Are Black German Shepherds Recognized by the AKC

Are Black German Shepherds Recognized by the AKC?

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Everything You Need to Know about Black German Shepherds, Where They Come From, and Whether the AKC Recognizes Them as Purebred Dogs!

Have you been wondering whether or not Black German Shepherds are a separate breed of dog than German Shepherds? If so, does the American Kennel Club recognize this breed? What does the AKC require from a breed to add them to their registry?

In this in-depth guide, we will discuss the American Kennel Club, why it recognizes some breeds and not others, and whether or not they consider black German Shepherds to be purebred dogs.

So, are black German Shepherds recognized by the AKC?

Yes. The AKC recognizes black coated German Shepherds. This means that a German Shepherd with an all-black coat is permissible within the breed standard, permitted that the dog maintains other key breed characteristics and traits. Keep in mind that black German Shepherds are not a separate breed of dog, they are simply German Shepherds with darker coats.

Are Black German Shepherds Recognized by the AKC

What is The AKC, and Why Does Their Opinion Matter?

You may be wondering what the AKC is and why their opinion matters. Before we get into everything you need to know about black German Shepherds, let’s first talk about the AKC, it’s founding and history, and why their opinions on dog breeds are worth considering.

AKC stands for American Kennel Club. If you check out Wikipedia, you can find everything you could ever want to know about this organization. However, to save you time, we will summarize the highlights.

The History of the AKC

The AKC was founded in the early 1800s by the English. People were concerned with the functionality and aesthetic appeal of the dogs around them.

You see, back then, pretty much only the upper-middle-class and individuals with time and money to spare concerned themselves with dog breeding.

Dog breeding was a sort of fad at this time. It was so popular to breed and show off dogs that the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was started. People would breed dogs, and show them off. It was that simple.

The thing was, there weren’t very many rules or regulations in place that told people how to breed dogs at this time.

The National American Kennel Club (founded in 1876) created and published a studbook. This was a book that explained how a dog should look and behave within each breed.

Eventually, a few different clubs from England, America, and Canada, came together and founded the AKC that we know today in 1884.

What The AKC Does

The American Kennel Club is a registry of purebred dogs and dog pedigrees. It is now headquartered in the United States of America.

The AKC also promotes and sanctions the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, one of the biggest dog shows in the world today.

What is the AKC Registration?

The AKC has the largest registry of purebred dogs in the United States. For a dog to be registered with the AKC, its parents and littermates must also be registered with the AKC. This helps breeders track canine bloodlines, genealogy, and more.

AKC breed registration lets you know where your dog came from, who its ancestors are, and more. Plus, it ensures that your dog can compete in big-name dog shows.

This is one reason that many people choose to purchase AKC registered puppies. But does AKC registration matter?

Does AKC Registration Really Matter?

You may be wondering whether or not AKC registration matters. This depends. Often, AKC registration is what people are talking about when they say they have a puppy for sale “with papers.” So how important are these papers, anyway?

To really dig into this, we recommend checking out this page from It explains a lot more about AKC registration that we will get into here.

AKC registration can help clue you in on a dog’s health, history, and genetic traits. If you want to compete in dog shows with your dog or breed your dog, AKC registration is also important.

However, if you aren’t planning on partaking in these activities, you probably don’t need AKC registration.

When it comes down to it, as long as your dog is loved and healthy, AKC registration doesn’t matter.

If, however, you want to breed your dog, sell puppies, or participate in most dog shows and events, AKC registration can be very important. There are benefits and drawbacks to AKC registration, so you’ll want to do your research.

What does “Breed Standard” mean?

A breed standard is a set of guidelines that are used to make sure that the dogs that come from a breeder conform to standardized traits. The AKC set down a long list of breed standard traits, characteristics, and aesthetic features.

What is the Breed Standard for German Shepherds?

For German Shepherds, the breed standard includes characteristics of their general appearance, temperament, size, weight, head shape, neck, hindquarters, coat, and gait.

To read the exact AKC breed standard for German Shepherds, you can read their Official Standard of the German Shepherd Dog document.

Since the breed standard provided by the AKC states that the coat of a German Shepherd can vary in color, and then goes on to say that most colors are permissible, all-black German Shepherds are allowed within the breed standard.

It also says that strong rich colors are preferred and that “pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults and white dogs will be disqualified.”

What is the Difference Between a Purebred, Hybrid, Crossbreed, Mutt, and Pedigree Dog?

You might also be wondering what the differences between certain breed terms are. No worries! Here are some term definitions plus a link with even more information.


This term typically refers to a dog from a modern dog breed with a documented pedigree that matches a description in an official studbook. Usually, a purebred dog will be registered with a breed club such as the AKC.


Usually, a hybrid dog will be a cross of one or more purebred dogs.


This is just another term for a hybrid dog.

Mutt or Mixed-breed

A mixed-breed dog or mutt will be a doge with unknown parentage. Either only one or none of the parents will be known.

You can read even more about these terms in this great article by Kristina Lotz. It goes over these terms and how they have changed and evolved in recent years.

How Are Black German Shepherds Different From Regular German Shepherds?

The only difference between a black German Shepherd and a standard purebred German Shepherd is in the coat coloration. Black German Shepherds are simply German Shepherds with an all-black coat.

You can read all about these dogs on this page from It debunks some myths about Black German Shepherds and sheds some light on why they are special.

What Disqualifies a Dog From Being Considered Purebred?

If a dog has unknown parentage, no AKC registration, or does not conform to important breed standards, it will not be considered a purebred canine. Mixed breed dogs and Hybrids are also not purebred.

Are Completely White German Shepherds Recognized by the AKC?

While completely white German Shepherds may be purebred (meaning that both parents are AKC registered German Shepherds) these pups are disqualified from receiving AKC titles. This is because an all-white coat is considered to be a disqualifying fault.

This does not mean that a white German Shepherd can’t get AKC registration, it just means that they will not be qualified if they tried to “show in conformation,” or compete in dog shows.

Final Thoughts on Black German Shepherds and the American Kennel Club

In conclusion, if you have an all-black German Shepherd, it can easily be registered with the AKC, as long as it meets all other breed standard qualifications.

However, unless you are trying to breed or show your dog, you probably don’t need to have it papered (AKC registered.) What matters is that your dog is healthy, well socialized, and has a good temperament.

To learn even more about the German Shepherd breed and its history, we recommend checking out this Official AKC German Shepherd Breed Standard video on YouTube!

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