Tag Archives: black dog syndrome

A unique photo series

Professional photographer Fred Levy of Maynard, Massachusetts heard about Black Dog Syndrome at the local dog park and decided to use his skills to help combat it.

As described here in my 2013 post, Black Dog Syndrome is a phenomenon reported by many shelters and rescues.  Black dogs are often depicted in movies and other media as mean, vicious and menacing.   And since many shelter don’t have lighting for ‘ambiance’ these dogs are often not seen in a flattering light.

“A dog shouldn’t be overlooked just because of its coat,” Levy said. “That’s a minor element when it comes to the dog.”

So he’s created a lovely photo series of black dogs using a black background to show off their beauty.

Here are a couple of examples:

Springer spaniel Aki

Aki, a Springer Spaniel

In this Oct. 2013 photo provided by Fred Levy, a black Labrador retriever named Denver poses in Levy's studio in Maynard, Mass. Levy, a pet photographer, first heard about “Black Dog Syndrome” in a 2013 conversation at a dog park. It’s a disputed theory that black dogs are the last to get adopted at shelters, perhaps because of superstition or a perception that they’re aggressive. The idea inspired Levy to take up a photo project on their behalf. (Fred Levy via AP)

A black Labrador retriever named Denver

And view more of the series on Fred’s website…

Great idea!

Source:  Yahoo news

Black dog syndrome

A common challenge in the adoption business is finding homes for black dogs.  For many years, shelter workers worldwide have reported that black dogs (and cats) are less likely to be adopted than others and more likely to be euthanized.

It’s a case of judging a book by its cover – or is it?

In films, if there is an evil or menacing guard dog, it’s usually black or dark coloured (e.g. Rottweiler, Doberman).  Black cats are notoriously associated with the devil or witches, as well.

However, research published in early 2012 suggested that the issue isn’t colour – it’s breed.  And no one appears to be gathering statistics on the adoption of black dogs vs other dogs.  Plus there’s the fact that the Labrador (including black Labs) is routinely the top of the list when it comes to popular breeds.  This means that someone isn’t afraid of black dogs!

Practically speaking, however, it is usually more difficult to photograph a black dog.  Many shelters find that they can’t do a black dog justice in the photos that are mounted on the internet on shelter web pages and Facebook sites.   Rescue organisations are encouraged to place additional overhead lighting in the kennels of black dogs to make them more appealing to visitors.  Another suggestion is to take a black dog  for a run or brisk walk before photographing him/her – thus photographing them when they are panting which is more likely to look like a smile in their photograph.

Patricia McConnell has commented on Black Dog Syndrome (fact or fiction) on her website.

Meanwhile, rescue organisations often hold special events for the adoption of black-coated animals.  These are photos I took last year at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary during their May appeal – Back in Black… The adoption fee was waived for all black animals during the month.  Very creative!

Back in BlackBack in Black 2

Do you think Black Dog Syndrome is real?  What does your rescue organisation do to support the adoption of black dogs?