Black Dog Syndrome: The Struggle Is Real We all know that it is hard to be a rescue dog, without a home or family. Turns out it is even harder to be a black rescue dog, and the odds of adoption get worse the darker the coat color.  Even though black-coated animals are just as friendly as their light-coated cohorts, they are more likely to be overlooked at the shelter by potential adoptive families and take longer to be adopted then the light-colored dogs. According to the director of petfinder.com, large black dogs are often the very last animals to be adopted, solely because of their coat color. As a result, black dogs are euthanized at a higher rate than light-colored dogs. Shelter workers and animal rescue workers call this ‘black dog syndrome’, and pet lovers and rescue directors alike are trying to get to the bottom of this problem. Some people theorize black dogs are adopted last because they don’t photograph well: many rescue organizations post pictures of their adoptable pets, and without good lighting, black pets aren’t as photogenic. Another theory is that people have a harder time connecting with black dogs because the color of their fur makes it harder to see their expressions. You can’t tell if their eyebrows are moving!  People are, unfortunately, drawn to lighter colored dogs. Still yet another theory is that superstitious people think black dogs (and cats for that matter) are bad luck, and black dogs are sometimes cast as the villain in movies. The Grim, a black dog-like ghost that haunts cemeteries, from the Harry Potter series is most likely doing far more harm to loving black dogs than good. While shelter and rescue workers say that Black Dog Syndrome is a real problem, there are no studies to support the claim. Are black dogs less adoptable, or are there just more black dogs in shelters?  Nevertheless, rescue workers perceive Black Dog Syndrome as a real problem, and take special steps to ensure these special dogs get their chance at a furever home by hosting special events, special photography sessions that highlight their expressions, and spotlight these dogs on their internet adoption pages. The take home fact is this: black rescue dogs are as good and loving companion as any light colored dog, and they need a home just as badly. The next time you are in a shelter, consider adopting the black dog that has been there for a while, and encourage others to do the same, and tell your friends and family about ‘black dog syndrome’. You might just save a life.

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