Black Dog Syndrome: Black Dogs Get Adopted Last


This story makes me so sad, I don’t even know where to begin.

There is a phenomenon called “black dog syndrome”, which is also known as “black dog bias”.

What is it?

It’s EXACTLY what you think it is: people preferring non-black dogs over black dogs.

How prevalent is it?

It’s known well enough that there’s a Wikipedia article about it:

Black dog bias is a veterinarian and animal shelter phenomenon in which black dogs are passed over for adoption in favor of lighter-colored animals. This is also common with cats. Although shelters disagree over the empirical basis for the bias, many take active measures to make black dogs more appealing. Black dog bias is also known as “big black dog syndrome.” Shelters often use the term BBD, or big black dog, to describe the type of larger dark-colored mixed-breed typically passed over by adopters.

How horrible is this?

(Some) people managed to transfer this mental disease from humans to dogs.

This is really painful for us here at PawshPal because… our company logo includes a picture of Cocoa, a black terrier and our beloved company mascot:

What’s the problem here? According to a news article:

It’s not just that large dogs can be frightening: Animal shelters say black dogs of all sizes are difficult to photograph for online listings, and are hard to spot against the shadows of their crates and cages in dimly lighted kennels.

Older black dogs with a little white in their muzzles can look elderly. Bigger breeds like German shepherds or Chows aren’t as fashionable as small, cuddly lap dogs.

Then there’s the reputation. The idea of a big, black dog unleashing destruction is a common theme in books, movies and folklore as diverse as “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” the “Harry Potter” series and “The Omen.”

Even the common sign “Beware of Dog” depicts a big, black dog, teeth bared and gums dripping. The notion that the animals are menacing is so pervasive that Winston Churchill famously called depression “the black dog.”

Horrible. Where + when will the madness of men stop?

To help change views of black dogs and puppies, here are some pictures that will make melt your heart

Take a look at this video. If this doesn’t change your mind, nothing will.

Please, let’s HELP these black dogs and puppies. Forward this article to your friends by Facebook, Twitter, email, or whatever you use.

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Showing 7 comments
  • barbara

    I prefer black dogs. They do not show discolouration from eye stains and are they most beautiful dogs, especially if their coat is well maintained. I own a pure black english cocker spaniel and I always get comments on how beautiful he is.

  • Cocoa Kelly

    Are you serious??? It is absolutely disgusting to try to bring racial tension into the animal world! Anyone who does this should be very ashamed! Grow up and get a real life! Stop trying to force your perverted ideologies on the unsuspecting people. Unfortunately for some it just so happens that the color black is not as enticing of a color as something more vibrant. But just as in seeking a future spouse, we need to seek out what attracts us individually. Unfortunately someone will be unadoptable since this is the way our country chooses to handle the population of animals. Maybe we need to take a serious look at why we support organizations killing innocent animals due to our country’s so called “Humane Treatment” of unwanted animals. There was a way prior to these disgusting organizations that gave animals a fighting chance. It was called ‘Survival of the Fittest”. Yes some did not make it but many did for thousands of years until some idiots got together to make some $$$ off the good hearted souls that love animals! These are the ones we can all thank for the bloodshed of millions of ‘Humanely Euthanized” animals! Boy just stick a word like”Humane ” in front of anything and the marketing technique is accomplished! Support local shelters that do not support the ASPCA and Humane Societies. These local shelters are now being called hoarders but I have seen some of these shelters and they were truely doing their best and the ASPCA and Humane Societies are causing them trouble and slandering them til they get shut down and most of the animals KILLED. Yeah, they care about animals! If you believe that, you are an idiot!

  • Lydia Buitenwerf

    All I have to do is look at a picture of a dog and my heart just melts no matter what color they are I have had three dogs and they were all black one was black and white these are the best dogs I have ever had if I could I would take all the unwanted dogs.

  • Megan Adams

    I have only owned black dogs. I love them dearly and I wish I could adopt all of the ones from the shelters. This prejudice is ridiculous and it makes me very angry.

  • Hillary


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