12-year-old girl helping bring awareness to Black Dog Syndrome

Black Dog Syndrome has become an issue for many shelters and rescues across the nation. They are finding that darker colored dogs are less likely to be adopted compared to lighter colored dogs. One 12-year-old girl in Kansas is trying to help black dogs get a fair chance at being adopted.

According to the ASPCA any animal that is more than 65% black in color is affected by Black Dog Syndrome, in which people overlook them often for unfair reasons. “You can take two animals from the same litter, one a lighter color and one a darker color and the lighter one will get adopted faster, people will be more attracted to it and it’s really a terrible thing because these are all great animals that just need homes,” said Kansas Humane Society Director of Communications Jennifer Campbell.

There is no factual explanation as to why black dogs are overlooked, but there are many theories. Some people falsely think black dogs are more aggressive. Black dogs also don’t usually photograph as well, which puts them at a disadvantage with more and more people using the internet to look for potential pets. Whatever the reasons are the end result is that black dogs are harder to find homes for and they are often the first to be euthanized.

Madison Bell is a girl scout who volunteers at the Kansas Humane Society and feels strongly about helping bring awareness to Black Dog Syndrome. “It’s nothing to do with the dog,” said Bell. “People don’t want to put enough time and effort into seeing what this dog can really do.” The Kansas Humane Society has been trying to increase black dog’s appeal with little things like putting bright bandannas on them to help catch potential adopter’s eyes. “They’ve got the same personality as a white animal…they’re great dogs because they are dogs and that’s what I love about them,” said Bell.

Bell started the Black Dog Club at the Kansas Humane Society to try to raise awareness and encourage people to take a fair look at black dogs when they go to a shelter. A $25 donation to the Kansas Humane Society is all it takes to become a member. She was able to raise $1,3000 at the Kansas Humane Society’s Woofstock event this year. All the money goes to helping the dogs at the Kansas Humane Society. Bell plans to continue raising awareness about this issue with the Kansas Humane Society. Appropriately on Black Friday they will be having an event where all black animals are free for adoption from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kansas Humane Society.


  1. Anonymous says on  11/18/2012 at 3:32 pm

    A local animal control (Gwinnett County, Georgia) offers “Black Friday,” where adoption of a black cat or dog costs $30 for medical expenses. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4241298224013&set=o.262638528973&type=1&theater

  2. Anonymous says on  11/18/2012 at 4:48 pm

    I love my black dog!!!

  3. Anonymous says on  11/18/2012 at 5:08 pm

    my dog is black (actually black/brindle) and he’s wonderful!!! I love my black dog!!

  4. Anonymous says on  11/18/2012 at 5:36 pm

    I have 2 black dogs! A black lab and a daschund. they are awesome :)

    • We had parakeets and fish when I was griwong up because my father was allergic to animal fur. I remember the mess the birds could make!I’ve never had a cat, but I’ve been tempted to get one. I bet they are great pets. I never had a hamster, either, but remember several of my friends had them. Some of their hamster cages looked like carnival rides!

  5. Anonymous says on  11/18/2012 at 5:37 pm

    P.s. they are both adopted from our humane society.

  6. Anonymous says on  11/18/2012 at 11:02 pm


  7. Anonymous says on  11/19/2012 at 3:15 am

    Black is the most elegant colour for a dog and i think it makes them look funnier :)

  8. threenorns says on  11/19/2012 at 11:06 am

    my dog is mostly black with some white – how could anyone turn down a dog wearing a tuxedo, complete with spats and bow tie!??

  9. Anonymous says on  11/19/2012 at 11:15 am

    2 of my 3 are black dogs and as far as temperament goes, they are all easy going, friendly, and sweet. The only thing that I think the animal shelter should do is change the bandana color from red to another bright color, say yellow. Everyone I know equates a dog with a red bandana with a dog that they have to be careful around. In my area it’s known as an ‘alert color’ for reactive dogs.

    • Anonymous says on  12/03/2012 at 10:45 pm

      In WA state yellow is used to indicate reactive/dogs in training. So I guess it’s different everywhere.

  10. Susan B. says on  11/19/2012 at 9:31 pm

    I have 2 solid black GSD, and 2 very dark black and tans ones. I LOVE my darkies! I also have several barn cats, and my favorites are my 2 ‘tuxedo’ cats. Oh, and my favorite stud horse I had, well bet yoy can’t guess what color he was….. yes you got it….BLACK!

    Oh, and the dog I have that would most likely bite you….. my mostly white Rat Terrier!

    It is a shm that a dog would be discriminated against for color.

  11. If you looked more like me people would love you. See for yourself => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhdZ6iVGImU

  12. Anonymous says on  11/20/2012 at 5:31 pm

    Way to go! I’ve got two black mutts and they’re the best ever!

  13. Nicole says on  11/24/2012 at 12:15 am

    I’ve developed an affinity for medium-sized (or any sized!) black dogs, with perhaps a bit of white here and there… Because the love of my life, Happy, was a black and white fluffy lab mix rescued dog…And I just want to have him back with me even if it’s just a new rescued doggie who resembles him :-( And I have been blessed to have a new black and white dog who has won my heart with her tenderness and calm soul… :-)

  14. Suzz says on  11/24/2012 at 1:33 am

    I wouldn’t give my black brindle dachshund up for anything. He is the smartest dog I have ever had and I wish I could clone him. People really need to stop being so irrational on color period.

  15. Darlene says on  12/03/2012 at 5:30 pm

    Charlie was the best dog ever – 25 lbs of all the love and kisses you could ever want. He was a miniature pinscher/beagle mix with a beautiful black shiny coat with brown markings. We adopted him 12 years ago from the county shelter and everyone who knew him was his friend:-)

  16. Maybe that is what these two have? Black dog syndrome? They are so gorgeous and elegant and sweet! And they desperately need a forever home. Just north of Houston, TX. Please help. https://www.facebook.com/TrinityAndRiver4Ever4U

  17. Anonymous says on  12/10/2012 at 3:56 pm

    I have a gorgeous cocker spaniel who happens to be mostly black with a few white spots. He’s such a cutie, with so much personality. I would not change my silly boy for the world.

  18. Bonnie B says on  12/13/2012 at 2:25 pm

    My late Baby-Doggie was a beagle/border collie mix — beagle body on border collie legs, beagle face, border collie tail. Recognized about 40 words and could count to 4. But Baby-Doggie had the border collie markings — mostly black fur with white paws, the left side of his nose had white fir, and he had a white tip on his tail. Also, he had the big white stripe down his chest and tummy, so he was always wearing his “doggie tuxedo.” He was from a litter of 8 “multi-ethnic” pups (we think there may have been up to 3 different fathers involved), and he was one of two dark-furred puppies. The rest were various shades and colorings.
    All that said — I noticed Baby-Doggie right away *because of* his markings and fur color (of course, he came up to me and crawled into my lap and just looked at me as if to say, “Ok, you’ll do. You can be my person now. Where’s the food?”). I simply do not understand how anyone could overlook a puppy because of the color of his/her fur?
    Are we, as a society, really and truly that color/racist-sick in our collective souls that even puppies with dark fur are second-class?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.