Black Dog Syndrome Studies

Black Dog Syndrome Studies

Black Dog Syndrome Studies. Are black dogs adopted at a lower rate and euthanized at a higher rate than other dogs in animal shelters?


Black Dog Syndrome Studies on Color Coat.

A 1998 study of 1,468 relinquished dogs offered for adoption at a local humane society found having a primarily black coat color was a variable associated with euthanasia, while gold, gray, and white coats colors were significant predictors of successful adoption.

A 2002 study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science of dog and cat adoption in California animal shelters found pure-black coat colors to be highly negative factors in adoption rates for both dogs and cats.

In 2008 the general manager of the Los Angeles Animal Services department reported that twelve months of data on the intake of 30,046 dogs showed black dogs not adopted as well as all other color dogs.

A 2010 Ph.D. thesis analyzing multiple factors found a measurable variance contributing to dogs with primarily black coats being euthanized rather than adopted.[

A 2013 study of cat adoption rates published in The Open Veterinary Science Journal concluded that “Results indicated that black cats, regardless of age or sex, require the longest time to adopt.


Black Dog Syndrome Studies based on perception

A 1992 article in the journal Animal Welfare was conducted on adoptable dog characteristics. Participants were presented with photographs of dogs similar except for one manipulated feature, resulting in a statistically reliable preference for a gold color coat (65%) over a black color coat.

A study presented at the 2013 International Society for showed participants pictures of cats and dogs of varying colors found white cats were considered the friendliest, orange cats second friendliest, and black cats were considered least friendly. Among dogs, yellow dogs were considered friendliest, brown dogs second friendliest, and black dogs least friendly. Darker pets were similarly judged less adoptable, and black dogs were considered the most aggressive.


How did BlackDogSyndrome.org determine approximately 750,000 black dogs are killed in shelters yearly?

In a nutshell, we calculate the number of 750, 000 on experience, studies and statistics. The four largest national animal welfare organizations; HSUS, SPCA, Best Friends and PETA  publish that 3.5 million to 4.0 million shelter animals are euthanized yearly in America. Of those numbers, it’s about 50% of dogs and 50% for cats.

However, and this a huge, however, there are no actual reporting requirements for animal shelters to maintain or report on the animals they take in, adopt or euthanize. There is no required Federal, State or Municipalities’ statistic gathering and reporting for animal shelters. Therefore it’s just not 100% possible to get a true historical or accurate count of what goes on in our animal shelters.

Why transparency, reporting or accountability in America’s animal shelters is not required is a story for another day, however. There is no National data base. Some shelters do keep statistics but they do not have to share them with the public.

My 12 experience in animal welfare, with 5 years being hands on death row rescue is that the published euthanization numbers are low. Based on our experience the numbers are not 4.0 million killings yearly but 5.0 million euthanizations annually. Of the 5.0 million, 2.5 million are dogs and 2.5 million are cats.

However, to be very conservative in our calculation of 750,000 million black dogs euthanized yearly we used the national groups’ number of 4.0 million yearly euthanizations. We also used their calculations  2.0 million dogs euthanized, not our number of 2.5 million dogs euthanized.

Traditionally animal shelters and rescue groups categorize their dogs into four-color groupings. Golden, Brown, Black, and Mixed. Next, if all color groupings were euthanized at the same rate that would mean each groups euthanization numbers would be 500,000.

However, since Black Dog Syndrome studies show us that black dogs are euthanized at a higher rate of 40%. That would put the euthanization rate of black dogs at 800,000. Calculation [40% x 2,000,000 dogs is 800,000] Again, to be conservative we lowered that number to 750,000 black dogs euthanized yearly in our animal shelters.

Putting aside the cold statistical analysis the fact is this. All dogs deserve to live free from pain and abuse and fear of being killed. Dogs are living entities just as we are. They are sentient beings as we are. They feel pain. They feel love. They feel happiness. And they want to live. They bring happiness and love to the world in need of both and in short supply in today’s world. Please open your heart to the desire of black dogs to live. Please do not close your heart or ignore the genocide of killing 5 million companion animals every year in America. It has been rightly said that the greatness of a society is based on how that society treats and cares for its animals.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and make a donation today.

Black Dog Syndrome Studies


Black Dog Syndrome StudiesBlack Dog Syndrome.org is a non-profit focused on ending Black Dog Syndrome through education and adoption programs to adopt black shelter dogs, the least adopted, most euthanized dogs in America. Developing national awareness’ and helping animal shelters with black dog marketing and adoptions through our programs of Black Dog Friday, Black Dog Pickles and the Black Dog Syndrome Super Hero Dog Awards programs.


Please follow and like us: