A shiny black coat, whether short or fluffy, is an eye-catching trait for dogs. The way their dark eyes blend in with their coat makes them look mysterious, and it can feel like you’re looking deep into their soul when you look into their eyes. Yet, they’re oftentimes passed over at animal shelters for no reason other than something called “Black Dog Syndrome.” Although it isn’t a real syndrome, it refers to the fact that people tend to view them as less friendly, and even scary, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Some of the dogs that look menacing are only because of the way they’re portrayed in popular culture. And there’s no difference between the personality of a yellow Labrador retriever and a black one. Read on to learn about some popular black dog breeds that are actually some of the most loving, loyal and affectionate bundles of fur on the planet.

Giant Schnauzer standing in field

Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer is, in fact, giant and stands at 27 inches high at the shoulder. This makes them about 8 inches taller than the Standard Schnauzer and about 15 inches taller than the Mini Schnauzer. Giant Schnauzers average about 100 pounds and identifiable by their pointed ears, cropped tail and long beard. They need lots of attention from their owners and lots of room to run and play. We also have an article on specific food for Schnauzer's if you're interested. Their black or peppered coat has a top layer that’s wiry and a bottom layer that’s softer. They need regular grooming and brushing to keep them looking so handsome. They don’t shed much, which is a nice trait. They’re very smart dogs that train easily, but they’re highly protective. Giant Schnauzers are best in homes without small kids, but they do well with other dogs if socialized early.

rottweiler running


Rottweilers are a muscular and strong German breed, weighing about 100 pounds on average. They have a shiny black coat and a broad head with brown markings that look like eyebrows. The Rottweiler has a reputation for being a great guard dog, which may be why some people are naturally afraid of them. But they’re actually loyal and lovable family pets that love to be around people and kids. Ironically, they’re so sensitive although tough-looking, that they get separation anxiety if left alone too long. They need an experienced owner who is willing to stimulate the dog mentally and provide socialization and exercise. Giving them a job to do will make them happy, and they even make great therapy dogs.

portuguese water dog standing on rock

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dogs got lots of attention in recent years when former President Barack Obama brought Bo Obama to the White House. Like their name states, they love water and have webbed feet that make swimming easy for them. Their shiny, curly black coat doesn’t shed much, if at all. Portuguese water dogs have a low prey drive, which makes them a good fit for homes with small animals. They’re also good with children. Portuguese Water Dogs are great for families looking for an average-sized dog,  since they aren’t too big or too small and weigh an average of 50 pounds.

newfoundland dog standing on rock


Often called a “Newfie,” the Newfoundland is a large, shaggy goofy-looking dog. Despite their large size, they’re very gentle, charming and patient, making them great for families with kids. In fact, they’re often referred to as “nanny” dogs. Newfoundlands can weigh up to 150 pounds easily and have long black hair that needs regular brushing so it doesn’t get matted. Because of their size, they need a home with lots of space and regular exercise. They’re great at swimming and were even used to help fishermen pull nets in their namesake homeland of Newfoundland, Canada.

bouvier des flandres with stick in mouth

Bouviers des Flandres

This large herding dog is known for its shaggy, boxy face extending downward under a pair of pointy ears. It’s body is sturdy and muscular under its weatherproof coat. The average weight of a Bouvier des Flandres is about 85 pounds, but can exceed 100 pounds. It loves having a job to do and is a great companion for the average farmer. They’re best for owners who have lots of space in their home and outside, and who can devote time to them. If kept happy and active, they can be loving, loyal pets.

scottish terrier laying in grass

Scottish Terrier

The Scottish Terrier is a dog with a big personality in a little, 20-pound body. They’re easily identifiable by their pointy ears and tail, and their short legs. They need regular grooming because they’re dual-coated, meaning they have a wiry coat on top of a dense but soft undercoat. They have a strong hunting drive, so they’re best in homes that don’t have cats or small animals. Although they’re little and make good pets for apartment dwellers, they do need regular walks and short bursts of playtime to keep them happy.

labrador retriever with tongue out

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are popular for being friendly, playful dogs. They are classified as either chocolate, yellow or black and are the most popular dog in America. They’re easy to train and great family dogs. A healthy lab weighs between 50 and 80 pounds. They have a short, dense coat and floppy ears, as well as notoriously “kind” eyes. Although they are easy-going dogs, they do need plenty of exercise and attention or they’ll get bored. They love being around people and other dogs, so if you have a full, active household and don’t mind a little shedding, a black lab can be a great addition to your family.

neopolitan mastiff running on farm

Neapolitan Mastiff

The Neapolitan Mastiff’s history can be traced to the Romans, who developed the dogs with the intention of them having specific traits stemming from their ancestor, the Molossus. These were ancient war dogs used to fight other animals and guard homes. Although their looks are intimidating, and the average male Neapolitan Mastiff weighs 150 pounds, they’re actually like gentle giants with their families. The dogs are easily identifiable by their large heads and loose, wrinkly skin. They love being around people and are typically good with children. Nonetheless, they need to be socialized early because of their guarding tendencies.

cane corso standing in field

Cane Corso

This Italian breed has the same bloodlines as the Neapolitan Mastiff, but aren’t as large and wrinkly, and they have distinguishable pointy ears that point inward. They’re very muscular under their short coat, which is either black or brindle in color. There’s a reason they look so intimidating: They were bred as bodyguards. Over time, their roles changed, and when they were no longer needed to guard farms and homesteads, they almost became extinct. That was until a small group of Italian breeders got together to revive the breed and form The Society of Cane Corso Lovers. The first Cane Corso was brought to America in 1988, and now people love them for their intelligence, loyal nature and eagerness to please. They are strong-willed, however, so they need an owner who is assertive and willing to socialize them early to calm their protective nature.


Shelly lives in Iowa with her husband and Australian Shepherd named Tex. She's been an animal lover since she was a child. Currently, she enjoys reading and writing about dogs, and spending time with her family and getting involved in all things pets.