Small Town Rescue

Pawsibilities are Endless' catalog of rescue tales. When we say 'it's all going to the dogs' we mean it!

Black Dog Syndrome

It exists, and it’s real. It’s very scary. Confessions of an Animal Junkie blog owner Phoenix Sullivan posted a YouTube video on her blog right before Thanksgiving featuring pictures of some gorgeous dogs and giving stats on rescue work. That organization, Black Dog Rescue Project, is commited to help these cute and sweet animals that get overlooked to find their forever home. Their mission is to raise awareness about Black Dog Syndrome, and Pawsibilities feels the same way.

“Why?” you wonder.  Why does a certain coat color make these dogs near invisible to potential adopting families or prevent them from getting the same attention as a white, brindle, or tan dog? On Black Dog Rescue Project’s website they feature several different reasons as to why this syndrome is occurring, here are a couple:

Poor Pictures– Suprisingly the color black doesn’t show up as well on colors in photos. Meaning a black dog’s features are not as predominant in photographs, unless in a super light background. This photo difficulty means that black dogs are really used in advertising or commercials as much as other dogs; if at all. Plus photos posted on sites may not show the dog clearly and reduce the chance that potential owners will even see a face to love.

Superstition and Perception– Black dogs are symbolized in books, moveis, etc. as evil and aggressive. Ever seen a hell hound that wasn’t a black dog (partcularily doberman or pitty) bent on attack? Plus the old myths of black dogs, and continuous usage of the name ‘The Black Dog’ in conjunction with depressing or evil denotations. There’s even a passing rumor that a black dog crossing in front of a trucker means doom.

As far as personal experience Pawsbilities can agree with Black Dog Rescue Project’s statement of fact that black dogs are the last to get adopted. Next to dogs with special needs or severe behavioral issues, black dogs have less success in finding a forever home. Our rescue encountered the situation in 2011 when 2 black, lab puppies came to us. We tried for months, and puppies are usually what I call a ‘quick in/quick out’; we typically adopt puppies within 1 month or sometimes less. These sweet little guys were the acception and were transported to a black lab rescue that specializes in placing black labrodors with loving families.

So yes, Black Dog Syndrome does exist. Next time you’re planning to adopt take a look at these sweet ones first. Give them a chance and you can be sure there’s one that will warm your heart.


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2 thoughts on “Black Dog Syndrome

  1. I can not live without at least one black dog at all times. When I was in grad school, a fellow student did a research project on the adoptability of black dogs. It was shocking. You may be preaching to the crowd here, but this information needs to be spread. Our local shelter has a special section on the first page of their web site about adopting big, black dogs. I always do my part to spread the word.

    • I know exactly what you mean. Love black dogs, especially labs and great danes. The statistics on this issue are shocking, and it makes me excited that more people are taking notice of the issue and trying to change it.

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