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18 Dog Breeds With Black Muzzles



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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From the agile German Shepherd to the sturdy Rottweiler, and the friendly Bernese Mountain Dog to the sprightly Shih Tzu, we’ll explore a diverse range of breeds, each with its own set of characteristics, history, and charm.

Whether you’re a seasoned dog lover looking to expand your knowledge or a potential pet owner trying to find the perfect breed, this blog post will offer insightful details about these beautiful dogs.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and join us as we embark on this fascinating journey through the world of dogs with black muzzles.

18 Dog Breeds With Black Muzzles

When it comes to dog breeds, there are countless variations in size, appearance, and temperament.

One particular physical feature that can add a unique touch to any breed is the color of their muzzle.

While many dogs have brown or white muzzles, there are some breeds with stunningly beautiful muzzles that deserve a closer look.

1. Afghan Hound

14 Dog Breeds With Black Muzzles

One of the most distinctive features of these dogs is their black muzzle, which provides a striking contrast to their silky, flowing coats.

The black muzzle of an Afghan Hound is long, narrow, and refined. This feature gives the breed a distinguished look, contributing to their overall dignified appearance. The slightly convex bend of the muzzle adds to the breed’s unique profile, enhancing its aristocratic allure.

The black muzzle isn’t just about aesthetics, though. It can also serve a practical purpose. In some dog breeds, a dark or black muzzle can help reduce sun glare, which could be beneficial in the Afghan Hound’s native desert environment according to AKC.

2. Akita

The Akita’s black muzzle is broad and deep with a slight indentation, giving the breed a balanced and robust appearance.

The black color of the muzzle often contrasts beautifully with the rest of their coat, which can come in a variety of colors including white, brindle, and various shades of red.

The black muzzle isn’t merely an aesthetic feature. It’s also a standard characteristic of the breed. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Akitas should have a black nose.

However, in white Akitas, a lighter-colored nose is acceptable but not preferred.

The Akita’s black muzzle also complements its other facial features. Their deep-set, triangular eyes are dark brown, almost black, adding to their alert and intelligent expression.

Their ears, meanwhile, are small and erect, contributing to their bear-like appearance says Wikipedia.

3. Bullmastiff

The Bullmastiff breed has a broad and deep muzzle that is typically darker in color compared to the rest of their coat.

This characteristic black muzzle gives Bullmastiffs their unique appearance. Their forehead is flat, and the stop is moderate. The black nose is wide and has large nostrils.

The Bullmastiff has a short, dense coat that comes in three colors: fawn, red, or brindle.

Regardless of the coat color, the face of a Bullmastiff exhibits a black muzzle, which may extend up to the eye area and ears, giving them what’s often referred to as a ‘black mask’.

This dark pigmentation on their muzzles and around their eyes reduces glare and protects them from the sun according to Dogtime.

4. Boxer

Boxers are a medium-to-large breed known for their muscular build, short hair, and distinctive black muzzle.

Originating from Germany in the late 19th century, Boxers were bred from the Old English Bulldog and the now-extinct Bullenbeisser.

One of their most notable features is their broad, black muzzle. The muzzle is short and blunt with a distinct stop, contributing to their unique square-jawed look that is characteristic of the breed.

Their large nose is predominantly black with very open nostrils. The dark color of their muzzle often extends up to their eyes, giving them what’s referred to as a ‘black mask’.

This black mask is not only a breed standard but also serves a practical function, reducing glare and protecting their skin from the sun.

Despite the strong appearance given by their black muzzle, Boxers are known for their playful, energetic, and friendly nature says AKC.

5. German Shepherd

The most distinctive physical feature of a German Shepherd is its black muzzle.

This characteristic is a result of a dominant genetic trait known as the “Em” allele. Nearly all German Shepherds today are homozygous for this gene, meaning they carry two copies of it.

The extent of the black coloration can vary from a small stripe around the lips to an entirely black face, sometimes even extending to the chest and legs says Wikipedia.

6. Great Dane

The black muzzle is particularly pronounced in the fawn and brindle Great Danes, where a black “mask” on the muzzle is part of the breed standard.

This mask, which should be black, adds a striking contrast to the golden color of the fawn or the striped pattern of the brindle.

The black coloration may also extend up around the eyes and eyebrows, creating a captivating and expressive face.

This black muzzle is not only a key feature of the Great Dane’s appearance but is also part of what gives the breed its unique and regal look.

The black pigmentation of the muzzle is a significant aspect of the breed’s identity and is one of the many reasons why Great Danes are so visually impressive according to Britannica.

7. Black Mouth Cur

The Black Mouth Cur is a versatile working dog breed known for its square-shaped black muzzle.

