black german shepherd

Black German Shepherd: Just Another Color or a Whole Different Breed?


The all-black german shepherd is not a separate breed of dog as many people believe, it’s just a different coat color from the popular black and tan german shepherd. The german shepherd is one of the most popular breeds of companion dogs throughout the world, but it’s the black and tan german shepherd that people mostly know of. The black GSD is comparatively quite rare and much less known. Many even mistake it for a whole different breed.

The black shepherd dog is pretty much similar to the black and tan german shepherd when it comes to physical traits and personality. They are an extremely loyal breed of dogs and are commonly used as police dogs or service dogs.

Genetics Behind the Pure Black Coat

black german shepherd


Most German shepherds are born black but change the coat color as they grow up and start turning into black and tan shepherds or their adult color after about 8 weeks of age. This happens because all german shepherds carry the gene for black coat color. But the true black shepherd puppy doesn’t change color and remains black even after it grows into an adult.

If the puppies are brown or white at birth, they’ll definitely not change their color to black as they grow. The black color gene is recessive in nature and expresses itself only if it pairs with the recessive black gene of the other parent. Black and tan dogs do have this recessive gene but the chances of them pairing with another one is low.

So if you want a black german shepherd puppy, breeding two full black german shepherds, increases that chance. Although, they still can have puppies in other colors. Another type is the dark sable german shepherd.

The dark sable german shepherd is a GSD with another type of coat color wherein the hairs have a lighter color at the roots with black colored tips, which gives the dog a greyish look.

Basic Overview Of Black German Shepherd Dog Breed

Breed Name: Black German Shepherd
Breed Group: Working dogs
Height: Males: 24 to 26 inches

Females: 22 to 25 inches

Weight: 60 to 85 pounds
Life Span:  10 to 14 years
Type of Coat: straight, and a dense double coat which is either short, medium, or long hair.
Coat Color: Solid Black 
Temperament:  Loving, alert, courageous, intelligent, protective, sweet-natured, stable, and extremely loyal. 
Other Names: Alsatian, Black shepherd, black long-haired german shepherd, black german shepherd dog, pure black german shepherd, solid black german shepherd, full black german shepherd, all black german shepherd, black GSD, black shepherd dog
Grooming Needs: High if they are long-haired GSD

Low if they are short-haired GSD

Shedding:   High 
Training Needs: Easy to train.
Recommended Families: Active families or individuals.

Families with children, other pets, or senior citizens.

Litter size 5 to 10 puppies

History And Origin

black german shepherd


Von Stephanitz first discovered german shepherds at a show and decided that they were of the perfect standard to be bred as working dogs. He adopted one of them and named it Horand and created the society for the german shepherd dog aka “Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde”.

Horand was bred with other GSDs to give german shepherd puppies, which appeared in the US at the start of the 1900s and were an AKC recognized breed by 1908. Since their discovery and breeding began in Germany, and they were used as herding dogs by shepherds, they came to be known as the german shepherd.

Mating between two black and tan german shepherds gave rise to the pure black GSD as a result of inheritance of the recessive gene for a black coat from both the parents, which gave a new variety in coat color. 

The Appearance of the Black Shepherd Dog

black german shepherd


All characters of the pure black german shepherd dog resemble that of the other german shepherds as they are the same breed, with a similar genetic constitution. The weight of solid black german shepherds ranges between 60 to 85 pounds and they stand tall at 22 to 26 inches. Females are usually smaller than males by an inch or two.

The all-black german shepherd dog has semi-pointed ears that stand erect on their rounded forehead, long neck, a long squared muzzle, dark almond-shaped eyes, black nose, and a long tail. They have short legs and they are longer than tall. Some may be taller than others but that totally depends on the parental traits and has nothing to do with their color.

They have sturdy, muscular legs and a strong muscular body. The back of the solid black shepherd is straighter compared to other colored shepherds and their coats can range from short-haired to long-haired. The long-haired german shepherd has a feathering or flowy appearance to its coat.

The pure black german shepherd would not have stripes or markings of any other color on its coat except in some cases where they are known to have patches of brown or white on their paws, legs, and/or chest.  black shepherd puppy reaches its adult size by 2 years of age.

Though They Are The Same Breed, Black German Shepherds May Be Larger Than Standard German Shepherds


black german shepherd


No matter how intimidating or striking their color makes them look, their temperament remains the same as any other german shepherd. They are loyal, friendly, protective and make the best family as well as working dogs.

Black GSDs are often used by the army or police for search and rescue operations. They also prove to be amazing service dogs or companion animals. They are intelligent, obedient, quick, focused, and fearless in nature which makes them fit for difficult tasks.

These dogs don’t panic easily and have a stable temperament which allows them to become good service dogs to the elderly, blind, or persons with disabilities. These wolf-like cuties make amazing guard dogs and will protect their humans at all costs.

They are loving, social, friendly, and funny dogs that get along with other pets (including cats) and children, with early socialization. These dogs are suspicious of strangers due to their guarding nature.

They are active, strong, and energetic dogs with speed, agility, and stealth as they belong to the working dog group. They can jump up to a height of five feet and run at 48 km per hour, so make sure you have a high enough fence to keep them in your backyard and to make sure they do not leave on a solo adventure.

Pure black german shepherds, just like the rest, are social and love attention. They do not like being left alone for long and it can lead to separation anxiety.

Black German Shepherd Puppies

black german shepherd puppies


black shepherd puppy is a little ball of fur with irresistible cuteness. Most german shepherd puppies are born black but change color as they grow. Eventually, they grow into their actual adult coats.

An all-black german shepherd dog puppy won’t change its coat color and will remain black for the rest of its life.

Black German Shepherd Price

black german shepherd


The German shepherd price ranges from 300$ to 2000$ or more depending on the location, quality of breeding, breeder, the pedigree of the dog, and many more such factors. 

Black german shepherd puppies cost more than the black and tan ones as they are comparatively quite rare. Black German shepherd prices can start at 800$ and go up to 2500$.

When getting a black shepherd puppy make sure to do a background search on the breeder. Ask to see the pup’s parents, the area where they are kept and bred, what are they given to eat, etc. if the breeder has a puppy mill or doesn’t abide by the breeding standard, he might be hesitant to give out much information and that my friend, is a red flag.

Ask for the puppy’s birth papers and preferably get your all black german shepherd puppy home after 8 to 10 weeks of age as they change color by that time,

Also ReadAll About the Magnificent White German Shepherd

Health Concerns of All Black German Shepherd 

black german shepherd


Black GSDs or any GSD for that matter, is an overall healthy breed of dogs. Irrespective of their color, they face common genetic predispositions seen in german shepherd dogs and are prone to the following problems:

  1. Back stiffness
  2. Cancer
  3. Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
  4. Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
  5. Eye problems
  6. Osteoarthritis
  7. Spinal cord diseases like Degenerative Spinal Stenosis and Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy
  8. Von Willebrand’s disease

The feeding, grooming, exercise, and training needs of black german shepherd puppies are the same as the white, sable, or the regular coat GSD. Before you get them home make sure you can fulfill all the requirements of owning this big and energetic breed of dog.


When you get a dog, you have to commit the coming 10 to 12 years of your life to their care and well-being and it’s a big responsibility. Make sure you’re ready for it. Black german shepherd dogs are easy to train pets and are good for first-time owners.

They are a low-maintenance breed with a lot to give in return and we suggest you look into your local shelters for any puppy who needs a home before you consider buying a dog. Adoption gives these dogs a second and better chance at life and will definitely make your heart full to see them flourish in your care.

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