Black Dog Syndrome
Black dogs (and cats) are often passed over for adoption because of one thing, their color. October 1st is National Black Dog Day! Challenges are real for these dogs in the adoption process, but there shouldn’t be. Just as with humans, it is the love they have to give and how they treat people is what matters.
This phenomenon is known as Black Dog Syndrome. Several theories exist as to why these pets don’t get a second look; they look scary or angry, their features and facial expressions aren’t as easily seen as lighter colored dogs, they don’t look as good in photos. Today is a day to celebrate our ebony colored dogs and promote their adoption.
Abandon the Stereotypes
How could these animals be less adoptable? It’s stereotypes. Why would anyone want to by pass these dogs?
- Black dogs don’t stand out. Some people want a dog that doesn’t blend into the background. Give them a colorful collar and they stand out just fine.
- Black dogs are often associated with danger or aggression. There is no credible evidence to support this theory. Add to this the fact that black dogs are portrayed negatively in many books and movies.
- Black dogs don’t photography well. It is hard to appreciate their unique features or expressions from a photograph. It’s all about the lighting. Look at the picture of my dogs above. With harsh lighting both of my black dogs look like they are scowling.
Let’s move past that Let’s adopt these amazing dogs.
My Black Shelter Dog
I’m going to share my black shelter dog story, abbreviated as not to keep you all day (because I so could do that). We lost our Pug Louis to an ocular tumor in 2016. We were without a second dog for over two years. Duke, our Black Pug, was still missing companionship. We decided to look for a new Pug or a French Bulldog, maybe even a bird dog. I love German Short Haired Pointers and Vizsla’s. After a few months of diligently looking on rescue websites and feeds I found this picture.
Angel Assassin, an old black lab was at fantastic rescue near where we live. Something about her face spoke to me. I took time at lunch that day to go meet her. She was a big lab (88 pounds, and she wasn’t fat). I sat on the floor with her. She let me pet her and give her a hug. She was sweet and quiet, quite a bit different from our 10-year-old Pug who is still rowdy. I called my husband and told him we needed to take Duke to meet her tonight.
The rescue is first come first serve so I didn’t want to lose her. Duke was good with her and she was great with our son. Due to an event that evening we couldn’t take her home that night. We stayed with her in the play yard until close. She became part of our family first thing the next morning.
She is the most wonderful dog. I’m not really a lab person (probably because everyone likes labs). She turned out to be an adept counter surfer (which we were not used to with Pugs) and given the chance she can clear out packaged goods in the pantry.
A dog’s personality is what matters. how well their demeanor, and activity level work in your home. I’m thankful to Unleashed Rescue for taking good photos of their available pets. They consistently have good lighting, get on the pets’ level and get them resting or with good expressions. This allows you to see a bit of who they are. Check out Miss Luna’s picture that was posted on their website.
National Black Dog Day hopes to create public awareness about these future family members that offer just as much love as any other dog. When you are looking to add a pet to your family, give a second look to the black dogs (and cats) at your local shelter.