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You may find it hard to believe but racism does exist when it comes to adopting dogs from shelters and rescues. Black Dog Syndrome or Black Dog Bias is a phenomenon that is now recognized by dog shelters and rescues all over the world. The theory behind the syndrome is that large dogs that are black in color have much lesser chances of getting adopted by people and there is a much greater possibility of them getting euthanized. This is because black dogs spend enormous amounts of time in the shelter without ever finding a home.Common myths about black dogs
The reasons as to why people tend to pick their lighter counterparts over black dogs are highlighted below.
- Aggressive looksThis is probably the most common reason anybody would give when you ask them why they didn’t pick a black dog. Black dogs are perceived to be more aggressive than those with lighter coats. People tend to associate black dogs with the likes of Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers, who tend to be more aggressive than any other canine. Even if they are the sweetest dogs in the shelter, people find them more intimidating and less friendly than other canines.
- Negative associationsFor centuries, humans have been conditioned to associate black with evil and white with good. All the negative superstitions have always been associated with the color black. For example, people associate a black cat crossing their path as a sign of bad omen. Even though the superstition is based on cats, the emphasis lies on the color of the cat. If you take a look at books or movies, you will always find a black dog getting associated with something that is dark and negative.
- Shed more hairAnother common myth about black dogs is that they shed more hair than their lighter counterparts. Even though this may sound absurd, people believe this with great certainty. In fact, the breed of the dog determines how much hair it will shed, not its color. Also, black hair can easily be noticed on furniture with lighter shades, which is considered as a nuisance. This is another reason as to why people don’t adopt black dogs.
- Age fasterPeople assume that black dogs age faster than their lighter counterparts as the area around the jaw becomes gray earlier than usual. This makes black dogs look way older than they actually are. Also, most people don't want to adopt dogs that are past their prime.
As you can see, black dog syndrome does exist in today’s world. Even though we are making great advancements in treating all humans equal, we still retain the old and archaic mentality when it comes animals. If we can change our mindset of associating black as negative or evil, perhaps greater number of black dogs will get adopted.