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The German Shepherd is one of the most recognized dog breeds in the world thanks to its unparalleled courage, agility, fierce loyalty as well as intelligence.
While they are commonly used in dangerous ventures to the likes of search and rescue operations, military service, police service and drug detection to name a few, they are above all, very kind and make for faithful and friendly companions.
Their unique abilities and traits make them perfect as both, an alert watchdog as well as an adorable family pet. However, most people don’t know that this illustrious dog breed has several types and one of them is the black German Shepherd.
The black coat of a German Shepherd dog is the consequence of genes inherited by the pup from its parents. The interplay of colors and coat markings are all decided by heredity, but before we delve into further details regarding the genetics of the black GSD, we need to have an understanding of the various coat colors and coat patterns of the German Shepherd.
German shepherd dogs come in a myriad variety of coat colors including black & silver, liver & tan, white, sable, solid black, blue & cream, black & silver, solid liver, blue & silver, black & cream, solid blue, black & tan, black & red, liver & cream, to name a few.
Out of these, the black and tan German shepherd, black and red German shepherd, black and silver German shepherd, black and white German shepherd and the black and grey German shepherd are the most popular.
Best black German shepherds have also gained popularity due to their striking appearance, stable temperament, watchful nature and trainability.
Full black German shepherds often take people by surprise with their pure black coat. Some people even mistake them to be a mixed breed or some other dog breed.
As compared to the standard German Shepherd, the solid black German Shepherd dog does have some distinct variations, with respect to the overall appearance, temperament and of course, degree of maintenance needed. However, their usability still remains untainted, which is why even the all black German shepherd makes excellent companions, family dogs, as well as police dogs or for use as disability aids.
The German Shepherd breed comes in a variety of striking coat patterns (also called markings), that can be understood by noting the pattern in which the coat color of the German shepherd is distributed throughout its body and face. The most commonly observed coat patterns include:
#1 – Solid Pattern: In this type, the dog is entirely of one color, like the all black or the all white German Shepherd dog. This means, the coat is uniformly monotone and their are no breaks in the color anywhere.
#2 – Saddle Back Pattern: This particular coat pattern contributes to the signature look of the German Shepherd dog, wherein it appears to have worn a black color saddle on its back. Most German shepherds you see have this pattern.
#3 – Blanket Back Pattern: This is quite similar to the saddle back pattern, but the only difference is it the blanket black pattern covers a larger portion of the dog’s body by spreading all the way down to its sides like a typical blanket.
#4 – Sable Pattern: In this pattern, the dogs have characteristic bindings of color on each and every individual hair of their coat. The hairs on the sable have a tipped appearance, wherein the ends of the hairs are black but the rest of it have any color. This results in a wide variety of colors in the sable pattern.
#5 – Bicolor Pattern: In the bi-color pattern, the dog possesses two different coat colors. While one of the color is akin to an extended blanket back pattern covering the entire body except for the lower extremities, the second color can be seen in the legs, the lower parts of the legs and in some cases, perhaps the face.
Now, in the coming section, we shall discuss everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the pure black German Shepherd dog, right from history to maintenance.
Regardless of the coat color, the origins of the German Shepherd can be traced back to the late nineteenth century in Germany. These dogs evolved from herding dogs that were used to protect and look after sheep.
Over time, their utility increased and they became ideal as guard, military and police dogs.
Later on black German Shepherds arrived in Australia somewhere between 1923-1929. Initially, import bans were imposed as the breed was considered as a tad too vicious. However, the scenario has changed now and black German Shepherds have risen in popularity dramatically.
Many breeders believe that the Australian black German Shepherds are descendants of a dog named ‘Satan’ that was imported from Germany around 20 years ago. According to an estimation, there are currently 300 black German Shepherds in Australia.
Contrary to the white German Shepherd, there isn’t grounds on which black German Shepherds can be exempt or considered as exceptional specimens to the regular breed. This is quite unlike the white German Shepherds that are not permitted full registration, and are also considered an exception to the rule.
As we all know, genes exist in pairs and each parent contributes one of its pair to its offspring.
Every gene has a dominant (expressed) counterpart and a recessive( not expressed) counterpart. Only the dominant ones get expressed in the puppy. The black color of German Shepherds is also influenced by genes. Genes responsible for the coat color of GSD are color gene and pattern genes.
