The 18 Best Black Dog Breeds

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Do you want a black dog? According to the American Kennel Club, "black dogs are the most frequent victims of discrimination in animal shelters."

Some people believe that black dogs are bad luck, and this often leads to them being passed over for adoption.

However, black dogs make wonderful pets, and despite their color, there also a huge selection of black colored dog breeds!

Here, we will discuss the xx best black dog breeds.

We'll provide information on each breed's temperament and personality, so you can decide if a black dog is right for you!


We've ordered them by size for ease of search.


Small black dog breeds


Dachshund


Basically the world's most famous sausage dog, the Dachshund is easily one of the best black dog breeds to have for their ease of training, as well as how great they are as family pets.

Breed Information

Temperament: Very friendly with everyone.

Height: 8 - 9 inches (standard), 5 - 6 inches (mini)

Weight: 16 - 32 pounds (standard), under 11 pounds (mini)

Life expectancy: 12 - 16 years

Toy poodle


Poodles come in all shapes and sizes, and these fluffy puppies can come in gorgeous black.

They make great family pets, and are notably excellent for being gentle for people who are allergic to dog fur!

Breed Information

Temperament: Very friendly with everyone

Height: max 10 inches

Weight: 4 -6 pounds

Life expectancy: 12 - 16 years

Miniature Schnauzer


The smallest of the three versions of Schnauzers, the Miniature Schnauzer usually come in black.

These dogs are one of the easiest to train, because they are usually very eager to please their owners. They're great with family and kids, as well as other dogs.

The only downside is that they require quite a bit of exercise, as they're high energy dogs.

Breed Information

Temperament: Very friendly with everyone.

Height: 12 - 14 inches

Weight: 11 - 20 pounds

Life expectancy: 12 - 15 years

Chihuahua


Loud, ratty and full of personality, the tiny, but mighty Chihuahua comes in a variety of colors, with black being one of the predominant colors.

While they can be loud and bark a lot, they are extremely loyal to their own family, and when properly socialized, make great family pets - friendly to both children and other dogs.

Breed Information

Temperament: Picky with who they're friendly with.

Height: 5 - 8 inches

Weight: max 6 pounds

Life expectancy: 14 - 16 years


Pomeranian


Also known as the fluffiest small dog, Pomeranians were bred to be lap dogs of the Royals.

Usually sporting their famous brown coat, there are variants coming in full black - perfect for giving you a scare attack in the middle of the night.

Loving, loyal to a fault and always eager to be on your lap, Pomeranians make for wonder house pets, as they are also relatively low energy.

Just make sure you make them wear a bell collar if they're black, and it's night time though...

Breed Information

Temperament: Generally friendly with everyone

Height: 6 - 7 inches

Weight: 3 - 7 pounds

Life expectancy: 12 - 16 years


Pug


The adorable smushed up face of a pug also comes in all black, for extra smushed cuteness!

Pugs are loving dogs and eager to please their owners, as well as being very adorably quirky.

The upside to having a black Pug is that you'll know where they are even in the dark - their farts usually give their positions away.

Breed Information

Temperament: Very friendly with everyone

Height: 10 - 13 inches

Weight: 14 - 18 pounds

Life expectancy: 13 - 15 years


Medium black dog breeds



Labrador Retriever


Coming in our favorite dark chocolate color, all Labrador Retrievers are known for one thing - their huge passion for food.

If you have a toddler, they are you personal vacuum cleaners, and will suck ALL FOOD RELATED ITEMS from the ground into the black hole of their stomachs.

Food aside, they are high energy dogs, requiring quite a bit of exercise. However, they're also eager to please, and are wonderful family pets due to their friendliness.

In fact, the Labrador Retriever is the most owned dog in the world, according to the AKC (source)

It's also thanks to their friendliness and empathy that they're very often used as therapy or emotional support dogs, too.

Breed Information

Temperament: SUPER friendly and loves everyone!

Height: 22.5 - 24.5 (male), 21.5 - 23.5 (female)

Weight: 65 - 80 pounds (male), 55 - 70 (female)

Life expectancy: 10 - 12 years


Flat Coated Retriever


They literally look like black fur versions of a golden retriever.

That said, they're also from the retriever family, which makes them physically similar to the Golden Retriever.

The flat coated retriever shares very similar characteristics to their golden counterparts - very eager to please, loves the water, and any living thing that breathes.

This makes them one of the best dogs to own if you want a dog that loves you, your family, your cats, and the 12 mice that live in the attic.

In short, it's a black golden retriever!

Breed Information

Temperament: Very friendly with everyone. 

