Black German Shepherd: All You Need to Know about Black GSD

Last Updated on July 7, 2023

The Black German Shepherd is simply a purebred German Shepherd dog with a solid black coat and it’s not seen as its own separate breed.

Black GSDs are incredibly rare. In fact, there’s only about 6.8% of their puppies have a solid black color. The rarity of this black dog breed makes its price much higher than a usual Black and Tan GSD.

Black German Shepherd lying in the grass

Despite the color difference, the temperament and main characteristics of Black German Shepherds are almost the same as the other colors of GSDs. They are brave, loyal, and smart, making them excellent working dogs.

Black German Shepherds have the same build and size or are even bigger than the standard variety. They are medium to large-sized dogs at about 22 to 26 inches tall, weighing between 50 to 90 pounds.

In this article, we’ve provided a complete guide and facts about the Black GSD to find out if this is right for you!

The Black German Shepherd at a Glance

Breed Summary Black GSD Quick Facts
Group Herding Group
Breed Purpose Herding Dog
Breed Size Medium-to-Large
Height 22 to 26 inches (56 to 66 cm)
Weight 50 to 90 lbs (23 to 41 kg)
Coat Type Medium-length double coat
Shedding Heavy
Lifespan 10 to 12 years
Temperament Intelligent, Loyal, Courageous
Energy High
Exercise Needs 1 to 2 hrs per day
Average Price $700 to $2,000

German Shepherd History

The Black German Shepherd or Black Shepherd is not a separate breed. They are purebred German Shepherds with a solid black color.

Even the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes and includes them in the breed standard.

four german shepherds - regular and black german shepherd
A group of German Shepherds

This breed’s history started in Germany, hence the name. They come from a line of different herding canines such as Berger Picard, with the goal to make them better working dogs.

In the 1900s, the German Shepherd arrived in the United States. The breed was gaining popularity, but it was cut short by the First World War. The term “German” became a taboo, so they were renamed to American Alsatian or Shepherd dog.

Decades later, they were accepted even with the name German Shepherd since the people were impressed with their skills. They can serve as an excellent family companion and a service dog for disabled individuals.

How to Spot a Black Shepherd?

A working Black GSD
Source: @working_germanshepherd / IG

If you ever came face to face with a Black Shepherd, your initial instinct might be to run away since they look like a wolf. Don’t fret; there’s more to love than to fear from this canine’s majestic features.

The Black German Shepherd has a chiseled face and a long muzzle. Perched on their rounded forehead are their semi-pointed and erect ears.

Some German Shepherds aged 16 to 20 weeks old have floppy ears. But once the cartilage hardens, their ear will become stiff and upright.

These dogs have dark almond-shaped eyes which match their black nose.

They have muscular bodies with sturdy and thick legs. The Black GSD has a straight back, which ends with a bushy tail. Sometimes they tend to have a straighter back than the regular one.

What coat type do Black GSDs have?

The Black Shepherd has a medium-length double coat – a dense and straight outer layer with a soft undercoat.

These dogs may get long hair, which is a bit wavy and fluffy. Usually, they have a longer or straighter coat than the Standard GSD.

But no matter the length of their coat, this canine has one primary color, black.

For a German Shepherd to become black, both of his parents must have a recessive gene for a black coat. A more sure way of producing this rare canine is by breeding two Black Shepherds.

Do they change color or have white markings? 

If you notice your dog turning brown or getting white hair, he or she is not a Black Shepherd but a regular one. Black GSD puppies usually come out grey, black, or white and then get their adult color at eight weeks of age. Take them home at nine to ten weeks old to be safe.

Some Black Shepherds can have patches of white or brown on their paws, legs, or chest. There are cases it darkens as they grow older, but it could also stay.

White spots don’t mean this dog is not a purebred since it’s common for some Black German Shepherds to have them.

If you’re worried that the markings might mean they are a mix, ask the breeder for papers to be sure you’re bringing home a pure Black German Shepherd.

How big do Black German Shepherds get?

A full-grown Black German Shepherd
Source: @working_germanshepherd / IG

Black Shepherds are medium-to-large-sized dogs that grow up to the same size or even bigger than regular GSDs.

The adult male Black German Shepherd has a height between 24 to 26 inches (61 to 66 cm). The females are smaller with a size ranging from 22 to 24 inches (56 to 61 cm).

