Give Them a Chance: Black Dog Breeds

Black Dog Breeds

Black dog breeds are elegant and striking, but also strangely unpopular for many dog owners. Yes the gold and bridles of certain dog breeds are appealing, but why do black dogs seem to struggle so much at the shelters? The answers may surprise you.

Pet adoption centers all understand the curse of black dog breeds. For some reason black dogs, especially those from larger breeds, are some of the last ones to be adopted from dog shelters and rescues. The number of black dogs and cats being euthanized across the United States is astounding. There are many theories for this discouraging occurrence, and each one is more ridiculous than the last.

Some say it is because the features of black dogs are more obscure, making it hard for adopters to instantly connect with them. Others think it is because the darker coats on these dogs make them appear older than they really are. Then there is the superstitious aspect. For example, in common folklore black dogs usually represent an evil force or a representation of death.

Lastly, some just think that because there are so many black dog breeds these poor dogs simply get ignored due to an overabundance. None of these seem like adequate reasons to avoid black dog breeds.

Don’t let the stigmatism surrounding black dogs keep you from finding the best pet to suit your needs. Black dog breeds are not more aggressive, fearsome, or evil compared to other colors of dog. The color does not make the animal. Put a stop to this unfortunate phenomenon, and take a moment to look beyond the color of the black dog breeds.

10 Beautiful Black Dog Breeds



These large black and tan dogs originated in Germany and are part of the working dog group.

Generally Rottweilers weigh between 85 and 130 pounds with an average lifespan of 8 to 11 years. Historically these dogs were bred to watch livestock and drive cows to the market. They have also been known to pull carts, serve in the military, and were one of the earliest police dogs. If well bred and well trained these dogs can be calm and confident in their own place.

However, they do have a natural ability and instinct to protect members of their family. As such, Rotties can walk a fine line between protection and aggression. These dogs need to receive proper training from a leader they can trust and respect. If not, these powerful and intelligent dogs could easily become a negative force to be reckoned with.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher

Another common black dog breed that originated in Germany, the Doberman Pinscher.

They are another hard working breed. They generally weigh between 60 and 80 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years. Their origin story is quite interesting, revolving around a tax collector and dog catcher named Louis Dobermann. He would usually take a dog along on his tax collecting rounds as a form of protection. This led to breeding experiments resulting in the Doberman Pinscher, the most loyal and protective guard dog.

These black dogs hold much of those same amiable qualities today. They love to be with their families, they are natural protectors, and are not commonly known to go looking for trouble. These athletic dogs are so elegant, and though they are stereotyped as aggressive, they are usually very gentle and loving dogs.



These are giant black dogs of the working class that originated in Canada.

Generally Newfoundlands weigh between 110 and 150 pounds with an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years. Historically these dogs were used by fisherman to haul in their nets, haul cargo, and rescue the occasional man overboard. These gentle giants are still known for their heroism, but have also become viewed as some of the most loving and gentle of dogs. They are wonderful with children, have a strong work ethic, and can be a devoted companion.

However, Newfoundlands are also known for being messy. Their thick coat, though it protects them from the harsher climates and frigid waters, is a dirt magnet. You will know exactly where your dog has been because they will track every form of debris from their travels into the house with them. Though they do come in black, other common colors include white, brown, gray, or any combination of the four.

Groenendael - Belgian Shepherd


These dogs go by many names: Belgian Sheepdog and Belgium Shepherd are often used instead of the European Groenendael.

They are a large breed classed with the herding dogs. Generally Belgian Shepherds weigh between 60 and 75 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Historically they were of course bred for herding, but were prized for their versatility. They became police dogs in both Paris and New York and also helped with border patrol in their homeland, working with customs officers. Not only are they great working dogs, but also gentle family pets.

However, before you jump the gun on this striking black dog breed, you must know they are indeed a working dog in every sense. They will not want to laze around the house, so you will have to provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They will require at least an hour of exercise every day and will do well to have off leash play in a fenced area as well as long walks on the leash.



