big black dog breeds

Big Black Dog Breeds

Do you want a majestic big black dog to walk with you proudly, to play with you and your children, or to impress the neighbors and keep potential intruders out of your property?

Luckily, there is a wide variety of big black dog breeds with different temperaments, activity levels, and looks that you can choose from.

Here are some of the most popular and not-so-famous large dog breeds, as well as some tips for choosing the right pup and for caring for your new four-legged companion.

Things to Consider When Picking the Best Large Dog Breed

Before adding a large black dog to your family, there are some things to keep in mind.

First of all, if you are adamant about getting a dog that has been bred specifically for its black color, this may increase the chance of genetic mutations and problems in your pup. For example, since the gene that passes down the black coat in German Shepherds is recessive, chances are that puppies born from parents who have black coats are more likely to inherit these recessive mutations than a puppy born from at least one standard-colored parent.

Another factor to remember is that larger-sized dog breeds are more prone to inheriting common health problems with the heart, hip dysplasia, and even some cancers than smaller breeds.

So, always choose a dog from reputable breeders who test their dogs for such mutations, and thus limit such risks amongst the puppies.

Last but not least, some of the large black dog breeds are not suitable for first-time, inexperienced, or timid owners, as they require more socializing and training than others.

Please consider adopting a dog in need of a home. A shelter near you probably has at least one big black dog up for adoption. This is most possibly the case because of the so-called “big black dog syndrome,” which people at shelters call BBD.

According to this phenomenon, larger black or dark-colored dogs are often passed over by adopters in favor of smaller pups with lighter-colored coats. The reasons behind this phenomenon can be explained by the stigma that big dark dog breeds are aggressive. In some countries, people may even relate their color to bad luck or other negative things.

Do You Have Suitable Conditions for a BBD?

Some of the dog breeds in the list can get pretty large, require a lot of exercise space, and can be overly energetic.

So, first, think about whether you have the space for such a large-sized pup and the energy and time to spend with it so that it gets the exercise, training, and playtime it needs to be well and happy.

The Top Big Black Dog Breeds

Here is a list of the five most popular big black dog breeds in the country, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), followed by other not-so-common breeds of this size and color.

Labrador Retriever

Black Labs have consistently been on the top of the list of the most popular dogs in the USA for nearly three decades. Labrador Retrievers are preferred because of their friendly and cheerful temperament and outgoing nature.

They are loving dogs that form strong ties with all family members – young and old.

Since they are people-oriented and energetic, they will expect to receive a lot of playtime, exercise, and interaction with you and your family.

Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dogs are tricolor, but most of them have enough black, so they can be considered big black dogs.

Originating from Switzerland, these beautiful pups were used to herd the famous Swiss cows and cattle, pull carts full of milk, and be watchdogs for their farms, owners, and families.

They are active, strong, and have a lot of energy, and will prefer to go on all kinds of adventures with you. These dogs typically do not like to be left alone at home.

However, they are prone to some health problems and have a relatively short average lifespan of 6 to 10 years which is why you should choose a breeder dedicated to improving the breed’s health. Other downsides are they shed and drool a lot.

Still, when socialized and trained in a timely and proper manner, Berners are amazingly family-friendly and loyal pups.

Black German Shepherd

The standard color of the German Shepherd Dog is black and tan. But some dogs of this breed are all black.

The black coat in GSDs is due to a recessive gene, so it is possible for two standard-colored parents with all-black puppies.

The German Shepherd is the second most popular dog breed in the USA. It is notoriously loyal, intelligent, easy to train, athletic, and hard-working. Plus, it is an excellent guard dog for the family.

The dogs from this breed have a relatively long life span for large pups – about 9 to 13 years. But unfortunately, like other breeds of this size, they are prone to hip dysplasia and problems with the other joints, especially the show dogs, and not so much the working lines.

Long-Haired German Shepherd

Like the above, this popular breed comes in all-black colors, but these large-sized pups have longer hair and a single coat, unlike the shorter double coats of the standard German Shepherd Dogs.

Since the long single coat is considered a “genetic defect” due to a recessive gene, the long-haired variety of this popular breed is not recognized by the AKC.

Still, these dogs are majestic, athletic, and have all of the good traits which the standard GSD has.

