Black Dog Syndrome

Did you know that big, black dogs are adopted less often from shelters than other dogs? Something about their appearance may be frightening or less desirable to some people. They can be harder to photograph for websites; so it can be harder to get someone interested in them. There's even a term for it - "Black Dog Syndrome." USA TODAY

As you've probably noticed GDRNT ends up with a fair number of black Danes in our program. This is partly due to genetics. Black is a dominant gene for coat color; so it will show up more often. It is also due to our mission. We exist to rescue dogs that will be euthanized in shelters. If big, black dogs are adopted less often then it stands to reason that groups like GDRNT would pull a greater number of big, black dogs.

The truth is, we don't have control over the appearance of Danes that come into our program. When an adoptable Dane is in need we don't consider coat color when looking at whether or not we have a foster home available. All we see is a dog that needs our help.

We also don't look at coat color when putting together match lists for approved adopters. Our match program is set up to match a dog's temperament to an approved adopter's home. We consider things like how the dog gets along with other pets and children or how it does during the day while its people are at work. These guys have already ended up in a shelter once; so we want to do everything in our power to make sure they are truly going to their furever homes. At the end of the day, factors that speak to a dog's temperament have more bearing on whether a dog is a good match than does his coat color.

On a personal note, some of the gentlest, most loving dogs my family and I have owned were big, black dogs. This includes my current Dane, Daphne. I think she's beautiful, but more importantly she's got an awesome personality! She loves to go places with me and is friendly towards other people and dogs. Call me crazy but a dog's temperament is much more important to me than its appearance.