There are many different colored dogs in the world, but I really tend to have a soft spot for black dogs. As my kids would say, they’re my kryptonite! Ranger, my current pup, is a black lab, whereas my previous two dogs, Sasha and Bear, were a black lab/shepherd mix and black cocker spaniel, respectively. So, as you can tell, I have a type!
That said, black dogs get their coloring from their genes. Most fully-black pups have a dominant black gene, but some can have a recessive black gene, too. I’ll get more into that a little later on.
There are some common breeds where you’ll find black dogs and some breeds that produce only black dogs, unless, of course, they are crossed with another. Sadly, in pet shelters and pet stores around the world, there’s a stigma associated with these gorgeous pups called “black dog syndrome.” They’re often looked over in favor of dogs of other colors.
Black dogs come in all shapes and sizes, from small lapdogs to gentle giants, with short, medium, and long fur that can be smooth or coarse. Some of the breeds below have an all-black variant, while some breeds consist solely of black dogs. Let’s take a look at the top ones on our list.
One look at the Affenpinscher, and you’ll understand where it gets its name from. Its name is German for monkey terrier, and it was originally bred to help rid homes of vermin. This all-black dog breed has a bold personality and is known for its ability to charm people. It has a pushed-in face and medium-length fur that will require consistent grooming.
This black dog is on the smaller side, standing approximately 11 inches tall and weighing around 10 pounds. Common concerns with this black dog breed are patellar luxation and corneal ulcers. They have a lifespan of 12 to 14 years.
2. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds for families. The most common are yellow, chocolate, and black varieties, which are all recognized by the Kennel Clubs, including the American Kennel Club. Labradors have a friendly disposition, and they’re outgoing, which makes them great for any size household.
The Labrador Retriever generally has a short, dense double coat that requires minimal care. They make great hunters, as they can be trained to retrieve birds and other small prey that have been shot. Black labs are generally medium to large-sized dogs that can stand 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall and weigh between 55 to 80 pounds. They live between 10-12 years.
3. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd has a lot of black in its coat color, but to find an all-black Shepherd is not as common. Those that have a solid black coat have a recessive gene. Originally bred to be a herding dog, the German Shepherd is agile with a lean, muscular build and is very intelligent. It’s often found as a guard, military, or police dog and is one of the best dogs to train by breed.
The German Shepherd has a short to medium-length thick coat and is known for its tell-tale pointed ears. It’s a medium to large-sized dog that stands 22 to 26 inches tall and weighs between 65 and 90 pounds. They live, on average, 9 to 13 years.
The Rottweiler is a mostly-black dog that has a brown shade in its coat color on its face and legs. They are strong pups that tend to be very protective, which makes them great working dogs and watchdogs; however, they also have a sensitive side. At home, they’re affectionate dogs that love to snuggle up for cuddles with their owners and tend to suffer separation anxiety.
The Rottweiler has a short, dense double coat that requires minimal care. It’s on the larger side, measuring 22 to 27 inches tall and weighing between 70 and 130 pounds. The typical lifespan of a Rottweiler is 8 to 10 years.
The history of the Schipperke dates back to Medieval times when they worked as watchdogs and ratters on ships. This dog is very energetic and devoted to its owner; however, it tends to be wary of strangers. It’s also a feisty and playful breed.
The Schipperke is one of the smaller black dog breeds. They have a coarse, thick coat. They are only about 10 to 13 inches tall and weigh between 10 and 16 pounds. The average lifespan is 12 to 14 years.
6. Great Dane
When you think majestic, the Great Dane certainly comes to mind. Though they come in many colors, you can find them in solid black, as well. The Great Dane, despite its size, has the temperament of a very goofy dog, but it’s also extremely good-natured and gets along with children and other pets. Great Danes are true gentle giants.
The silky coat on a Great Dane is short and sleek, and if they’re cared for properly, the coats are shiny. If you’re looking for a massive dog, you’ll find it here. Great Danes can stand up to 32 inches tall and weigh between 100 and 170 pounds. However, because of their size, they have very short lives compared to most other black dog breeds. They live an average of 8 to 10 years.
7. Belgian Sheepdog
If graceful had a picture, you’d see a picture of a beautiful Belgian Sheepdog next to the definition. These gorgeous dogs are working dogs, sheepherders, with a high level of intelligence. They are very energetic and need to be kept active, but they’re also highly trainable and make wonderful family pets due to their affectionate nature.
This black dog breed has a sleek, medium-length coat that’s easy to care for, with a glossy appearance. They’re medium in size, ranging from 22 to 26 inches tall, with a weight that falls between 45 and 75 pounds. Belgian Sheepdogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
8. Giant Schnauzer
A true working dog, the Giant Schnauzer has worked on ranches and in the law enforcement sector. This black dog breed is extremely intelligent and energetic. You will need to consistently reinforce training with the Giant Schnauzer because of its high level of energy and protective instincts.
The Giant Schnauzer has a medium-length, wiry coat and a bearded snout that draws attention. They require consistent grooming to keep their wiry coat from getting out of control. They are a medium to large-size breed that can stand 23 to 27 inches tall with a weight that falls between 65 and 90 pounds. The lifespan for this black dog is 12 to 15 years.
9. Cane Corso
Another gentle giant who wants nothing more than to cuddle with its family, the Cane Corso comes in black, as well as five other colors. They’re both affectionate and protective, choosing to safeguard their families, which is why they’re often used as watchdogs. The Cane Corso is very muscular, which can add to its intimidating appearance, and is one of the dogs with the strongest bite force.
This black dog has a short, double-layered coat that is designed to keep it warm in cooler weather, though it may thin out in warmer climates. It’s a rather large dog, with an intimidating size that can reach up to 27.5 inches tall and 110 pounds. This black dog lives to be 10 to 12 years old.
Another massive beast you won’t want to turn away is Newfoundland. They were originally used to carry out water rescues in icy waters, and their water-resistant coats made it possible. Newfoundlands are real workhorses on land, too. They make great watchdogs and can pull carts with ease due to their sheer size.
This dog is another gentle giant that is good with children and other dogs. They’re also well-known for their slobber and aren’t typically meant for apartment living.
The thick double coat on a Newfoundland is dense and will require regular brushing to avoid the formation of mats. The pup is one of the largest breeds, standing 26 to 28 inches tall with a hefty weight of 100 to 150 pounds. They live 9 to 10 years.
11. Scottish Terrier
The Scottish Terriers were originally bred as hunting dogs for badgers and foxes in Scotland and often succeeded as a ratter. The personalities of these black dogs are larger than life; they’re very feisty and bold, considering their short stature. Scottish Terriers also come in other colors, including brindle and wheaten.
The Scottish Terrier is one of the smaller breeds on this list, standing at just 10 inches tall. However, they can weigh between 18 and 22 pounds. Their double coat can grow long and requires regular maintenance to keep it under control. These black dogs live to be 12 to 14 years old.
12. Doberman Pinscher
Like the Rottweiler, the Doberman Pinscher is a mostly black dog with brown on its face and legs. The two dogs are both of intimidating stature, but the Doberman is leaner and sleeker. These black dogs are protective and loyal and are very well known for being a good line of defense.
Doberman Pinschers are a popular dog breed and are also fantastic family dogs that are the perfect blend of playful and affectionate.
The coat on the Doberman Pinscher is short and shiny, making it very easy to care for. They’re medium to large in size, with a height of 24 to 28 inches and a weight that clocks in at 60 to 100 pounds. You can expect a healthy Doberman to live 10 to 12 years.
13. Flat-Coated Retriever
The Flat-Coated Retriever looks a lot like a Golden Retriever in disguise. It has the same lovable, silly nature that makes it a great family pet. However, Flat Coated Retrievers are much more energetic and therefore, require a lot more exercise. It also comes in a chocolate brown coloring as well, though black is far more common.
That coat on this black dog is flat, hence its name, and flowing, though it requires minimal care. A simple brushing once a week will suffice for most. The Flat-Coated Retriever is a medium-sized dog that is between 22 and 24.5 inches tall and weighs 55 to 70 pounds. The average lifespan for the breed is 10 to 14 years.
14. Portuguese Water Dog
If you want a black dog that’s eager to please, the Portuguese Water Dog is your best bet. They are fun-loving, loyal dogs that have a playful streak. They’re also very social animals. The breed was bred to serve as a fisherman’s helper. While many come with solid black coats, you can also see them in other colors, such as white, brown, or a combination thereof.
The Portuguese Water Dog has a curly coat that needs brushing to keep it tame. They’re a medium-sized dog, standing 17 to 23 inches in height with a weight that falls between 35 and 60 pounds. The life expectancy of this black dog is around 11 to 13 years.
