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Black Dogs Need Love, too!!

Adoption groups around the world have known about the problem but now someone has given it a name and brought it forward. Black Dog Syndrome (BDS) is also referred to as the BBD (Big Black Dog) problem. FoG has seen it for years in our own adoption kennels. King and Speedy, who are living in the kennel now are like so many other black dogs in shelters, having already spent more time waiting for new homes than lighter-colored kennelmates generally do.

BDS was studied by graduate students at The George Washington University. (In other words – it’s not just MY opinion!!) They concluded that BDS occurs in shelters and rescue groups throughout America and affects black dogs, as well as cats. It is possible that there may simply be more black pets in the shelter and rescue population. However reports from across the country illustrate the problem, and multiple national organizations have long recognized BDS as an issue that adversely affects the adoption rates of black pets.

What is Black Dog Syndrome?

In a survey, Petfinder member shelter and rescue groups reported that most pets are listed for 12.5 weeks on Petfinder, whereas, less-adoptable pets (such as black, senior, and special needs pets) spend almost four times as long on Petfinder. Research showed that Black Dog Syndrome may be caused by a combination of:

  • Size
  • Unclear facial features
  • Dimly lit kennels
  • The “genericness” of black pets
  • Negative portrayals of black pets in books, movies and other popular media such as the black dogs in Hound of the Baskervilles, Harry Potter, The Omen, and even on the common “Beware of Dog” sign.
  • Black cats are readily associated with witches, superstition, and bad luck.
King (Gold collar) & Speedy (Red collar) are waiting for homes!

So what you can do?

Display your love of black pets proudly to demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with them.

Encourage friends to look past their first impressions of a black pet.

Tell people about BDS! It’s generally an unconscious prejudice and most people will move past it once they are aware.

Remind people that their parents were right:- personality is more important than appearance. It’s just as true for pets as for people!

And Remember – Black dogs need love, too!!

Thank you to the Petfinder.com site for compiling this information!!