Height: 23 - 24.5 inches (male), 22 - 23.5 inches (female)

Weight: 60 - 70 pounds

Life expectancy: 8 - 10 years


German Shepherd


German shepherds, the face of the k9 police dog units. They're strong, agile, and can be trained to do nearly everything.

Interestingly, the black German Shepherd got it's coloration due to a recessive gene, which turns it completely black. They also come in short and long coated versions!

The black coloration in turn makes it look extremely intimidating, especially when they wear the police dog gear, or you see them charging at a suspect, teeth bared.

Apart from work, they're also amazing family dogs - when properly socialized, they're loving and are great companions for family and other dogs.

In fact, a lot of German Shepherd owners can attest to them being goofballs in general, black colored or not.

Breed Information

Temperament: Generally friendly with everyone (trained)

Height: 24 - 26 inches (male), 22 - 24 inches (female)

Weight: 65 - 90 pounds (male), 50 - 70 pounds (female)

Life expectancy:  7 - 10 years


Belgian Malinois

Taken by Michael Wade


The Belgian Malinois breed is another breed similar to the German Shepherd, and are considered working breeds, and one of the best as military working dogs.

Eager to please and extremely aggressive when needed to be, they're one of the best at military operations where attacking or biting is needed.

Also known informally as a 'workaholic dog', Belgian Malinois (and their related Sheepdog cousins) are highly trainable and very energetic - they're also super eager to please their owners, just like the German Shepherds.

Breed Information

Temperament: Generally aloof with strangers/other dogs

Height: 24 - 26 inches (male), 22 - 24 inches (female)

Weight: 60 - 80 pounds (male), 40 - 60 pounds (female)

Life expectancy:   14 - 16 years


Doberman Pinscher


The Doberman Pinscher is a popular dog breed that is known for being very alert and intelligent.

Originally bred as guard dogs, they're one of the most common breeds used in personal protection.

They come most commonly in black, brown, fawn and blue colors.

While they are considered high energy dogs and is considered more on the aggressive side, they make great family pets when given enough exercise.

They're loyal to their owners and are known for being one of the most intelligent dog breeds - making them relatively easy to train.

Don't let their glare fool you - if well trained, they're excellent family dogs, if a little more alert for goings-on, given their original breed's purpose.

Interestingly, Doberman Pinschers were bred by a tax collector, Louis Dobermann to protect him when collecting tax from the townsfolk. Talk about bred for a purpose.

Breed Information

Temperament: Generally friend with people/dogs (trained)

Height: 26 - 28 inches (male), 24 - 26 inches (female)

Weight: 75 - 100 pounds (male), 60 - 90 pounds (female)

Life expectancy:  10 - 12 years


Croatian Sheepdog

Taken by Jae Choi


A relative rarity in the world beyond Croatia (and the Balkan states), it's an extremely old breed, with their histories going back as far as the late 1300s by the Bishop of Djakovo.

Like all sheepdog breeds, they're super hardworking, eager to please and are super high energy.

They share many similarities to the Belgian Malinois as well - this dog is NOT for you if you're not active outdoors.

Oh, an important point to note is that they have brilliantly black coats that don't require much grooming - they require minimal maintenance to look great.

Breed Information

Temperament: Generally aloof to strangers, protective toward family

Height: 16 - 20 inches

Weight: 29 - 44 pounds

Life expectancy: 13 - 14 years


Rottweiler


The Rottweiler is a breed that is often misunderstood.

It doesn't help very much that their black coats and intense stare scares most people.

Or that they can growl when they're happy (in fact, this is pretty unique to the breed - experienced Rottweiler owners can tell the difference between an angry growl and a playful or happy growl!)

They're one of the most common breeds used in police and military operations, as well as personal protection, after the German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois.

This is because they have an innate sense to be loyal and protective of their family and property.

While they may look intimidating, they are actually a gentle dog breed, and are surprisingly great with children.

They're also a pretty intelligent dog breed, making them relatively easy to train.

While they may not be the best choice for a first-time dog owner, they make an excellent family pet for those who know how to handle them!

Breed Information

Temperament:  Fiercely protective of family, aloof to strangers/dogs

Height: 24 - 27 inches (male), 22-25 inches (female)

Weight: 95-135 pounds (male), 80-100 pounds (female)

Life expectancy: 9-10 years


Shiba Inu


Probably the most well known dog in the world for their independence and sass, Shiba Inu dogs also come in a variety of colors.

One of their most popular would be black, although there isn't a particular variant that comes in all black.

But one thing's for sure - having a Shiba Inu at home will make for an interesting home, with a lot of laughter and training inbetween!

