Black German Shepherd – What is a Black German Shepherd?

Black German Shepherd Dogs are rare and misunderstood. They are simply German Shepherd Dogs with black pigmentation of coat color. For a German Shepherd to be black, both parents must carry the recessive “a” allele gene.

Please also note that “Black Shepherds” are simply German Shepherds that are black. There is no such thing as a “black Shepherd”. (I’ll cover where to buy a black German Shepherd below).

This is what a black German Shepherd puppy looks like. (Special thanks to Leona Donnely for letting us use this pic!):

This is what a black adult male German Shepherd Dog looks like (special thanks to Sarah Herrington for this pic of her black GSD, “Jet”):

Black German Shepherd named "Jet"Jet was the only male in his litter of three, and he’s the only one that was all black. His mother was all black too, and his dad was black and tan.

Here’s one more, from Wikipedia. Why not?!

Bad information on the Internet:

Before writing this article I dug through dozens of sites with conflicting information. The information was conflicting because it was bad, and some people running absolutely horrific websites about German Shepherd Dogs have copied and re-worded the misleading information. Below I’ll show you what I discovered along with links for additional reading for anyone curious about the agouti-signalling peptide (ASIP) gene. It isn’t a mystery; scientists have broken down exactly how this works.

Where to buy a black German Shepherd:

Most black German Shepherds are from working lines. These are very high caliber dogs only for people with highly active lifestyles and willing to spend a significant amount of time training. A solid black German Shepherd will cost you thousands of dollars. While any reputable breeder is going to consider health and temperament there are ways to get a black German Shepherd.

Here are your options:

  1. One breeder in the USA has gone through great lengths to produce healthy, solid black German Shepherd Dogs using a special breeding program. Here’s their site:
  2. Many Sable German Shepherds, even though they’re not black, carry the recessive gene for a black puppy. If both parents have this gene, there is a small chance they will have a black puppy. In this case you’ll have to wait for one to pop up or get lucky.
  3. Adopt a rescued Black German Shepherd.

How do German Shepherds turn black?

As mentioned above, the gene for black pigment in the fur is recessive. If both parents have this gene, there is a small chance a puppy will be black. I have no idea what the chances are, but if I had to guess I’d say 10%. Some breeders breed dogs in hopes of getting a black puppy. Other breeders have gone through great lengths to produce black dogs.

FAQs and Myths:

Are black German Shepherd Dogs bigger?
NO. Several websites state that black German Shepherds are larger than “normal” German Shepherds. The only difference is the color of the fur.

Are black German Shepherds softer?
NO. The only difference is the color of the fur. It’s pigment.

Do black German Shepherds have straight backs?
NO. Are you seeing a pattern here?

Are black German Shepherds solid black?
They can be solid black, but they can also have a white spot on their chest or a little tan on the feet or under the tail.

Have another question?
Please by all means email us and we will add on to this FAQ.

Additional reading: