Black dog breeds can make great pets. But, sharing the same fur color doesn’t mean every black dog has the same needs.
The pigment that causes black fur is called eumelanin. But, black dogs can still have different lengths and types of fur.
Before choosing a black dog breed, you should look into their temperament and general care needs, to make sure it is the best fit for your family.
Top 20 Black Dogs
Here are the top 20 best black dog breeds:
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Great Dane
- Border Collie
- Siberian Husky
- Doberman Pinscher
- Miniature Pinscher
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Italian Greyhound
- English Cocker Spaniel
No two black dog breeds are the same. So, we will give you a brief overview of our top 20 choices, to help you find the right one for your family.
Should I Get A Black Dog?
Sometimes people have negative feelings about dogs with all-black fur.
In fact, several studies have looked into adoption rates at dog shelters. They suggested that fully black dogs were the least likely to be adopted, and the most likely to be euthanized.
But, this doesn’t mean that black dogs have bad traits!
It’s more likely to do with lots of old superstitions about black dogs.
In reality, most black dogs are loving, affectionate, and friendly.
The right dog for you will depend on your space, time, and dedication. Every dog breed is different! So, even if you are set on getting a black dog, make sure you look closely at their everyday needs and temperament.
We’ve included a huge variety of black dog breeds on our list, so there should be something for everyone. And you might even be able to rescue one from a shelter near you!
Black Fur Color Genetics
Have you ever wondered what causes a black fur color in dogs?
Black is the default color of the pigment eumelanin. This pigment can be modified by various other genes to create colors like brown or grey.
But, if unmodified, your dog’s fur will be black! It will completely depend on the genes that your dog inherits from its parents.
The first Labrador Retrievers were black in fur color. Black is also, traditionally, the most popular color for Labs used as gundogs.
Labradors are a medium sized breed that will weigh between 50 and 80 pounds as an adult.
They are known for being friendly, confident, and affectionate dogs that respond well to people of any age.
As an intelligent breed, Labs will respond well to training. But you should still train and socialize your dog from a young age for best results.
Poodles come in a huge spectrum of colors. So, you could get a solid black Poodle, or a mixture of shades, like black and white.
Poodles are intelligent, energetic, and playful. So, they do best with an active family who can dedicate plenty of time to training and social interaction.
The German Shepherd is another breed that can come either in all black, or a mixture of colors. The most common colors for this breed are black and tan.
This breed grows to an average of 24 inches tall, weighing 50 to 90 pounds.
They are popular family pets, but are also used in the police, military, and in working dog roles in general.
German Shepherds are loyal, athletic, and intelligent dogs. Using consistent, positive, reward-based training methods to train this breed.
One of the smaller black dog breeds on our list is the Pug. This breed comes either in all black, or fawn with a black face and muzzle.
Pugs are small, friendly, affectionate dogs that take well to training, and love spending time with their families.
However, their flattened faces mean that they suffer from a number of serious health problems.
This includes eye, breathing, and dental issues.
Although, modern breeders are trying to combat these problems by creating the healthier Retro Pug.
Another wonderful dog with black in its coat is the black and white Beagle! With this breed, you can get a dog that looks just like the cartoon character Snoopy!
Beagles are social, friendly, and confident dogs. But, they will need a family who can keep up with their high energy requirements.
This isn’t a dog that will do well cooped up in the house all day. Beagles are also known for being high-shedders.
The Chihuahua is the smallest black dog on our list today, weighing only 3 to 6 pounds as an adult! They often grow no taller than 15 inches.
Chihuahuas can vary quite a lot in appearance. Some have long hair, while others have short fur.
Some have apple-shaped heads, while others have flatter heads, like the deer head Chihuahua.
This breed is loyal, feisty, and devoted. They will love their families, but can be prone to snapping. Socialize your Chihuahua from a young age to minimise these problems.
The Pomeranian is an all-black dog that will be popular with anyone who loves fluffy breeds. This dog has a small pointed face and a very furry body!
Pomeranians are energetic, loyal, and loving. But he can be stubborn! So, make sure you socialize and train your Pom from a young age, consistently!
As smaller dogs, Pomeranians will not need as much exercise as larger breeds. But, they do need lots of mental stimulation.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffies can come in an all-black coat, that is short and easy to care for. This breed is stocky and athletic in appearance.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is sometimes confused with the Pitbull. Many people believe that Staffies are an aggressive breed.
But, with proper socialization and consistent, reward-based training from a young age, a Staffy can make a brilliant family pet.
The Dalmatian is one of the black and white dogs on our list. Although this dog has a white body, it is covered in beautiful black spots!
This breed is affectionate, playful, and intelligent. But, it can be prone to guarding instincts. So, it’s really important to socialize and train this puppy from a young age.
Dalmatians need plenty of exercise each day, and will become bored if they have no mental stimulation when at home.
So, don’t choose this breed if you would have to leave your dog at home a lot.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a black dog breed with a very distinctive look. As well as fur that comes in a beautiful black, they have bushy eyebrows and whiskers!
This breed grows up to 14 inches, weighing 11 to 20 pounds as an adult. Their double coat will have a wiry outer layer and a soft undercoat.
They can be either solid black, or black and silver.
Mini Schnauzers are intelligent, active, and friendly, as long as they are socialized well from a young age.
