23 of the Cutest Black Dog Breeds
These pretty pooches will melt your heart!
Show black dog breeds some love
Out of all the many dog breeds that there are in the world, black dog breeds have a special place in our hearts. These cuties tend to have soulful brown eyes and cute little black noses, and who can resist a pink tongue lolling out of a sweet black doggo’s mouth after a run in the park? Unfortunately, as veterinarian Rachel Cassidy explains, “Dogs that are largely or solid black do suffer from ‘black dog syndrome’ and get adopted less often than other colors as they are perceived to be less friendly or even dangerous, but this is untrue.” Anthropologist Vedrana Nikolic agrees: “Some just really prefer a dog with a lighter coat because, during adoption, they can see more clearly the expressions on the dog’s face,” she says. That’s definitely a win for white dog breeds, but we wish all dogs were treated better.
Of course, black dog breeds are no less sweet and friendly than any other dog, just as black cat breeds (who are often also passed over at the adoption center) are just as cuddly as any other cat. Cassidy adds, “Color does not determine temperament, there is only human perceived association.” Veterinary tech Amber LaRock furnished us with a list of all the black dog breeds out there, and there’s no doubt that black dogs are found among the cutest dog breeds. The raven-coated pooches below make us want to head out to the nearest adoption center to pick one up for ourselves!
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This gorgeous continental herder only comes in black, or occasionally in black and white, making them one of the best black dog breeds. These workaholic pooches live to give 100 percent of their effort whether they’re playing or working, and that effort extends to their coat: long and luxurious, it needs regular grooming. Belgian Sheepdogs, or Groenendaels, are very sensitive dogs who bond deeply with their humans and don’t do well alone. But with a face this cute, who could leave them?
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Black Russian Terrier
If this furry fellow reminds you of a Giant Schnauzer, a Newfoundland, or an Airedale Terrier, you’d be correct. Specially bred in the 1930s from all of those breeds (and more!), the Russian Terrier was created as a guard dog, meant to patrol the massive Russian steppe during the frigid Siberian night. As the name suggests, they only come in one coat color, and only in one size: huge, up to 140 pounds.
The only other dog that only comes in black, the little Shippy has a sweet, foxy little face, a thick black coat, and a curious and confident personality. The name means “little captain” in Flemish, as they were the traditional rat-catching barge dog of Belgium. Many Shippys are tailless, but thankfully breeders are increasingly not docking the tails anymore; two fully tailed Ships even became AKC champions.
Recently voted America’s favorite dog breed for the 28th year in a row, the lovable Labrador is one of the most popular dogs in the United States. And they come in black! Labs are known for being kind, intelligent, and great with kids. They’re also super friendly, making them an amazing choice for anyone looking for a great family black dog breed.
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The Scottie conjures up images of umbrellas, shortbread, and walks beside the loch. Just us? Well, either way, Scotties are some of the cutest in the black dog breed category! They are extremely dignified and stubborn little terriers, with wiry, weather-proof coats and a feisty temperament.
Have you always wanted a pony, but only have room for a dog? Well, a black Great Dane might be the happy medium you never knew you wanted! Standing up to 32 inches at the shoulder, Danes tower over humans when standing on their hind legs, and pretty much every other dog when they’re on four feet. Although huge, Danes are usually gentle and make great family dogs, bonding closely with their humans.
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The polar opposite to the Great Dane when it comes to black dog breeds, the Chihuahua usually weighs no more than 6 pounds. However, they have a lot of attitude in that little body! With their recognizable bat ears and short or long coats, Chihuahuas make wonderful (and portable!) companions.
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Toy, Miniature, or Standard, the poodle comes in black in all available sizes. These curly pooches are known for their smarts, grace, and sometimes ornate hairstyles. But behind the haircut lurks a black dog breed willing to play and loyal to their humans. Poodles have found success in recent years as the basis for many crossbreeds, such as Cavapoos (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Poodle) and Schnoodles (Schnauzer x Poodle), all of which may be found with a black coat!
Schnauzers also come in three sizes (Miniature, Standard, and Giant) but all three are extra-cute with a black coat! These cuties are known for their coarse coats and bushy eyebrows and beards, giving them a distinctly professorial look of slight disapproval. However, their loving and protective natures belie their grumpy little faces. Schnaus are energetic and intelligent and can keep up with you on all your adventures.
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These active little guys have double coats and heavily plumed tails, giving them that recognizable puffball look. Those foxy little faces are cute in any color, but we love the way these smart, feisty dogs look with a black coat. Poms are definitely one of the cutest black dog breeds and love to be the center of attention (so may not be the best dog if you have small children).
