What does black dog syndrome mean?

A condition known as "black dog syndrome" or "big black dog syndrome" occurs when adoptable black dogs are turned over in favor of animals with lighter coloring. BDS is an issue that has been noted by rescue organizations and shelters all throughout the world, and it has a negative impact on the adoption rate of black pets. It's unclear why this occurs.

Because black dogs are associated with certain breeds, like pit bulls, for example, adopters may overlook them. Big, black dogs are frequently portrayed in films and television shows as aggressive and frightening, which may deter prospective adopters from getting one. Some people think it might have to do with how photogenic puppies are. Black dogs are notoriously bad photographers. Conversely, lighter-coloured dogs do. Lighter-coloured canines may have an advantage when adoption agencies take pictures of their pets to share on social media or their website.

History or Origins

Black Dog Syndrome

Decades have been spent studying the BDS phenomenon, which came to light in the media when activists started talking about it in public in the 2000s. In terms of history, black dog syndrome dates back many years.

Black hounds are frequently depicted as underworld guardians in mythology and folklore. They are also generally interpreted as unfavorable omens. Adopters browsing the shelter may find themselves thinking about those old, hundreds-year-old stories. Furthermore, others speculate that adopters' associations of the color black with evil may be the cause of BDS.

There are several hypotheses for why BDS occurs, including the fact that dogs with black or dark coats aren't as noticeable or that black dogs don't photograph well, which makes them less appealing to adopters. Apart from the negative connotation associated with aggressive breeds, geographical location might also contribute to black dog syndrome (BDS).

Similar circumstances and frequent exposure to the same phenomenon, also referred to as black cat syndrome, affect black cats. Some people think that black cats are more vulnerable because of the additional stigma of superstition or their connection to witchcraft, which may put off prospective owners.


Black Dog

Employees of Impact Shelter organizations all across the world claim to have personally seen black dog syndrome in action. Larger black dog breeds are more likely than smaller, lighter-coloured canines to stay at the shelter for an extended period of time due to this phenomenon. As a result, many black dogs are even put to death.

Science has not supported or refuted the claim that black dogs have a harder time finding permanent homes, despite the belief held by some. Numerous studies conflict with one another.

According to ASPCA research from 2011, those who adopted dogs most commonly did so for aesthetic reasons. According to a 2002 study that appeared in the journal Applied Animal Welfare Science, black coat colors had a detrimental impact on the adoption rates of both dogs and cats. According to researchers, pure-bred black animals had substantially lower adoption rates.

Some scientific studies, such as one that examined the length of time dogs spent in two shelters in New York in 2013, appear to contradict these findings. The results of that study showed that coat color had no bearing on how long they stayed, and they also pointed out that black canine syndrome might only occur in specific parts of the world, perhaps as a result of cultural differences.

Although it might be challenging to ascertain whether BDS actually occurs at shelters, animal lovers can all agree that it is an undesirable occurrence.

How to Be of Assistance

Black Dog

Dogs of diverse colors and black dogs are the same. They behave in the same way, show the same level of affection, and plant kisses equally frequently. Adopting a dog is the ideal way to help lessen the effects of BDS.

You may be sure that acquiring a black dog will assist black pets in finding permanent homes. You can also check for rescue groups, as they frequently accept black dogs, as well as rescues that focus only on black dogs. More animals that are prepared to be saved will have more room if a black dog is rescued from a shelter.

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