Black German Shepherd Breed Guide: Everything You Need to Know
Category_Dog Knowledge

Black German Shepherd Breed Guide: Everything You Need to Know

by Andrew Ehlert

If you want a well-rounded family pet, the Black German Shepherd (BGS) might be the one for you. The name might sound intimidating, but they are very gentle family dogs and make delightful companions.

Valued for their versatility and general desirable characteristics such as loyalty, courage, and intelligence, it should come as no surprise that German Shepherds are perennial top 2-3 most popular dog breeds in the US. Their magnificent black color variant is recognized as purebred and highly sought after. So if you wish to learn more about the Black German Shepherd, read on as we delve into everything you need to know.

History of the German Shepherd

Max Von Stephanitz, the father of the German Shepherd breed, was a captain in the German Calvary who first discovered the German Shepherd at a dog show and thought it would make a good working dog.

The intelligence of the species fascinated Von Stephanitz. While working at a Veterinary College in Berlin, he learned about breeding them.

The Secret Behind the Black Fur Color

The black color is a recessive gene. There are two ways to breed a genuine Black German Shepherd. Two full-blood German Shepherds must mate, or both parents carry the recessive gene. Because of their rarity, Black German Shepherd puppies cost nearly twice as much as the standard.

Nutritional Care of the Black German Shepherd

As puppies, these dogs eat about four meals a day. As they grow, the portions decrease. Starting at six months, they may only need to eat two to three times a day, and as adults, two meals a day is usually adequate.

Because they easily bloat, adult Shepherds need no more than 1.19 grams of protein and 0.59 grams of fat per pound of their body weight. A puppy’s caloric intake is much higher. Black German Shepherds burn approximately 20 calories per pound a day. The adult males require 1300-1800 calories daily. Females only need 1000-1500 calories per day.

Black Fur vs. Standard German Shepherd

This purebred German Shepherd is the same as a regular German Shepherd except for its color. The black fur makes it stand out from the rest. The Black German Shepherd comes from a recessive gene and is rare, which increases its value.

Like all German Shepherds, the black version is a large-breed dog. Out of the entire German Shepherd species, only 6.8% is black. Black and standard German Shepherds are the same breed but have some differences. The characteristics they share are:

  • A build that is large and muscular
  • A fluffy tail
  • Ears that stick up straight
  • A coat that is double-layered and heavily sheds
  • High susceptibility to health problems

Black Fur

The Black German Shepherds have a 100% black double coat, often longer in some spots. They are usually taller than the standard and have a straighter back. Black German Shepherd puppies are born black and keep their color throughout their lives.

Because of their rarity, Black German Shepherd puppies cost more than the standard type. Male Black German Shepherds weigh from 60-90 pounds and can grow to 26 inches tall, and females can get up to 75 pounds and no taller than 24 inches.

Standard Fur

Traditional German Shepherds have medium-length coats. A standard German Shepherd can produce black puppies by mating with another German Shepherd that carries the recessive gene.

The Personality of Black German Shepherds

Don’t let the black coat fool you. Black German Shepherds are as loveable as the standard type and make great pets. They are loyal and protective of their owners and will defend their property if they sense danger.

Because of their inborn instinct to protect, BGS may find all humans a threat. Train them at a young age to distinguish between friendly and threatening people. These intelligent dogs respond well to training and can be therapeutically helpful to law enforcement and those with disabilities.

Black German Shepherds are not happy alone. They need to be around people and in environments with a lot of stimulation. They are active dogs that love being outdoors. They live well with young children and other dogs. If you leave them alone for too long, they can suffer from separation anxiety and possibly become destructive.

Physical Activity of the Black German Shepherd

The Black German Shepherds are high-energy dogs and require about an hour of exercise per day. They like to stay active and love to engage in outdoor games, such as frisbee, fetch, or just chasing you around the yard.

A day in the park is a favorite pastime of theirs. Consider challenging them because they are extremely intelligent and thrive on mental stimulation to keep them sharp and ready for work.

The Health of the Black German Shepherd

Black German Shepherds are prone to medical issues and expected to live between 9 and 13 years. The most common health problems they encounter involve some form of degeneration.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

The thigh or elbow bones do not fit into their sockets correctly, likely causing stiffness, pain, and eventually debilitation. Since Black German Shepherds have straighter backs, their chances of developing these problems are slimmer than a traditional German Shepherd. The best way to prevent this condition is regular vet visits and plenty of exercise.


The cartilage of the joints wears down and causes them to deteriorate and stiffen up. The symptoms can get so bad that the dog may be unable to move. Osteoarthritis is most common in older dogs, so extra care is crucial.

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Degenerative Myelopathy, also known as Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy (CDRM), is an inherited neurological condition that affects the spinal cord and the nerves. As a result, the nerve cells weaken to the point of paralysis in the hind legs.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

This disorder involves the spine as well. Compression of the nerves leads to weakness, stiffness, and pain in the back, hips, and tail.


The Black German Shepherd makes a great companion for families. Its sweet disposition and unique black coat make this breed a favorite. As long as you allow it ample space to stay active and give it the attention it needs, this canine will not let you down.

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