Most of us know about the longstanding superstitions regarding black cats: that they’re bad omens, harbingers of rotten luck, etc. But did you know that the same stigma surrounds black dogs? It’s true, and it means many black dogs languish in shelters because people are hesitant to adopt them. National Black Dog Day, celebrated each year on October 1, seeks to change that. We love black dogs! Their shiny coats are like satin, especially when you’re out playing in the warm sunshine. Let’s learn some more, dog!
National Black Dog Day - History
October 1, 2011
First National Black Dog Day was celebrated
Pet/lifestyle expert Colleen Paige started the first National Black Dog Day — focusing on what she calls "these beautiful, shiny fur babies that offer just as much unconditional love as any other dog and deserve just as much love back."
Black dogs found an advocate
Tamara Delaney started a website called "Black Pearl Dogs," designed to educate the public about "Black Dog Syndrome," a phenomenon in which people consistently choose light-colored dogs at adoption shelters over black ones.
Black dogs make black wolves
Some studies suggest that the gene responsible for the black color of North American wolves is due to a transfer of genetic information from Yukon dogs.
Dogs became humans' best friends
Archaeological records indicate that dogs were buried beside humans about 14,700 years ago — although some experts argue that it was more like 36,000 years ago.
National Black Dog Day Activities
1. Adopt a black dog
The good news: There are plenty of black dogs to choose from at a shelter near you. The bad news: It's because of so-called "Black Dog Syndrome" — that often unconscious phenomenon that leads to fewer black dogs being adopted.
2. Let others know, too
Many people are actively looking to adopt a dog. Spread the word about the plight of these black beauties so that people may be more inspired to adopt a black dog.
3. Dispel the myths
Many people pass over black dogs at animal shelters, preferring to take home animals with lighter coats. That means black dogs are more likely to be put down. This is often because people have a negative association with black dogs, regardless of breed.
5 Bright Truths About Black Dogs
1. "Black Dog Syndrome" may not be a real thing
Although anecdotal evidence suggests that black dogs are less likely to be adopted than their lighter-colored shelter mates, these findings are still hotly debated.
2. If "Black Dog Syndrome" exists, it's less apparent in the PNW
A recent study showed that black dogs in Pacific Northwest animal shelters had shorter shelter stays than dogs of other colors.
3. Romeo the Wolf loved humans — and dogs
Romeo, a black wolf living near Juneau, Alaska, was famous for his friendly interactions with both dogs and people.
4. Black dogs are literary legends
From ancient folklore to Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter, black dogs have been storytelling sensations for thousands of years.
5. Black dogs inspire rock 'n' roll, too
The Led Zeppelin song "Black Dog" was named after a black Labrador that hung out near their recording studio. (The song, however, has nothing to do with dogs.)
Why We Love National Black Dog Day
A. Dogs are humans' best friends
They've been bred for thousands of years to love and to serve us. That's why they quiver with excitement when they see their human buddies heading their way.
B. Black dogs are beautiful
We love dogs of all colors. Black, tan, white, patched, brindled, marbled. But there's something special — classic, even — about a jet-black pooch that sets them apart from the pack.
C. Sheltered black dogs are unfairly overlooked
Black dogs are often the least-adoptable pets in shelters, simply because of their color. This is sometimes, but not always, the result of superstition. Some people think black means bad or evil, so they opt to adopt an animal with a lighter-colored coat.