15. Black Russian Terrier
The Black Russian Terrier is often confused with the Giant Schnauzer since the two look a bit alike. However, the Russian Terrier is more than double the size of its lookalike. It’s a working dog that’s very strong and requires a diligent trainer as it can be very strong-willed.
The Black Russian Terrier has a coarse double coat that’s more than capable of withstanding cold temperatures; after all, it does hail from Russia. You’ll need to regularly maintain its coat.
It’s a very large dog that stands between 26 and 30 inches tall, nearly the size of a Great Dane, and can weigh from 80 to 150 pounds. Despite its sheer size, the breed lives 10 to 12 years on average.
16. Standard Poodle
The Standard Poodle is one of the most popular show dogs for its simple elegance. Their bodies are lean and sleek, and they tend to be hypoallergenic breeds. Standard Poodles are incredibly cute dogs, are also highly intelligent, and make excellent pets as they get along with children and other animals.
The Standard Poodle has a curly coat with a fluffy top mane and tail and will require grooming if you want to keep the typical poodle look. They are medium-sized pups that stand between 18 and 24 inches tall and weigh 50 to 70 pounds. The average lifespan is between 12 to 15 years.
The Pug is one of the brachycephalic black dog breeds, meaning it has a flat face. While the typical coloring of these pups is normally tan and black, if they have the dominant black gene, they will be all black in color. This pup originates from China, and its purpose was simply to be a companion. They are very social and fun-loving dogs and do very well with apartment living.
Pugs are smaller dogs with a short, coarse coat that’s easy to maintain, though they do shed a bit. They are typically 10 to 13 inches high and weigh no more than 14 to 18 pounds. They live a relatively long life of 13 to 15 years, provided they stay healthy.
18. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a glorious creature with flowing fur that comes in a tricolor coat. The other two colors are white and brownish-tan. Sometimes, however, they do have an all-black appearance. It’s a working dog, a true herder, with an affectionate, sweet temperament. They make wonderful pets and are extremely intelligent.
The Bernese Mountain Dog descends from the Roman Mastiff, so it’s a rather large breed. The long, furry coat doesn’t require much maintenance, but regular brushing is a good idea to avoid tangles and mats.
They have an average height that ranges between 23 and 28 inches tall and can weigh up to 110 pounds. It’s one of the shortest-living dog breeds, with a life expectancy of only 6 to 8 years.
If soft and cuddly is your jam, you’ll find it in the package known as the Puli. In addition to being cute, they’re also very dedicated to their owners, with an energetic, confident personality that really stands out. The Puli hails from Hungary and was designed to herd and protect livestock. While the coat is often black, some are gray or white.
The Puli has a wooly, dense, soft undercoat, but the top cords into dreadlocks, giving it a shaggy coat. It was designed to protect the dog against predators, such as wolves. This breed is a smallish dog that only stands about 16 to 17 inches tall, with a weight falling between 25 and 35 pounds. They live around 10 to 15 years on average.
20. Neapolitan Mastiff
The Neapolitan Mastiff is one of today’s rarer breeds. It’s another one of the gentle giants on our list, though their sheer intimidating size makes them powerful. Its personality is that of an easygoing companion but make no mistake: if someone threatens its family, it will go into protective mode. They have a lot of wrinkles and saggy skin, but beneath is a very muscular dog.
This black dog can sometimes look dusty, depending on its specific coloring, though black is by far the most common color. They have short coats that require minimal upkeep, though it’s a good idea to regularly bathe them since the slobber tends to get caught in their skin folds.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is enormous, standing 23 to 30 inches tall with a weight of up to 150 pounds. This pup will live around 7 to 9 years on average.
21. Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound is a majestic-looking pup with a tall stature and long, flowing fur. They’re very popular show dogs and tend not to shed nearly as much as other breeds. The personality of an Afghan Hound is a mix of goofy, happy, and aloof.
The Afghan Hound has a solid black coat that can look rusty black in the light. It requires consistent grooming and brushing to keep its flowing fur free of tangles and knots. This black dog stands tall at 25 to 27 inches and typically weighs between 50 to 60 pounds. They have a great lifespan, too, of 12 to 15 years.
22. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are cute pups that hail from England and are well-known as nanny dogs. Their personalities are that of enthusiastic pups that are loving and energetic, making them perfect companions for homes with children. While they come in black varieties, they are also available in many other colors.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a short, smooth coat that requires very little maintenance. The pup is small to medium size with a height of 13 to 16 inches and a weight that falls between 24 to 38 pounds. They can live between 12 to 14 years.