They usually have black and tan or black and red coats and black masks on their faces. The all-black, all-white, liver, blue, and silver varieties are considered pretty rare.

Black and Tan Coonhound

These large black dogs are energetic and excellent hunters and exceptional trackers, and at the same time, they are relaxed and calm at home.

They are versatile and happy pups, which are friendly and courageous, but since they like spending a lot of time with their humans, they will not appreciate being left alone for long hours.

Dutch Shepherd

Bred initially as multifunctional farm dogs, Dutch Shepherds are strong, active, and lively. They are recognized as highly intuitive and have exceptional cognitive intelligence, so they can be very devoted and happy pets if you have the time and patience to train, socialize and interact with them so that they stay mentally and physically busy.

Remember that these herding dogs can be stubborn and independent, so you will need perseverance and consistency to train them.

Herding canines, Dutch Shepherds are recognized for their athletic build and lively personalities. In addition, they can be highly independent dogs, despite being multi-purpose farm dogs.

Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is among the best tactical and policing dog breeds in the world. But they can be excellent pets and reliable guard dogs for your home and family.

The Doberman is athletic, sleek, and strong. These brave dogs are very vigilant but need to be socialized and trained correctly. With the proper care and attention, the large pups of this breed can be very loyal and faithful to their humans. They are another one of the most popular sizeable black dog breeds in the USA.

Black Russian Terrier

These Russian dogs, also known as KGB dogs, were bred to do military and police work. They can reach a height of 26 to 28 inches and a weight of 99 to 150 lbs. and are very smart and energetic, so they need sufficient training, exercise, and interactions with their owners.

These dogs are friendly with kids and whole families when they are socialized and trained, and their physical and mental activity needs are attended to. They will feel best if they are given jobs to do, such as dog sports, agility, and obedience.

The downside is that these lively fluffy large dogs need meticulous grooming, so you must be prepared to pay for the professional grooming or learn to do it yourself.

The Black Russian Terrier is a smart but somewhat stubborn breed, so it is not a large black dog suitable for a timid or inexperienced dog owner.

Cane Corso

If you are not familiar with the breed, meeting an adult black Cane Corso can be scary. These large and robust dogs were bred in Italy for guarding and hunting large game such as wild boar.

They can reach a height at the shoulder of 24 to 27 inches, and a weight of 88-99 lbs. and can have a menacing look.

Keep in mind that while they can be friendly and calm with families and children when they are very well trained and socialized, these large guard dogs may become dangerous if there are unruly kids roughhousing with others, which the dog may perceive as a threat. They need consistent obedience training and a lot of physical and mental exercise.

They are definitely not suitable for first-time or inexperienced owners!

Poodle

Giant and Standard Poodles are considered the second most intelligent dog breeds of all.

They are not only beautiful, but they are athletic and fast, kind, wise, and proud animals. Poodles are very popular and are often used for hybrid dog breeds. This popularity is due to their intelligence and their low-shedding coats, which are considered hypoallergenic.

A black poodle will become an excellent four-legged companion and will feel happy and eager to please you if you find it a job such as obedience or working tests.

Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzers are among the most impressive large black dog breeds. They are intelligent and powerful but can be strong-willed, which can cause problems for inexperienced owners.

They can quickly become destructive and bored if you don’t provide sufficient mental and physical stimulation.

Also, this breed is not recommended for households with children under the age of 12, as well as for inexperienced or first-time dog owners, as they can become aggressive and unruly if not trained and socialized in a timely and correct manner.

Great Dane

This is one of the world’s oldest and most famous, and most recognizable dog breeds. These regal animals can reach a height of up to 33 and more inches at the shoulder and a weight of up to 200 lbs.

Even though they were first bred as hunters for boars and other large game, this aggressiveness has been bred out through the years.

Despite their size, the Great Danes are calm, kind, and peaceful dogs that will enjoy living and playing with kids.

These exquisite pups can sometimes be so gentle and kind that they will act more like giant lapdogs.

Still, their weight and size can be a problem for a family with small children because these gentle giants may forget about their dimensions and hurt a toddler by accident.

Unfortunately, the Great Dane is prone to bloat and other health issues and has a relatively short life span of 7 to 10 years.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

This dog breed is a close cousin to the Bernese Mountain Dog. It is another farm dog from the Swiss Alps with a tricolored coat, which is shorter than the Berners and sheds all year round.

