Black Dog Syndrome: Why Black Dogs Are Less Likely To Be Adopted


Many people who work at shelters will testify to the fact that black dogs and cats get adopted less than other colors of pets. Why this is true we just don’t know for sure. When you add into the mix dogs that are black and also large, the rate of adoption further decreases. It truly is a shame since dog personality has nothing to do with dog color.



Black Dog Syndrome also known as BDS is the name given for black dogs that are not adopted because of color. In 1998, there was a study that examined 1,468 dogs at a humane society up for adoption. The study results showed that black dogs get adopted less than dogs of other colors.


More Research Is Needed


A general manager at the Los Angeles Animal Services studied 30,046 dogs that were adopted in 2008.  That study had opposite results showing that black or mostly black dogs got adopted more frequently than other colors of dogs. For sure, more studies need to be completed so that we might get consistent results. Drawing a conclusion is hard to do without more studies on black dogs and adoption rates.



Possibly the reason for black dogs getting adopted less has to do with historically how black dogs have been portrayed on television. Black dogs are often shown as being aggressive in television shows and movies. Many times it is a Doberman or Rottweiler who is growling and acting mean.


Another factor with black dogs is that it is sometimes harder to see their expression due to face color. People may just assume that a dog is mean since the face is harder to see.



Many shelters have tried to combat the problem of BDS by taking adorable photographs of black dogs. Perhaps when people can see photos of cute and beautiful black dogs it will help to dispel black dog myths. One way to help fight this stereotype concerning black dogs is to adopt one for yourself!

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