23 Popular Black Dog Breeds

Black dogs evoke many different impressions upon first glance: Many look regal and sophisticated, some have a hint of mystery, while others look daring or intimidating. No matter their coat or color, their personalities vary. Some may stick close to the general description of the breed’s disposition, but it depends most on the individual dog’s upbringing and demeanor.

A dog’s color is due to the type of pigmentation the dog has in the skin. In the canine world, black is the dominant gene. A dog either has black-brown or yellow-red pigmentation genetically. All other colors result from different genetic factors or modifiers acting on those pigments. Pigmentation affects the dog’s hair, skin, and eyes and creates visible patterns and colors. For most dogs to appear black, they must possess the Dominant Black gene (K allele). There are rare instances of recessive genes resulting in black coat color.

So, it is common to see black coats among many different types of dogs, but these breeds have the highest likelihood of being all black, or mostly black with just a bit of white, brown, or tan.

According to some shelters and breeders, with dogs of the same breed or litter that come in black and other colors, such as poodles, the black-coated dogs may fail to get adopted or are adopted last compared to other colored dogs. This dog adoption issue is also known as “black dog syndrome” and is based on anecdotes and assumptions. Factually, there are more black dogs in the world, as black is a more dominant color, and coat color has no impact on personality or temperament.

Here are 23 of the most common black dog breeds.

1. Affenpinscher

The American Kennel Club classifies the affenpinscher as a toy group dog for its small 10-pound size and 11-inch stature. It was bred to dispatch rats and other vermin. Affenpinscher is German for “monkey terrier,” which is understandable once you see their adorable pushed-in face. Affenpinschers have strong, bold temperaments and are charming and entertaining companions. Their wiry coat requires biweekly brushing to prevent mats and needs trimming every few months.

2. Rottweiler

The Rottweiler, or Rottie as it’s often known, is a descendant of ancient Roman cattle dogs, but has had many service jobs over the centuries, including work as guard dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and service dogs. While intimidating in appearance and somewhat aloof with strangers, Rotties are calm, gentle, affectionate dogs with their families. Their smooth short coat is mostly black with rust, tan, or mahogany trim.

3. Belgian Sheepdog

Intelligent and watchful, the beautiful Belgian sheepdog is also named the Groenendael for a place in Brussels. Of the four related Belgian sheepherding breeds (the others are the Belgian Malinois, the Belgian Laekenois, and the Belgian Tervuren), the Belgian sheepdog is the only one that solely comes in black. Known as “workaholics,” Belgian sheepdogs are highly trainable and full of energy. The glossy black coat is easy to care for, requiring only weekly brushing and the occasional bath.

4. Newfoundland

The majestic Newfoundland is massive but also known as a gentle giant that is usually great with children. A working dog, Newfies were used by Canadian fishermen to perform water rescues in icy waters. Newfoundlands were well-suited to the task, with a heavy, water-resistant coat, muscular, strong bodies, and webbed feet. The Newfie is also an all-purpose worker on land, pulling carts and guarding the home. The thick, double coat requires brushing several times a week to prevent mats. Also, be prepared for a bit of slobber. Their coat most commonly comes in black, although they also come in brown, gray, or black and white.

5. Flat-Coated Retriever

Bouncy, silly, and fun-loving, the flat-coated retriever is often mistaken for a black-coated golden retriever, a more familiar breed. Flat-coated retrievers are more active and athletic and require more exercise. The breed’s lustrous, straight coat lies flat against its body (hence its name). The flat-coated retriever comes in two solid colors: black and liver (chocolate brown), although black is far more common.

6. Black Russian Terrier

The black Russian terrier looks like a giant schnauzer, with a similar body outline, plus a long beard and mustache. This breed only comes in black and is affectionately called a “blackie” for short. The schnauzer breed was used (among others) to develop the black Russian terrier. If you stand the two side by side, the massive black Russian terrier is more than twice the size of the giant schnauzer. This working dog requires an expert owner used to training powerful, strong-willed dogs. The coarse double coat requires twice-weekly brushing and regular clipping.

7. Standard Poodle

The standard poodle is highly intelligent, curious, playful, and trainable. These dogs were originally bred to retrieve waterfowl for hunters, but also were popular dogs for circus acts. Along with the miniature and toy poodle, standard poodles are often solid black or black and white, although they can also be many other colors. Their soft, curly hair sheds very little and this breed is usually considered to be hypoallergenic as well.

8. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever has held the No. 1 spot as the most popular dog breed in the United States for nearly three decades. Friendly and trainable, Labs are known to be excellent dogs for families. The short coat is water-resistant and sheds heavily, so frequent brushing will cut down on hair lying around the house. This sporting dog needs lots of exercise daily, preferably off-leash running or games of fetch.

9. Portuguese Water Dog

Highly affectionate and eager to please the Portuguese water dog was originally bred as a fisherman’s helper. Today, these dogs mostly serve as beloved pets, thanks to their playful, social, and engaging personalities. They do require quite a bit of exercise and play time to be at their best. While most often solid black or black and white, they can also be brown, white, or a combination of those two colors.

10. Schipperke

Schipperkes worked as ratters and watchdogs on and around ships and barges in Belgium as far back as Medieval times. The breed name means “little captain” in Flemish. These charming and feisty little dogs are usually solid jet black with twinkling, dark-brown eyes. It can also come in cream, ivory, wheaten, gold, red, white, blue, and chocolate, although it’s rare. The schipperke is small but has the energy to spare and loves to accompany their favorite people on all their adventures. Excellent watchdogs, schipperkes are wary of strangers and protective of their homes and people.

11. Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is the quintessential watchdog. Alert, loyal, and fearless, these dogs can be ferocious in defense of their families. And yet, with their favorite people they are affectionate and playful dogs with high intelligence and lots of energy. Their smooth short coats are typically mostly black with rusty-brown trim, although rarely they can also be blue and rust or red and rust.

12. Giant Schnauzer

The giant schnauzer was originally bred to drive cattle, but has also served as a military and police dog. These imposingly large beauties are very energetic and intelligent, and are quite affectionate with their families, but do require a great deal of exercise and training to reign in their tendencies towards protectiveness and overly high spirits. They are typically solid black, but can also be salt and pepper like smaller schnauzers.

13. Pug

A pug’s most important job is to be a loving and loyal canine companion. This toy group dog is most commonly seen sporting a tan- or fawn-colored coat with a black mask and ears, but they also come in solid black. The pug’s breed standard uses the Latin phrase multum in parvo, which means “a lot in a little.” The phrase perfectly describes the solidly built, lively pug in both body and personality. Its short coat sheds a lot, so frequent brushing is a must.

14. Scottish Terrier (Scottie)

Although almost everyone who pictures a Scottish Terrier thinks of a black dog, they also come in wheaten (a yellow shade) or brindle (tiger stripes). With short legs and long, substantial bodies, Scotties were well-suited to dispatching rats and hunting foxes and badgers in the Scottish Highlands. Today’s Scottie is still happy to take care of pesky rodents, and like other terriers, Scotties are incredibly bold and feisty, especially with other dogs.

15. Puli

The medium-sized puli is compact and square with a long, shaggy coat that naturally forms cords in adults. This herding dog herded sheep in Hungary. The unique corded coat protected this breed from the cold weather and also served as armor against flock predators like wolves. The puli is vigorous, alert, and active, and it needs abundant exercise to remain happy. If you don’t want to maintain the dreadlocks (which is a lot of work), its coat can be trimmed in a low-maintenance short style. This breed always has a solid colored coat; it’s usually black, although it can also have a gray or white coat.

16. Great Dane

Despite their intimidating size, Great Danes are typically easy-going, gentle and affectionate dogs that are protective of their family, but patient, playful, and dependable with their people. A dog of this size does require a commitment to regular exercise and training, however. Great Danes are often solid black, but can be many other colors as well as color combinations.

17. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Muscular dogs once bred for fighting, today the Staffie is a good-natured, devoted, and smart breed that loves to play with children and spend time with family. They make good watchdogs and have high energy needs, meaning you’ll need to be diligent about training and exercising your Staffie regularly. Their short coats, which are often solid black or black and white, although they can be many other colors and color combinations, require little beyond regular brushing.

18. Pomeranian

The Pomeranian might be tiny in size, but it is big in personality. These fluffy dogs love to be with their people as much as possible. They are spunky, playful, affectionate dogs that are active, but don’t require a large exercise commitment. Their long, silky coat is often solid black, but can be many other solid colors or combinations of colors. They need regular brushing, but surprisingly aren’t heavy shedders.

19. Border Collie

Considered to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds, the border collie is highly trainable, very active, affectionate, curious, and athletic. These dogs need to be kept busy, or else frustration can lead them to excessive barking or undesirable behaviors. With enough exercise and play time, however, they are fun family dogs that get along great with children and most other pets. They are most often black and white, but can be solid black as well as many other solid colors or color combinations.

20. Chow Chow

Chow chows are one of the oldest dog breeds, with roots stretching back to ancient China. Dignified, calm, and somewhat aloof, they are distinguished by their dark tongues, which are purplish black. While intelligent and trainable, they are not demanding in their need for exercise and play time, although they are affectionate with their families. Their thick coats are often solid black, although they can also be blue, red, cinnamon, or cream.

21. Greyhound

The fastest breed of dog, greyhounds can reach up to 45 mph while racing. But off the track, these dogs are gentle, calm, and good-natured. They are affectionate and do have a lot of energy, so you’ll need to let them stretch their legs daily. But their grooming needs are low, and their short coats shed very little. Greyhounds can be solid black, black and brindle, or several other colors and color combinations.

22. Miniature Pinscher (Min Pin)

Small but mighty, the min pin is a high-energy dog that requires a great deal of exercise and interaction to fend off its tendency towards excessive barking. These dogs are very protective of their families, but can be quite affectionate and playful as well. Their short, smooth coats are usually mostly black with either rust or tan trim, but they can also be brown or red.

23. French Bulldog (Frenchie)

The adorable Frenchie is smart, playful, affectionate, and trainable, making it an ideal family dog. Their large ears add to their alert expression, and indeed, they are good watchdogs despite their fairly small size. They love to play with children, but do not have excessive needs for exercise, and their short coats are easy to groom. While Frenchies are often solid black, technically the AKC does not recognize black as an official breed color. They can be many other colors or color combinations as well.

Breeds to Avoid

If you want a dog with a black coat, and you’re torn between a few dogs on this list, then consider a couple of other things before you make your decision. If you don’t have a ton of time to devote to exercise and training, you might want to nix the black Russian terrier, the puli, and the Belgian sheepdog from your list; they each require a lot of both. If you have allergies, the Newfie manufactures a ton of drool. Slobber is just as responsible as shedding for causing allergies.

Published On: May 25th, 2023Categories: Dog News