9 Dog Breeds With Black Nails

9 Dog Breeds With Black Nails

Last Updated: August 18, 2023

In this article you will know the answer to the query “9 Dog Breeds With Black Nails“.

It is not uncommon for new pet parents to be surprised to find that their puppy has black nails and wonder if that is normal. Unlike cats who only have white nails dogs have black nails as well. 

Dogs that have white nails (mostly those with white coats) and dogs with both black and white nails are also perfectly normal. 

9 Dog Breeds With Black Nails

This article explores why dogs have black nails as well as some breeds that exhibit this feature.

What dog breeds have black nails?

Dogs skin color and fur color are more important than the breed. If a dog is black-coated its nails are likely to be black.

Dogs with brown fur or dogs with a multicolor coat are also prone to this trait. A dogs nails will also be dark if the fur on its legs is dark.

It is thought that black nails in dogs serve as a form of camouflage. The equally black nails of a dark-furred dog will not stand out.

The problem with trimming a dogs black nails is that its hard to tell which one is quick which makes it a bit risky.  

We’ll examine some breeds of black-coated dogs whose members almost certainly have black nails.

9 Dog Breeds with Black Nails

Black Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever has a full black coat although you might have seen chocolate or yellow Labradors.

Originally they were bred as gun dogs or companion dogs trained to retrieve prey. Due to this requirement most Labs are intelligent energetic and friendly by nature.

The dogs enjoy being around people including children which makes them wonderful pets. This breed ranks first among all pet breeds when it comes to popularity.

Black Labrador Retrievers average 80 lbs and 24.5 inches in height. With their short straight hair Labradors do not need much grooming other than a weekly brushing and an occasional bath.

You can help to satisfy their natural retrieving instinct if you cannot take them hunting through regular exercise or a game of fetch if you cannot take them hunting.


The typical pug has a shiny black coat though some have fawn fur and a black muzzle and face.

Squat and muscular this little toy dog weighs between 14-18 pounds and stands 10-13 inches tall.

While pugs have a smooth short coat they tend to shed a lot so they need to be brushed every week with a medium brush or a rubber grooming mitt. It is necessary to trim their black nails regularly to prevent discomfort.

Usually pugs enjoy playing and napping on the sofa when they are not playing. While they need moderate exercise they require almost constant human interaction. Highly social and affectionate!


Dogs from Newfoundland are most commonly referred to as ‘gentle giants. These dogs weigh between 100 and 150 pounds. 

However they are very affectionate and lovable. You’ll want to brush your Newfies several times a week since they have a double coat and they shed a lot so you’ll need to take good care of their fur. 

A Newfoundland belongs to the working group because they were originally bred to rescue drowning sailors if there was a shipwreck off the coast of Newfoundland. Although they still enjoy swimming physical exercise isnot important to them. Newfoundlands love to chill with their favorite humans and doze off in a corner if they are at home.


Dobermans have a sleek muscular body which is elegant and majestic. At maturity this medium-large dog can weigh up to 90 lbs and measure 27-28 inches in height.

They only need to be brushed once a week as they have a short coat and bathed only if they roll in mud or exhibit significant body odor.

The perceived aggressiveness of Dobermans can be easily controlled with good obedience training making them excellent guard dogs.

Owners adore them and they are very devoted to them. Dogs of this breed are very energetic and require a lot of exercises not just a walk around the block.


Dogs of this breed are known as the acrobats of the dog world because they are so energetic and agile.

The sight of a Pulis dreadlocks flying in the wind is nothing short of hilarious. Its fur is very thick and requires professional grooming but it sheds very little.

Despite some owners preferring to keep the dogs coat trimmed what would a Puli be without dreadlocks? Their nails and pads are black as are their noses. They even have black insides to their mouths.

At the shoulder they can reach up to 16-17 inches and they are very energetic. They make excellent hiking companions or jogging companions. Herding instincts in Pulis cause them to protect their family including little ones.

Black Russian Terrier

Several breeds were involved in the development of this dog type in 20th century Russia.

They include Great Danes Saint Bernards and Rottweilers from whom it inherits its black coat and nails.

