A conversation about black dogs occurred at the last adoption event which sparked my interest to know more as to why no one expressed interest in the wonderful black dogs that were present. With a little internet research I found some interesting information about ‘Invisible Black Dog Syndrome’ as it is referred to. Shelters across the country report that would-be-adopters walk past the black dogs and opt for lighter colored or spotted breeds. Black dogs are overlooked time and time again. Real numbers are hard to come by but overwhelmingly it is stated that black dogs are last to be adopted and first to be euthanized. In speaking with another rescue, a local shelter and a veterinarian the same comments were heard. A controversial topic that has pros and cons, you decide.
The sweetest of black dogs must overcome the stereotype of being aggressive or being associated with evil – much like black cats, and legends or folklore that surround them. They are difficult to photograph, hence you see their white teeth first fueling the aggressive stereotype – when they actually are smiling at you! Some studies indicate the coat color bias changes depending on geographic location. The ASPCA study in 2011 cited appearance was the most frequently cited reason for adopting a puppy (29 percent) or adult dog (26 percent). In the March/April ’06 issue of BARK Magazine author Deb Hipp wrote a poignant article about the plight of black dogs in our nation – http://thebark.com/content/black-dogs-face-hard-choice-shelter. Tamara Delaney, an early activist against black dog syndrome, developed a website called Black Pearl Dogs in 2004 specifically to address the issue, by educating the public about its existing and showcasing individual dogs available for adoption – www.BlackPearlDogs.com.
I would like to encourage people to do their homework and adopt a dog based on breed characteristics and requirements, personality, physical needs or duties and activity requirements of both the person and the dog – a perfect match!
We wish you all a very happy, healthy, holiday season!