black german shepherd

Black German Shepherds: How Rare Are They?

Black German shepherds are extremely beautiful with solid black coats. They are very rare and are sought after by canine lovers across the globe. Black German shepherds are courageous, loyal, and extremely intelligent. Their positive personality traits make them a great breed to have as companion pets. 

The black German shepherd has a striking black coat that is caused by having two parents with the recessive gene for this feature. Because of their rarity, black German shepherds come at a premium price point and can’t be found as easily as other types of German shepherds.

What is a Black German Shepherd?

A Black German Shepherd
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A black German shepherd is a rare type of German shepherd. Unlike most German shepherds that have a mix of both tan and black, black German shepherds are 100% black. 

A black German shepherd gets its midnight coloring from a rare genetic makeup that allows its beautiful coat to be all one color. They are a German shepherd in every other way, except for their single shade.  

Where Did the Black German Shepherd Originate From? 

Black German Shepherd Origin
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The black German shepherd originally came from Germany. All German shepherds came from Germany. The black German shepherd’s color is caused by genetics, so they have been bred on purpose or by accident for as long as there have been German shepherds.

What Was The Black German Shepherd Bred For? 

What Was The Black German Shepherd Bred For
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The black German shepherd was bred as a working dog and as a companion animal. Black shepherds are great herding animals and are easily trainable as attack dogs for the military or police. 

Black German shepherds aren’t just great as working dogs, though. This breed also excels as being a loyal companion animal for singles and large families. They are loyal, loving, and fearless dogs that not only have great personalities but are very cute as well.

What Does A Black German Shepherd Look Like?

Black German Shepherd Look
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Black German shepherds have a straight and smooth double coat that is all black and wiry. Their fur is shorter on their legs and head with longer fur along their bodies. They are sleek and domineering, and they look like they mean business! 

Unique Physical Characteristics


A black German shepherd has beautiful almond-shaped eyes that sit evenly across its face. Their eye color ranges from chestnut brown to black with various shades of brown in between. 


The black German shepherd’s tail is bushy and long, it sits straight along its back with a slight curve.


The ears of a black German shepherd are erect on top of their heads and are pointed. Their ears are symmetrical and have short black fur that is a bit longer at the base of the ear.


This breed has a long square muzzle that ends with a black nose and is covered with short black fur. 

How Big Does a Full-Grown Black German Shepherd Get?

Full-grown Black German Shepherd
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Black German shepherds are considered to be a medium to large dog breed. They stand between and weigh between 22 to 26 inches and weigh between 55 to 90 pounds.

Male vs Female

Male and females are very similar in height, both stand between 22 to 26 inches tall. The difference between male and female German shepherds is their stature and weight. Males are often bulkier and weigh 10 to 15 pounds more than their female counterparts.

How to Take Care of a Black German Shepherd?

Healthy Black German Shepherd With The Owner
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German shepherds are easy to love and care for, but they have specific needs that need to be met to help them live long and happy lives. Your black GSD will require the right amount of exercise, proper grooming, and a good diet to help them stay healthy.


Your black German shepherd will require a lot of exercises to keep them fit and active. Exercise also helps them deplete their energy which helps them relax at the end of the day. A black GSD with too much energy may become too destructive to be left inside the house so it is a crucial part of dog ownership that you provide them with enough exercise.

Your black shepherd will love long walks, jogs, or even running for at least an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Playtime at the dog park or a large fenced-in backyard is another must on their list of needed daily activities. And, be sure to allow your black German shepherd to have its mind stimulated as well with games such as fetch or tug of war. 


Due to their double coat, you will want to brush your black GSD quite often. Brushing your black shepherd twice per week will help eliminate the amount of hair it shed. Be sure to have a vacuum cleaner if you do choose to purchase this breed!

Other grooming needs for your black GSD are ear cleaning, teeth brushing, and bathing. You can hire a groomer to help with these needs or learn how to groom your dog at home. Plan to visit a groomer about every 6 to 8 weeks.


Black German shepherds should eat a high-quality brand of kibble that supplies them with protein, vitamins, and minerals needed for healthy growth and development. You can also choose to make your dog food with premium meats, eggs, vegetables, and yogurt.

