10 Popular Dog Breeds That Have Black Coats

These canine black beauties will steal your heart

Belgian Sheepdog Groenendael
The Belgian Sheepdog, also known as the Groenendael, is always black.

 Getty Images 

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 the pattern and color. For a dog to appear black, the dog must possess three genes: B for black pigmentation, D for dense coloration, and C for full color. These are all dominant genes.

So, it is common to see black coats among many different types of dogs, but 10 breeds have the highest likelihood of being all black dogs.

Tip

When it comes to choosing the best breed for you, coat color is the least important characteristic. Consider a breed’s temperament, size, and exercise needs first. After all that is decided, then you can choose the color you love best. 

Breed Characteristics

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 tend to be friendlier. Some suggest that black dogs 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 supposition. Factually, there are more black dogs in the world, as they are a more dominant color. So rarer colors may be adopted first or seem to be "adopted last" since black dogs are born at higher rates.

Here are 10 of the most common black dog breeds.

  • 01 of 10

    Affenpinscher

    Affenpinscher

    Getty Images 

    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. 

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 9 to 11.5 inches

    Weight: 7 to 10 pounds

    Coat and Color: Wiry and shaggy coat; commonly comes in black and can come in gray, silver, red, black and tan, or beige

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

  • 02 of 10

    Belgian Sheepdog

    Belgian Sheepdog Groenendael

     Getty Images 

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder

    Weight: 45 to 75 pounds

    Coat and Color: Thick double coat is always black

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

  • 03 of 10

    Black Russian Terrier

    Black Russian Terrier

    Getty Images 

    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. 

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 26 to 30 inches

    Weight: 100 to 150 pounds (male); 80 to 120 pounds (female)

    Coat and Color: Medium-length double coat is always black

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

  • 04 of 10

    Flat-Coated Retriever

    Flat-Coated Retriever

    Getty Images 

    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. 

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 24.5 inches

    Weight: 55 to 70 pounds

    Coat and Color: Moderate length coat that lies flat; comes in solid black or brown

    Life Expectancy: 8 to 10 years

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Labrador Retriever

    Black Labrador Retriever

    Getty Images 

    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. 

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 21.5 to 24.5 inches

    Weight: 55 to 80 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, dense double coat comes in black, chocolate, or yellow

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

  • 06 of 10

    Newfoundland

    Newfoundland dog

    Getty Images 

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 26 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder

    Weight: 100 to 150 pounds

    Coat and Color: Large and heavily boned, but well balanced; in addition to black, Newfies come in brown, gray, or black and white (called Landseer)

    Life Expectancy: 9 to 10 years

  • 07 of 10

    Pug

    Black pug

    Getty Images 

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 10 to 13 inches

    Weight: 14 to 18 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short double coat 

    Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years

  • 08 of 10

    Puli

    Black Puli

    Getty Images 

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Weight: 25 to 35 pounds

    Height: 16 to 17 inches

    Coat and Color: Wooly, dense double coat in solid black, rusty black, gray, or white

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Schipperke

    Schipperke

     Getty Images

    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.   

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-Sporting (AKC)

    Weight: 10 to 16 pounds

    Height: 10 to 13 inches

    Coat and Color: Abundant coat, straight and slightly harsh to the touch; usually black although other colors can occur

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

  • 10 of 10

    Scottish Terrier

    Scottish Terrier Scottie dog

    Getty Images 

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Terrier (AKC)

    Height: 10 inches

    Weight: 18 to 22 pounds

    Coat and Color: Double coat with longer fur on the face, legs, and lower body and soft, dense undercoat; most commonly black but can also appear in wheaten or brindle

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

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, if not more, for causing allergies.