Why do black dogs not get adopted?

Some people believe that during the pet adoption

pet adoption
Pet adoption is the process of transferring responsibility for a pet that was previously owned by another party such as a person, shelter, or rescue organization. Common sources for adoptable pets are animal shelters and rescue groups.

https://en.wikipedia.org › Pet_adoption

process some potential owners associate the color black with evil or misfortune (similar to the common superstition surrounding black cats

black cats
Kuroneko (黒猫) literally means black cat in Japanese, and may refer to: Kuroneko, a 1968 Japanese horror film.

https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Kurone…

), and this bias transfers over to their choice of dog.

The fact that older (5+ year old) animals are the first to be put to sleep at shelters and the last to be adopted has long been known. However, the hue of an animal’s fur carries almost as much stigma, particularly for pets with black coats.

Big Black Dog Syndrome, a term used by animal shelters to refer to the larger, mixed-breed black dogs who are typically avoided by potential adopters, exists to describe the phenomenon. This is especially true for black dogs. Black cats are subject to an equally severe prejudice: they are much less likely to be adopted than grey, tabby, and white cats, and have long been vilified as “evil omens.” But what are the reasons behind this?.

Numerous theories make an effort to explain the prejudice against black dogs, especially those of the larger variety. According to Jacque Lynn Schultz, the director of the ASPCA’s shelter outreach program, most people who adopt black dogs think that they “look menacing because their facial expressions are harder to read.” “Amy Chase from the Rising Sun, Indiana, Ohio County Animal Shelter , who also states that “the black dog is unquestionably more likely to end up on death row than a yellow or tan dog,” Although there aren’t many numbers to quantify this problem, researchers have looked into it a lot.

According to a 2011 ASPCA study, appearance is the primary consideration for prospective adopters when it comes to both puppies (29%) and adult dogs (26%); black dogs are consistently rated as the least desirable. Researchers from Wichita State University followed the progress of 1,468 surrendered dogs who were up for adoption in a 2010 study titled Animal Shelter Dogs: Factors Predicting Adoption Versus Euthanasia. They discovered that while dogs with black coats were more likely to be put down, dogs with white, gold, and gray coats had noticeably higher adoption rates.

Researchers and shelter workers have suggested several reasons for this. Potential adopters might equate black fur with “evil” or “misfortune,” and black dogs have a reputation for being fearsome and aggressive. Black dogs have a long history in British folklore as “nocturnal apparitions” connected to the Devil. The dark-furred dogs are viewed as “portents of death” in works by Arthur Conan Doyle like The Hound of the Baskervilles and Wiltshire’s “Black Dog Hill.” These evil canines are frequently depicted as larger than average, “black as the night,” and unmistakably snarly.

The black dog has historically been demonized in American media. In the 1978 film Zoltan, Hound of Dracula, the spirit of the vampire takes control of a black dog and terrorizes anyone who comes into contact with him. In the 1970s television series The Night Stalker, a politician had the power to transform into a huge black Rottweiler with a massive pentagram around its massive neck and an ever-present, fang-bearing scowl.

But black dogs face another issue: they’re harder to market. Black dogs are challenging to photograph, and their personalities are frequently hidden in darkness; however, most shelters post pictures of their animals on a website in an effort to entice potential adopters. Participants in a 1992 Animal Welfare study were shown images of dogs in various colors, and 65% of them expressed a preference for dogs with lighter coats. Participants rate yellow dogs significantly higher than black dogs on the personality dimensions of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability, according to a 2013 study published by Anthrozoos. The same study discovered that participants thought black dogs were the “least friendly,” based only on a picture.

Due to their historical stigma of being cursed, cats also face difficulties in the adoption market. Black cats have typically been derided as an ill omen, despite some cultures (Japan) celebrating them as a sign of prosperity and good luck.

Black cats were regarded as the familiars of witches during the Middle Ages when the European church started accusing women of practicing witchcraft. The killing of cats “en masse” during the Black Death in the 14th century is thought by some historians to have contributed to the increase in rats and, as a result, the fleas that caused the plague. Cat Sith, a large black cat with the power to steal a person’s soul after death, appeared in Scottish folklore. The Scots were so terrified of Sith that they would spend the night sitting over the bodies of their departed loved ones to prevent the feline from stealing them into eternal bliss.

Similar myths were spread in America and were based on the Pilgrims’ religious ideals. Black cats were thought to be evil to the point that anyone found in possession of one would face harsh punishment or execution on suspicion of being a witch. Even though these ideals are long gone, they are still upheld by folktales like Wait Until Emmet Comes and Black Cat’s Message, which both feature supernatural black cats dressed as demons. They are also popularized as Halloween moon companions. Some shelters even go so far as to forbid the adoption of black cats in October out of concern that the animals might be sacrificed to those who practice witchcraft or used as holiday decorations. ”.

“Black cats are some of the most sleek, clothing-friendly cats. According to Willow Liroff, head cat volunteer at the Oakland Animal Shelter, “you won’t have little white hairs all over everything.” But for some reason, they are by far the most difficult to find housing for. With catchy campaigns like “Black Is the New Black,” “Adopt a Mini-Panther,” “Black Goes With Everything,” and “Back in Black,” shelters have attempted to market the cats but have had limited success.