How Much to Feed

Your black GSD should be fed about 20 calories per pound of body weight. For example, if your black shepherd weighs 60 pounds, you will need to feed them 1200 calories per day. The average quality kibble contains about 400 calories per cup, which would equate to about 3 cups of food per day. 

Always know your numbers, check your dog’s food to see how many calories per cup it contains, and know how much your dog weighs to be sure you are feeding them the right amount of food per day. 

How Often to Feed

You should feed your adult black German shepherd 2 to 3 small meals per day to help them easily and quickly digest their food. Puppies should be fed 3 to 4 small meals per day until they are about one year old.  Large meals less frequently can cause a life-threatening condition known as bloat, you will learn more about that condition below. 

Common Food Allergies

Black German shepherds can have allergies to the various proteins that are found in meat. Chicken, eggs, duck, beef, turkey, and fish can all become allergens for this breed. 

Other common food allergies that may occur with your black GSD could come from low-quality dog kibble that uses fillers and preservatives. Many cheap kibble brands add unnecessary ingredients to bulk up the food, oftentimes these ingredients cause skin rashes, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. 

Always monitor your dog after they eat, especially if you are trying a new brand of dog food. Watch out for signs of an allergic reaction, and call your vet as soon as possible if you notice sudden signs of an allergic reaction.

Are Black German Shepherds Easy to Train?

Easy To Train Black German Shepherd
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Black German shepherds are very intelligent, they are one of the easiest breeds of dogs to train. They understand and learn commands quickly and easily. 

Black GSDs are very eager to please which makes them great working dogs. They are often used for protection in the military, police force, and homes.

Are they Easy to Potty Train?

You will have no problem potty training your black German shepherd! This obedient breed quickly learns the concept of potty training and will not need much time to catch on. Positive reinforcement is a great learning method to help with potty training.

What is the Black German Shepherds Temperament?

Socialite Black German Shepherd
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A black German shepherd’s temperament can vary from dog to dog. Training, socialization, and genetics all play an important role in the temperament of this breed.

A well-trained, socialized black German shepherd that has good genetics will be obedient, loving, and friendly. They will have an even temperament with everyone that is welcomed into their circle. Black GSDs are a bit wary of strangers if they are guarding, this may cause them to bark at outsiders.

Does This Breed Do Well With Children?

This breed is great with children as long as it has been trained and socialized from a young age. Black German shepherds are very loyal and protective over the members of their households. 

Beware, not all dogs are the same, and dogs can still act out under certain circumstances. Be sure that your children are always supervised when interacting with your black German shepherd. If your dog is ill, injured, or afraid it could cause them to act out in an appropriate manner which could result in serious injuries. 

Always teach your children how to properly act around dogs. Never allow them to mistreat or tease your dog under any circumstance.

Does This Breed Do Well With Other Pets?

Black German shepherds can do well with other pets if they are introduced properly and socialized from a young age. Introduce your black shepherd slowly to new pets and keep the mood light and fun. If you notice any signs of aggression from any dog or pet involved, separate the animals and start again later on once each pet has settled down. 

Are Black German Shepherds Aggressive?

Black German shepherds can be very aggressive, but this trait isn’t something that is at the forefront. Many times a black GSD will become aggressive if they have been trained to do so, or if they are guarding their home. Aggressive instincts can be trained out of them, but all dogs still possess the ability to be aggressive.

What Environment is Ideal for a Black German Shepherd?

Ideal Environment For A Black German Shepherd
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Your black German shepherd will require multiple hours of exercise per day. Black GSDs will require a home that has a high-energy owner to help match this breed’s energy levels. 

City vs Rural 

This dog does best in rural households where they can exercise freely in a large backyard or outdoor space. If you choose to have this breed in the city, be sure that you live near a dog park where they can have a place to roam and let out their energy.

Cold or Hot

Black GSDs can thrive in both hot and cold climates. Their thick double coat helps to keep them warm in the cold, but always monitor your black German shepherd during extreme temperatures. 