This is a good-natured and devoted dog with a lot of self-confidence and a lack of fear.

Despite its size and the history of the breed, the Swissy does not require as much exercise as most other large dog breeds. One of its favorite physical activities is cart pulling.

Even though it is a friendly pup, the Swissy can reach a weight of over 100 lbs. so it can accidentally hurt young kids or toddlers.

The dogs from this breed thrive better in colder climates which is another factor to keep in mind.

Neapolitan Mastiff

This giant dog breed from Italy comes in different colors, but all-black is the most popular one.

The Neo has the look of a huge Pit Bull that is melting, and because of its droopy dewlap and lips, it can look quite intimidating.

Some dogs of this breed can reach the whopping weight of 200 lbs. but while they are dominant and stubborn, they are not as prone to aggression as other breeds of this category. But due to their size, you should be careful with toddlers around them.

They are excellent guard dogs but are not meant to be outdoor dogs.

These gentle giants do not need excessive exercise, so a long walk and some ball tossing should keep them happy.

Newfoundland

Newfoundlands are most often black but also come in chocolate and white, and black colors.

They are gentle giants with sweet tempers and are excellent family dogs.

But they can reach a weight of up to 180 lbs., so once again, you should think twice before adding a Newfie to your home if you have small children or fragile, precious items around the house.

Also, be warned that a Newfoundland will shed and drool quite a lot, so cleaning up after your pup may be annoying to some. They do require a lot of brushing and grooming too.

Since they were bred to retrieve nets from the sea, Newfies love swimming. They are also prone to obesity, so you should be careful with your pup’s diet and provide it with the walks and exercise it needs to stay fit and healthy.

Tibetan Mastiff

Artifacts and data prove that the Tibetan Mastiff is among the oldest dog breeds in the world. This massive dog was used to guard the livestock and its owner’s property.

While it is generally good-natured and easygoing, the Tibetan Mastiff may be aloof to strangers.

Some of the dogs are all-black, but they are often black and tan or in different shades of red or bluish-gray.

The Tibetan Mastiff can reach a weight of more than 100 lbs. It is an excellent family and companion dog that is very loyal and devoted to its humans.

Gordon Setter

Gordon Setters are superb hunters for chasing down birds, so they thrive in the woods and the wilderness. This makes these pups suitable for outdoorsy owners.

The dogs from this breed are intelligent, cheerful, assertive, and confident but are truly sweet and loving dogs to their humans. So they will feel well at home as well as when you are taking walks or enjoying the outdoors with them.

Rottweiler

Similarly to other dogs in this category, the Rottie can be a sweet and lovely family dog when it has been trained and socialized, as well as treated and exercised in the proper manner.

Unfortunately, in other cases, some dogs of this breed can become a menace and truly dangerous.

They were bred in Germany as cart-pulling and cattle-driving dogs, so they are working dogs that will thrive best if given a job to do.

Please note that in some countries, the Rottweiler may fall under the restrictions of what is considered “a dangerous dog breed.”

Also, due to the bad reputation of improperly trained dogs, they can be hard to take with you to hotels or other travels.

Still, they need to spend as much time with their humans, so do not leave your Rottie alone for long periods of time.

Chow Chow

These gorgeous dogs resemble puffy black lions. They are another ancient Chinese breed that is among the most recognizable of all dog breeds.

These massive furballs come in all-black or in blue or cream colors and have distinctive purple or bluish-black tongues.

Other Large Black Dog Breeds to Consider

The listed breeds are among the most common and well-known large black dogs, but here are some others which can help you choose the best pup for you:

  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Briard
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Beauceron
  • Bergamasco Sheepdog
  • Flat-Coated or Curly Coated Retrievers
  • Afghan Hound
  • Borzoi
  • Bouvier Des Flandres
  • Labradoodle
  • Australian Kelpie
  • Barbet
  • Black Pitbull

Final Words

Large black dogs are beautiful and impressive animals. Many can become excellent companions and family dogs with the right care, socialization, and training.

Keep in mind that not all large breeds are suitable for timid or first-time owners or for families with small children.

It is recommended that you choose a dog with similar activity needs like yours and one that you are ready to feed, walk, play, groom, and care for as long as your furbaby lives.

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