Debunking Black Dog Syndrome

September 7, 2016

For many years it has been stated that black dogs (and cats for that matter) were harder for animal shelters to find homes for than dogs of other colors. Well, a recently published study calls this into question.

A study in the journal Animal Welfare examined four years of adoption records at two shelters in the Pacific Northwest and looked at how 16,700 dogs at these shelters fared in the race to be adopted. The study excluded puppies and young dogs (since those are already known to be adopted faster than adult dogs). The study found that the black dogs actually had Magoo A Balck Bully Breedshorter stays at the shelter than dogs of other colors. The study showed that in the first shelter black dogs were adopted (on average) in 6.5 days while non-black dogs took 7 days and in the second shelter black dogs were adopted in 9 days while non-black dogs took 10.5 days to be adopted. While the differences may not be significant, they do seem to indicate that the fear of adopting a black dog has largely dissipated (at least at these two shelters).

But what about other adoption fears? The study did reveal that while color might not be a determining factor of adoption success, that breed and age clearly where. The study showed that “bully breeds,” if adopted at all, where in a shelter two-and-a half time to even three times longer before being placed than non-bully breeds.

So what does this mean? It certainly doesn’t mean that Black Dog Syndrome never existed. In fact, it might show that the educational efforts to get people to adopt black dogs have been successful.   But, it may also mean that shelters that are currently spending limited resources to promote black dogs might be better off spending those resources promoting bully breed adoptions. It could also mean that more educational outreach is needed. Perhaps just like the “public” learned to love black dogs, they can learn to love Bully Breeds.

What do you think? Would you adopt a black dog? How about a bully breed?  How about a black bully breed?  Do you need any more proof about how amazing these dogs can be than this picture of Magoo – a black Bully Breed adopted from San Francisco Animal Care and Control and now a Pet Camp office dog?

Thanks for reading.







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