This breed displays a distinctive contrast between the color of its coat and its dark facial features.

The term “Black Mouth” refers specifically to the dark pigmentation on their lips and inside their mouth, which is a unique characteristic of this breed.

This black muzzle is believed to have come from selective breeding for working purposes, as it helps reduce glare from the sun and offers some protection against abrasions and injuries, which could be beneficial during hunting or herding activities.

The black muzzle of a Black Mouth Cur, combined with its muscular build and alert expression, gives this breed an imposing yet noble appearance according to Dogtime.

8. Rottweiler

A key characteristic of this breed is its broad and well-developed black muzzle. The muzzle is straight with strong upper and lower jaws, showcasing the breed’s strength and power.

The lips are black and close-fitting, adding to the distinct look of the breed.

The dark pigmentation of the muzzle extends to the Rottweiler’s lips and nose, making a striking contrast against its tan markings.

This black muzzle gives the Rottweiler an imposing appearance, but it also serves a practical purpose by helping to protect the skin from sun damage according to Wikipedia.

9. Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher, known for its sleek coat, athletic build, and intelligent nature, is a breed that stands out in the canine world.

One of its most striking features is the black muzzle. This dark, almost ebony-like hue on their muzzle creates a beautiful contrast with the rest of their coat, which can range from red, blue, and fawn, to the classic black and rust.

The black muzzle is often seen as a hallmark of the breed, enhancing their regal and powerful appearance.

It’s not just an aesthetic trait; the dark pigmentation serves a protective function, shielding the skin on the muzzle from potential sun damage.

This combination of form and function is a testament to the Doberman Pinscher’s well-thought-out breeding history.

10. Bernese Mountain Dog

The Bernese Mountain Dog, a large and sturdy breed known for its friendly demeanor and striking tricolored coat, possesses a strong, straight black muzzle that stands out as a defining feature.

This black muzzle, always sporting a black nose, gives contrast to their expressive, dark eyes and is typically clean, as the Bernese Mountain Dog is a dry-mouthed breed.

The black color of the muzzle adds to the overall symmetry and balance of the dog’s face, enhancing its characteristic gentle expression.

This breed standard is maintained across all Bernese Mountain Dogs, making the black muzzle an essential aspect of their distinguished appearance.

11. Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is a highly energetic and intelligent dog with a distinguishing feature of this breed is its black muzzle.

This dark pigmentation stands in striking contrast to the fawn-to-mahogany shades of the rest of their coat.

The muzzle itself is of average length, not overly broad nor pointed, with the black color extending towards their alert and intelligent eyes.

This black muzzle not only contributes to the Belgian Malinois’ intense and focused appearance but also serves a practical purpose by providing some protection against sun damage.

This feature is a key part of the breed’s standard, contributing to their overall sleek and agile appearance.

12. Border Collie

The Border Collie, a breed renowned for its intelligence and agility, often sports a distinctive black muzzle that contributes to its expressive countenance.

This dark muzzle contrasts sharply with the typical white markings on the face, creating a striking dichotomy that enhances the breed’s overall appearance.

The muzzle itself is moderate in length and strong, reflecting the Border Collie’s working heritage. It’s not unusual to find Border Collies with fully black muzzles, others with only partial pigmentation, and some with a split of black and white.

Regardless of the extent of the black coloration, the dark muzzle is an integral part of the breed’s aesthetic, contributing to their alert and intelligent expression.

13. Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky, known for its striking eyes and wolf-like appearance, often features a distinct black muzzle.

This coloration is not exclusive to all Siberian Huskies as their coat colors can vary greatly, but when present, it creates a dynamic contrast with the rest of their fur, which can range from pure white to jet black.

The dark pigmentation of their muzzle extends to their nose, regardless of the coat color.

The muzzle itself is of medium width and tapers gradually from the skull to the nose, giving the breed its unique fox-like look.

The black muzzle is more than just a physical attribute; it also adds to the mystique and allure of the Siberian Husky, further enhancing its captivating appearance.

14. Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu, a toy breed known for its affectionate nature and luxurious coat, often sports a distinctive black muzzle.

This dark muzzle is an integral part of the breed’s unique “chrysanthemum” face, where the hair grows in every direction.

The muzzle itself is short and square, fitting perfectly with the broad and round shape of the Shih Tzu’s head.

The black pigmentation on the muzzle extends to the nose, creating a striking contrast with the lighter colors of their coat or the white markings commonly seen around their eyes and on their forehead.

This black muzzle not only enhances the Shih Tzu’s adorable appearance but is also a key characteristic of the breed standard, contributing to their overall charm and appeal.

