Stunning Photos Help Fight Black Dog Syndrome

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The lovely Crickett
The lovely Crickett

 

Many animal shelters are faced with an all too common problem:  Black Dog Syndrome.  Whether it’s because they don’t photograph well or because there is some unfounded stigma about them being evil, black dogs are overlooked by potential adopters.  Photographer Fred Levy is helping to change that with his dazzling photos.

Denver is a therapy dog who helped victims of the Boston bombing. "He's really good at it. When you're in the room with him, he's super happy to be around you," Levy said. "He just wants to hang out with you."
Denver is a therapy dog who helped victims of the Boston bombing.
“He’s really good at it. When you’re in the room with him, he’s super happy to be around you,” Levy said. “He just wants to hang out with you.”

 

“Sometimes black dogs are seen as scarier by people,” said Hope Hancock, former executive director of the SPCA of Wake County in Raleigh, North Carolina.  “It’s very, very unfair – you can get a bite from a little yellow Chihuahua faster than one of the bigger black dogs.

“Many times, the black cats with no markings, much like the black dogs, appear to be a little bit plain, even though they’re bursting with personality, so we have to accentuate that.”

Shadow is a Portuguese water dog. "I love this photo because he looks like a muppet," Levy said.
Shadow is a Portuguese water dog.
“I love this photo because he looks like a muppet,” Levy said.

 

A Maynard, Massachusetts photographer has recently initiated the Black Dogs Project, which features photos of dark dogs against a black background, helping them stand out.

“This photo series started after a conversation about how black dogs have a harder time getting adopted then other dogs,” Levy explained.  “I decided to start a photo series photographing black dogs on a black background in my studio. Using social media, I’ve been recruiting local dog owners who have black dogs to photograph. It’s an amazing journey that will hopefully become a book.”

Mercedes is a therapy poodle who helps patients in hospitals. "She has most recently spent time comforting patients at Emerson Hospital," Levy said.
Mercedes is a therapy poodle who helps patients in hospitals.
“She has most recently spent time comforting patients at Emerson Hospital,” Levy said.

 

Though he hasn’t been able to find any significant statistics on the phenomena, shelter workers across the country can attest to the fact that black dogs are frequently overlooked, and take longer to be adopted.

“What we’ve learned is that large black dogs, and also black cats, tend to be the last ones to get adopted from shelters,” said Kim Saunders, the head of shelter outreach for Petfinder.com  “As a result, there are more of them in shelters and are euthanized more because of the lack of space.”

Bo is a blind Lab mix rescued from a kill shelter in the south.  He is still in need of a seeing-eye human. "Since he's constantly moving, everything is always new to him," Levy told HuffPost. "He would run into the wall in the studio, get frustrated for a minute and then immediately get over it and go back to being himself. It's adorable."
Bo is a blind Lab mix rescued from a kill shelter in the south. He is still in need of a seeing-eye human.
“Since he’s constantly moving, everything is always new to him.  He would run into the wall in the studio, get frustrated for a minute and then immediately get over it and go back to being himself. It’s adorable.”

 

“I thought this project would be a good graphic challenge and everyone has a really great story to tell,” Levy told The Huffington Post.  “I want to bring awareness to this issue and remind people who are searching for the perfect dog that black dogs have great personalities too.”

“Through doing this project, I’ve found that it’s really important to share the idea that there are always so many dogs in need of a good safe home, regardless of what the dog looks like.  Maybe someone will see this and consider the gravity of owning a pet, no matter what color it is.”

Faith used to be completely black, but now has a beautifully frosted face. "I'm a sucker for senior dogs," Levy said.
Faith used to be completely black, but now has a beautifully frosted face.
“I’m a sucker for senior dogs,” Levy said.

 

For more information and photos, please click here.

If you would like to adopt a black dog, check out some of these pages:

Black Dogs for Good

Black Dogs & Company Rescue

Black Dogs

Black Dog Rescue Project

Black Dog Project

Lonely Hearts – Helping the Black Dogs and Cats in Shelters!

Pawnee is an adorable young German shepherd. "You gotta love the floppy ear of a puppy German shepherd."
Pawnee is an adorable young German shepherd.
“You gotta love the floppy ear of a puppy German shepherd.”

 

 

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Stunning Photos Help Fight Black Dog Syndrome”

  1. I love all dogs.. Dogs are often more loving and beautiful than their human counterparts.. My little black chihuahua is an angel and the best thing that’s ever come into my life.. Thank you for this…

    Reply
  2. I have two black dogs. A large female Rottie and a small female Chiweenie. I also have a black and gray female Aussie. All oth are rescues. 🙂 My three other dogs are all brown or brown/white.

    Reply
  3. Used to have a little black Patterdale Terrier. Scruffy as anything, she had a bad home before she came to my house and had really bad skin conditions for a while. I ended up growing up with her as a kid and she was the cutest and most playful little lady ever.

    Reply
  4. I like black dogs best. The little white ones always have stains near their eyes and it not very attractive.

    Reply

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