Black Dogs: A Misunderstood Breed

Despite the common view of them as being “scary” or “intimidating”, black dogs are quite the opposite of these misconceptions! They are often misapprehended and warrant our love and respect, possibly even more due to the hurdles they encounter. Let’s delve into why black is one of the most favored colors amongst dog breeds.

The reasons behind black being a popular colour for different types of animals (including people) vary depending on what type you’re talking about. Still, some common themes make it desirable to humans: power, luxury, sophistication, masculinity/femininity.

For example, in Western society, we typically associate white with innocence and purity. At the same time, black can represent death or evilness (depending on the context). It’s for these and other reasons that black and its many shades (charcoal, ebony, onyx, etc.) can be spotted in fashion trends – especially among celebrities.

Black is a solid colour too – representing power and prestige – which is why it’s also seen as a luxury colour, suitable only for the upper echelon of society. This leads to a stereotype that all black dogs, or certain breeds, are costly and only the rich can afford to have them.

Why Black Dogs are Misunderstood

Some dog breeds with associations with being “black” include great Danes, Rottweilers, and St. Bernards (not all of them, but many, if not most, are jet-black).

The first reason black dogs are so under-represented in shelters is that people don’t think they’re as “cute” or “attractive” as lighter, more colourful dogs. They lack in colour, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t beautiful! Because of the many shades and features, most black dogs can come across as quite intimidating – especially if you know what some people think about their personalities.

Black dogs are often seen as “mean,” “angry,” or “vicious” (even if they’re not). But this couldn’t be further from the truth! Black dogs are misunderstood and deserve our love and attention, but they deserve it even more because of their struggles.

People are sometimes hesitant to adopt black dogs because of their bad reputation. They don’t want to put themselves in danger by trying to get a pet that “looks mean.” It’s important to remember that all dogs are unique personalities, regardless of their coat colour. And the only way you can tell how they’ll behave is by spending some time with them!

Second, there is a fear that these dogs are “harder to photograph” because their coat colour doesn’t pop as much. This shouldn’t affect getting them adopted – regardless of how they look – if judged based on their internal qualities and not just a superficial exterior. Some shelters may not advertise or photograph black dogs as much, which leads to a lack of promotion.

Some breed-specific rescues with multiple black dogs available for adoption will specifically emphasize the coat colour of those harder to photograph. In one case, they even created a separate Facebook page for the black dogs to try and cope with this problem.

It’s also important to note that some shelters will sometimes have their own set of problems when it comes to promoting black dogs. For example, one rescue group had different policies on how they photographed their animals depending on their coat colour. Only the black dogs had to be photographed from a certain angle where you could see their eyes, while other lighter-coloured dogs didn’t have this requirement.

This was later scrapped when they realized it wasn’t fair to discriminate in that way. They weren’t giving these pets enough of a chance. They were possibly discriminating against them because of the colour of their coat.

Third, many black dogs are mixed breeds (which might be half-black) because they’re not always purebreds. Their photos sometimes go into general pet photo websites and don’t get matched with potential adopters. This means they end up languishing in shelters for months longer than other breeds, even if they’re just as deserving of a home.

Sometimes breed-specific rescues won’t take black dogs because there isn’t anything “special” about them. For example, many Great Pyrenees rescues refuse to adopt their black dogs, stating that they’re “not purebred” enough. This is incredibly unfair because not only are these dogs still purebred, but they can be just as wonderful and loving pets despite their lack of colour!

Because the final reason why black dogs are underrepresented in shelters is due to bad experiences, some people believe that there’s a good dog behind all that black fur; it doesn’t matter because they’ve had bad experiences with them before.

As you can imagine, this isn’t fair either. Each dog is their individual and shouldn’t be judged on the bad experiences of others (even if many black dogs are mislabeled as “aggressive”). And while some shelters will take these negative stories into account, that doesn’t mean they should be used as a reason to not give these pets a chance.

The sad part is that the misinformation around black dogs can have dire consequences. The high euthanasia rate of black cats and dogs shows just how much people are missing out on getting a fantastic pet because of their fear or preconceived notions. One study found that black dogs took the longest to be adopted – sometimes up to a month longer – than pets with any other coat colour!


There are so many reasons why these misunderstood pups deserve our love and attention. Unfortunately, there will always be ignorant people who refuse to consider them because of their appearance. But if we can get more people to see past their coats and show these pets the love they deserve, who knows what could happen?

Don’t let their appearance cloud your judgment. Black dogs aren’t bad luck or anger; they’re just as loving and intelligent as any other breed.

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