Why do black dogs struggle to find homes?

What are some potential causes of “black dog syndrome?”
Black Dog
Black Dog / Steve Christo - Corbis/GettyImages

Recently, we here at Dog O’Day talked about Black Dog Syndrome, and what it is. However, we didn’t really go into detail about why black dogs are less likely to be adopted. And honestly, there are a few different reasons.

Even popular dog breeds struggle with being adopted when they have a black coat. Because while many people might love the Labrador Retriever or the French Bulldog, there is still a bias against dogs with a black coat. It may not make sense to a lot of us dog lovers, but in some areas it has been proven time and time again that if a dog has a darker color of fur, they are less likely to be adopted.

So what contributes to Black Dog Syndrome and dogs with black coats being overlooked at shelters and rescues?

Here are some of the reasons why dogs with black fur struggle to get adopted

A color bias against the dark fur

Much like with cats, there is actually a color bias associated with animals that have a black coat. And the reason for that is because these animals are perceived as being less friendly than their lighter counterpart. Not only that, but there have even been studies that have proven that people believe that a black dog is going to be more aggressive, or even potentially dangerous, than a dog with a white coat.

Even in mythology and folklore, it was often black dogs that were seen as spooky and evil, sometimes they were even said to be “omens of death.” This has led to a lot of stereotypes around these dogs, that persist to this day.

More black dogs and cats are finding their way to the shelter

It is already a struggle to find enough adopters for the amount of animals that are in shelters and rescues. And often, there are more black coated animals entering the shelter than lighter animals. Having more of these darker animals in the shelter, will likely compound the idea that black dogs are ending up being overlooked for adoption.

Black animals struggle with being photogenic

If you have ever tried to take a picture of a black shirt or black pants you know how hard it can be to show the details of the item. Unless you’re a professional photographer, you probably struggle with things like lighting and showing the beauty of what’s in front of you. And that is the case with black furred animals as well. It is often said that a black dog will not actually photograph as well as a dog with lighter fur. And with more people turning to the Internet to find their next pet, this can be a problem.

In an effort to get pets adopted, shelters are trying to showcase the animals that they have online. But it can be a struggle to clearly showcase features and facial expressions of a dog that has a black coat. This can lead to potential adopters skipping those animals because they aren’t seeing the beauty and the love that this pet has to offer.

Our staff pup, Ladybug, is a dark coated dog. And while she is not completely black, she is a rescue dog that was overlooked because of her dark fur. And anyone who overlooked her, missed out on a bundle of energy, who loves to run and play. She gives good cuddles, and she loves going to doggy daycare and playing with her friends.

There so many wonderful animals out there waiting to find there forever home. And perhaps that dog or cat that you overlooked, whether unconsciously or consciously, could be the perfect pet for you

Did you know that black dogs and cats struggle to get adopted in some areas?

dark. Next. Keep your home clean with strategic grooming. Keep your home clean with strategic grooming