Top 10 Black and White Dog Breeds

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson

It’s not all black and white… unless you’re one of these pooches! Of you’re stuck on these two colors, check out our list of Black and White dog breeds.

From author Truman Capote’s famed “Black and White” ball at New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel to the obsession of Disney’s fictional fashionista Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians, the allure of this stylish two-tone color palette just never seems to wane.

The striking contrast of monochromatic two-color coats remains popular now as ever, with dog owners all over the world. Now for those of us who appreciate a splash of drama in our own lives, we already know what a big bold statement a black and white dog can make. Whether he’s large or small, spotted, patchy or looks like he’s just slipped into a snappy tuxedo, your best buddy sure is a head-turner when you arrive at the dog park. Am I right?

To be clear, all pooches collect a little snow on the roof as they age and many pure black dogs come with a whiff of a white bib or chin patch that adds a quirky sense of charm to their appearance. But we’re not talking about those fun little blips. We’re talking iconic black and white breeds where their stark coloring is as important a part of their “brand” as their ability to hunt, herd or guard. Sure, a black and white coat might not dictate their personality, skills, or predispositions for certain tasks, but it does make them stand out in the canine world when it comes to appearance. 

There are many black and white dog breeds out there, but we’ve selected the 10 most popular ones, both for their bold and dashing looks as well as their lovable personalities. Read on to learn which of these black and white beauties is the perfect match for your family! 

#1 Boston Terrier

Naturally, we’re going to start with the “American Gentleman” of dogs, the Boston Terrier. While you may find this perky pooch’s sleek, easy-care coat also comes in a white/brindle mix, he is most readily identifiable when sporting his distinctive black and white tuxedo markings. Heck, some would say that the breed is synonymous with its trademark monochromatic look! Of course, their unique image is only enhanced with their large, expressive eyes, playful personality and ultimately their tendency towards flatulence. Oh well, you can’t have it all. But seriously, this 25-pounder is a doting companion dog who is known to be super sensitive and responsive to the feelings of his pet parents. These dogs are affectionate, sweet, and will shower you with love every second of the day! And don’t let his matinee idol looks fool you because this handsome boy is as mischievous as they come. You can count on this black and white pooch to be playful and energetic, which tends to lead them straight into trouble and even destructive behaviors if they are not properly mentally stimulated and physically exercised. Prospective parents are advised to have a full arsenal of toys and balls for this busy pooch. (photo credit: Hollysdogs/

#2 Dalmatian

When I was a kid, we used to call them Fire Dogs and even today you can see life-sized statues of them positioned at many a fire station. Truth is, Dalmatians used to be used as “coach dogs” who accompanied horse-drawn fire rigs as they raced toward their flaming destination. Why you may ask? Because they were known to be compatible with the horses and could comfortably run alongside them to help clear traffic. Today, this iconic spotted pooch has gained famed and notoriety through the Disney classic 101 Dalmatians. The downside to that is that it spurred a sudden demand for puppies by families who weren’t prepared for the physical needs of this high-energy pooch. You see, Dalmatians were originally bred to be guard dogs, only to be further refined as carriage dogs so they are genetically accustomed to having a task or a job – and once this innate need of theirs is neglected, all hell breaks loose. Naturally, you don’t have to come up with different jobs for your pet to keep them out of trouble, just help them burn off extra energy.For those with time to take him running, hiking or for long walks, he’s the ideal companion. (photo credit: Lisjatina/

#3 Ariegeois

Never heard of this one? Heck, we don’t blame you – it’s a pretty rare breed. But if you want to get a better idea of what these dogs are all about, think black and white bloodhound and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the Ariegeois is all about. Not unlike his droopy kin, he’s a scent hound with heavy folds of skin around his face and long ears that – rumor has it – help corral the scent of prey to that all-important nose area. This medium-sized boy hails from France and is considered a fairly young breed; developed just a century ago. And while he’s all about the hunt, he’s actually a very gentle, affectionate family pooch. He’s great with kids because patience is a virtue held by many dogs used for hunting. While he may not appear as stylish as some other black and whites, he’s definitely got the personality we seek in a companion dog. Just don’t forget about his hunting dog roots and neglect to provide ample exercise and mental stimulation – lest their potent noses start sniffing out trouble out of boredom. (photo credit: Sonora.ka/

#4 Border Collie

Is it my imagination, or do all black and white breeds seem to be super energetic? I think I’m onto something – their bold coats might be a sign of a matching personality and energy levels. Well, right or not, it’s definitely without question that the brilliant little Border Collie is non-stop action and needs to put in a hard day’s work (or a good, long walk or two) before he’s ready to snuggle in on the sofa. This quick and agile canine dates back to when the Vikings invaded Britain. Of course, their spitz-type herding dogs rode shot-gun and when they ultimately bred with the domestic dog stock, you ended up with a smaller, agile herder that was ideal for hilly landscapes. Fast forward and this smallish working dog is now a great family member with one caveat. His intense need to herd and nip at the heels of anything that moves – including kids, cats and small animals – can’t be trained out of him. Now when I think about it, should we expect any less than a daring, bigger-than-life personality from a dog that accompanied Vikings on their adventures? I think not. (photo credit: Xkunclova/

