Are Black Pets Less Likely to be Adopted?

There are numerous myths about black cats and dogs: Black cats are bad luck. Black dogs are omens of death.

Such rumors are rooted in folklore and ancient mythology, but thereís one story you’ve likely heard about black cats and dogs that’s true: They’re the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized.

In addition to the stigmas of bad luck and witchcraft, black animals also face a tough time being adopted because their dark coats often lead to poor photos. Being less photogenic means theyíre more likely to be overlooked by potential adopters.

The adoption challenges that black pets face are so pervasive thereís even a name for the phenomenon: black dog syndrome.

Despite its name, black dog syndrome doesn’t just affect canines.

A 2012 study found that dark-colored cats are also more likely to be stereotyped as aloof.

Researchers at the University of California asked a group of cat lovers to rate black, multicolored and orange cats on personality traits such as friendliness, laziness and stubbornness.

The findings revealed that black cats were seen as more antisocial than cats with other fur colors. Overall, orange cats were perceived as the friendliest.

Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, conducted a similar study with dogs in 2011.

He presented participants with photos of three Labrador retrievers of different colors: black, brown and yellow.

People consistently rated the black dog as being less attractive, less friendly and less likely to make a good pet. The black Lab was also deemed to be the most aggressive of the dogs.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the adoption rates of black cats and dogs arenít tracked nationally, but the organization assures potential adopters that they make great ó and stylish ó pets.

After all, black goes with everything.

article by Laura Moss


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Christine J.
Christine J1 years ago

I've had heaps of black cats and dogs and loved them to bits. If shelters are lucky enough to have a great photographer, they can take photos of black animals on brightly coloured solid backgrounds and they look stunning. It's shameful that these gorgeous animals are losing their lives because of the way they look.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

I love my black fur babies!!!

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

I love my black fur babies!!!

Mary Cromley
.3 years ago

It's so sad that people pick out their pets by appearance and color. None of that matters.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

3 of our 6 cats are black and they are all loved. Our dog was black, also.

I think black animals have more to offer because of their fur color. One of our black cats is Persian, and the other 2 have silky, shiny black fur. They seem to love being loved on more, and want to be around us more than the other 3 cats!!

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

I have a black cat who is very sweet! In the mornings when I'm the only one up she comes and sleeps on the desk beside me and lays her head on my hand on the mouse. We had a black dog years ago when our boys were little, who would not leave the yard if they were outside.

People can be so dumb sometimes!

Luna starr
luna starr3 years ago

it hurts me to my heart this is so;our animals just appear and not a black one in 25 yrs

j A3 years ago

so sad