We’ve suddenly noticed that there are a number of black dogs at Holbrook and they are not getting as much interest as their non-black friends. So why are black dogs harder to rehome? I’d heard the same about black cats so thought I’d try to find out why.
Researchers have studied what’s known as black dog syndrome (BDS) but with mixed results. A study published in 2016 found that breed and temperament had a greater effect on adoption success than colour. However a 2002 study in California found that a black coat had a negative effect on adoption rates for both cats and dogs. Anecdotal evidence certainly suggests that there is an effect and many animal shelter workers would argue that BDS does exists.
A few reasons have been suggested for this phenomenon. For one thing, they often represent evil in television and films. Wasn’t there a black dog in the Omen? Another theory is that their expressions are harder to read, particularly when photographed. Whether BDS exists or not we have some friendly, affectionate and loyal black dogs available. Just look at Bebe.