big black dog breeds

10 Big Black Dog Breeds You’ll Love

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Is there anything more magnificent than a big black dog standing majestically in the yard with the sunlight glinting off their sleek coat? We don’t think so! That’s why we’ve created this list of 10 big black dog breeds we think you’ll love.

Some you may already be familiar with, like the Newfoundland, while others may be new to you, like the Black Russian Terrier.

Things to Consider When Looking for a Large Black Dog Breed

If you think it’s time to add a big black dog breed to your family, there are some things you should keep in mind that not all people need to be concerned with as they look to add a furry member to their family.

For starters, be careful when looking specifically for a black dog in breeds that come in a variety of colors. In some dogs, breeding specifically for one color can lead to a higher likelihood of other genetic problems.

For instance, the gene that produces Black German Shepherds is recessive. A Black German Shepherd puppy that was born to two black parents is more likely to have inherited other recessive genes that could lead to health problems.

Look for Black German Shepherd puppies that were born to a litter where at least one parent has standard coloration.

Big dog breeds are somewhat more likely to have serious inherited health problems like hip dysplasia, heart problems, and cancer than smaller dog breeds.

That’s why it’s crucial to look for a puppy from a breeder that does plenty of health testing on their breeding animals to reduce the likelihood of producing puppies with those health conditions.

Big dogs can be a handful for unprepared owners, so many shelters and rescue groups are full of big dogs, even big black ones.

Adopting a big dog is a great way to save a life; just be aware that you don’t know how much training or socialization the dog may have received, and they may have behavioral problems you will need to work with.

You also need to consider your living conditions.

Do you have the time and energy to make sure your large dog gets plenty of exercise? Do you have a yard for them to romp around in? Do you have small kids who could get bumped into by a large dog?

Make sure you’re ready for the responsibility of having a large black dog breed before bringing one into your home.

10 Big Black Dog Breeds

1. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs

The Bernese Mountain Dog (affectionately known as the Berner) is a friendly dog that’s full of energy and loves most people. Even though they aren’t all black (they’re technically tricolor), they’re black enough to come in at the top of our list.

Bred to be all-around farm dogs in Switzerland, the Bernese Mountain Dog was used to pull carts, herd cattle, act as watchdogs, and be a companion to the family.

Unlike many other large breed dogs, the Berner has a lot of energy and needs plenty of exercise. They’re a great breed to join you on your adventures, which is perfect since they don’t do well left home alone.

They shed like crazy and tend to drool, but a well-socialized and well-trained Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the friendliest and most family-friendly dog breeds you could ever hope to have.

One downside to the breed is that they are prone to a variety of health problems, and their average lifespan is only 6-10 years.

If you’re looking at getting a Berner puppy, make sure you find a breeder who does plenty of health testing on their breeding stock and is dedicated to improving the health of the breed.

A Berner from a disreputable breeder is more likely to have a shorter life filled with health problems.

2. Black German Shepherd

Black German Shepherd Dog 2

You’re probably familiar with the typical black and tan coloration of the German Shepherd Dog (GSD), but did you know they also come in all black varieties?

Contrary to popular belief, Black German Shepherds aren’t mutts. They’re actually the result of a recessive gene that affects coat color.

Thanks to the recessive gene, it’s possible for two German Shepherds with normal coloration to produce one or more puppies that are all black.

The German Shepherd is the 2nd-most-common dog in the United States, and for good reason. They are easy to train, intelligent, and friendly to most people, although they will protect their family if they sense a threat.

Since German Shepherds were bred to work, Black German Shepherds need plenty of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. A GSD that doesn’t get enough exercise or mental stimulation is likely to become destructive and may even find creative ways to escape your backyard.

German Shepherds are very prone to hip dysplasia and other joint problem, especially if they come from show lines rather than working lines.

Black German Shepherds who come from a line of dogs bred to work rather than trot around a show ring are likely to be the healthiest German Shepherds you can find.

Like always, look for a breeder who does health testing on their breeding dogs to ensure healthy puppies.

3. Black Russian Terrier

black russian terrier

Are you looking for a big black fluffy dog breed that doesn’t shed much and won’t be found in every dog park in the country? You may be interested in the Black Russian Terrier, a newer breed that’s still rare in the United States.

Also called Blackies, the Black Russian Terrier was bred to be a military and police dog. Don’t let this worry you – they’re quite friendly with their families, even small children. However, they are extremely intelligent and need a fair amount of exercise.

