Black Dog Syndrome


It's common knowledge amongst those who care for rescue dogs that black dogs can be more difficult to re-home. This unfortunate fact results in many more black dogs being euthanize each year, simply because potential owners tend to overlook them.


Whether this is because black dogs appear more aggressive, fail to stand out or simply don't look good in photographs isn't clear, but black dogs definitely find it more difficult to attract an owner.
There's no logical reason for this, as black dogs make just as good pets as any other color. Unfortunately, dogs are often chosen based on their appearance rather than their suitability for a new home.
This phenomenon is so common that it's been given the name "Black Dog Syndrome." There are a number of groups working to bring the issue into the public eye, with the hope that greater awareness will lead to more people choosing black dogs. Unfortunately, black dog syndrome is still a major issue at the moment.

Why Are Black Dogs Overlooked?

There are a number of theories as to why black dogs find it more difficult to find a home. These include:
* Appearance – This is probably the main reason why potential owners don't choose a black dog. Dogs with a solid black coat are often considered too "ordinary." Many owners are also put off by not being able to clearly see the dog's eyes. Sometimes, the dogs just don't stand out enough compared to other dogs in a shelter.
* Superstitions – It's difficult to judge the impact of superstitions on adoption rates, but black dogs are traditionally "evil" in myths and folklore. In the UK, for example, almost every county has at least one myth of a local vicious dog, and the animals are nearly always black. These range from the "phantom black dog of Dartmoor" to the "ghostly black dogs of Dunstable."
* Fear – There's a misconception that black dogs are more aggressive. Dog aggression and behavior isn't related to color, but this mistaken belief can put people off choosing a black dog.

Why Choose A Black Dog?

If you're thinking of adopting a rescue dog, it's definitely a good idea to consider a black dog. You shouldn't choose a dog just because it's black, but by being aware of all colors you may notice a potential pet that you otherwise would've missed. Black dogs make just as good pets as other colors, and are often more easily available.

In many cases, just being aware of the accidental prejudice against black dogs is enough. Once people actively start to notice these dogs in a rescue shelter, adoption rates should start to increase. People are not purposefully ignoring black dogs, unless they find the coloring too "boring," and most potential adopters should realize that color doesn't have an effect on the personality of an animal.


Dr. Susan Wright, DMV is a professional on dog training collars. Susan has been giving care for pets as a practicing veterinarian for more than 10 years. As an authority on domestic pet care, Susan likes writing articles that help people make informed decisions.