paw prints

Combat Black Dog Syndrome


By Karen A. Soukiasian

Regrettably, Black Dog Syndrome is quite real. Figures from shelters and rescues confirm more black dogs are surrendered and euthanized than any other color or combination of colors no matter the breed or temperament.

black dog syndrome

Unfortunately, the majority of people looking for a new puppy or dog will gravitate away from a dog with a sweet disposition and reasonable energy level, to a more uncertain type of dog, simply because it is black!

It is thought most people shy away from them for the following peculiar reasons.

There is nothing unique about them. It’s too ordinary. It’s just a black dog. What they are really thinking is, “Who will notice “ME,” if I’m walking a plain, black dog?”

A few are superstitious and associate them with bad luck or depression.

They look mean, so they probably are! Do they really? It is said, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” Most have the gentlest looking eyes. Do yourself a favor. Look into those eyes, before you turn your back and walk away. They are telling you something you need to see.

Oddly, many an otherwise cogent mother has frantically clutched her children under her arms like a frightened hen, when passing a wonderful dog, simply because the dog was black!

Are you influenced by black dog syndrome? Stop and think about what your behavior is teaching your children. “Stay away from black dogs… they are dangerous!” That type of behavior only perpetuates black dog syndrome.

Black is bad… lighter or white is good. Unfortunately black dog syndrome is reinforced by countless TV shows, books and moves that associate black dogs with aggression, anger and viciousness.

Here is where Hollywood and numerous authors show their bias. Rarely do you see a black canine hero or positive protagonist. They are typically the outlaws. Ever notice, the “bad guys” regularly dress in black, ride a black horse or drive a black car, wear a black hat and own a ferocious, black dog?

They look old, even if they aren’t. True, the grey muzzle does stand out more than on a dog with a lighter coat. But, does that mean all people with light hair look younger than people with dark hair? Salt and pepper on a dog can look just as striking as it does on humans.

Black hair shows up more on furniture and clothing. So what! That happens only if they are light color fabrics.

Keep the dog off the furniture … they don’t belong up there anyway. Get one of those sticky tape rollers and give yourself a quick once over before you leave the house! Keep one in the car, too!

Bottom line: Now that you are mindful of Black Dog Syndrome and the lunacy associated with it; perhaps the next time you are ready to provide a forever home you will consider that black puppy or dog at your local shelter or rescue. Not only will you will be rescuing an exceptionally grateful, loving animal, odds are you will be saving their life too!

Follow Karen A. Soukiasian on Facebook




4 responses to “Combat Black Dog Syndrome”

  1. Sue

    I have a black dog and love her so much–she is so sweet

  2. Keith Sanderson

    Max A Pooch a rescue dog whose coat happens to be black agrees with you.

  3. Rachel Chappell

    Black dog syndrome is a very real thing, unfortunately. Some people say it’s because large black dogs are ‘scarier’ and others say it’s harder to always see the adorable details of their faces, which earns them less attention in shelters.

    I have several dogs, one of them being a large Black Lab mix, and one of the neighborhood boys was always a little hesitant around him. I asked him why, and he said “because he’s black”. I took his hand, and brought him into the yard to meet my Buddy, and he now loves him. He just needed to see him up close and realize that it was not the fur color that made a dog scary or not. = )

    A friend of mine is a vet tech, and all of her dogs are black. She makes it a point to ONLY adopt black dogs as she knows they’re more in jeopardy of not finding homes.

  4. Mary Nielsen

    Wow, I wasn’t aware that humans can be this low but I was wrong.

    I never heard about black dog syndrome so after reading this article I had to google it and it turned out to have a lot of reading material..

    I can’t believe this!! It’s just an animal who didn’t and wouldn’t do you wrong!

    Nothing wrong about them, there is something wrong with the people who cast them away. They were never meant for an animal anyway.