BLACK DOODLE SYNDROME

 

 

Did you know that black dogs are the last to be adopted? Especially if they are large black dogs? Destined for death in many shelters they are passed up for whatever the reason. In our experience, black dogs are the ones that shelters are most often begging rescues to take before they have to be put down for overcrowding. It seems that blondes have more fun even in a dog's world. This is true even in regards to designer dogs. In fact many breeders are trying to avoid breeding black dogs altogether because they don't sell as well as lighter colored dogs.

For many dogs awaiting adoption, the speed with which they find a home may rest not on their breed, gender or age but on one trait that has no bearing on their personality or temperament. The fact that they are black is enough to discourage adopters.

Shelter officials have dubbed it "Black Dog Syndrome" -- the propensity of dark-coated animals to be passed over for adoption in favor of their lighter counterparts. The first two words of that phrase seem self explanatory: black + dog. A syndrome is defined as "a group of things or events that form a recognizable pattern, especially of something undesirable". To the uninitiated, the idea seems so strange — doggie discrimination?

Skeptics say the syndrome is an urban legend, but shelter and rescue leaders insist the phenomenon is very, very real.The title seems to fit the bill: There are increased "observable occurences" that many (not all) shelters are experiencing in a recognizable way: Dark coated canines are being euthanized more frequently and adopted less.

Based on research many shelters and rescues have come to the conclusion that there are a few reasons for this.....

1) Stigmas Associated With Certain Coat Colors; Folklore; In British folklore, such as stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sir Walter Scott, the black dog is a creepy, spectral figure that haunts cemeteries and is an omen of death. (Non-lit geeks who've never heard of those stories have at least seen "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," in which a big black dog called the Grim stalks Harry.) Another Englishman, Winston Churchill, battled serious bouts of depression which he called "the black dog."

Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles. says: "Light is good and dark is evil. The light-versus-dark thing is so ingrained in our consciousness in books and movies. It transfers subliminally in picking out a dog."

2) Black Dogs Photograph Poorly. It doesn't help that many would-be pet owners now start their search on shelter and rescue websites where each tear jerking dog bio is accompanied by a canine glamour shot. Facial features disappear, and black dogs can appear less expressive. "You can't see their eyes very well, and people seem to connect with the eyes," said Ricky Whitman, spokeswoman for Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA.

3) Poorly Lit Kennels in Shelters: When prospective adopters do venture to a shelter, black dogs sometimes fade away into the kennel shadows. "They almost become invisible," Madeline Bernstein said.

4) Fear-There is a misperception that black dogs are mean.They are perceived as menacing and there are even those who believe black dogs will bring them bad luck.

5) Black Dogs Can Overheat Faster Than Light Colored Dogs; in the sun with outdoor canine sporting activities and this becomes a "hassle factor" to many potential adopters who don't want to deal with it.

Whitman says the question isn't whether a black dog will get adopted, but how long it will take. The average wait at her shelter is two weeks."Black dogs may linger two months." she says

The lengthened stays create additional problems: Because black dogs are harder to place in homes, shelters often have a glut. "Then you have the problem of people thinking they're ordinary and common, not unusual and interesting," Bernstein said.

Most black dogs have to rely on shelter staff and volunteers to steer potential adoptors their way. And indeed, many shelters take extra steps to make black dogs more adoptable. To combat the problem, savvy shelters keep their black dogs in their best-lighted kennels. A bright bandanna around the neck helps a dark animal stand out, and colorful toys can lessen the fear factor.

BLACK PEARLS

Tamara Delaney has taken the plight of Black Dogs one step further. After trying to find a home for a black Lab mix, who languished at a rescue group for three years, Delaney set up a website devoted entirely to BBD’s. Her site, Contrary to Ordinary: The Black Pearls of the Dog World acts as a clearinghouse for shelters and rescue groups by placing pictures and stories of their black dogs on the website.

If you are looking to adopt a Doodle pay special attention to the beautiful black dogs waiting to be noticed. Please consider adopting a black doodle from a rescue or shelter near you.Give them a chance to find their way into your heart and home.

You will TRULY be saving a life!

Thank You!

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Replies to This Discussion

Beautiful, rich, shiny, jet black is actually my favorite! My childhood dog was that color and I have such wonderful memories of her. Seriously, my daughter has had people afraid of her black lab as he stands by her panting, wagging his tail and looking friendly! And they tell her it is because he is black!
Thanks Nance!...The only way I could tag this sucker was to put it up as a discussion....lol......I love black dogs! and still dream of that third doodle being a black boy named Byron....: )
One of these days I will actually get my next black dog. I wanted a black and white springer and ended up twice with liver and white. Then I wanted either a black or red doodle and Ned charmed my hubby. Then we got Clancy and of course he is the opposite of black, so......
I love my black nut of a Doodle. I am so glad we became her forever family. She may steal socks, toys, shoes, etc., but she is such a love. She will lick you till you can't breathe. That is why we call her licky Licorice or Licky Picky Pumpkin pie. She is just an awesome part of our family : ) Never turn your back on a dog just because they are black. They are just as loving as any other color of dog.
Thanks for sharing Tracy!....She is gorgeous and you and your family have given her an amazing home!.....Thank you for finding your way back to us..We are glad to have you as part of our family...
This whole black dog thing always surprises me. We, as a family, have always gravitated TOWARDS black dogs. My parents have a beige dog right now and they still find it strange because all of their previous dogs have been black.

They are hard to photograph and they can get too hot in the summer. SO WHAT????? You live with a dog, not a picture and you exercise a little more care in warm weather.

I'm actually a little disappointed that Callie's coat has lightened as she's gotten older. She was a shiny jet black when I first adopted her. Now she a color I call "almost black" and has a sprinkling of white hairs on her back and silver stripes on her ears.Below is an example of how "scary" black dogs are!

What a cutie. Could be a sibling for my Licorice : ) Scary my foot. Mines a lovey doodle, all licks all the time : )
I know - being scared of a black doodle is like being scared of a muppet! Callie's a licker too! I'm constantly apologizing to people because she'll walk right up and lick their toes!
Same with Mazie!!!!
I got my beautiful black Goldendoodle Mazie from a breeder because at the time, I couldn't find a doodle in rescue (sadly, that is no longer the case) but I had to wait several months to do so because I wanted a big black doodle! All doodles are beautiful, and if I were in a position to rescue one or more, I wouldn't care what color they were. But the fact remains, I love big black dogs! I grew up with standard poodles. Four black ones and a chocolate brown one over nearly 40 years. Why would anyone not want, or worse, be afraid of a big black dog? I just don't get it! (But I know it is a sad truth.) People sure are stupid sometimes! My only complaint about my darling Mazie girl is that because she's black, she's kinda hard to photograph. But then, I'm a terrible photographer. So really the issue isn't her being black, it's me not knowing how to take a decent picture! I LOVE BBDs!

My Big Black Doodle Hendrix is the most wonderful dog in the world!  Muppet is perfect for him, he reminds me of Grover.  I so want him to have  a big buddy.

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