23 Popular Dog Breeds That Have Black Coats


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.


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 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.

  • 01 of 23


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    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 23


    Tracy Morgan/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 27 inches

    Weight: 80 to 135 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short coat in mostly black with rust, tan, or mahogany on the face, chest, belly, and legs

    Life Expectancy: 9 to 10 years


  • 03 of 23

    Belgian Sheepdog

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    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

  • 04 of 23


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    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

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  • 05 of 23

    Flat-Coated Retriever

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    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

  • 06 of 23

    Black Russian Terrier

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    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

  • 07 of 23

    Standard Poodle

    Tara Gregg / EyeEm / Getty Images

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: Over 15 inches

    Weight: 40 to 70 pounds

    Coat and Color: Long, curly hair in solid colors or color plus white

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 years


  • 08 of 23

    Labrador Retriever

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    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

    Continue to 9 of 23 below.

  • 09 of 23

    Portuguese Water Dog

    mariakbell / Getty Images

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 17 to 23 inches

    Weight: 35 to 60 pounds

    Coat and Color: Long wavy/curly coat in solid black, black and white, or brown and white

    Life Expectancy: 11 to 13 years


  • 10 of 23


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    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

  • 11 of 23

    Doberman Pinscher

    Doberman pinschers commonly have docked tails.Getty Images/JamesBrey

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 24 to 28 inches

    Weight: 60 to 100 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short coat in mostly black with rust trim

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years


  • 12 of 23

    Giant Schnauzer

    Young giant schnauzer @wickedwahkoowah/Instagram

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 23.5 to 27.5 inches

    Weight: 5 to 85 pounds

    Coat and Color: Wiry, medium-length double coat in solid black or salt & pepper

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years


    Continue to 13 of 23 below.

  • 13 of 23


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    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

  • 14 of 23

    Scottish Terrier (Scottie)

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    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

  • 15 of 23


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    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

  • 16 of 23

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 28 to 32 inches

    Weight: 110 to 175 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short coat in black or other solid colors as well as color combinations

    Life Expectancy: 7 to 10 years


    Continue to 17 of 23 below.

  • 17 of 23

    Staffordshire Bull Terrier

    Sandra Schmid / Getty Images

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Terrier (AKC)

    Height: 14 to 16 inches

    Weight: 24 to 38 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short coat in solid black, black and white, or many other colors and color combinations

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years


  • 18 of 23



    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 6 to 7 inches

    Weight: 3 to 7 pounds

    Coat and Color: Long double coat in solid black or other solid colors, plus many color combinations

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years


  • 19 of 23

    Border Collie

    Robert Pickett / Getty Images

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 18 to 22 inches

    Weight: 30 to 55 pounds

    Coat and Color: Medium length, double wavy coat in solid black, black and white, or many other colors

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years


  • 20 of 23

    Chow Chow

    The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: 17 to 20 inches

    Weight: 45 to 70 pounds

    Coat and Color: Double coat can be smooth or rough. Solid black, cream, blue, red, or cinnamon

    Life Expectancy: 8 to 12 years


    Continue to 21 of 23 below.

  • 21 of 23



    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Hound (AKC)

    Height: 27 to 30 inches

    Weight: 60 to 70 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short coat in solid black, black and brindle, or several other colors and color combinations

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 13 years


  • 22 of 23

    Miniature Pinscher (Min Pin)

    Photo © / Nancy Paiva

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 10 to 12.5 inches

    Weight: 8 to 10 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short coat in mostly black with rust or tan trim. Can also be brown or red

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years


  • 23 of 23

    French Bulldog (Frenchie)

    kiszon pascal/Getty Images

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: 11 to 13 inches

    Weight: Under 28 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short coat in black or many other solid colors or color combinations

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 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 for causing allergies.

12 Dog Breeds That Only Have White CoatsThe Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Candille SI, Kaelin CB, Cattanach BM, et al. A β-defensin mutation causes black coat color in domestic dogs. Science. 2007;318(5855):1418-1423.
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