What is it about the color black? It’s the color that never goes out of style, yet shelters seem to be full of black dogs. In honor of National Black Dog Day, we’re digging a little deeper—read on for the real deal on the fabled Black Dog Syndrome.
Black Dog Syndrome: Fact or Fiction?
“Black dog syndrome” is a stereotype that most people aren’t even aware of until it’s pointed out. Quite simply, it’s the tendency for black dogs to be picked last at the shelter in favor of lighter-colored dogs.
Negative portrayals of dark-coated dogs in the media (The Hound of Baskerville, Harry Potter, just to name a few), could explain why people might subconsciously develop an aversion to dogs with dark fur, as well as transferral of the black cat superstition over to canines.
Other plausible reasons for BDS? Amanda Shelter at PetFinder cites that unclear facial features due to dimly lit kennels and dark fur might be to blame. People like to use faces as a gauge of character, and with darker-coated dogs, these features can be furrowed in shadows revealing only white teeth.
What Statistics Show
Dr. Emily Weiss tells the ASPCA that in 2013, while 30% of dogs taken in at shelters were black, black dogs also had the highest rate of adoption.
It turns out the unrepresentative notion one might get when glimpsing a pound full of black dogs might just be the result of the the high volume of dogs taken in that also happen to be black. Check out the charts below.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
Shooting against a darker backdrop to eliminate the contrast between the dog’s features and the background, photographer Fred Levy is able to really bring out the handsome features of these often overlooked dogs.
Scroll through Levy’s gorgeous photos of black dogs on his blog for all the convincing you need that BDS should be nothing more than a myth. In fact, these black dogs are so stunning, they look nothing short of mythical.
Top image via Flickr CC/Ana Fuentes