October 1st is National Black Dog Day, but thousands of black dogs sit in shelters across the country overlooked and unadopted. How could that be? Black dogs are just as wonderful as white dogs, or brown dogs, or grey dogs or fawn colored dogs or spotted dogs. Could it be Black Dog Syndrome?
What is Black Dog Syndrome?
I remember speaking with a friend who does dog rescue a few years back. She was out with a beautiful black lab mix puppy. I asked about the puppy and she proceeded to tell me that he had just been returned to her because the adopter’s husband felt the dog had the mark of the devil because he was black. I was stunned. Here was a beautiful, smart puppy who was returned because he was a certain color!
This is part of Black Dog Syndrome.
According to a study done by petfinder.com less-adoptable dogs are listed on their site four times longer than other dogs. What dogs are considered less-adoptable dogs? Senior dogs, dogs with special needs and black dogs. This survey included other pets too.
Why Does Black Dog Syndrome Happen?
While there is no clear proof as to why Black Dog Syndrome happens, it may as simple as the features of black dogs are harder to see, so they look unfriendly. I know that I have more difficulty taking pictures of black dogs than I do taking pictures of lighter dogs. Black, in general, is often equated with evil and bad luck. Look at the villains in old Western movies, they wear the “black hat” while the hero of the movie wears the “white hat”. Then there is black magic. Let’s face it, some people tend to associate black with bad.
What Can You Do?
Well, you could adopt a black dog, but if that is not an option to spread the word. Tell your friends and family about Black Dog Syndrome. If people are aware of the issue they can work to fix it. It may just be that you tell someone who was just getting ready to add a dog to their family and now they are on an active hunt to make that new family member a black dog. Awareness works! If you are a great photographer, volunteer at your local shelter to take pictures and show black dogs in a different light. When your local shelters post pictures of black dogs up for adoption, share those pictures on social media.