23. Dutch Shepherd
Hailing from the Netherlands, the Dutch Shepherd has a gorgeous appearance with almond-shaped eyes and a sleek silhouette. They make excellent family pets because of their obedience and affectionate nature. They are great at herding though, so don’t be surprised if they try to do it at your home — old habits die hard, after all.
The coat on the Dutch Shepherd can vary between short and long, with a wiry texture. It’s a medium-sized breed with heights running from 22 to 24 inches and an average weight of around 65 pounds. They tend to live 11 to 14 years.
24. English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel is well-known for its long, floppy ears. They tend to be very easygoing pets and come in a wide variety of colors, including tan, red, and black. They may not be the best for homes with smaller children as they can sometimes snap at them. Early socialization and teaching kids how to properly handle dogs can help curb this behavior.
The English Cocker Spaniel has a silky, curly coat that can grow quite long without regular grooming. They stand 14 to 17 inches tall and weigh between 25 and 35 pounds. The average lifespan of these black beauties ranges from 12 to 15 years.
Pomeranians are short, cute, fluffy dogs. They tend to come in white, red, and cream colors mostly, but black poms do exist. Pomeranians are very intelligent dogs but tend to display domination tendencies. However, with proper training and socialization, this can be avoided.
Pomeranians have short, fluffy coats that need a lot of brushing to keep them tangle-free. They’re small dogs, standing up to a foot tall and weighing around 10 pounds. They do live long lives, however, ranging from 12 to 16 years.
26. Border Collie
When you think of a Border Collie, what comes to mind is not typically an all-black pup, though they do exist. In fact, Border Collies come in 17 different colors. A black one is likely to contain a white spot somewhere. These dogs are considered by some to be the most intelligent dog breed there is.
They are typically very keen, tenacious, and responsive, though they are also very loyal. Because of their intelligence, it’s necessary to keep them busy, lest they take on destructive tendencies.
Border Collies have medium-length coats and should be groomed regularly to keep up with them. These athletic dogs stand 18 to 22 inches tall and typically weigh 35 to 45 pounds. They also have an average lifespan that exceeds 12 years.
27. Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is an intimidating-looking dog with its thick black coat and blue tongue. They come in black, blue, cream, and red varieties and date back to Ancient China, where they made great guard dogs. While they can seem aloof and wary of strangers, they are very affectionate with their families.
The Chow Chow’s coat is extremely thick and fluffy and will require regular maintenance. They are medium dogs with a height of 17 to 20 inches and a weight range of 45 to 70 pounds. The Chow Chow can live 8 to 12 years.
28. French Bulldog
The French Bulldog is another brachycephalic breed with a flat nose and large mouth that looks like it’s smiling at you. French bulldogs have large ears and tend to be good watchdogs that alert to potential threats. The breed is extremely friendly and makes a good pet for apartment dwellers and families of all sizes.
The coat of a French Bulldog is short and smooth, requiring little care. These pups are on the smaller side, standing at heights of 11 to 13 inches and weighing less than 30 pounds. They live about 10 to 12 years.
Genetics of Black Dog Breeds
What creates a black dog is a dominant black gene, which researchers have seemingly determined stems from a mutation in the Beta-defensin gene. However, if two non-black parents both have a recessive black gene, they can create all-black puppies.
Which Dog Breeds Are Completely Black?
There are several breeds that are completely black, and these include the Newfoundland, the Scottish Terrier, Black Labrador Retrievers, Flat-Coated Retrievers, Black Russian Terriers, Affenpinschers, and Standard Poodles. Though some of these breeds may come in other colors, they do have all-black varieties.
Is It Necessary for Black Dogs To Have Black Puppies?
Sometimes, black dogs do not have black puppies, but this is rare or in the case that they mate with dogs of other colors. Black dog breeds that are purebred will only have black puppies because of the genetics involved.
What’s the Origin of Black Dogs?
The origin of black dogs is really hard to tell because there is so much folklore about the coloring and genetics. However, genes play a significant role in the pet’s coloring.
When it comes to black-coated dogs, many people believe in the superstitions that come from old tales, saying that they’re synonymous with death. However, these dogs, like dogs of other colors, can be the most loving, loyal pets you encounter. If you’re tempted to adopt a black pup, like I always am, don’t let these tales keep you from your new furry friend.
Like all dogs, though, your new pup will need training and socialization. Make sure you pay attention to their characteristics and personality, as well.