These big Italian fellows can trace their lineage back to ancient Roman times, and the breed name comes from the Latin for “bodyguard dog.” They tend to be large, weighing over 100 pounds, with big, mastiff-like heads (and jowls!) and short, glossy coats that look lovely in black, one of the breed’s six colors. While they do have protective natures, they are also intelligent, loyal, and affectionate. Like all dogs, these lovelies do best with proper training from an early age.
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If you want a real-life teddy bear, the Newfoundland is the pooch for you among black dog breeds. Extremely furry and always sweet, these gentle giants are incredible swimmers bred to perform water rescues. They are strong enough to rescue a drowning man from rough seas—useful if you live on an island such as Newfoundland!
Cocker Spaniels are gentle and loving, good with humans of every age. They are wonderful family pets, known for their big melty eyes and having the world’s softest ears. These medium-sized pooches were originally bred for gamebird hunting, but they make excellent (and silky) household companions.
Despite their bizarre appearance (so slim, with long heads) greyhounds have a long and noble history. They are the fastest sprinters among all dogs, but as any greyhound owner will tell you, these sweet-tempered and gentle hounds are better known as 45mph couch potatoes. They seriously sleep about 18 hours a day, which is more than some cats! This amazing snoozing ability makes them great apartment dogs, despite their size. Just let them sprint it out a few times a week, and they’ll be happy to binge-watch Netflix on the couch with you for hours.
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You know Frenchies as that dog you can’t pass by on the street—you have to stop and pet them! These cuties are one of the sweetest black dog breeds: Friendly and relaxed, with big bat ears that are endlessly endearing. Their smooth coats and adorable wrinkles compliment their fun-loving natures.
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These dogs can look intimidating to some, but Staffies tend to be some of the friendliest and sweetest dogs around. As with every dog, it’s important that they are socialized and properly trained from puppyhood, but a glossy black Staffie makes one of the most loving and loyal family companions in the dog world.
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Who can resist a sweet, wrinkly pug? With their curly tails and smiling jowls, the pug makes one of the most adorable black dog breeds. Compact and portable, the pug traces its lineage back to ancient China. Pugs are easy-going and flexible, happy solo or with pooch pals, with kids or seniors. Their sociable natures make them good for all living situations.
Lying somewhere between the Labrador and Golden Retrievers is the Flat-Coated Retriever, whose lush flat-lying coat comes in a gorgeous sable black. Full of energy, these dogs love to play fetch and swim for hours with their favorite humans. Unlike other Retrievers, these beauties have long heads and a sleeker silhouette than their chunkier cousins. Owners say that these pooches never grow up, retaining their puppyish mischief-making energy well into old age.
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These distinctive-looking dogs are one of the most unusual black dog breeds, but also one of the best. Bred to look after sheep on the chilly Hungarian plains, the double dreadlocked coat these pooches rock kept them warm and dry for centuries. Today, their herding instinct may extend to your children. Gently, of course!
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If you want a dog with a mustache, you want an Affenpinscher. Their German name translates to “monkey terrier,” and one look at the Ewok-a-like little face of this pooch makes it clear where they got their name. These adorably scruffy little guys may be small, but they are feisty and adventurous. Affenpinschers are most commonly found with a black coat, so make sure you check your local shelter!
Portuguese Water Dog
These smart cookies are famous for being the First Dogs during President Obama’s two terms, but they’re beloved by many less illustrious humans too! Friendly, loyal, and easy to train, the sweet Portie is one of the best black dog breeds for families. Their curly coat is waterproof and hypoallergenic, which is good as the Portie enjoys plenty of vigorous exercise and will likely leap into water wherever they find it.
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If you can embrace the jowls (and the drool), the personality of the Neapolitan Mastiff is a winner: Affectionate, loyal, and loving of all the family. Descending from traditional Italian guard dogs, the massive Neas are surprisingly gentle and even adorable with their big sad eyes and all-over wrinkles. They may not be the best black dog breed for your apartment, though: these pooches can weigh up to 180 pounds!
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Although they are often black with tan points, a pure black German Shepherd is one of our favorite black dog breeds. Often used as service, police, and military dogs because of their intelligence, loyalty, and strength, German Shepherds make wonderfully gentle family pets. German Shepherds are known for a certain dignity and nobility of character, with a thick coat and large ears.
Next, figure out which of these funny dog names you’ll be crowning your new black dog with!
- Rachel Cassidy, veterinarian consultant for Animalso
- Vedrana Nikolic, anthropologist at Gentle Dog Trainers
- Amber LaRock, Licensed Vet Tech and Veterinary Consultant at CatPet.club