Black Dog Syndrome: Are We Treating Black Shelter Dogs Unfairly?


Cats are not the only animal to be treated unfairly just because the color of their fur happens to be black. The bias against black dogs (particularly large-sized ones) is such a real thing that there’s even a name for it in the animal welfare community: Black Dog Syndrome. According to the website Black Pearl Dogs, black dogs (even popular labs and lab mixes) that enter the animal welfare system are euthanized at much higher rates than lighter colored dogs because their adoption rates are so low.



Why is this? There are a number of reasons why their adoption rates are low, none of which makes much sense when you look at them objectively. The organization Forgotten Paws outlines some of them on their website. They include the perception of potential adopters that they are too “ordinary” looking; complaints that you can’t see their eyes; they go unnoticed in photographs or shelter environments because they blend into the background; black dogs (especially large ones) are “evil” or “dangerous.”



Want to learn more about Black Dog Syndrome? Check out this moving video about the plight of black shelter dogs (and cats!):





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