It’s called “black dog syndrome”. Many loving dogs in need of good homes are being overlooked, under appreciated, and under adopted at shelters nationwide, and they all share one thing in common: their black coats.
There are no hard numbers, but informal surveys done at animal shelters show that black dogs are less likely to be adopted and that black terriers are the most likely to be overlooked and eventually euthanized.
Numerous reasons may result in the fact that black dogs may be adopted less than non-black dogs: superstitions, negative labels, fear, or even that people feel like they can’t read expressions from a dark-haired dog. Regardless of the reason, shelters are trying to be creative to get people to adopt black dogs and to stop this “black dog syndrome.”
More on the black dog syndrome after the jump.
“Big black dogs can pose an adoption challenge to animal shelters. It’s pretty common to have several black dogs in the shelter at any one given time,” said Kim Intino, Director of Animal Sheltering Issues for the National Humane Society.
“There are certain things that you have to do to adopt black dogs out. You’ve got to take photographs with a different background, make them pop, give them some zeal because they just don’t stand out,” said J.C. Crist, CEO of a local shelter. “They don’t have any distinguishing features other than their personality.”
Intino added that it’s important to remember that black dogs aren’t only animals that get stigmatized. Black cats are considered unlucky and she says shelters are filled with many of those fun-loving pets too.
For more information on black dog syndrome, visit Black Pearl Dogs, an organization dedicated to making a difference: one black dog at a time with education, awareness and action.