Are Black Animals Struggling to Find Forever Homes?


Are black animals struggling to find their forever homes?

It is possible there are more black animals than other colored animals.

If there isn’t a problem, why do shelters ask people to adopt, or hold special adoption events for animals of a black coat?

There are reports from shelters across the nation that label this phenomenon as a problem. It is common for black dogs and cats to be in a shelter longer and adopted less than other colored animals. This is known as the Black Dog Syndrome (BDS) in many shelters. Thebark.com labels another syndrome as the Big Black Dog (BBD) for the less adoptability of big, black dogs compared to smaller and other colored dogs.

ASPCA Vice President of Shelter Research Dr. Emily Weiss studied this issue in a blog from vetstreet.com. Surprisingly, she found black animal adoption rates were not much lower than other colored animals. However, there were more black animals admitted into shelters than other colored animals. For example, one white dog and three black dogs are admitted into a shelter. One day, the white dog and a black dog are adopted. That still leaves two black dogs at the shelter. As a result, Dr. Weiss found that there are simply more black dogs than other colored dogs in shelters causing this issue.

Another study was conducted from a a student named Amanda Leonard who wrote about her research in a blog by Petfinder. She studied the Black Dog Syndrome (BDS) as a research project at The George Washington University.

Through her research, Leonard found the Black Dog Syndrome to be a combination of…

  • size

  • unclear facial features

  • dimly lit kennels

  • the “genericness” of black pets

  • negative portrayals of black pets in books, movie or other popular media

  • black cats are readily associated with witches, superstition and bad luck.

While studies show various results, today.com found, “it is true that people will often choose an animal that stands out from the rest.”

Are there more black dogs than other colored dogs? Or is there truly a phenomenon against black animals that make them less adoptable? Studies vary, but it is up to you to decide if you will choose a black-coated cat or dog as your next forever friend.

What can you do?

Take Action: Adopt black pets

Talk About It: Encourage others to look past their first impressions of a black pet, and tell people about BDS

Remember, personality is more than just appearance. Black cats and dogs make great pets, and deserve a loving home too.

Here are a few of our adoptable black cats and dogs. For more information, visit Petfinder or contact us!

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