Happy National Black Dog Day

Today is National Black Dog Day, another creation by Colleen Paige, founder of National Dog Day, National Cat Day, and National Puppy Day. It’s a good opportunity not only to invite NPDD friends to share pictures of their purebred black dogs, but also to discuss a few widely accepted notions about black dogs that aren’t necessarily true.

The first notion, the “Black Dog Syndrome,” (the belief that black dogs are passed over for adoption in shelters in favor of lighter-colored animals), has been disputed. Dr. Emily Weiss, Senior Director of Research and Development for the ASPCA,  speculated that perhaps more black dogs entering the shelter system made it look like black dogs were at higher risk. She examined data from the ASPC’s Comprehensive Animal Risk Database which had numbers from almost 300,000 dogs and cats in 14 communities, and immediately saw that yes, more black dogs were brought into shelters than any other color. She saw the pattern continue when looking at adoptions: 10% more black dogs were adopted than the next highest color – brown dogs at 22%.  As more black dogs came in, and more were being adopted, the ratio of adoptions still meant that more black dogs were being euthanized simply because there was more of them. In reality, the euthanasia rate was higher for the next largest intake color – brown dogs (25%) than it was for black dogs (21%).  In Camille Schake’s article, The Myth Of The Black Dog And Cat, she puts it this way: If 3 black dogs and 1 light-colored dog come into a shelter, and 1 black dog and 1 light dog are adopted, that still leaves 2 black dogs waiting for homes. So because there are more black dogs and cats entering the system, it makes the likelihood of seeing more black animals than any other color in the shelter very high. It doesn’t automatically mean that black dogs or cats are being overlooked because of their color.

Good to know. Black dogs are beautiful.

“Get it” by Michael Steddum




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