Big Black Dogs Syndrome

Big Black Dog SyndromeIf you go to any shelter in the country, you’ll see predominantly big, black dogs there and they will be there week after week. Why is this?  It is now known as BDS, Black Dog Syndrome, and is a phenomenon experienced by all dog rescues and shelters around the country.  The theory that is being played out in actual experience, is that large, black dogs, have a much harder time being adopted, and because of that they have a much greater chance of being euthanized.

There’s a stigma to big black dogs that has been built up for years through movies, superstitions and the fact that most protection dogs have dark coats.  This all adds to the mindset that black is bad and black dogs are scary or mean.  Let’s face it, every “bad” animal or villain is dark or black.  The black cat, the raven, black widows and the list goes on.  Many don’t think a plain black dog is as “pretty” as their multicolored, golden or white counterparts.  Black dogs tend to grow white hair around the muzzle earlier than lighter dogs so at the shelters some black dogs will be perceived as older than they truly are.

Sadly, these attitudes cause many young, healthy dogs to be put down every year in local shelters.  Fortunately, there are rescues out there trying to make a dent in this problem and working hard to change the stigma of the black dog and taking every possible measure to give these deserving dogs a fair shot at a new home.  More and more shelters are making a concerted effort with their black dogs by training them tricks, giving them bright, pretty bandanas and promoting the breed not the color.  Even with this help they’re still a vastly overlooked and underrated sector of dogs and it is up to dog lovers everywhere to spread the word and promote them as much as possible.

So, the next time you’re looking for a pet in a shelter or know someone that is, be sure to take a good, long look at those furry dark faces.  You may see your new best friend and agility partner looking out at you.

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