Black is the default color of German Shepherds so when the black pigment is blocked from forming freely, the puppies are either blue or liver in color. These color genes are recessive. However, the case of the black GSD is different as the pure black color is not because of the recessive color genes but due to recessive pattern genes.
The gene for black coat color may be either recessive or dominant. So, if you breed a German Shepherd having a dominant black coat gene, her offsprings will be completely black too, irrespective of the other parent’s coat color- unless the other patent carries a different dominant coat color gene.
And because the black coat color gene may exist in the recessive condition, there’s a possibility of getting all-black pups after breeding a German Shepherds that’s not at all black.
If you want to breed your black GSD, you should inquire about the dog’s ancestry and blood line.
Usually, German Shepherds’ coat color may be determined approximately at seven-eight weeks old.
Also take care to note that GSD puppies are born black, grey or white (in this particular order of frequency). While it is possible to judge the coat color at the 7-weeks age, there are incidences when GSD-puppy buyers found their dog developed a coat color different than what they assumed the dog would at 7 weeks age.
Black German Shepherds are known to hold the traditional look of the breed. However, as compared to the standard German Shepherd, they are larger and have a straighter back.
The black German Shepherds don’t assume the typical cringing appearance that is so characteristic to the regular German shepherds. Their coat length is variable and can range from short to long.
In addition to that, it may have the appearance of flowing, feathering or skirting. Complicated coat structures demand a greater degree of maintenance. Then again, they also serve to make the dog a tad bit adorable!
When it comes to the length of the coat, black German Shepherds can have either short or long hair.
This fact remains true for even the standard German Shepherds. Both black long haired German Shepherd and black short haired German Shepherd dogs belong to the same breed.
However, the short haired black German shepherd is much more common than the long haired black German shepherd. In some countries, long-coated GSDs are considered fine for breeding and showing purposes but in the U.S particularly, the black long-haired German Shepherd is not looked favorably by dog-show breeders and official clubs. They consider only black short haired German Shepherds and other short haired German Shepherds as pure breeds.
In fact, to be more precise, there are actually four different kinds of coats in black German Shepherds.
One is the short coat, which is usually too short to hold an additional layer underneath. The other is a short coat too but it’s still a little bit longer and thicker then usual, then it’s called a plush coat.
Show-dog breeders prefers these plush coats over the short coat. Either way, short coats are nothing but double coats, comprising a short outer coat, that is harsh to touch, and a woolly undercoat meant for insulation.
Even the long coat comes in two types- with or without an undercoat.
The worst coat of all is a long coat without an undercoat because German Shepherds really need an insulating undercoat to survive harsh winters and perform well as watchdogs during the chilly weather.
Some long-coated German Shepherds possess exceptionally long hair that requires plenty of grooming to prevent mats and tangles. Few other long-coated German Shepherds barely even fit their name, as they possess a short body coat that’s similar in appearance to the standard short-haired German Shepherd, barring those tufts of feathering on the backs of the legs, around the ears and on the tail and hindquarters.
Most breeders focus on breeding the long-coated black or regular German Shepherds. Since they don’t breed these dogs for protection purposes, the long-haired black and regular German Shepherds tend to have a milder and softer temperament that makes them apt as family dogs and companions to dog-lovers.
Under normal circumstances black German Shepherds are non-aggressive.
However, a strange scent in the air, a sudden banging of window or a loud knock on the door may be enough to turn that once-mellow German Shepherd into a scowling, snarling canine. But that is only because these dogs have been bred to mainly act as watchdogs, so hunting and tracking down foreign smells/sounds/objects are ingrained within their nature.
Ideally, black German Shepherds are very kind and gentle. They do take some time to mix around and make friends with strangers but given their warm attitude and adorable appearance, they don’t find it tough to attract people.
While they are a little reserved with strangers, they are approachable and easy-going with the owner and their family.
Although the black GSDs make wonderful watch dogs, they do need a decent amount of time and attention with their human family, as well as others of their kin. This particular trait is what qualifies them as the perfect candidates to render assistance to the disabled and provide regular service to the blind, deaf and handicap.
This breed has a distinct temperament marked by both fearless and straightforward.
The black German shepherds are not hostile but maintain a certain amount of aloofness that’s mainly directed towards immediate and indiscriminate friendships. Yet this aloofness stems from self-confidence and a feeling of superiority, all of which translate into bravery that is best shown during an encounter with an enemy. Yet, despite their reserved stance, these dogs are really approachable and willing to go to great lengths for the well-being of their family. Their poise is impressive and so is their gestures.
