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Black German Shepherds: Dog Traits and Care

Sam Shephard is an experienced German Shepherd owner and has learned throughout the years how to optimize the breed's health and wellness.


There are a lot of different types of German Shepherds, and one of the more popular is the Black German Shepherd.

Many people think that the Black Shepherd is the result of cross-breeding or a defect in the German Shepherd breed, but this simply isn’t the case. In fact, black dogs are officially recognized within the breed standard.

That’s not to say that they’re common, though. Black German Shepherds are actually relatively uncommon, though they are becoming more and more popular.

The German Shepherd Dog and Black Shepherds

The German Shepherd Dog (also named Alsatian, abbreviated GSD) was, of course, originally bred in Germany. They were originally designed to be functional working dogs: they were bred to be strong, energetic, and intelligent, as well as to have a strong sense of loyalty for their owners and trainers.

They were certainly bred well and are still the most common working dogs seen in movies, in the army, and on police forces. Although the Belgian Malinois is definitely becoming a more common sight.

Black German Shepherds are really not that much different than regular Shepherds, aside from having a straighter back. They are still purebred German Shepherds and are known for sharing the same temperament. This means that black dogs share the following traits:

  • They are protective and make fantastic guard dogs.
  • They are loyal and will defend and love their owners even in tough conditions.

They are intelligent and very easy to train with complex tasks, which is one of the reasons that they are revered as working dogs.


A black German Shepherd emerges as a result of the breeding between two parents who are primarily black. It’s also possible for black and tan parents to give birth to a dog who primarily expresses the black gene, meaning that even if the parents are black and tan, the offspring could be fully black.

Some of these dogs don’t turn black until they grow older, as other hairs begin to turn black. Black German Shepherd dogs, on the other hand, are black from the time that they are born.

All types of German Shepherd dogs that can be black can give birth to a full black. It doesn’t matter if they are Czech, American, or naturally German—if they can provide the genes for a black puppy, then they can give birth to one.

The German Shepherd dog is recognized by the American Kennel Clubs, and black dogs of this breed are acknowledged as being purebred.


Black German Shepherds are generally a lot less common than other colors. This means that they can fetch a higher price than a regular dog. A regular German Shepherd will probably cost you between $300 and $700, whereas a black variation might cost you anywhere from $700 to $2000.

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Black German Shepherd History

The German Shepherd breed was initially developed to be a herding dog in Germany. The breed is considered to be the result of the ideas of Max von Stephanitz. He was a cavalry officer who supported the notion of dogs being bred for work, and he set to work on crafting a breed of dog that could do just this.

The breed didn’t appear in America until the early part of the 20th century. They struggled to grow in popularity—especially after the World Wars, due to their close relationship and association with Germany—and were actually renamed Alsatian dogs, especially in the UK. It was only in 2010 that the name was officially returned to German Shepherd dog.

Taking Care of Your Dog

There are a few things that you should know about taking care of a black German Shepherd dog.


One of the first things to take note of is that Shepherds need a lot of exercise. They were bred to have huge amounts of energy so that they could work long hours in less-than-ideal conditions.

However, this natural reserve of energy means that the dogs need to be taken out for exercise at least once a day, if not more. If they don’t get their exercise, then they will become restless. This is often what results in the types of behavior that lead people to believe that they have ‘bad dogs.’ They’re not bad—they’re just pent up!

One of the best ways to exercise your dog is to give them ample training. They are highly intelligent and eager to learn, and you’ll want to train them anyway, so this knocks off two birds with one stone. If you continue to practice training as a regular form of exercise, you’ll be able to teach your dogs some incredible things.


German Shepherds are prone to a number of health problems—in particular, problems with their joints and bones. They are highly prone to a condition known as hip dysplasia, which can affect their movement, cause them pain, and lower their quality of life.

One of the best ways to avoid health problems is to ensure that your dog is eating plenty of food that is rich in nutrients that aid the bones. Calcium, magnesium, and manganese are all minerals that are important for joint and bone health.



German Shepherds are very strong and loyal dogs, and they can be scary—especially if you’re on the wrong side of a Shepherd who is acting as a guard dog or a police dog. However, despite the fact that they can be a bit frightening if you’ve upset them or if they’re protecting their owners, they are generally quite nice.

One of the most important things in this regard is to make sure that the dogs are properly trained and socialized from early on. This way, they can become accustomed to people of different ages and can relate in their own way to different family members.

These dogs are usually alert and confident—however, they can take some time to get accustomed to strangers. Fortunately, once they’ve gotten to know someone and trust them, they are hard-pressed to forget a face. Again, they are very intelligent dogs.

While they are great at protecting their family, this can come at a price. Because they love their families so much, they can become distressed and uncomfortable when they are left alone. This can lead to symptoms of separation anxiety, like destructive tendencies and excessive barking.


A lot of German Shepherd owners like to feed their puppies 4 meals a day. This is a good idea—because of the high amount of energy that their bodies use, they need a relatively consistent source of energy and nutrition. This will also ensure that they get the nutrients that they need to grow strong, healthy bones.

Once the dog reaches half a year old, you can reduce the amount of food that you feed them to 2 or 3 meals a day, eventually leveling out at 2 meals a day for adults. Remember, these dogs do particularly well with calcium-rich food.

It’s a good idea to get your adult dog at least 1.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight and to average about .59 grams of fat per pound. This will ensure optimum health.



Black German Shepherds are beautiful dogs, but they need a fair amount of maintenance to remain beautiful.

If your dog has a medium coat, you probably won’t need to brush your dog more than twice a week. Long-coated dogs, on the other hand, require a great deal more care.

These dogs have a double coat, and the upper layer will shed quite easily. You’ll need to vacuum a lot, and you’ll have two times a year when the dogs shed a huge amount of hair.

Make sure you check behind the ears of your dog—dust and dirt can collect in the crevices, which can lead to infections if it’s not cleaned!

Remember to begin grooming as early as possible, so your dog can become familiar with the task and learn to enjoy it.

Black German Shepherds are pretty much the same as regular German Shepherds. The main difference is that they’re all-black from birth and that they have somewhat straighter backs. You can train them and treat them as you would any other form of the breed, and they will be happy.

Further Reading

  • Stephanitz V. M. The German Shepherd Dog In Word And Picture. Read Books, 2009, 712 p.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2020 Sam Shepards


Sam Shepards (author) from Europe on November 23, 2020:

Thank you for the comment Liz. It sounds more like a people problem than a dog problem actually, but these dogs can be quite impressive indeed.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 21, 2020:

The name 'alsatian' is still widely used in the UK. I have always been a little wary of these dogs, ever since someone set one on me, as a child. I have never run so fast in all my life. Your article is detailed and interesting. I have learnt a lot about this dog breed.

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