If the weather is above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, always be sure that your black GSD has fresh water and a shady area to cool off. Look for any signs of heat exhaustion such as panting, lethargic behavior, or a dry nose. 

What is the Average Lifespan of a Black German Shepherd?

Average Lifespan Of A Black German Shepherd
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The average lifespan of this breed is between 12 to 14 years. Although, this breed can live up to 16 years old when they are properly cared for. 

Black German Shepherd Common Health Issues

Healthy And Running Black German Shepherd
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Black German Shepherds are generally a very healthy breed, they have very few health problems as long as they come from a reputable breeder, are fed a quality diet, and are given ample amounts of exercise. Below is a list of the most common health issues that may arise with your black German shepherd.

Degenerative Myelopathy 

The condition known as degenerative myelopathy is common in black German shepherds. Also referred to as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy, this condition involves the spine and its inability to transmit nerve signals, causing weakness in the hind limbs. 

Elbow Dysplasia 

Elbow dysplasia is common in black German shepherds because of how quickly they grow. Elbow dysplasia is the abnormal development of the elbow in fast-growing puppies. Typically the abnormal growth of bones and cartilage creates stress on their joints. 

When a dog has elbow dysplasia it may feel pain in the area, refuse to use the below, or develop arthritis. 

Hip Dysplasia 

Similar to elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia is when the hip does not properly develop due to rapid growth or a genetic disposition. This ailment can also cause pain, lameness, and arthritis. 


Bloat, sometimes referred to as gastric dilation-volvulus complex is a serious condition that occurs when the stomach fills with air, creating high amounts of pressure. The pressure hinders your dog’s blood system from functioning properly, causing blood to pool in the back of their body, unable to reach their heart.  

Bloat can cause your dog to go into shock, and restricts blood flow. Once this occurs your dog is at risk of going into cardiac arrest, which ultimately results in death. 

Even in the mildest case of bloat, which is extremely rare, dogs die without treatment.


Osteoarthritis is a common condition for older large breed dogs, such as black German shepherds. Also known as degenerative joint disease, this ailment is caused by the deterioration of the cartilage which causes inflammation of the joints.

As the condition progresses, the soft cartilage which protects the joints lessens, creating pain, inflammation, bone spurs, and loss of motion. Osteoarthritis is incurable but can be effectively managed when identified in its early stages. 

How Much Does a Black German Shepherd Cost?

Black German Shepherd Cost
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A black German shepherd can cost between $800 to $3,000. The black German shepherd is rare which can drive up the price into the thousands, especially if they come from a long line of elite dogs. 

Other Costs

Your black German shepherd will need a lot of things to make them happy and keep them healthy. The cost of these items should be taken into consideration and factored into the price of purchasing your new black German shepherd puppy. 

Your new black shepherds will need to visit the vet for their first check-up. At this check-up, your vet will advise you on whether or not you need any medical tests, vaccinations, deworming pills, or other medications. Your black GSD will also need annual visits with the vet for routine checkups and medications. The price of these vet appointments can cost between $250 and $500 each.  

Your dog is to be spayed or neutered when they are mature enough. The vet appointments for spaying and neutering can cost between $250 and $1,000.

And don’t forget to factor in the cost of unexpected veterinarian trips in case of sudden illnesses or injuries. 

There are also costs to factor in, even before you bring your new fur baby home. You will need to buy dog food, bedding, bowls, leashes, collars, harnesses, pet accessories, and toys. The cost of these is between $100 and $300. 

We recommend changing your dog’s bedding, bowls, and accessories as they grow to help them be comfortable and happy. Your new puppy will grow rapidly which means during the first year you will have to replace many of its collars, harnesses, and bowls. 

The overall cost of owning a new puppy can add up very quickly and their needs don’t stop! Your dog will always need to be taken care of so you need to be considerate of every cost. Dog food, accessories, and vet bills should be added to your household budget. Owning a dog is not just the cost of the adoption, it’s also about the upkeep of the animals.

Other Similar Dog Breeds

A German Shepherd
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Below are some similar dog breeds that would make a great alternative to a black German shepherd. Since black German shepherds are rarer than some other breeds, you may want to opt for one of the breeds listed below. 

