Black German Shepherd: The Definitive Owner’s Guide

The Black German Shepherd is a gorgeous color variation on the standard German Shepherd Dog which is recognized by the American Kennel Club as a purebred dog.

This color variation occurs completely naturally and therefore fits within the breed standard.

If you are looking for an unusual, active dog, and don’t mind a bit of shedding, this Shepherd breed might be the perfect dog for you.

These dogs are, in most aspects, very similar to the standard Shepherd, except for a few factors that we will talk about in this article.

What is a Black German Shepherd Dog? (Breed Overview)

Black German Shepherd Panting
This dog was originally bred as the perfect herding dog and is now used in a variety of companion and working dog situations. It’s no surprise that this breed is ranked at number 2 of America’s favorite dog breeds.

These dogs are loyal, intelligent, loving, fearless companions who will protect you and your family with their life.

The Black German Shepherd can be a working dog or a companion animal.

German Shepherds are often used as police dogs and in the military. They can be trained as guard dogs, or attack dogs, however, they are not naturally an aggressive breed.

These dogs are great with children and have a very calm temperament when raised and socialized appropriately.

The black coloration is the result of a genetic mutation, as many rare color variations are in dogs.

It can occur randomly when two standard Shepherds breed – it is determined by a recessive gene that might not show in the parents. If two black Shepherds breed, the puppies will always have the black coloration as both have the recessive gene.

Black German Shepherd Appearance

Black German Shepherd Appearance

A Shepherd generally has a medium to long, and straight, coat that is dense and sometimes wiry on the outer layer.

Their coat should be longer on the body and shorter on their legs and head.

They have a double coat so they shed quite a lot, especially during shedding season. It will be worth investing in a decent vacuum cleaner.

This particular variation of the breed can only be black (unsurprisingly), however, a typical German Shepherd can come in 11 different color variations.

Their breed standard states they should have a clear cut head with a black nose and almond eyes, erect ears, and a bushy tail.

This version of the dog often has a straighter back which is much healthier as German Shepherds are predisposed to hip dysplasia.

Size

Black German Shepherds tend to be 1-2″ larger than the standard variety, but, should remain in proportion. Generally, they should be around 22 to 26″ tall with males often being slightly larger than the females.

They have quite a large weight range falling between 50 to 90lb. Again, females often being on the lower end of the weight scale.

Colors

What sets these dogs apart is their gorgeous coat color of pure black.

True Black German Shepherds will be born black as puppies and never change. Some puppies can be born black and their coat may develop tan in later life.

If you are purchasing a puppy, from a breeder where both parents aren’t black, you may want to wait till the puppy is 10 weeks old to ensure their coat is not going to change.

Coat

They should have a medium to long coat that is fairly dense and can be wiry.

One thing that sets apart the black Shepherd from the standard is that their coat is often straighter.

They are less likely to have the fringing or skirting of the standard too. They have a double coat which is excellent for keeping them warm when working outside but does tend to shed.

Black German Shepherd Pictures

Black German Shepherd Temperament

German Shepherd Puppy

Above all else, this is a confident, fearlessly loyal dog who just wants to be with you and protect you.

These amazing dogs have been used for pretty much everything. Many people have them simply as companion animals and at this, they excel. They also make excellent disability assistance dogs due to their calm nature and easy trainability and they are brilliant watch dogs thanks to their built-in urge to protect.

Don’t expect these dogs to be all work, no play though. These dogs can be the perfect play companion for older kids and adults.

High energy and intelligence levels make these dogs very easy to train but also mean that a lot of your time may be spent trying to occupy their big brains.

They can become bored quite easily if they aren’t given the opportunity to run out their energy or entertain themselves.

Separation anxiety can also be an issue in this breed as their main want in life is to be with you.

If left alone with nothing to do for long periods they can become highly stressed and may begin destructive habits and barking.

Due to their protective nature, they can sometimes be wary of strangers, so introducing them to lots of people when they are a puppy is vital (i.e. correct dog socialization).

These canines are very friendly dogs, but, they aren’t overly desperate to make friends. If you are thinking of Black German Shepherd adoption, be sure to be slow when meeting new people so you don’t stress them out.

They are generally good with other dogs and animals but again, socialization from a young age is the key to having a dog-friendly pup.

Is a Black German Shepherd a Good Family Dog?

Yes, they make an excellent family dog.

They love to be around their family and will protect them with their life.

You can be sure your kids are safe at home with this amazing dog. In order to teach them how to correctly behave around children, they will need to be socialized from a young age. It’s also always a good idea to teach your kids the correct way to behave around dogs.

How To Train A Black German Shepherd

German Shepherd Dog

With any dog, the best approach when training is positive reinforcement. This means rewarding the correct behaviors with treats, toys, and positive rewards.

The Black German Shepherd is a wonderful dog to train – they are intelligent, attentive, and excited to learn new things.

Socialization is a very important part of training a young dog. With this breed, socialization with lots of people and environments should be your main focus.

You should introduce them to everyone, including children and everything, other dogs and animals. This will help to make sure they don’t become overly cautious of people as they get older. If you are looking to use your Shepherd as a herding dog, allowing them to have contact with bigger farm animals will be important.

They are not a naturally aggressive dog breed and will enjoy some time playing with other dogs.

Lots of mental stimulation will be required to keep your dog occupied. Training sessions are great for this, but, sometimes you will need your dog to occupy themselves for a while. Interactive feeders and puzzle toys will be your best friend here.

Another great way of keeping your dog entertained, with minimal effort on your front, is fetch. Many Shepherds love this game, and will play happily for ages, this will run down their energy so they are a lot calmer later in the day.