You’ll rarely find them barking away, tucking their tail, slouching behind their master, looking upward with an anxious depression or making a crass show of emotions. They are mellow and mild too but when the occasion demands, extremely alert and eager. The summation of these characteristics makes the black GSD excellent as a companion, guard dog, guardian, herding dog or a blind leader, whichever the circumstances may demand.
Have you ever spent your leisurely hours walking your black Shepherd dog outside only to have passerby cross the street to evade you?
This happens because the solid black coat and the sturdy framework of a black GSD can scare off strangers immediately. However, as hostile and aggressive as these dogs look, they are not. A lot can be understood by becoming aware of this breed’s temperament.
The truth is that the black German Shepherds have a mild temperament that remains stable over time, and doesn’t change depending on whether you train them or not. They are loyal, pleasant and watchful dogs that prefer to express their self-assurance and loyalty by keeping a watchful eye over their human family.
That means if danger were to ever come to you or your family, your little black GSD is sure to go out of his way to protect you regardless of the risks involved. These dogs are fearless and know no fear, which is why they rarely ever back down against an enemy.
Black German Shepherds are never timid. Even the puppies are surprisingly self-confident and are less prone to venting their nervous energy by biting on wires or furniture. Anxiety, depression, insecurity, lack of confidence and other behavioral issues are rare in black German Shepherds.
Many people who have owned these dogs believe that they perform better in small families and around children, as compared to the standard German Shepherd.
While everything about the black GSD is just perfect, it is important to remember that not all the black German Shepherds differ in temperaments. This is simply because the popularity of the German Shepherd breed is so huge that it spurred all the dog-show breeders round the world to indulge in undesirable breeding practices that consequently produced black German Shepherds of unimaginable temperaments.
So, in simple words, it is quite difficult to find an ideal black-coated German Shepherd dog in the real world.
Thankfully, the black variant of the German Shepherd has in general, not been subjected excessively to slouch back breeding.
Back breeding is an artificial method of breeding and selection, wherein conspecific animals are interbred with the motive of getting an appearance similar to a distant ancestor.
So, because black German Shepherds are spared from this breeding method, it is relatively easier to secure a pure black Shepherd dog from a professional breeder. On second thought, it is even more easier to get hold of one from a backyard breeder as they are not focused on developing champion German Shepherds for dog shows!
The facial features of black German Shepherds are essentially the same as the tan-black GSD (the most common variant of the regular German Shepherd).
However, there are marked differences in the facial features of the early white GSD and an all-black GSD. For instance, the latter has a rounder face with more smoothly aligned features, as compared to the rough look of its ancestors.
Some people believe that black German Shepherds are slimmer and taller as adults but there is no scientific evidence as such to back up this observation.
Often you must have read that black German Shepherds are a bit more balanced, calm and family-oriented than their regular counterparts, but again there isn’t any correlation whatsoever to prove the same.
This means any such case is pure coincidence nothing else, or maybe just wishful thinking on the owner’s part. Nevertheless, that fact remains true that German Shepherds, regardless of their coat color are known to have one of the best temperaments for staying with a family.
Another thing that’s important to note is that every dog’s temperament depends primarily on the owner’s energy level, training, feeding, exercise and secondarily on the line of pedigree. This means the dog’s coat color doesn’t influence their temperament to any measure.
Hence the black German Shepherds’ temperament is no different from their regular counterparts.
Yet, it is always advisable to try and evaluate a German Shepherd puppy’s temperament before purchase. One must inspect the adults and puppies well and only buy them from recommended breeders.
There are plenty of well-recognized organizations taking important measures to improve the temperament of this breed.
Socialization is a pivotal factor that determines the temperament of an adult black GSD.
Early socialization makes him easy to adapt to new experiences and new people. It also teaches him the right way to behave in a certain situation.
Remember, a small puppy is like soft clay and its in your hands to mold him the right way. Just feeding, grooming and regular visits to the vet are not enough to make sure you have a healthy and happy dog at home. Socialization is also very essential.
As soon you bring over your black GSD puppy home, start introducing him to family, friends and frequent visitors to your home.
The age of 14 weeks is very crucial because that is when GSD puppies start to get suspicious of new sounds, smells and people. Hence, if your new puppy is below that age, you should start right way and if he is above that, you may want to try some obedience training or basic training commands to get him to socialize.