These small black dogs originated in Belgium and are part of the companion group.

Usually Schipperkes weigh between 11 and 18 pounds with an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years. Historically these dogs were believed to be bred from herding dogs, but specifically developed for watchdog duties. Their name comes from the word Schipperke and may mean little captain or little shepherd, both of which have proven to be appropriate. These dogs love children of all ages. They want to be involved in all family activities. They also strive to defend and protect their loved ones and territory.

These dogs are active and will thrive best if put to work. Schipperkes also thrive in obedience training and dog sports. They are also known to be escape artists. Not only will they require a fenced in area for play, but also must be kept on a leash so they will remain safe.

Black Russian Terrier

Black Russian Terrier

These striking black dogs originated in Russia during the Cold War.

These dogs commonly weigh between 80 to 140 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 11 years. They were bred by the Russians exclusively for military purposes. They wanted a resourceful guard dog who could withstand the harsh reality of harsh Russian winters. They also needed a dog with stamina, one that could run long fence lines, chase intruders, and patrol borders. Though no one is sure about the exact breeding, there are traces of 17 dog breeds contained in these large, black dogs.

Despite the name, these dogs are not true terriers. Instead they are working dogs who guard their homes and families. They will require firm and consistent training, attention and affection, as well as mental stimulation. If you can provide all these things, the Black Russian Terriers may be a black breed to consider.

Lancashire Heeler

Lancashire Heeler

Yet another black and tan breed, this one originated in England.

These dogs often weigh between 13 and 15 pounds with an average lifespan of 9 to 14 years. Historically they were small herding dogs, perfectly sized and sturdily built. They would nip at the heels of their herd and dart out of the way of bumbling livestock. They were also used to hunt vermin, very much akin to the Corgi. They can learn quickly, are often friendly towards humans, and will thrive on positive reinforcement.

As with most breeds, early training and socialization is key to bringing up a calm and well mannered companion. These dogs excel at agility and obedience. They are better suited to families with older children. They are also likely to pull a Houdini on you if you do not have a properly fenced yard where they can run.



These short haired, beautiful black and tan dogs originated in France where they were bred as large herding dogs.

These dogs of the working class generally weigh between 65 and 100 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years. These dogs are active and athletic. They are also highly intelligent and quick to understand and obey their masters. As such, these dogs have also been used as service dogs working as natural guard dogs and human herders.

They will need both physical exercise and mental stimulation so they do not resort to poor behaviors. These dogs are not mean or worried, but rather gentle. They are a healthy and hardy breed, and if taught to respect humans Beaucerons make exceptional family pets.



Also known as the French Water Dog, these medium sized, black dogs are part of the gundog group, bred for hunting waterfowl.

Generally these dogs weigh between 37 and 62 pounds with an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years. Barbets are also considered to be a rare breed, with only about 30 or 40 in the United States. They are a wooly breed of dogs that are as fun-loving as they are intelligent. Some even go as far as to call dogs of this breed joyful.

They make excellent swimmers and have a long, waterproof coat. Unfortunately they do require quite a bit of grooming to keep them healthy and looking good. Fortunately they are considered hypoallergenic, in case that is one of your main concerns. As a retriever, these dogs will naturally love to catch balls and chase Frisbees.

Black Norwegian Elkhound

Black Norwegian Elkhound

These mid-sized dogs originated in Scandinavia, as their names suggest.

Generally they weigh between 48 and 55 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. These are considered one of the most ancient breeds of the area, as it is believed to have been around since the Stone Age. They worked as guarding and hunting dogs for the Vikings. They have also been used as hunters and retrievers of both small and big game. They are trackers, and sled dogs, and military dogs, and herders.

Basically the Elkhounds are the epitome of a versatile breed, excelling in every aspect of working and hunting. They have great stamina, are fearless, and fairly independent. They are also known barkers, as it was part of their history to trap prey and bark until the hunter arrived. This is not a black dog breed for a first time dog owner. Training will need to be firm and consistent if you want to make a reliable companion out of the Black Norwegian Elkhound.

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