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15 Black Dog Breeds: Pictures, Facts & History

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Newfoundland dog

You may be surprised by the number of black dog breeds out there—black is a surprisingly common color for dogs to come in, and it shows up in a variety of breeds.

Of course, these breeds vary widely. Luckily, that means that you have plenty of options to choose from if you want a black pooch. We’ll take a look at some of the most common black dog breeds below.


How Are Black Dogs Classified?

If a dog is almost completely black, we put it into this category. Surprisingly, there are very few dogs that are truly 100% black. Most have markings of some sort. However, as long as these markings are not significant, we included these canines as “black dogs.”

The 15 Black Dog Breeds

1. Labrador Retriever

black labrador retriever in the grass
Image by: Baevskiy Dmitry, Shutterstock
Origin: Newfoundland, Canada
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 21.5–24.5 inches

Labs are some of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. They are known for being outgoing, friendly companions. They’re playful and a great option for families, as well. They’re also very intelligent and trainable, allowing them to be utilized as service animals.

For the most part, these dogs come in three main colors: yellow, brown, and black. Black is one of the rarer colorations, but it is bred by several breeders across the US.

2. Great Danes

male great dane dog on grass
Image by: belu gheorghe, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 7–10 years
Height: 28–32 inches

Great Danes are known as the tallest dog in the world. However, they also come in a huge range of colors, including black. Black isn’t the most common color they come in, but it isn’t exceedingly rare, either.

Of course, before adopting one of these dogs, you must make sure that you have enough room for such a big dog. Luckily, they are pretty laid-back dogs that don’t need tons of exercise.

3. Belgian Shepherds

Black Belgian Malinois dog wet at dog water park
Image by: cricket75, Shutterstock
Origin: Belgium
Lifespan: 10–13 years
Height: 22–26 inches

Bred as true working dogs, Belgian Shepherds come in many different colors. Often, they’re bred for their work ethic and health, so it’s often challenging to find them in pure black. That said, it is absolutely possible.

These canines are becoming more and more popular as people realize just how intelligent and trainable they are. They’re a good choice for families that want to compete in canine sports or have a constant, well-trained companion.

4. Affenpinscher

an affenpinscher dog at the park
Image by: Didkovska Ilona, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 9–11.5 inches

The Affenpinscher is a bit different from the dogs we’ve discussed thus far. These small terriers have a wiry, black coat and a “monkey face.” They’re exceptionally outgoing and friendly, making them great for families.

Plus, these dogs are very intelligent and trainable too. They respond readily to commands and are often eager to please.

5. Portuguese Water Dogs

Portuguese Water Dog
Image by: Zé Maria, Unsplash
Origin: Portugal
Lifespan: 10–15 years
Height: 15–23 inches

The Portuguese Water Dogs are known for their water-resistant coats. As their name suggests, they were bred to spend much of their time in the water. They’re working dogs that require a decent amount of exercise.

They’re also very intelligent and easy to train. Their friendly nature makes them a good choice for active families.

6. Flat-Coated Retriever

Side shot of a black Flat Coated Retriever dog running across a meadow
Image by: Sven Mewis, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 8–10 years
Height: 22–24.5 inches

Flat-coated Retrievers are another breed that was bred to retrieve in the water. They have a smooth, black coat that repels water and also looks rather nice.

These dogs love to swim and are quite active. When introduced to water at a young age, they often quickly take to swimming. We only recommend them for active families, though, as they need plenty of exercise.

7. Schipperke

Image by: dien, Shutterstock
Origin: Belgium
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 10–13 inches

Schipperke dogs aren’t as popular as some others. However, they come in black and can make wonderful dogs for the right family. They’re known for their fox-like appearance, which makes them pretty interesting aesthetically.

They’re very alert canines that tend to be very loyal to their family. They can be a bit overbearing, though. It’s recommended that they are socialized well to prevent any territorial issues.