Caring for a German Shepherd Dog

GSD Eating Grass

This variety is no harder to look after than the standard German Shepherd.

They require at least an hour of exercise a day and don’t mind how they get it. Their high levels of energy mean that an enclosed backyard is a must.

Someone suited to this breed should also have a lot of time to give them and not be away for long periods as they will become stressed as a result of separation anxiety.

General care is as expected:

  • Ears need cleaning, nails trimming, they need flea and worm treatments
  • Brushing them regularly will keep their coat healthy and free of mats
  • During shedding season you may want to increase the amount you are brushing them

Exercise Requirements

Black German Shepherds are very high energy dogs. They will require at least an hour of exercise a day, preferably in two outings.

Luckily, it won’t be hard to find things to do with them, as they are up for anything. These dogs love walking, swimming, running, agility, you name it and they’ll probably want to do it with you.

Agility classes for dogs are an excellent way of running their energy out and a super fun experience for you and the dog. They are brilliantly built for agility and it is a great way to keep you both healthy.

As they are an intelligent dog, teaching your dog recall shouldn’t be too difficult.

Recall is when your dog returns to you immediately after called and is important if you want to have your dog off the leash. It can be dangerous for your dog if they won’t listen to you.

Grooming and Shedding

As beautiful as the black coat of these dogs is, they still shed like a standard Shepherd.

The double coat means that they will shed all the time, but, especially during shedding season. Shedding season is Spring and Fall and is when the old hair falls out to make room for new growth. During these seasons you can expect to be vacuuming constantly.

If your dog has a medium length coat, brushing them twice a week should be enough to keep their coat looking healthy. If their coat is longer, you may want to brush more often to avoid matting.

Getting your dog professionally groomed 2-3 times a year is a good idea, especially during those shedding seasons.

Feeding and Diet

Puppies are often fed 3 to 4 small meals a day because this prevents bloat in their smaller stomachs. They also will have a higher calorie intake than adult dogs as they are growing.

The diet you feed your Black German Shepherd will change depending on their age.

Once your dog reaches 9 months, they will be able to move on to 2 meals a day and at a year they can move onto adult food.

Generally, dogs are fed a mixture of high quality dry and wet food. As an adult, your dog will need around 20 calories per lb. The most important part of their diet is protein and this should make up 25% of their diet.

Choosing a good quality food is important to your dog’s health.

Avoid foods that are mainly cereals as carbohydrates are not as important to a dog’s diet. Other things to avoid in dry foods are food dyes and rendered fats.

Known Health Problems

The big health problem known to affect Shepherd dogs is hip and elbow dysplasia. Black German Shepherds often have a straighter back than the standard – this reduces the risks of hip dysplasia but they are still very susceptible.

A few ways you can lower this risk of dysplasia is by:

  • Check the hip and elbow scores of the parent dogs and the puppy
  • Be careful not to exercise them too much as a puppy as this can damage their joints

Other issues that your dog may suffer with are often related to their back (e.g. degenerative myelopathy), or their joints (e.g. osteoarthritis). These are mostly common in older dogs so as your pup gets older be sure to keep an eye on them for signs of stiffness or uncomfortableness.

How Long Does a Black German Shepherd Dog Live For?

They will live for around 9 to 13 years – this is a great age for a larger breed of dog.

Buying a Black German Shepherd Puppy

Black German Shepherd Walking

When buying a puppy, looking for a reputable breeder is really important. This means that you won’t be supporting bad breeding practices or puppy mills.

They are a rare variation of the traditional Shepherd so don’t be surprised if it is a little harder to find a breeder (there may also be a waiting list for puppies).

Once you are ready to go and see the puppies, there are a few things you should do:

  1. Make sure you can meet the parents, or at least the mother, as this will help you judge what the temperament of the puppies may be like.
  2. As they are a purebred dog, the parents will be Kennel Club registered. Don’t be afraid to ask to see documentation.
  3. Ask lots of questions – the breeder will know their puppies best and is an excellent source of information.

Do not be surprised if they ask you questions as well. Good breeders love their dogs and don’t want them going to an inappropriate home.

How Much Does a Black German Shepherd Dog Cost?

A Black German Shepherd will cost you more than a standard German Shepherd Dog as they are a rarer color variation; this is common with many breeds.

You can expect to pay around $700 to $2000 USD per puppy. We wouldn’t recommend going for puppies that are less expensive than this as they may be from puppy mills.

Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Characteristics
Size: 22-26″ tall
Weight: 50-90 lb
Lifespan: 9 to 13 Years
Coat: Double coat, straight, dense, often wiry
Color: Black
Do They Shed: Yes – all year round
Temperament: Loyal, fearless, and loving
Intelligence: Very intelligent
Socialization: Required with children and large animals
Destructive Behavior: Bark a lot if stressed or bored
People Skills: Excellent with close family
Good with Children: Yes, providing they are socialized from a young age
Activity Levels: Very High – One hour exercise required daily

Black German Shepherd Running

Summary

The Black German Shepherd is a striking dog that will make a wonderful addition to any family, as long as you have space and time to accommodate them.

These dogs need an active household willing to spend at least an hour a day exercising them.

Being left alone for long periods is not their favorite thing so a house where someone is home often would also be best.

They need loads of mental stimulation so training sessions and games will be a wonderful way of keeping them occupied and bonding together. Another brilliant bonding activity is brushing them which needs to be done at least a couple times a week.

This loving, loyal protector will be your guardian for many years, let us know your experiences in the comments section below.

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