Based on the color of their fur, 189 people were asked their opinions of cats in a UC Berkeley study. The respondents described white cats as “shy,” tortoiseshell cats as “intolerant and aloof,” and orange cats as “friendly,” but they had negative opinions about (or no opinion at all about) black cats. Black cats are the most frequently euthanized and take much longer to find homes, according to shelter workers, who routinely inform the public of this. Similar to this, a study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science in 2002 discovered that black cats were significantly less likely to be adopted based only on the color of their fur.

ASPCA Vice President of Shelter Research Dr. The disparity in black pet adoption is dismissed by Emily Weiss as fiction. She said in an interview with Today that although “people might see that black [pets] are staying around longer, that might just be because there are more black [pets] in the shelters.” Some beliefs, in my opinion, are difficult to change, particularly if someone provides anecdotal evidence that there have been one or two large black dogs that have been more difficult to adopt ”.

However, a sizable portion of researchers and adoption professionals maintain that the problem is both widespread and real. Employee Tyler Stover of the Humane Society told a CNN affiliate that “for whatever reason, black animals don’t catch people’s attention as much.” To address the issue, his shelter has gone above and beyond, offering black pets at 50% off and even giving them away for free on Black Friday.

Others have pursued creative means to end “pet discrimination. “Photographer Fred Levy started the Black Dogs Project, a photo collection aimed at showcasing the often-overlooked beauty of black dogs and bringing attention to their adoption neglect. Black Cat Rescue, a non-profit organization based in Boston, provides adoption services for only black cats and educates potential adopters about their benefits.

The fact that between 3 and 4 million cats and dogs are put down every year in the United States is a bigger problem than just having black pets. S. — nearly 50% of all sheltered animals.

This post was written by Zachary Crockett. Follow him on Twitter here, or Google Plus here.


Although the dogs have mysterious and endearing appearances, many shelters and rescues advertise using any picture that is available, sometimes concealing the dogs’ distinctive features.

You might be more likely to adopt a black dog if you visit the shelter in person and meet all the dogs there rather than making a decision based solely on pictures.

Similar to their feline counterparts, black dogs encounter adoption challenges. Particularly larger black dogs, who suffer from what many shelter workers refer to as “black dog syndrome,” are frequently forgotten.

But even if a potential adopter isn’t superstitious, there is something else working against black dogs. Their faces are dark so it’s often difficult to see their sad little “adopt me” expressions. As a result, some people like rescues are getting more into using props and backgrounds when photographing black dogs so that their personalities show through. It’s all about photographing them in the best light.

Back in November 2014, Fort Worth dog hero Henry was a black Lab that’s become the face of the Fort Worth animal shelters and helped them raise over a million for the city’s shelter needs. He was specifically selected because he was a big black dog and that something considered low adoptability, despite him being a Lab.

A lot of the time, black dogs are portrayed as being aggressive in movies and television. Often, the growling attack dogs guarding villains or secret places are Dobermans or Rottweilers.

So, what can you do? It’s really simple. Give a black dog (or cat) a chance. They are just as adorable and devoted as other dogs in the area.

Until recently, there was little hard data to either support or refute all the anecdotal evidence that black animals languish longer in shelters. But two studies from the ASPCA, one looking at people’s reasons for adoption and another at animals’ length of stay on the shelter floor, found that adopters are not biased against certain coat colors and that black animals do not in general remain in shelters longer.

Animal behaviorist Dr. Additionally, Patricia McConnell studied the issue with two of her pupils. examining the Dane County Humane Society’s adoption records in Madison, Wisconsin , over the course of four years, they discovered that while blackness in a dog’s coat had no discernible effect on how likely it was for adoption, large dogs were less likely to be adopted than smaller dogs.

“If a shelter has 10 black dogs and one white dog as compared to one black dog and 10 white ones, the length of stay will probably be different for the black dog in each case,” Marion Zuefle, who was part of a recent study on the subject, told TODAY.com. “The adopter might be more drawn to the unique dog whether that is the one white dog out of 10 black ones or the one black dog out of 10 white ones.”

Erin Lamparter, co-founder of Lulu’s Locker Rescue, a nonprofit that finds homes for black animals and FIV cats, said, “We continue to notice that black animals are euthanized first as shelter workers know the ‘turnover’ for black animals or their likelihood of being adopted is lower than animals with other colors or markings.”

Nevertheless, some animal welfare workers maintain that despite the evidence, there is prejudice against black animals, whether as a result of poor lighting or cultural connotations like the notion that black cats bring bad luck.


What dogs are least likely to get adopted?

Black dogs are typically adopted less frequently than dogs with any other coat color, according to the majority of seasoned shelter staff. Be it black Labrador Retrievers, Shepherds, Rottweilers, etc. , they are often passed over by potential adopters. The term “Black Dog Syndrome” is used to describe this discrepancy in adoptions. ”.

Why do some dogs not get adopted?

Color, age, and breed have all been cited as factors in the explanations of why some dogs at shelters leave more quickly than others. However, some scientists think that one of the key elements in determining whether a dog is adopted is the way the dog plays.

What animal is least likely to get adopted?

In fact, cats make up between 50% and 75% of the population of shelters in the United States. Black cats are the least likely to be adopted out of all the cats in shelters.

Are people afraid of black dogs?

This superstition has more recently taken the form of the “Black Dog Syndrome,” which suggests that black dogs are less likely than other breeds to find new homes. They contend that this may be the case because those unfavorable superstitions linger in pet seekers’ minds.