National Black Dog Day is an annual event held on the 1st October to raise awareness of the challenges facing black dogs. Black dogs get a bad rap and are often stereotyped as ‘scary’ due to their fur colour. They are often at a disadvantage when it comes to adoption and are often overlooked by potential dog owners, in favour of lighter-furred dogs. For this reason, it can be more difficult for black-coated dogs to find homes.
The main purpose of National Black Dog Day is to educate the public about the low adoption rates for black dogs, dispel the myths and negative connotations associated with them and bring about change to help black dogs find good loving homes.
Historically, black-coloured dogs were portrayed as bad omens and were associated with witchcraft. They were seen as evil by some cultures, such as in Scotland and Northern England, where they were considered to be omens of death, as well as witches’ familiars. Black cats also suffer from the same negative stigma for this reason.
Most superstitions about black dogs are based on old stories from ancient times. In Medieval Europe, black dogs were often associated with evil and darkness and were often portrayed as demons in artwork.
Of course, these are just stories and it is unfortunate that this negative bias still exists towards our black-coated furry friends, who are just as beautiful as any other.
Black dog adoption challenges in shelters
One of the major black dog adoption challenges is a lack of visibility and awareness due to ‘Black Dog Syndrome’ which means that black dogs are often overlooked at adoption shelters, which can negatively impact their adoption chances. The black dog adoption challenge is that potential adopters simply don’t see them in the same way they might see a lighter-coloured dog. This can be due to black dogs not being as photogenic as lighter coloured dogs and therefore are not showcased well on adoption centre websites or social media, giving lighter coloured dogs the upper hand.
Black dogs also tend to be euthanised more often than lighter-coloured animals because many people believe that they are less adoptable. This is unfortunate because many of these animals are actually very adoptable and just need someone to see past their black coat.
How to help
Unfortunately, the black dog adoption challenge is a long-held problem in the adoption world. To combat this, many people choose to promote black dog adoption during National Black Dog Day, but adoption year-round is also a great way to help. You can help by spreading the word about the adoption challenges black dogs face, as well as their amazing qualities, through social media and word of mouth.
Paddington Pups is lucky enough to be a home away from home for many beautiful black dogs in our area, so it only felt right to use our voice to spread the love and awareness for those who don’t yet have somewhere to call home.
Ultimately, the best way to help solve the black dog adoption challenge is to let potential adopters know that black dogs are just as beautiful, loving and wonderful as any other and if possible, open your home and heart to one of these deserving pooches.