8. Newfoundland

newfoundland dog standing outdoor
Image by: PH888, Shutterstock
Origin: Newfoundland, Canada
Lifespan: 8–10 years
Height: 25–28 inches

These giant dogs were bred to work in the cold waters of Newfoundland. Therefore, they require a bit of exercise each day, and you need to make sure you have room to handle these dogs.

They’re known for their loyal, protective personalities. However, they aren’t necessarily as protective as purpose-bred breeds like German Shepherds.

9. Scottish Terrier

scottish terrier
Image by: Plotitsyna NiNa, Shutterstock
Origin: Scotland
Lifespan: 11–13 years
Height: 10–11 inches

Scottish Terriers are smaller dogs from Scotland, as their name suggests. They have a wiry black coat, complete with a beard. They can be absolutely adorable when groomed properly.

These canines are known for being independent and even a little stubborn, though. They weren’t bred to listen to others, so it’s important to start training early and stay consistent.

10. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher on the background of autumn trees
Image by: OlgaOvcharenko, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 26–28 inches

Doberman Pinschers usually have a black coat with brown markings. They have a particularly heavy build, as they were originally bred for guarding purposes. They can be very intelligent, and these dogs are often pretty easy to train.

That said, they are also known for their guarding instincts. Therefore, it’s important that you socialize and train them from an early age to prevent any problems.

11. Rottweiler

rottweiler dog sitting on concrete ground
Image by: Serova_Ekaterina, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 8–10 years
Height: 22–27 inches

Rottweilers are large, imposing dogs that were originally bred to guard livestock. Later, they were used to guard people and property. They still retain these instincts today, so it’s important to socialize them to prevent aggression.

They exclusively sport black coats with brown markings. A well-bred Rottweiler will be incredibly muscular and easily fall into the “big dog” category.

12. Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese Mountain Dog
Image by: Othmar Sigrist, Pixabay
Origin: Switzerland
Lifespan: 7–8 years
Height: 23–27.5 inches

While not completely black, Bernese Mountain dogs do have a black coat with white and brown markings. They’re exceptionally large, which is necessary when you’re living in the mountains.

Despite their large size, these dogs are gentle and loyal. They’re often utilized as therapy dogs due to their strong companionship drive and laid-back disposition.

13. Pugs

Black pug lying on the grass
Image by: Jumpstory
Origin: China
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 10–14 inches

Pugs are one of the more recognizable breeds on this list. While pugs can come in black, this is rarer than other colors. Therefore, you may have a harder time finding a black pug than other coloration.

These tiny, friendly dogs are great companions. However, they aren’t the healthiest dogs out there. Their squished faces can lead to some serious health issues, as they cannot breathe as well as other dogs.

14. Boston Terrier

Black Boston Terrier
Image by: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 11–13 years
Height: 15–17 inches

Boston Terriers are famous for their black-and-white coloration. The primary color of their body is black. However, they also have white markings. You won’t find a fully black Boston Terrier. But these dogs are black enough for us to count them.

These canines are friendly and adaptable. They’re very good with children and were primarily bred to be companion animals. Therefore, they’re great for those who just want a laidback dog to hang around with.

15. Bullmastiff

Black Bullmastiff
Image by: Urszula Drab, Shutterstock
Origin: England
Lifespan: 7–8 years
Height: 25–27 inches

Bullmastiffs are most known for coming in fawn. However, they can also come in black and very dark brown. These large, muscular dogs were bred for guarding purposes. Therefore, they are very imposing.

These dogs are incredibly gentle despite their previous use as guard dogs. They are exceptionally good with children and tend to be more laidback. While they do need exercise, they aren’t as hyperactive as some other dogs.

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Final Thoughts

There are tons of dogs out there that come in black (or almost black). If you’re looking for a darker canine, you have plenty of options to choose from.

Of course, be sure to consider the dogs’ activity level and health when choosing a dog—not just their appearance. How a dog acts often plays a much larger role in whether or not they work in your home than what color they are.

That said, there is nothing wrong with selecting a suitable canine from our list of black dogs. Hopefully, one of these stands out as an awesome choice for you and your family.

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Featured Image Credit: Pandas, Shutterstock

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