As a lover of all dogs and an advocate for rescue, I continue to be amazed that the dogs that are least likely to be adopted are those that are black. Yes, the color “black”. I am sure studies have been done and surveys been answered about why, but they’re irrelevant to me. It just seems to be a fact, according to rescue and shelter professionals and volunteers to whom I have spoken.
I wonder why.
Is it because they shed black fur? So? White dogs shed white fur. Tan dogs shed tan fur. Brindle dogs shed multi-colored fur.
Is it because they’re scary looking? Are they? Maybe the large ones could resemble bears from a distance, but, they’re not bears.
Is it because you can’t see their faces, especially in photographs? Hmm. Betcha can! And what about long-haired dogs whose faces are perpetually covered, like the Bearded Collie, Yorkshire Terriers, or Old English Sheepdogs? As far as photographs go, I have plenty of pictures in which black-faced dogs are seen clearly; and, they are just as expressive as those who don’t have black faces.
Is it because black dogs are considered unlucky if they cross your path? That’s black cats. And a myth, regardless.
None of these answers makes any sense to me. I realize that people have breed preferences, long-hair/short-hair preferences, and size and temperament preferences. But, when it comes to rescuing an animal who would be your best friend for its whole life, what difference does color make? Sounds like a familiar question of the ages, doesn’t it?
When we were preparing to adopt a dog seven years ago, we applied online to various rescue organizations and area shelters. The first and only rescue that responded to us was the local German Shepherd Dog rescue, which is why we now have Hilde. Interestingly, one of the first questions the Rescue Director asked us was, “What color dog do you prefer?” I asked “Why?”, and was told that “most people don’t want black dogs”. I was stunned. My first reaction was that it truly doesn’t matter, but when posed the question, I said, “OK, I’d rather not have black.” (My reasoning was the perceived “shedding of black fur” issue.) Had he not asked, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. If he had offered me a black GSD puppy, I also wouldn’t have given it a second thought.
I offer these questions to readers in preparation for my Facebook post about “Simon”, the black lab-mix puppy available for adoption at The Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach. He’s adorable, smart, and looking for his forever home and family. When I asked why he hadn’t yet been scooped up, the answer was “because he’s black”. I’ll tell you … If I didn’t already have two dogs (who shed every color under sun), I’d scoop him up today. How about you?
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