15. Pekingese

The Pekingese is one of the dog breeds that often sports a black muzzle, an attribute that contributes to their distinctive and charming appearance.

A Pekingese’s black muzzle is a result of a genetic trait known as a melanistic mask, which causes the fur on the dog’s muzzle to be darker, usually black or dark grey. This is due to the presence of eumelanin, a pigment that typically colors the hair black.

This breed, originating from China and known for its lion-like appearance, often exhibits this feature. The black muzzle contrasts beautifully with the lighter tones of the rest of their coat, enhancing their unique facial structure, with their broad, flat face, and deep-set eyes.

Over time, it’s not unusual for the color intensity of the Pekingese’s black muzzle to fade or change. This is thought to occur due to the breakdown of tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in melanin production. It’s a normal part of the aging process and doesn’t indicate any health problems.

16. Leonberger

The Leonberger, a large and majestic breed, often features a black muzzle, which significantly contributes to their striking and commanding appearance.

A genetic feature causes the fur on the dog’s muzzle to darken, typically becoming black or dark grey, due to the presence of eumelanin, a pigment associated with these darker shades.

The Leonberger is a giant breed that originates from Germany.

The black muzzle adds depth and contrast to their usually golden to reddish-brown coat, enhancing their strong, expressive features and giving them a unique look that sets them apart from other breeds.

17. Keeshond

The Keeshond, a spitz-type breed known for its plush coat and cheerful disposition, often showcases a black muzzle, adding to their fox-like facial features and enhancing their distinctive look.

Originating from the Netherlands, the Keeshond is renowned for its well-balanced body, thick double coat, and expressive eyes.

The black muzzle offers a striking contrast to their typically grey, cream, or red-hued coat, accentuating their lively facial expressions and contributing to their overall appeal.

18. Pug

The Pug, a small breed with a big personality, is often characterized by a black muzzle. This distinct feature contributes to their unique and endearing facial expression.

Pugs, originally from China, are small, robust dogs known for their compact, muscular bodies, deep-set wrinkles, and large, expressive eyes.

The black muzzle contrasts sharply with their light to medium fawn or silver coat, accentuating their characteristic facial expressions, and enhancing their overall appeal.

Why Do Some Dogs Have a Black Muzzle?

Some dogs have a black muzzle due to a genetic trait known as a melanistic mask, where eumelanin, a pigment that is typically black, colors the hairs on the muzzle.

A melanistic mask is a characteristic pattern that several breeds of dogs have, including but not limited to Afghan, Akita, Bullmastiff, Boxer, and German Shepherd.

This pattern, often extending from the muzzle to the entire face or ears, is the result of the eumelanin pigment. Eumelanin is typically black, providing the dark coloration observed.

In my experience dealing with various dog breeds, I’ve noticed this trait particularly pronounced in certain breeds like the fawn and brindle Great Danes, where a black “mask” on the muzzle is part of the breed standard.

It’s also not uncommon to see this in breeds like Belgian Malinois, Bavarian Mountain Hound, Leonbergers, or American Akita, which can have extended black masks.


Q: Are all terriers known for their black muzzles?

A: No, not all terriers have black muzzles. While some terrier breeds may have black markings on their muzzles, it is not a defining characteristic of the entire terrier group.

Q: Can black and tan dogs have black muzzles?

A: Yes, black and tan dogs can have black muzzles. The black and tan color pattern often includes a black mask over the muzzle in breeds like Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers.

Q: Do German Shepherds commonly have black muzzles?

A: Yes, German Shepherds commonly have black muzzles. It is a characteristic of the breed’s coloration, with the black color extending from the muzzle to other parts of their body.

Q: Are Mastiffs known for their black muzzles?

A: Yes, Mastiffs are known for their black muzzles. This is particularly evident in breeds like the English Mastiff and the Neapolitan Mastiff.

Q: What is a Black Mouth Cur?

A: The Black Mouth Cur is a breed of hunting and working dog that originated in the Southern United States. It gets its name from the distinctive black coloring around its mouth and muzzle.

Q: Are there specific breeds that are known for working with black muzzles?

A: The color of a dog’s muzzle does not dictate its working ability. Dogs of various breeds, including those with black muzzles, can excel in different working roles.

Conclusion and final thoughts

As we wrap up our exploration of the “14 Dog Breeds With Black Muzzles,” it’s clear that the world of canine breeds is as diverse as it is fascinating.

Each breed, from the loyal German Shepherd to the robust Rottweiler, the gentle Bernese Mountain Dog to the lively Shih Tzu, brings with it a unique set of traits, histories, and aesthetics – their black muzzles being a distinctive common feature.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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