds are very easy to groom despite their hairiness. If your furry friend has medium length hair, then it should be brushed at least twice a week. If the fur is long, however, then it will need to be brushed every day.

Black German shepherds shed a lot of hair, especially during their main shedding seasons which occur twice a year. If you have allergies or simply dislike having fur everywhere, then you might want to reconsider getting a German shepherd. There will be hair everywhere.

To curb this, you should use an anti-shedding shampoo. For your black German shepherd, we recommend you use the Shed X Shed Control Shampoo for Dogs. This sulfate-free shampoo contains vitamins and flaxseed oil for moisturization, is pH balanced, and has a pleasing fragrance.

Best Overall
Shed-X Shed Control Shampoo for Dogs
  • Soothing pomelo fragrance
  • Contains premium ingredients
  • Sulfate-free and pH balanced
  • Includes vitamins and flaxseed oil to moisturize the skin
Check Chewy Check Amazon

In addition to getting your dog’s hair under control, you should also trim their nails routinely and clean their teeth and ears. If your dog is active enough, it should wear its own nails down naturally. However, if this isn’t the case, then they must be trimmed to avoid injury.

The good thing about German shepherds is that they are less prone to ear infections than other dogs. This is because they have hyperactive glands in their ears that produce a lot of earwax which keeps bacteria populations under control.


Black German shepherd are best trained from puppyhood. This will help them acclimatize to life in a household and suburbia. They will need obedience training and socialization, especially because of their high prey drive. They might see smaller animals or pets as prey.

If you have smaller children, then the dog will need to be trained on how to interact with them because they sometimes don’t know their own strength and might hurt them by mistake. The great thing about black German shepherds is that they are eager to please and very easy to train. This trait makes them the best fit for police and military dogs, obedience dogs, and disability aid dogs. Because of their high work ethic, they can be useful around the house.


If you are considering getting a black German shepherd puppy, then socializing it should be on top of your list of priorities. While black German shepherds make exciting and loyal pets, they are not naturally friendly to other dogs and strangers and tend to be aloof. It is important to get them to be familiar with others and different situations as well. Walking your puppy around urban areas and dog parks is a great way to get them accustomed to new terrain.


Black German shepherds are very intelligent dogs that require not just physical exercise but mental stimulation as well. They are active dogs that like games and challenges. These are not the dogs to adopt if you live in a cramped space or an apartment without a backyard. These dogs will need enough room to run and play to be content. If not, they will get bored and vent their frustration out by becoming destructive around the house. Black German shepherds need about 60 to 90 minutes of exercise every day. This can be achieved by taking your pup out a couple of times a day. Active dogs need active owners, so if you are the swimming and hiking type, this is the breed for you! Your fur baby would love to accompany you on your great adventures.

Black German Shepherd as a Family Dog

Black German shepherds are an ideal family dog to have. They are people-oriented and make excellent guard dogs because of their alertness and protective instinct. They are also great playmates for children, but need to be fully trained so that they don’t accidentally injure smaller kids. Play dates should be supervised as well to prevent any mishaps.

Dogs Similar to Black German Shepherds

Border Collie: The border collie is considered to be the most intelligent dog breed in the world. Just like the black German shepherd, the border collie is a herding dog that shepherds flocks of animals.
Belgian Shepherd: The Belgian Shepherd is similar to the black German shepherd in some physical attributes such as their erect ears and long snouts. They are also both shepherding dogs who love to work. The black German shepherd is bigger than the Belgian Shepherd, though, and has less hair than it.
English Shepherd: The English shepherd is not just a herding dog, but it makes a great guard dog as well, just like the black German shepherd. These two breeds also shed profusely.

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About the Author

Hi! I am a writer, actor, and filmmaker. Reading is my favorite hobby. Watching old movies and taking short naps are a close second and third. I have been writing since childhood, with a vast collection of handwritten books sealed away in a duffel bag somewhere in my room. I love fiction, especially fantasy and adventure. I recently won the James Currey Prize 2022, so now, naturally, I feel like I own words. When I was 11, I wanted to be a marine biologist because I love animals, particularly dogs, cats, and owls. I also enjoy potatoes and chocolate in all their glorious forms.

Black German Shepherd FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are black German shepherds good with kids?

The rare black color of these Shepherds makes them highly sought after and expensive, but that doesn’t mean they are any different from their siblings. Buying a black German shepherd will set you back about $800 to $2,000.

What is the lifespan of a black German shepherd?

No, this is a misconception. They are protective guard dogs, yes, but they are also loving and caring animals. They are very affectionate and love their family members.

What is the difference between a black German shepherd and a regular German shepherd?

The key difference is their color. Due to genetic differences, the black German shepherd is completely black while regular German shepherds are black and tan. Black German shepherds are still purebred German shepherds.

Are black German shepherds good with kids?

Yes, they are, but they need proper training first. They should be supervised around smaller kids because these dogs grow to be very big.

What is the lifespan of a black German shepherd?

They can live for 9 to 13 years, and sometimes longer if well taken care of.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


  1. American Kennel Club / Accessed January 6, 2023
  2. Wikipedia / Accessed January 6, 2023