The journal article about Black Dog Syndrome (BDS) that I published in 2011 is a qualitative look at an issue that I discovered while working at The Washington Humane Society. I did not coin the term nor first identify Black Dog Syndrome.
Since my article's publication there have been a number of studies published on Black Dog Syndrome, some of which seem to prove BDS and some of which seem to disprove BDS. Criticism has been leveled against BDS in so far as it is trumped up, entirely untrue or simply a misconception of anecdotal evidence as fact. I will let you be the judge. I have included links to the articles published since my journal article came out, as well as a well written online piece.
As a final word, I caution that perhaps we are going down a rabbit hole by conducting study after study. I'm not sure that we will ever reach a definitive conclusion one way or another. In the end, anything that can be done to improve the adoption rates of a black pet, will improve the adoption chances of its kennelmate, be it adoption events that bring people into the shelter, colorful bandanas, better lighting in the kennel runs, better photography, etc.
Four peer reviewed studies that have been conducted since the publication of my article can be found below:
Brown WP, JP Davidson, and ME Zuefle
2013 Effects of phenotypic characteristics on the length of stay of dogs at two no kill animal shelters. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science : JAAWS. 16 (1): 2-18.
Delgado M.M., Reevy G.M., and Munera J.D.
2012 Human perceptions of coat color as an indicator of domestic cat personality". Anthrozoos. 25 (4): 427-440.
Goleman, M, Drozd, L, Karpinski, M,Czyzowski, P. "Black Dog Syndrome in Animal Shelters." MEDYCYNA WETERYNARYJNA-VETERINARY MEDICINE-SCIENCE
AND PRACTICE 70.2 (2014): 122-7.
Woodward L., Milliken J., and Humy S.
2012. Give a dog a bad name and hang him: Evaluating big, black dog syndrome. Society and Animals. 20 (3): 236-253.
I also have a blog post on Petfinder.com called "Black dogs and cats have a tough time in shelters"
Check out all my posts on Petfinder's blog by clicking here!
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The Black Dog Research Studio
Baltimore, MD 21061
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Debunking Black Cat Myths
Check out two great postings from the ASPCA and The Best Friends Animal Society on re-homing black cats and whether or not it is safe to adopt black cats around Halloween.