It is a phenomenon that, not proven factual, is still a problem. The definition given by Start Seeing Black Dogs:“Did you know that Black Dogs are generally the last to be adopted and are euthanized in shelters in much larger numbers? People may consider them too “plain”, think they are menacing, or simply don't notice them because their dark color makes them disappear in their kennels. Those involved in animal welfare have dubbed these phenomena "Black Dog Syndrome."
Big Black Dog Syndrome....It is a real problem still in society. I myself have seen the effects it has on dogs not being picked as the Furever member of a family. After a while, they hide. They will hide under the table or go near a wall to stay out of sight. I have an understanding about the superstitious, religious beliefs, the stigma surrounding black animals....but it is just a color, not the personality.
The most common reason people don't like to adopt these dogs is due to their perceived aggressiveness. The stereotypical aggressive rottweilers, doberman pinschers, and some breeds of pitbull, give all big, dark colored dogs a bad name. In this case it is very important to promote the breed not the color.
Through my research I learned that Black Dog Syndrome may be caused by a combination of:
- Unclear facial features
- Dimly lit kennels
- The “genericness” of black pets
- Negative portrayals of black pets in books, movies and other popular media
- A big, frightening black dog can be seen in The Hound of the Baskervilles, the Harry Potter series, both movie versions of The Omen, and even on the common “Beware of Dog” sign.
- Black cats are readily associated with witches, superstition, and bad luck.
What you can do
Whether or not you’re currently looking to adopt, you can do a lot to help pets who suffer from BDS!
- 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’re aware.
- Remind people that their parents were right: personality is more important than appearance. It’s just as true for pets as for people!