#5 Portuguese Water Dog

No surprise that this breed was developed in Portugal. And if the word “water” in his name tipped you off to his mission in life, you’d be right. He was bred to work alongside fishermen off the coast of Portugal, pulling nets, retrieving equipment and even relaying messages from ship to shore, so to speak. Today, this black and white is still used for water rescues. A multi-talented breed, he’s an enthusiastic people-pleaser who loves nothing more than having a job to do… which may be why President Obama adopted one to be First Dog during his White House years. This pooch is not only high energy, but he’s highly intelligent, easy to train and super friendly with all he meets. A great fit for any family – especially one with a pool or lake house – this pooch would do best with an active family that leads an adventurous lifestyle. These are not your typical couch potatoes, on the contrary: these dogs love being on the go and having something to occupy their bright minds with. If they don’t have something productive to do, well, they’ll figure out something on their own – but you might not like what they come up with. (photo credit: Lynda McFaul/

#6 Japanese Chin

Just looking at that handsome black and white coat tells you that this pup is going to be high-maintenance when it comes to his grooming. There’s no doubt about it – the pretty looking Japanese Chin is definitely a little dive! But rest assured that his playful, charming nature makes him worth the trouble. Often referred to as being almost feline in nature, this perky little guy is super fastidious and won’t be happy if you allow his profusely fluffy coat to become matted and messy. He’s also a dog that appreciates the finer things in life – particularly when they’re soft and comfy like a good lap or a plush pillowed bed. So get ready for a lot of snuggles, cuddles, and snoozing while you watch Netflix – and double as your pet’s cushion. While his origins may be up in the air – China, Japan or Korea – home for him is definitely where the heart is and this spaniel spin-off is always loving and loyal to his family. (photo credit: everydoghasastory/

#7 Harlequin Great Dane

Even the extra-large Great Dane gets a sophisticated black-and-white makeover when you opt for the Harlequin variation of this breed. Known for his quiet, gentle approach to life, the Dane is a true people pleaser and is surprisingly good with kids and other animals. But don’t mess with his human pack or you’ll meet his protective side and when it’s nearing 200 pounds, it can be formidable. In spite of his large size, this pooch doesn’t need a lot of strenuous exercise – a few good walks throughout the day is enough to stretch his legs and keep him mentally stimulated. And in spite of what can appear to be an aloof nature, he’s really a softie when it comes to being with his family and doesn’t do well when left alone. Maybe not a lap dog, but definitely a companion animal. (photo credit: s.prewett/

#8 Landseer

Imagine a great big Newfoundland dog, but in black and white. Better still, take the super sweet and easy-going nature of Newfoundland and mash it together with a striking two-color coat instead of a pitch black one, and you have yourself a Landseer. You’ll find this pooch has a black furry head with white around the muzzle, a white body with black saddle markings. Just like his solid-colored kin, this big boy is a working breed that does well on land or water. In fact, he’s known to possess instinctive life-saving abilities when it comes to water rescues. His smart, super-patient personality makes him great for families with kids – he makes for the cutest gentle giant babysitter. Now you may not think that such a multi-talented dog would be sensitive, but he is. In fact, he does best in an environment where he has a regular routine and daily companionship. (photo credit: Aneta Zabranska/

#9 Old English Sheepdog

Hello in there! Yes, beneath that shaggy fringe is the iconic Old English Sheepdog. As his name implies, he was developed in the British Isles back in the 1700s however would have a field day because he has historic bloodlines that extend all the way to Russia, Scotland and Europe. Now this bumbling black and white pup with the heavy double-coat (yes, clipping is important) is playful and energetic but also strong-willed so be prepared to devote the time needed for obedience training. He also comes from a long line of herding stock (though primarily used to drive cattle) so no question he’ll be a tremendous help when it comes time to get the kids up to bed. (photo credit: Hide Inada/

#10 Tibetan Terrier

This important little boy started out as a watchdog in Tibet; strutting his stuff through the halls of Buddhist monasteries. But the American Kennel Club is quick to point out that although he’s from Tibet, he’s no terrier. Hmmm… maybe he was supposed to be a Tibetan Terror. Anyway, as you would expect of any dog from this snowy region of the word, he possesses a seriously heavy double coat with a woolly underside to keep him warm and a finer outer coat to show off his black and white markings. He also possesses “snowshoe feet” to help traverse the snowy landscape. Clever, loving and loyal, he makes a great non-aggressive watchdog… as the Monks found out. (photo credit: Slavica Stajic/

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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