The Black Russian Terrier (BRT) is a large breed of dog. It weighs 110-130 pounds and reaches a height of 30 inches.

BRTs are double coated with a soft undercoat and a slightly waved coarse outer coat. The fur of such a dog does not shed a lot but it needs to be brushed weekly to prevent matting.

Unless they have a job to do they need to exercise a lot. The lack of exercise makes BRT hyperactive and they become destructive when bored.


They make great bodyguards and are also surprisingly affectionate with their owners. Rottweilers are among the most popular dog breeds partly because they’re so large and sturdy.

Regular brushing at least once a week is required for their short and coarse black and tan coats. They should also have their nails trimmed weekly. To get them used to this it is crucial to start it when they are young and manageable. You would not be able to convince a 120-pound dog to sit still for a pedicure otherwise.


Black and tan dogs of this breed have a coat thats either smooth or wired the latter requiring additional grooming.

Standard Dachshunds weigh between 16 and 32 lbs while miniature Dachshunds weigh only 11 lbs. Because of their cuteness but also because they have a friendly disposition they are very popular as pets.

However they tend to be a bit stubborn and even mischievous sometimes so they must be properly trained early. Due to this dogs badger hunting heritage you can expect some furious digging in your garden.


With tan and black coats and black nails this cutie has a lot of energy. Miniature dogs rarely weigh more than 4-6 pounds and grow to a maximum of 6 to 10 inches in height. Despite their small size they make excellent pets since they are easy to transport.

Chihuahuas are available in both smooth and long-haired varieties but their coats are usually easy to maintain.  

Despite their small size Chihuahuas make excellent watchdogs as they are alert smart and very intelligent. As far as raising an alarm for an intruder is concerned they do their job well. Barking is energetic and it is as confident as if they were much larger dogs. Playing with them is very enjoyable but do not let children play near them. A Chihuahua is so small and fragile it is easy to hurt them.

What determines the color of a dog’s nails?

In addition to nails hairs and the epidermis of the skin are also made of alpha-keratin a protein. Pigment or melanin is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes and determines the color of hair or nails. Skin and hair with high concentrations of melanin appear dark.

As the tissues in the nail have roughly the same level of pigment the nails will also be dark if the surrounding fur and skin are dark.

Additionally it has to do with genetics. All puppies with black nails will inherit this trait from their parents.

Why do some dogs have some black and some white nails?

It may seem odd for dogs to have black and white nails but it is perfectly normal for dogs with multicolored coats to have such a pattern.

Dogs with largely white coats with patches of black and brown have extremely variable levels of pigment in their hair.

They also have extremely variable levels of pigment in their nails. Dogs with dark fur on their legs usually have black nails. Some of the dogs nails may be black while others might be black when the fur of the dog is streaked with various colors.

Additionally its not uncommon for the nail color to change over time.

Why do some dogs’ nails turn black?

The natural variation in pigment levels may be responsible for your dogs nails turning black if you notice no other signs of illness. Black nails may also occur as a dog ages.

Alternatively it might be a sign of a serious ailment. A dogs paws should be carefully examined especially their pads. Yeast infections which can also cause darkened nails can cause your dog to lick his paws excessively or chew at his feet.

Hair skin and nails can also change color with hypothyroidism. A dog with hypothyroidism has an underactive thyroid causing weight gain and obesity. This condition will need to be managed through medication.

Dogs with Cushings disease also suffer from a hormone imbalance and produce too much cortisol aka the stress hormone in their bodies. Drinking a lot of water peeing more fatigue and panting are the main symptoms. Hair thinning and skin infections are common in dogs suffering from Cushings disease. It is also common for the nails to turn yellow with this disease.  


As with black coats black nails are common in dogs with black coats. A dogs nails are determined by the level of pigmentation or melanin present in his hair and skin.

When the hairs on the feet are also dark dogs with coats in two or more colors will have black nails. When a dogs fur is in different colors some of the nails may be white and some may be black.

Nails can change color as a result of pigmentation changes in a dog. If your dog seems unwell you should see a vet as the change in color of the nails could be indicative of something more serious.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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