Black Dogfish Shark

Common Name: Black Dogfish Shark
Scientific Name: Centroscyllium fabricii


The body of the spiny dogfish is elongate and slender. The head is pointed. The color is slate gray to brownish on top, sometimes with white spots, becoming white below. This species and the horn shark are the only sharks along the California coast with spines at the beginning of both dorsal fins. These spines may be mildly poisonous and provide a defense for the spiny dogfish


Spiny dogfish occur in temperate and subtropical waters in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In the eastern Pacific Ocean they are found off Chile, and from central Baja California to Alaska and to Japan. This species is common in nearshore waters along most of the coast. It is generally found in waters up to 1,200 feet deep though spiny dogfish have been taken to depths of 2,400 feet.

Natural History

The spiny dogfish feeds upon practically all smaller fishes such as herring, sardines, anchovies, smelts and even small spiny dogfish as well as crabs. The females are larger than the males, and produce from 3 to 14 young at a time and in alternate years. Most adults are 2 to 4 feet long. Spiny dogfish are long lived and non-migratory; as a result, heavy fishing pressure in a given area will lower the population level of this slow growing, low reproductive species quite rapidly.

Fishing Information

You are most likely to catch a spiny dogfish with anchovies or invertebrates on a rock cod jig. They are commonly taken in commercial bottom trawl nets.

Other Common Names

dog shark, grayfish, Pacific grayfish, spinarola, California dogfish.

Largest Recored

5.25 feet; no weight recorded; however, a large fat female about 4 feet long will weigh 15 pounds.