Not so Ruff

June 13, 2016


BUFFALO, NY - Turns out black dogs have been getting a bad rap. A new study by Assistant Professor of Animal Behavior Christy L. Hoffman, PhD, finds that Black Dog Syndrome (BDS) does not exist in animal shelters.

“BDS is the idea that black dogs wait longer to be adopted than dogs of other colors,” explains Hoffman.

Her study looked at four years of adoption data from two animal shelters in the Pacific Northwest. It found that black dogs actually have shorter shelter stays when compared to dogs of different colors. On average, the shelter stays of black dogs are a half day to a day-and-a-half shorter than their canine counterparts.  

The study does not prove Black Dog Syndrome wasn’t once a more universal problem now improved by education and marketing efforts, cautions Hoffman.   Instead, she hopes her findings encourage individual shelters and rescue groups to examine their data to make sure education and marketing efforts are being directed appropriately.

“If a shelter invests efforts in promoting black dogs when black dogs might have the same success if they’re not promoted, then these resources could be better spent promoting other animals that are overlooked,” says Hoffman.