Black Dog Syndrome- Myth or Fact?

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Black Dog Syndrome- Myth or Fact?

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Old 10-01-2013, 10:30 AM
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Black Dog Syndrome- Myth or Fact?

Puppy prejudice: Are black animals less likely to be adopted? - TODAY.com

I had always heard that black animals are less likely to be adopted (due to it being harder to see their facial expressions with their dark fur so it's harder for people to connect with them.)

I guess there are studies out now that suggest that black pets aren't necessarily less likely to be adopted. It might just seem like that because there are more black colored animals out there.

I found this interesting too:
“We continue to notice that black animals are euthanized first as shelter workers know the ‘turnover’ for black animals or their likelihood of being adopted is lower than animals with other colors or markings”
Sounds like some shelters euthanize black animals first because they're perceived as less adoptable.

I personally think black animals look classy.
SLOVicto and Fray like this.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:53 AM
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Yay, I get to use my job perk to do research on this topic!

I just finished reading "Prediction of Adoption Versus Euthanasia Among Dogs and Cats in a California Animal Shelter" published by the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science in 2002. Their findings showed a slight preference for dogs and cats of colors other than black, but age, breed, temperament, whether or not the animal was intact, and how the animal came to the shelter (stray or relinquished) averaged higher in the adoption selection. Their conclusion for this specific study was that no one characteristic had a demonstrably higher percentage to indicate general adoption preferences for adopters in that area.

I'll keep looking because this is pretty interesting, especially when compared to anecdotal data.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:59 AM
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I also heard that they are adopted less, because they are harder to see in many kennel runs. Shelter employees have started adding bandanas/flower clips to their black dogs, so they can be noticed in the dark runs.

I've only had black dogs (2). Shadow (original, I know) and Quest. I actually have a strong preference to black dogs. I don't like the black nails and the difficulty of taking pictures of them, but I love them
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gingersnaps View Post
Yay, I get to use my job perk to do research on this topic!

I just finished reading "Prediction of Adoption Versus Euthanasia Among Dogs and Cats in a California Animal Shelter" published by the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science in 2002. Their findings showed a slight preference for dogs and cats of colors other than black, but age, breed, temperament, whether or not the animal was intact, and how the animal came to the shelter (stray or relinquished) averaged higher in the adoption selection. Their conclusion for this specific study was that no one characteristic had a demonstrably higher percentage to indicate general adoption preferences for adopters in that area.

I'll keep looking because this is pretty interesting, especially when compared to anecdotal data.
So I'm guessing that means that they didn't consider the slight preference statistically significant enough to mean something? Was it just considered a coincidence?
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:40 AM
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So I'm guessing that means that they didn't consider the slight preference statistically significant enough to mean something? Was it just considered a coincidence?
It doesn't look coincidental so much as inconclusive. Since the coat color wasn't a significant enough factor in the recorded adoptions, there wasn't enough data to conclude coat color is any more important than the other factors.

I read another article titled "Factors Relevant to Adoption of Cats in an Animal Shelter" from the same journal. This article was published in 2010, and their findings were that toys and location of the cages played a major factor in the adoptions. Potential adopters viewed the cats with toys and those located in higher-tier cages more frequently than those cats without toys and located on the bottom-tier cages. Statistically, those cats viewed more often also had higher activity levels. Of the 16 cats adopted, 10 of those were ones who had toys, and 26% of all adopted were black cats.

Because so few cats were adopted during the study, they didn't have enough data to make any conclusions on adoption preferences based on coat color.

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I also heard that they are adopted less, because they are harder to see in many kennel runs. Shelter employees have started adding bandanas/flower clips to their black dogs, so they can be noticed in the dark runs.
Maybe this is similar to the study done on the cats? Providing visual cues/interest gives potential adopters more opportunity to look beyond the coat color to other characteristics?

This calls for more reading!
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:05 PM
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I did walk by Quest's run during our first pass through. It was dark and he was pretty calm, laying down in the back. It looked empty on our first walk through.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:48 PM
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I have to admit I picked Lady out of a litter of 4 puppies - all the other three were pitch black nose to tip of tail. She was the only one with color - so I'm guilty. This is Lady:

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Old 10-01-2013, 04:11 PM
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To be fair, Lady is pretty dang gorgeous.

And Quest, some of the kennels at our shelter are pretty dark too. I've walked right by little dogs without even seeing them.
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:11 PM
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i have a confession to make. When I heard my relative who had oops litters was going to throw away the unwanted pups they couldn't find home for... The pups I saw were all black except Kryesor. I grabbed him because he wasn't all black.

But there was a reason for it too. Back then, I had a fancination of owning a rottweiller and even though Kryesor wasn't a rottie, I still chose him. But in all honesty, I would have not choosen the black puppies. that was when I was young.

Now that I'm older and understand more about dogs, I don't look at just color. that is told when I adopted Nata who is all black except a small white patch which disappeared from her chest.

So, that is my confession. I fell bad for the other pups, but at least I saved one of them. I don't know what happened to the ones who weren't taken. Maybe they ended up becoming strays... But I was young and could only afford to take care of one dog so... yeah.
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:45 PM
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I have always wondered how much of it stems from the old "black cat taboo" myth/wives tale, ya know?

Even a local grey hound rescue org I am in touch with reports that the black hounds are the hardest to find homes for

If black dog/cat/(animal) syndrome is in fact real - where does the notion come from?
Does it come from a subconscious thing... werewolves & hell hounds & other mythological beasts are typically portrayed as all black...

Do people see them as less pretty? Do woman see them as less effeminate & appropriately girly?

Hhmm
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