In addition, walk him on sidewalks and dog parks. Also, make sure he gets to know the neighboring dogs. That way he won’t feel isolated and lonely when he ushers in your home.
If you have a dog park nearby, take him there and start by first letting him watch the other dogs. Slow introduction is important because he needs to digest the presence of his conspecifics. Then on the next visit, it’s safe to give him the freedom to frolic with the other dogs.
In case you’ve adopted a relatively older black GSD, socialize him slowly. The reason behind this is that he may have had a bad experience with people or other dogs before, so you need to ensure he’s comfortable with the idea of socializing first. Start with introducing him to your family and after few days and afterwards invite guests over one at a time.
Black German Shepherds are incredibly good with children. Their mild, pleasant, playful and loyal nature makes them wonderful as pets for households with children.
Allow your new puppy to have plenty of exposure and time with your children under your supervision during their first meeting.
As soon as they bond, your black GSD will become your child’s best friend, babysitter, playmate, as well as protector! Although German Shepherds are usually quite gentle around children, they may occasionally bump into toddlers or young children or even wag their tail out of excitement only to accidentally smack your child’s face. Then again, the occurrence of this is rare.
Black German Shepherds even have the ability to adapt to the presence of other pets in the house.
Most dog owners have reported seeing their new black GSD puppies make friends with the resident cats. However, you should never take their temperament for granted because non-scientific and irrational breeding methods have resulted in German Shepherds of unimaginable temperaments today.
Therefore, it is essential to introduce your new German Shepherd puppy gradually to your children and others pets in the house.
People interested in owning a black GSD will be delighted to know that caring and raising this breed is easy.
When you first bring in your pup, make sure to take him to the veterinarian for a complete health check-up, followed by a discussion of any health issues that need to be taken care of. Ensure to keep vaccinations current as well.
Diet plays an important role to determine the physical and emotional health of a black GSD.
It is advisable to choose only those dog food brands that include natural, healthy ingredients and offer food in both dry and wet forms.
Dental care is another area of grooming that will need attention. Your black German Shepherd’s teeth requires maximum exercise and use, so it is always wise to include dry food in his diet, as this makes sure he crunches regularly and exercises his gums in the process.
Since GSDS require regular exercise and outdoor walks, they tend to get dirty too soon. Therefore, make sure to groom and clean him on a regular basis. All in all, grooming should include bathing, ear cleaning, nail cutting and dental care.
Have you fallen in love with this breed and are dying to have them as your pet? What more can you possibly ask for when one adorable dog can provide you with the benefits of loyalty, security, companionship, unconditional love and also the capability of adapting to the presence of other pets and children in your household.
If you’re thinking of bringing a puppy of this breed home sometime soon, make sure you have the suitable home environment for his needs.
This includes a comfy, supportive bed, room to exercise outdoors, adequate amount of food and water bowls, chew toys and most importantly, a private space to call his own. You may want to assign an exclusive area to him that is bounded on one or more side with a baby-grate or large crate, so that he can re-wind in leisure whenever he feels like.
Black German Shepherds are quite comfortable living indoors or outdoors as long you include balance in his daily schedule. This means that you shouldn’t leave your GSD indoors or outdoors alone for prolonged periods of time. He will need the attention of you and your family.
If you think of housing your German Shepherd dog outdoors, make sure to provide a safe and spacious house for him. Such a house can be either purchased or built from scratch.
The dog house should be large enough for him to stand up and move in a roundabout manner.
Weather conditions may cause dirt and fungus to accumulate inside the dog house. Therefore, it’s essential that it stays clean all the time. After all, you wouldn’t want your dog to sleep in dirty or damp conditions as this could cause skin problems and allergies later on.
In case, you stay in an apartment and you’re keen on bringing a black GSD into your family, make sure you have the time and facility to provide him with daily exercise.
Also, ensure there’s a park, open land or lots of open space nearby, where you can walk him and let him frolic about. A good idea is to keep him in a canines day care when you’re away for work. This gives him his due exercise.
Although black German Shepherds are expected to live for at least 12 to 15 years, certain health issues are popular within this breed, yet not life threatening.
Here is a quick rundown of the major health concerns for black Shepherd dog owners:
-Canine hip dysplasia (CHD):
Hip dysplasia is the most common skeletal problem affecting black German Shepherds today.
It is the abnormal development of the hip joint, wherein the femur’s head fails to fit snugly into the pelvic socket.
