Post contributed by Kat Chambers

All types of German Shepherds are a great breed of dog, whether they’re tan, red, sable or black. However, Black German Shepherds are fairly rare due to the genetic variation that results in their colour. When it comes to their personality there’s really no difference between a Black German Shepherd and other coloured ones. Overall, they’re a highly intelligent dog that are people-pleasers, which makes them easy to train and loveable pets right from when they’re a puppy.

What makes them black?

A Black German Shepherd’s coat is caused by a genetic mutation that is the result of a recessive gene. This is contrary to the common misconception that they’re the result of a German Shepherd mating with a different breed of dog. Black German Shepherds will always have two German Shepherd parents, and they can be black or typically coloured. This is because all dogs receive one copy of all their genes from their mother and one copy from their father, but their physical traits are determined by whether the genes are recessive or dominant. The recessive gene is in all German Shepherds, but it takes two to make a Black German Shepherd, which is why they’re not very common.

Is anything else different about Black German Shepherds?

The same recessive gene that results in their black coat is also responsible for some other minor differences in Black German Shepherds. The first being that they will have a different body shape and size. They can grow 2.5 to 5 cm taller than typically coloured German Shepherds, which also means they’re often 10 to 20 pounds heavier. German Shepherds will also have a curved back that is distinctive, but Black German Shepherds have a straight back, the same as most other breeds. The only other main difference is that a Black German Shepherds coat is usually noticeable straighter and smoother looking. Their black, straight coat can make it particularly difficult to see fleas and other pests, which makes preventative treatments even more essential to keep their fur and skin healthy and happy.

Do Black German Shepherds need to be trained differently?

All dogs should receive basic training at the very least and this should start from a puppy, where possible. The only difference that there is with training a Black German Shepherd is that owners need to be aware of how big and strong they will grow, which makes it essential for them to be obedient and for owners to have good control over them. The good news is that they’re a highly intelligent breed that loves to please their owners, which makes them relatively easy to train. House training should be taught as a pup, followed by obedience training a few weeks later. A professional trainer can help if owners are unsure of how to train this big breed, which should ideally be done from an early age for the best results.

Overall, Black German Shepherds make great pets. They’re easy to train, even for first time owners, and they’ll strive to please their humans. The only differences between them and their typically coloured counterparts is that they’ll grow slightly bigger, have a different shaped back and a beautiful, smooth coat.