Breed Information

Temperament: Generally aloof to strangers, protective toward family

Height: 14.5-16.5 inches (male), 13.5-15.5 inches (female)

Weight: 23 pounds (male), 17 pounds (female)

Life expectancy: 13 - 16 years


Large black dog breeds


There are several types of large black dogs that fit this category and all share similar characteristics - mighty, strong, proud, and can be aloof.

Combined with their black fur and large size, these dogs make pretty intimidating guard dogs.

However, with proper socialization and training, they'll not be unnecessarily aggressive, though the guardian in them will remain wary of strangers and guests.


Cane Corso


The mighty Cane Corso is a large black dog breed that is often used as a guard dog.

They are bred for their strength and size, making them one of the larger breeds of dogs you'll find.

Their coats can be either black, dark brown or fawn, but they always have a black muzzle and ears.

While not typically an aggressive dog breed, they will become fiercely loyal and protective of their family and property when trained properly.

They make excellent guard dogs but are not recommended for first-time dog owners.

Breed Information

Temperament:  Generally aloof to strangers, affectionate toward family

Height: 25-27.5 inches (male), 23.5-26 inches (female)

Weight: 90 - 110 pounds (male), 90 - 100 pounds (female) [Approx.]

Life expectancy: 9 - 12 years


Great Dane


The Great Dane is a breed of dog that is aptly named - it's one of the largest dog breeds in the world, and can weigh up to 200 pounds!

While they come in a variety of colors, including black, their coat is typically a deep black.

Their size and imposing figure often scares people off, but with proper training and socialization these dogs are some of the gentlest giants you'll ever meet.

They're also usually unaware of their size, and usually think they're lapdogs.

Any lap is a target for them, so make sure you're strong enough to have a 200 pound lapdog sit on you at any time.

Their sheer size, pure black coat and extremely loud barks are probably one of the best deterrents for your home.


They're also one of the more intelligent dog breeds out there, making them relatively easy to train.

Though they may not be suitable for first-time owners, they make excellent family pets for those who have adequate space for them.

Breed Information

Temperament: Generally aloof to strangers, affectionate toward family

Height: 30-32 inches (male), 28-30 inches (female)

Weight: 140-175 pounds (male), 110-140 pounds (female)

Life expectancy: 7-10 years


Bernese Mountain Dog


The Bernese Mountain Dog is a large, tri-colored dog breed that is often used as a working dog, to find a pure black Bernese Mountain dog is extremely rare.

If you see a full black one, chances are it's either a genetic defect, or they're mixed with another breed, like the Labrador Retriever.

They are bred for their strength, intelligence and good temperament, making them an ideal pet for those who want a loyal and intelligent dog.

While they come in a variety of colors, their coat is typically black with rust markings - most notably on their chest and around their muzzle.

Funnily enough, unlike most dogs with black fur, this black dog breed does not remotely look aggressive or dangerous - they're usually happy-go-lucky and don't make very good guards.

Their fur is long and thick, protecting them from the cold winters typical to their native Switzerland.

These dogs make excellent family pets but require plenty of exercise - so if you're not up for taking your dog on hour-long walks every day, this may not be the right breed for you!

Breed Information

Temperament:  SUPER friendly and loves everyone!

Height: 25-27.5 inches (male), 23-26 inches (female)

Weight: 80-115 pounds (male), 70-95 pounds (female)

Life expectancy: 7-10 years

Newfoundland



The Newfoundland is a large black dog breed that is often used as a working dog.

They are bred for their strength, intelligence and good temperament, making them an ideal pet for those who want a loyal and intelligent dog.

While they come in a variety of colors, their coat is typically black with rust markings - most notably on their chest and around their muzzle.

Funnily enough, unlike most dogs with black fur, this black dog breed does not remotely look aggressive or dangerous - they're usually happy-go-lucky and don't make very good guards.

Their fur is long and thick, protecting them from the cold winters typical to their native Canada.

These absolute unit of a dog makes excellent family pets but require plenty of exercise - so if you're not up for taking your dog on hour-long walks every day, this may not be the right breed for you!

Breed Information

Temperament: SUPER friendly and loves everyone!

Height: 28 inches (avg. male), 26 inches (avg. female)

Weight: 130-150 pounds (male), 100-120 pounds (female)

Life expectancy: 9-10 years


Conclusion


This is not an exhaustive list of black dog breeds - we could definitely have missed out a few of them!

Any breed we missed and you REALLY want to see here? Let us know in the comments below!

Editor's note: while the breeds above are listed as the best black dog breeds, we believe ALL dogs are good dogs, but these breeds are good, just in dashing black.


about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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