Unlike most of the other dog breeds on this list, the Black Russian Terrier needs regular haircuts. This is because the hair that doesn’t shed just keeps growing if left untrimmed and can become matted and uncomfortable.

Professional dog grooming for Blackies isn’t cheap, so be sure to factor grooming into your budget if you are thinking about bringing a Black Russian Terrier into your home.

Black Russian Terriers need experienced dog owners who know how to be firm without being aggressive.

The Blackie’s intelligence and stubbornness can combine to make them a Black Russian “Terror” in the hands of an inexperienced owner.

These dogs also do best when they have a job to do such as agility, obedience, or other dog sports.

4. Cane Corso

cane corso italiano

While the Cane Corso comes in other colors apart from black, a black Cane Corso can strike fear into the hearts of people who aren’t familiar with the breed.

Cani Corsi (the plural for Cane Corso) were bred to hunt game like wild boar and guard property, so they can appear to be quite threatening, although they can be very friendly with proper socialization.

The Cane Corso can be good with kids, but with a caveat – a kid running around and squealing may resemble prey, and roughhousing with kids the Cane Corso doesn’t know may cause the dog to think it needs to protect its kid from the “danger” that the other kid presents.

Cani Corsi can be loyal companions and protectors when well-trained and properly socialized, but they can become aggressive or even deadly in the wrong hands, so this isn’t a breed for the novice dog owner.

Your Cane Corso will be happiest with a job to do that will give them exercise and utilize their intelligence. If nothing else, daily exercise and obedience training are a must.

5. Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer

If you don’t have small children and are looking for a dog who will protect you without shedding too much, the Giant Schnauzer may be the big black dog breed that you’re looking for.

Giant Schnauzers probably descended from Standard Schnauzers (rather than the other way around) and are intelligent, active dogs who are happiest when they have a job to do, especially if that job involves protecting their favorite person.

The Giant Schnauzer needs a firm hand for training and socialization, so they don’t grow up to become unruly and aggressive. Giant Schnauzers are not well-suited to a life with small kids and do best in a home where all the children are at least 12 years old.

Their coat needs regular brushing at home and regular clipping or stripping from a professional groomer. Otherwise, the Giant Schnauzer’s beautiful black coat can become matted and painful for the dog.

Thanks to their intelligence and energy level, Giant Schnauzers can become bored and destructive, so be prepared to spend a lot of time exercising your dog’s body and mind to keep them calm and happy.

6. Great Dane

Great Dane

While Great Danes come in other colors besides black, we couldn’t leave them off this list since they’re the tallest dog breed.

A black Great Dane weighing up to 200 pounds is an impressive sight, but unlike many of the other breeds on this list, the Great Dane is generally not aggressive or overly protective.

Great Danes are quite calm with children, although one accidental whack with a paw or a tail could injure a toddler, so be sure to keep that in mind if you’re thinking of bringing one of these gentle giants into your home.

Since the Great Dane has such a lean frame, they eat somewhat less than you would expect, which is a nice benefit for a large dog.

The Great Dane is one of the oldest dog breeds on our list, with pictures of dogs resembling Great Danes going as far back as 3000 BC on Egyptian artifacts.

While they were originally bred to hunt game like boars, their aggressiveness has been bred out of them, making them a friendly family dog.

Sadly, their large size correlates with a short lifespan of only about 7-10 years. Great Danes are also quite prone to bloat, which can cut their life even shorter if it isn’t treated quickly enough.

7. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, also called the Swissy for short, is a very close cousin to the Bernese Mountain dog, with the primary difference between the two being the length of their coats.

While Berners have thick, medium-length coats that shed seasonally, Swissies have short hair that sheds around the year.

While the Swissy does need some exercise and enjoys having a job to do, they have somewhat lower exercise requirements than other large breeds and tend to be calmer than their Bernese Mountain Dog cousins.

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is gentle with children, although they can weigh well over 100 pounds and may accidentally injure small children simply due to their size.

Despite their short coat, Swissies don’t do well in the heat. They are more acclimated to colder climates, so that’s something to keep in mind if you live in an area that stays hot for much of the year.

If you aren’t interested in common dog sports like agility or flyball, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog excels at a less-common dog sport – cart pulling. They were bred to pull carts laden with milk and enjoy the challenge of pulling heavy things.

8. Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiff on Grass Field

While the Neapolitan Mastiff comes in a few other colors than black, black is one of the most common colors for this majestic breed.

If you like mastiff-type dogs but want something a little less common than the English Mastiff or Bullmastiff, then the Neapolitan Mastiff may be the breed for you. Often referred to as the Neo, the Neapolitan Mastiff somewhat resembles a giant, melting Pit Bull.

Their droopy lips and dewlap give them an even more intimidating presence than other Mastiff breeds, and as long as you don’t mind the excessive amounts of drool those droopy lips can create, the Neo believes he’s a 200-pound lap dog.

The Neo will protect their family if provoked, but they are less prone to overall aggression than some of the other breeds on this list.

They have moderate exercise needs, but a long walk is sufficient – no need to spend an hour tossing tennis balls in the dog park to satisfy this gentle giant’s exercise needs.

Neapolitan Mastiffs can be rather clumsy, so they may unintentionally hurt smaller children, but they love larger children.

This dog likes having a backyard to guard but needs to be inside with his people at night – they aren’t meant to be outside all the time.

9. Newfoundland

Newfoundland dog

Newfoundlands also come in chocolate and Landseer (white and black) color variations, but black is by far the most common coat color for this friendly family dog.

While Newfies are some of the friendliest dogs you can meet, they shed and drool excessively, so they aren’t a good choice for people who like to keep a clean home.

They also need quite a lot of brushing, especially when the seasons change, to prevent a buildup of undercoat that can become matted and uncomfortable.

The Newfoundland was bred to retrieve nets from water, and they love to swim, especially since their thick black coat can cause them to overheat in the summer.

Nana, the nanny dog in “Peter Pan,” was a Newfoundland, which represents the Newfoundland’s gentle nature with children (although we don’t recommend leaving your children home alone with only a dog for a nanny!).

Newfies need daily walks, especially since they are prone to obesity, which can cause many of the same health problems in dogs that it can cause in people.

The Newfoundland is a clingy breed that needs to be with their family as much as possible, so they don’t do well living outside or being left home alone for long periods.

10. Rottweiler

rottweiler

A well-socialized and highly trained Rottweiler is a beautiful animal that will work all day and protect its family without being aggressive. A poorly-socialized Rottweiler without enough training or exercise can be a terror and a menace.

While the Rottie is not a great dog for novice owners, they can be a wonderful addition to a family that’s prepared to put in the time and energy to train, socialize, and exercise their dog.

Originally bred in Germany to pull carts and drive cattle, the Rottweiler is at its best when it has a job to do.

Like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers are sometimes subject to breed restrictions thanks to the reputation formed by ill-trained Rotties.

Finding hotels and apartment buildings that allow Rottweilers can be a chore, so it’s best if you own your own home and leave your Rottie behind when you travel.

Despite their fearsome reputation, a Rottweiler that gets enough exercise, socialization, and training can make an excellent family pet.

They need to be with their people, though, and don’t do well left alone for long periods or living outside full-time.

Rottweilers love food and are prone to obesity. Make sure you are careful about their meal portions and don’t give them too many treats.

Other Big Black Breeds to Consider

There are so many amazing large black dog breeds that we couldn’t include them all on our list. If you love big black dogs, you may also consider one of these breeds that are sometimes or always black:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Labradoodle
  • Border Collie
  • Standard Poodle
  • Bernedoodle
  • Afghan Hound
  • Australian Kelpie
  • Barbet
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Belgian Sheepdog

Wrapping Up: Which Big Black Dog Breed is for You?

While most of the dog breeds on this list make exceptional family pets, not every dog breed is the right fit for every family.

  • Are you looking for a high-energy dog to join you on daily adventures, or are you looking for a giant lap dog who’s content with a daily walk?
  • How do you feel about drooling and shedding?
  • How much money can you afford to spend on food or grooming?

These are all factors that should influence how you decide which dog breed is best for you and your family.

Hopefully, this list has helped you narrow down your options of which is best for your family! What do you think? Did we forget your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

You May Also Like…

What Is the Biggest Dog Breed in the World? The 15 Largest Dogs!

13 Best Dog Brushes and Deshedding Tools for LARGE Dogs

Neapolitan Mastiff Facts You Didn’t Know

11 Best Big Dog Breeds for Families

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