Black Dog [and Cat] Syndrome

May 15, 2014 @ io9

Among shelter employees, it’s considered a truism that black dogs are notoriously hard to adopt out. The workers there have a nickname for the problem – Black Dog Syndrome. No matter how sweet-natured the animal, people see the dark coat and are hesitant to adopt the pet. For employees, who have to deal with the emotional difficulty of staying with an animal being stuck at a shelter for months, or even putting it down, black dogs are always a source of potential pain.

[Even cats have a tough time getting adopted if they have black coats. A study in a Colorado shelter found that black cats were much less likely to be adopted, regardless of age or sex.]

Another photo study showed that black dogs and black cats were considered less adoptable than their lighter-colored counterparts. The people surveyed considered the lighter colors much more friendly.

Clearly, there is a problem. People fear black dogs, particularly large ones. Humane societies and animal shelters need to either encourage people to get their dark-colored dogs spayed and neutered – emphasizing that they won’t be able to find homes for the puppies – or start a campaign to change people’s perception of dark-colored dogs.

iHueman PS: The most adorable, lovable, friendly and loyal cats and dogs we’ve ever met were, guess what, BLACK !


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