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11 August 2009


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Colorado Transplant

I never would have guessed it. I know that black cats have trouble finding homes, but I wouldn't have known about the black dogs unless I read this column.


Nobody wants Big Black Dogs, everybody knows that. That's why black Labs are so uncommon, right?

Or, maybe, not right, since black Labs are pretty popular.

Maybe part of what's needed is a better light, not in the figurative sense, but a literal one: better lighting when the dogs are being photographed. Recruit professional photographers to donate their services. Take pictures outside, in the sunlight. Or when outside photography isn't practical, make the indoor photography area less institutional--bright colors, soft materials, toys.

It's harder to get good pictures of all-black dogs, and the quality of the picture can make a big difference when that and the write-up (also often pretty lame, sadly) is all the Petfinder searcher has to go on when trying to find a new pet who may be waiting in another state.

Christie Keith

LOL guys, did you read the column and not just this post? I did talk about all those points -- lighting, photos, colorful bandanas...even the popularity of black Labs. ;)


Last time I got a pup, I specifically told the breeder that I did not want a black dog. Zip is a lovely black and tan girl - and it is nearly impossible to get good photographs of her inside my training room because it has a black rubber floor. Since one of the new dog's jobs was to be my PR director, he needed to photograph well.

It is difficult to get good photographs of solid black dogs. Dark brindle dogs can also be difficult to photograph without good light.

IMO - Some shelters and rescue groups would have better luck placing dogs if they were helped by professional or skilled amateur photographers.


Our shelter always puts colorful bandanas on their black dogs, to "liven them up" a bit, so to speak.

Original Lori

I didn't know about this problem until after I had adopted my black lab/border collie mix.

You'll note that he does look particularly ferocious in photographs when he is wet (I think it's the ears):


I'm not sure though. When looking on places like petfinder, don't people usually put in a breed to search by, even if they're willing to take a mix? I find it hard to believe that people aren't searching for labs...although I guess if you did that search and every dog was a blurry blob with shiny eyes, you might look elsewhere.

Joan Van Parys

I have 3 Great Danes and all three are rescues. I have a fawn, a harlequin, and a BBD, Big Black Dog. My BBD Handsome is the "baby" of the household although he is not the youngest. :)


I had never heard of black dog syndrome until after I adopted my black dog, Lydia. She came into my life about 8 months after my black dog Lucy passed away. I didn't adopt either of them because of their color, but because of their personality. I'll admit though, that because of them I find myself drawn to black dogs!


I'm the lucky owner of a big, black, goofy rescue dog - Boxcar Willie. We didn't think twice about adopting him because we have a soft spot for black labs, one of which we'd recently lost, and because he honestly doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He's a huge, sweet, handsome idiot, and we love him dearly.

I didn't realize the reality of the BBD syndrome till I had a male friend over for dinner recently. My friend's a "guy's guy" who likes dogs, but the sight of jubilant, goofy Willie lumbering down the hall toward him was a little too much. He was really intimidated.

I think maybe black dog owners learn to read body language a lot more fluently than others, since we don't really have facial expressions to go by. Maybe there's something primal about seeing a big dog running toward you, and maybe black dogs' intentions are just tougher to read instinctually. (Unless, of course, they're yours. Then, not so much. :) )

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