German Shepherd 

German shepherds and black German shepherds are essentially the same dog breed other than their coat color. A German shepherd is a great alternative to a black German shepherd if you want a dog that has the same temperament, size, and agility. A regular German shepherd is more common and will cost less than a black German shepherd. Just like a black German shepherd, these dogs will live for about 14 years. 

Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is a hard working, intelligent dog breed that is about the same size as the black German shepherd. Belgian Malinois have a deep bond with their owners and are very loyal, they require a lot of playtime and exercise to stay fit, active, and happy. This breed typically has a long and healthy life, often living to be 16 years old!

Northern Inuit Dog

Northern Inuit Dogs are only a little larger than black German shepherds, they typically weigh around 80 pounds. These dogs have a short, dense, double coat that can be black, white, or sable. Northern Inuit dogs are intelligent and friendly but should be trained early on to offset their stubborn personalities. Northern Inuit dogs are a crossbreed with German Shepard, Siberian Husky, and Inuit dogs and they live for about 12 years. 

American Alsatian

The American Alsatian is much larger and more powerful than a black German Shepherd. This breed is known for being calm and making great companions for families with children. American Alsatians require less exercise than black German shepherds, which makes them better for owners who have limited indoor or outdoor space. This breed often lives between 12 to 14 years.

Shiloh Shepherd 

The Shiloh Shepherd is much larger than a black German shepherd, weighing almost 100 pounds. They look similar but have a different coat texture and are usually two or three colors. Shiloh shepherds are smart and energetic and require a lot of exercise and a large place to run to wear them out. Shiloh shepherds live to be between 12 to 14 years old. 

Tip For Finding The Right Breeder

The Right German Shepherd Breeder Takes Care Of The Dog
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When it is time to adopt or purchase a black German shepherd, you should search for a reputable breeder in your area. The breeder that you choose should be qualified with positive reviews. Not all breeders are trustworthy, and seeking out a good breeder is up to you. To help you get the ball rolling we put together a list of tips to help you when you are ready to purchase your next puppy.

Tip 1. Meet The Breeder

Always meet the breeder before making any type of exchange. Meet the breeder at the facility where they raise their puppies to see how they treat their dogs. Pay attention to how well they interact with the puppies. Check around to see how clean the facility is and if it is up to par with your standards. If the breeder refuses to allow you to their facility they could have something they are trying to hide. They could be a scammer, especially if they ask to pay before you receive and even visit your puppy.

Tip 2. Ask Questions About The Dogs Medical History

Never forget to ask questions about your puppy’s medical history. Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents and the previous litters, too. Find out if any medical tests have been done, or if they know of illnesses or problems that occurred in the parents. Never buy a puppy that is sick or one that looks like they are not in good health. Puppies in poor health cost a lot of money to get healthy again, and they have a higher chance of dying. A sick litter of puppies is a red flag that the breeder isn’t using quality dogs for breeding.

Tip 3. Ask To See The Puppies Papers

Once you have met the breeder and picked the winning puppy, the next step will be to ask for the puppy’s pedigree papers. The pedigree papers are certified document that has all the information about your puppy and its parents. The paper will have the dates of birth and names of the puppy and its parents and the breed type.

Things To Avoid

Avoid breeders asking for money before you meet the puppy. There are peso-left who will sell the idea of a dog even though the dog never existed. Always visit the facility and puppy before agreeing to pay them any amount of money, even a deposit. If the breeder refuses to allow you to meet the puppy at their facility, refuse to purchase the dog from this breeder.  

Trustworthy breeders won’t hesitate to allow you to visit their puppies and let you come to their facility. Any breeder who refuses visits could be part of an illegal puppy mill or running a dog breeding scam. Do not purchase any dog or puppy from a puppy mill, and take your time to look for a trustworthy breeder. 

Is a Black German Shepherd The Right Dog For You?

Black German shepherds are extremely smart and very confident, they are wonderful companions and an all-around excellent dog breed to welcome into your family. This breed is great for households that have a lot of love to give and plenty of space for them to run, play, and exercise. With the right amount of training and socialization, this breed can be the perfect pet. 

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