German Shepherds are all the same, right? That’s the question many people ask and assume to be the truth, but it’s not. Not all Germans are created equally, and never is this more true than when one compares a standard German Shepherd to a Black German Shepherd. The black German is far different, even though it does have many of the same qualities as a regular German Shepherd. The difference lies mainly in the look of the dog, the size of the dog and not very much elsewhere. Believe it or not, most people assume that the Black German is the “different” dog, but it’s actually the other way around. The tan and black color you might be used to seeing in house pets and police dogs is actually the “different” type. However, the characteristics of the black German Shepherd are worth a little discussion.
These dogs are very often used to do police and military work because they are highly intelligent animals. They’re also very trainable – as a pup – so they are often used as guide dogs for those who live with a number of impairments. The intelligence of the German Shepherd is second to none, which is part of the reason this makes such a wonderful dog for any family. To be honest, though, this is a dog that is better for families with older children. While they haven’t any issues with babies as a whole, they do tend to play rough and it can cause problems with those who have smaller children.
Black is Traditional
The most distinct difference between the black German and the tan and black is the fact that the Black German has retained a great deal more of the original styling of this breed than the tan and black. The break it down a bit, the black is more traditional in terms of appearance. The black and tan is a change that began occurring in this particular breed as time went on, and it’s not something that’s considered as traditional as the black.
Black is Larger
There is one very noticeable difference between the black shepherd and the more common shepherd aside from color, and that’s the size of the dog. The black shepherd is a dog that has a much larger frame and a much straighter back. It’s also not a dog that features the cringe-look that so many of the black and tan dogs feature. The dog is, essentially, one that looks more intimidating, if that’s believable.
The temperament of a black German is surprisingly very gentle. Many people associate these large dogs with bad attitudes and fierce behavior, but this is not true of dogs properly trained and cared for. Those that are not gentle have not been properly trained, and it is not a direct relation to the breed but a reflection of poor ownership and training. The gentleness of this dog is noticeable, as most people assume it will attack as a general rule. This is a dog that is wonderful with children, great with other pets, and tolerant of a lot of noise in a busy, large household.
While a black shepherd will not cause a fight just for the enjoyment of it, it’s not a dog that is going to back down. This is a dog that’s going to stand its ground until danger is no longer imminent. It’s going to protect its family because it’s loyal and it has a keen sense of detection. It’s one of the many reasons this dog is so commonly used in the military and in police training. Properly trained, the black shepherd will not actively seek out a fight but it certainly will not back down until its family is protected and safe.
The black shepherd is a very stubborn dog, but it’s a very trainable dog. The key here is to get the dog at a very young age and begin training at that point. Once the dog begins to grow and becomes used to a certain lifestyle, its stubborn nature becomes worse and it’s much more difficult to train this dog. Perhaps this is where the phrase, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” comes from. For this reason, it’s best to begin training a black shepherd when the dog is still a puppy.
Overall, German Shepherds as a whole are very healthy dogs. This is good news for breeders who want to sell and buyers who want a long-term companion. They live approximately a decade, though many live several years longer. The only issue is that these dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, which is common in larger animals. It could become an issue as your shepherd gets older, but you can work now to prevent the onset of this issue. Talk to your vet about what you can do to help your dog avoid this health issue so common in dogs of this particular breed.
What You Need to Know
When it comes to adopting or purchasing a black German Shepherd, there are several things you need to know. The first is that you’ll want to ask many questions before adopting an adult, as you want to know how well the dog behaves where he is currently being housed to get an idea of how he was trained. Remember, it’s fairly difficult to re-train a dog that was not properly trained as a pup – and this could be dangerous to your home and family.
Additionally, you’ll want to know how pricing works on dogs of this nature. For the most part, the average price range is anywhere from $800 to $1000 for a black German Shepherd puppy. The darker the dog’s fur and the thicker his coat, the higher the price will rise. It’s unknown at first how a pup will look, so breeders often do not attach a price to a puppy for a few weeks after it’s been born so that they know whether or not they can ask more for the dog or leave its price in the average range.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images