Hip dysplasia often rings in without a warning and doesn’t always manifest in the form of clinical signs. Usually dogs suffering from this disorder are in immense pain and tend to lame on their rear legs. If left untreated, severe arthritis can develop due to the malformation of the hip joint.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia ranges from mild to severe.
In case you notice your black GSD exhibiting symptoms like limping, soreness or stiffness around his hind legs or hips, you should contact the veterinarian instantly.
A thorough examination that includes physical examination, radiographs and manual tests will help the vet assert or deny the presence of this disorder in your dog. And if the results are positive for hip dysplasia, do not panic.
Many a time, this disorder is hereditary and as a dog owner, you can’t do anything to prevent its onset. Your veterinarian will give you advice on how to alleviate the intensity of these symptoms and care for your black GSD.
The care regimen will most likely include regular massage, inclusion of joint supplements in diet, change in diet, over-the-counter pain-relievers, weight management, hip replacement and other surgical options.
-Elbow Dysplasia (ununited anconeal process):
Perhaps due to improper development or differential growth rates of the three bones forming the elbow, the joint becomes loose and this leads to painful arthritis in the black German Shepherds.
In severely affected dogs, the symptoms worsen and may very well threaten day-to-day functioning. Excessive stress in the joint can also cause osteochondritis dissecans or fragmentation in the medial coronoid processes.
-von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD):
This is a disorder of the blood, wherein black German Shepherds find it impossible to use their platelets for blood clotting, thereby resulting in sporadic episodes of bleeding that is commonly associated with trauma or surgery.
Panosteitis is a skeletal disorder of spontaneous lameness and pain that affects male dogs more commonly than the females. This problem is particularly common during the 5-14 month age range. The pain follows a characteristic cycle of ebb and flow and lasts for almost a year at times. Analgesic medications like aspirin may provide temporary relief. In more severe cases, corticosteroids are used to provide relief. However, the good news is that the condition doesn’t last forever and goes away eventually.
If you are interested in adopting a black GSD, it is very important first to find a recommended/reputable German Shepherd breeder, i.e a person who take utmost care to test his breeding stock and have them cleared of various genetic problems before proceeding to breed them.
It is only by a combination of testing and breeding cleared dogs that these disorders will be brought under control. It is advisable to start your search with the local breed clubs.
Since most clubs maintain a standard code of ethics, you have better chances of landing up with a healthy and well-behaved puppy. This is also much better than dealing with unknown breeders who don’t really care about such matters.
Buying/Adopting a black shepherd dog is a great investment to make.
While maintaining such a dog may not be very daunting or expensive, it’s important to keep in mind that the darker the coat color, the greater is the level of maintenance required, and consequently, the higher is the cost of grooming the dog.
Black shepherd dogs are extremely popular in Australia and many Australians do not really think twice before buying or adopting one of these dogs.
These dogs are pretty easy to find too and a simple search on the internet can provide you with a list of reputable breeders in your vicinity.
Another good news is that black shepherd dogs can be bred easily without any hassle and the litter sizes may even reach up to 10-11 pups in some cases.
Unlike the teacup breeds or the small apartment dogs that work well around grown-up humans only, the black shepherd dogs are a versatile breed recommended for several types of environments and uses.
They are obedient, trainable and adapt well in a household. Thus they are highly recommended for obedience enthusiasts and dog-lovers.
However, they may come across as a tad too strong around young children. Thus it is advisable to keep your black shepherd puppy in boundaries or physically separated from small children. With time, they will adapt and even get protective of the young kids, thereby making for great watchdogs.
is advisable to contact only recommended breeders to get a black german shepherd puppies for adoption. This is to ensure that the puppy is healthy, well-behaved and carries a good genetic makeup.
If you’re keen for buying them, contact dog clubs or reputable pet stores that provide black german shepherd puppies for sale.
The perks of owning a black shepherd dog are plenty. One of them is the fact that they can be trained to handle any task adeptly-right from informing you of the delivery man’s arrival to providing assistance to an incontinent loved one.
There is no such task that’s out of reach for a black shepherd dog. Due to their steady temperament, high work structure, trainability and uniform appearance, these dogs have proven to be exceptionally competent as police dogs, customs dogs, disability dogs, companion dogs, as well as correctional services dogs.
What can’t this dog do? Right from providing companionship to excellent security, the black German Shepherd is undoubtedly one of the best dogs on this planet. No wonder then that is listed as number 5 on the breed list for man’s best friends!
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