The male ones have an average weight between 65 to 90 pounds (29 to 41 kg) while the female is on the lighter side, weighing 50 to 70 lbs (23 to 32 kg).

The physical features of a Black GSD can be found in the table below.

Black German Shepherd
Physical Features
Male Female
Height  24 to 26 inches
(61 to 66 cm)
22 to 24 inches
(56 to 61 cm)
Weight 65 to 90 lbs
(29 to 41 kg)
50 to 70 lbs
(23 to 32 kg)

Young Black German Shepherds mature and reach their full-grown size between 18 months to 2 years of age.

Read all about: The German Shepherd Growth and Weight Chart

Does the Black German Shepherd’s Color Affect Its Temperament?

The only way that the color affects the Black German Shepherd is it makes them look more striking. They have the same temperament as any regular GSD who is a great working and family dog.

Can they be used as working dogs?

Black Shepherds have traits that would make them fit to do work for the police, military, and search & rescue teams. Today, they are ranked the second most popular dog in the US.

In fact, you would often see German Shepherds being used by the army and the police as their K9 unit. These dogs are fearless, intelligent, and obedient, which makes them great candidates for these positions. 

Check out these funny German Shepherd memes

Even if this canine fits in the guns and the criminal world, they can also be trained to become a service dog.

The Black German Shepherd has a stable temperament, which means they can stand intense situations without panicking. It allows them to become a guardian, a blind leader, and a companion who assists people who have disabilities.

With their wolf-like appearance and protective nature, this is a breed you can rely on to be amazing guard dogs. Their courage and alertness allow them to look after their loved ones while being an excellent family companion.

Are they aggressive?

No, Black German Shepherds may look aggressive, but they are very loving and friendly. These loyal hounds are great family dogs and will fit in with different types of households.

They are known to be funny, which is a trait that helps them get along with children or teenagers. The Black Shepherd can also have a soft spot for cats or other pets when provided with socialization training during their puppyhood.

Look at this amusing YouTube video of a Black German Shepherd doing a head tilt at the sound of a crying baby:

However, these dogs are aloof, and because of their watchdog nature, they will be wary of people they don’t know.

Are they energetic?

The Black German Shepherd is an active dog, great for those who love the outdoors. A canine born to herd, their breed comes with speed, stealth, and agility.

These dogs have a maximum running speed of 30 mph or 48 km/h and a jumping height of 5 feet or 1.5 meters. Make sure to build walls or fences more than 6 feet or 2 meters high in your backyard to prevent them from escaping.

This canine needs 1 to 2 hours of exercise every day. A jog or long walk will suffice, although they will also enjoy a swim at the lake or a short hike. They would also love to spend as much time with you since they love attention and don’t want to be alone for too long.

Other than physical activities, it is healthy to provide mental exercise to your dog as well.

Instead of the usual ball fetching in the park or backyard, make it challenging by asking them to retrieve a specific item such as a toy or newspaper.

Black German Shepherd outside with a toy

Are they hard to train?

The Black Shepherd is easy to train because they are smart and eager to impress their master.

At an early age, start with obedience training and housebreaking. Whether they will live inside the house or in a spacious dog house, they can move around in, but they have to know how to behave themselves.

These dogs must also start their socialization during their puppy stage. The Black Shepherd needs to learn how to interact with your family and friends, and how to differentiate a friendly mailman from a threatening stranger.

During training, set yourself as the loving alpha, strict but provides treats and rewards. With consistency and positive reinforcement, this canine will be able to pick up the lessons.

Caring for the Black German Shepherd

young black german shepherd chilling inside the house

Does the difficulty of caring for a dog increase with its size? It depends on their shedding period, coat, or if any, health issues.

Even as a medium-to-large-sized dog, you’ll find the Black Shepherd a low-maintenance pet.

Grooming schedule

The amount of times you need to brush their coat depends on the length. If your Black Shepherd is sporting a long-haired look, you need to comb them once a day. If they have a medium length, you can do it two to three times a week.

For their bath time, once every month or two is enough. It’s best to bathe them only when necessary since too much will dry their skin.

This canine is also prone to ear infections, so make sure to check and clean their ears once or twice a month.

While you’re at it, trim their nails once a month to make sure none of your furniture or loved ones gets hurt.