If you’re looking for a big black dog that is also calm, patient and gentle, the Great Dane is the breed for you.
They are perfect in families with young children, especially when socialized from a young age.
Coming in at an impressive 34 inches tall and weighing up to 175 pounds when fully grown, the Great Dane is a huge dog breed.
Their coat comes in a variety of colors, including solid, and partly black. But, it is also short and easy to maintain.
The Dachshund is a black dog with an interesting shape. Their back is long, but low slung thanks to their short legs.
This breed can have long or short fur. They can come in either solid black, or be only partly black.
Most black Dachshunds have tan markings on their eyebrows, socks, and muzzles.
Dachshunds are a vocal breed, as well as intelligent and fiesty.
It is very important to socialize and train your Doxie from a young age to minimise any chase instincts and potential aggression.
The Border Collie is another breed that can either be black and white, or black and white with tan markings. This breed can have long or short fur.
With expressive eyes and a medium size, the Border Collie makes a great dog for an active family. They are intelligent, energetic, and alert.
But, this intelligence and high energy means they can become bored very easily. So, they need lots of exercise and mental stimulation.
So, socialize them from a young age, and make sure that you watch their interactions with children, in case your dog tries to herd the kids!
The Siberian Husky is one of the most well known black and white dogs!
This is a medium breed that grows up to 24 inches, weighing between 40 and 60 pounds as an adult.
The Husky breed is social, friendly, and playful. However, this breed is also known for being quite vocal. So, if you want a quiet dog, a Husky might not be for you.
Huskies need plenty of exercise every single day, and will also need lots of social interaction.
They often do well living in a household with other dogs, especially if you can’t be home all the time.
The Doberman Pinscher is an all black dog with tan markings on its eyebrows, face, and legs.
They have a short coat that is easy to maintain.
This is a medium to large sized breed that was bred for intelligence, strength, and loyalty. So, your Dobie will take well to training as long as it is consistent.
They need plenty of socialization from a young age to minimise any potential aggression from their original purpose as a guard dog.
But, as long as they get this, they can make a wonderful family dog.
On to another Pinscher named breed! The Miniature Pinscher looks very similar to the Doberman, but they are much smaller.
This breed grows up to be only 12.5 inches tall, weighing around 10 pounds.
Their coloring is very similar to the Doberman Pinscher, although they’re not related, and their coat has the same low maintenance grooming requirements.
Min Pins are small, but still need plenty of regular exercise. But, after a couple of walks each day, they’ll love cuddling up with you on the couch!
The Yorkie breed has a black and tan coat that is smooth, glossy, and straight.
If left alone, it can grow down to the floor! However, this gorgeous fur needs lots of grooming and attention, to minimise tangles and breakages.
Yorkies are small dogs that grow up to 9 inches tall and weigh no more than 7 pounds as an adult. But, they have big personalities.
Yorkshire Terriers are intelligent, confident, and often stubborn. So, train and socialize your Yorkie from a young age for the best personality as an adult.
The Italian Greyhound is a great black dog for families that want a small, energetic pup.
This dog grows up to 15 inches tall, weighing between 7 and 14 pounds as an adult.
This breed’s energy levels can be quite unpredictable. They love lounging around and cuddling just as much as they enjoy running and chasing things!
Their tendency to bolt after small animals like squirrels means socialization and training (especially recall) are really important from a very young age.
But, make sure to spend time with a dog before committing if you are prone to allergies.
English Cocker Spaniel
The Cocker Spaniel is another popular black dog on our list.
There is a difference between the show Cocker and the working Cocker, but you can take a more detailed look at this in our complete guide.
Either way, this is a medium sized breed with a silky coat that can come in black. Training is vital from a young age, and socialization will encourage their best possible personality.
Working Cockers are enthusiastic, alert, and very energetic. Whereas show Cockers are calmer, less energetic, and eager to please.
The last black dog breed that has made it onto our list is the small Affenpinscher!
This breed grows up to 11 inches tall, weighing between 7 and 13 pounds as an adult.
Affenpinschers have flat, round faces surrounded by lots of shaggy, dense, black fur.
However, their face shape can cause them health problems associated with brachycephaly.
This breed is loyal, affectionate, and intelligent. They are excitable and love to spend time with their families.
But, socialization and training are important to minimise their natural guarding instincts. These dogs can also be quite vocal, so be prepared for noise if you choose an Affenpinscher!
Your Favorite Black Dog
We’ve taken a brief look at our 20 favorite black dog breeds, but which one do you think is the best?
If you’ve ever owned one of these breeds, be sure to let us know what they were like in the comments! We would love to hear your stories.
References and Resources
- Sinski, J. (et al), ‘Putting (Big) Black Dog Syndrome to the Test: Evidence from a Large Metropolitan Shelter’, Anthrozoos (2016)
- Voslarova, E. (et al), ‘Coat Color of Shelter Dogs and its Role in Dog Adoption’, Society and Animals (2019)
- Kaelin, C. & Barsh, G. ‘Molecular Genetics of Coat Color, Texture and Length in the Dog’, The Genetics of the Dog (2012)
- Buzhardt, L. ‘Genetics Basics – Coat Color Genetics in Dogs’, VCA Hospitals (2016)
- Fratkin, J. & Baker, S. ‘The Role of Coat Color and Ear Shape on the Perception of Personality in Dogs’, Anthrozoos (2015)