To maintain their German Shepherd look, take them to the groomer twice or thrice a year for a haircut and general cleaning.

Do Black German Shepherds shed?

Yes, black or regular German Shepherds do shed. They are heavy shedders whatever the season. You still have to watch out for spring and fall since they blow their undercoat. It’s best to have a vacuum ready to save your family from swimming in their hair.

Some say long-haired German Shepherds shed less. But whichever coat they get, they are not hypoallergenic.

Aside from shedding, these dogs can easily adapt to different environments and climates.

A long-haired Black Shepherd
Source: @aresmann111 / IG

Diet & Food Requirements

Feed your Black GSD two to three cups of premium-quality dog food per day. An adult Black Shepherd needs 20 calories per pound of its weight.

For the younger ones, provide four cups of puppy food to ensure proper growth.

When looking for a brand or type, choose a dog food that contains fat and protein since it’s essential for the development of this breed.

Black German Shepherds need a high-protein diet to help with their muscle growth and recovery. The fat provides energy and makes their coat look healthy.

Since each dog has its own nutritional needs depending on its health, metabolism, and activity levels, there’s no harm in asking your veterinarian.

Read all about: Best Dog Food for German Shepherds

How Long Do Black GSDs Live?

A Black German Shepherd has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. With proper care and lots of love, you can maximize its lifespan.

Generally, Black GSDs are healthy dogs, but having a solid black color doesn’t exempt them from their breed’s common health problems. This canine is susceptible to the following illnesses:

  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
  • Back stiffness
  • Spinal cord diseases such as Degenerative Spinal Stenosis and Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
  • Cancer
  • Eye problems

Read all about: German Shepherd Lifespan

How Much is a Black German Shepherd Puppy?

Newborn German Shepherd puppy
A Black German Shepherd puppy

The German Shepherd has a litter size of 4 to 9 puppies. You can get a standard puppy for a price of $300 to $1,000, but the black ones will cost double.

Since not all German Shepherds have the recessive gene for a black coat, producing a Black Shepherd rarely happens. Black German Shepherd puppies cost around $700 to $2,000.

When getting a Black Shepherd puppy, make sure you’re bringing home the right one. These puppies come out black, white, or grey and will still change color until they turn eight weeks old. Ask for birth papers and only take one home after they become black and turn ten weeks old.

But the surest way of taking the right dog home is getting them from a Black German Shepherd litter. They might cost more, but at least you won’t be surprised to find a sable puppy on your bed.

Read all about: German Shepherd Price

Where Can I Get a Black German Shepherd?

To help you locate your puppy, we made a list of Black German Shepherd breeders you could check out.

  • Black Paws Farm
  • Serious Black German Shepherds 

Some Black Shepherds are abandoned or left at shelters. If you prefer an older dog (and a sure way of getting an all-black dog), here are some rescue centers and adoption sites you can check out:

  • Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue (California)
  • Westside German Shepherd Rescue (Los Angeles) 
  • All Shepherd Rescue (Maryland)
  • Virginia German Shepherd Rescue (Virginia)
  • Missouri German Shepherd Rescue

Whether you’re getting a Black Shepherd from a breeder or a rescue center, you must always ask about the health of your puppy and its parents. A responsible breeder will be able to provide you with the details and will ask questions about you to ensure the puppy will fit in your life.

Also, when getting an older dog, ask whether it had training or not to prepare yourself or have a professional train them.

If you plan to take over their training, it will help build your relationship since you will spend more time with your new canine.

Is It Time to Bring Home a Black German Shepherd?

Before getting a dog, you have to make sure it’s the right breed for you and if you’re ready to take on the responsibility.

The Black Shepherd is easy-to-train and a low-maintenance pet, great for first-time dog owners. If you decided on this beautiful and rare canine – you’d be getting a combination of courageous, intelligent, and loyal.

But this breed is not only all about the cunning looks; they can take on different types of jobs. They can be a fearless police dog or a reliable service dog.

They will also be happy as a family pet. But you’ll need to make time for them since this breed doesn’t like being alone and will require an hour of daily exercise.

Getting a GSD with a rare black color may be pricey, but it’s worth it.

Do you already own a Black German Shepherd? We would love to hear about your experience with this amazing creature. Share them with everyone in the comment section below.

Further reading: More Guides about German Shepherd

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