Are Black-Coated Dogs Harder to Adopt?

Photo by Kevin Lowery |

Photo by Kevin Lowery |

There have been some studies out lately that have come to the conclusion that the color of a dog’s coat doesn’t matter to people who are looking for a dog to adopt. They state that the old theory that black-coated dogs are more difficult to adopt than lighter color dogs is not true.

The ASPCA conducted a study on what drives people to adopt certain animals. Based on that study, an official of the organization claimed, "Color does not play a role at all.” According to a recent study by the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, adoption records from two no- kill shelters in New York State were reviewed to determine what factors influenced the adoption of dogs. One of those factors included a dog’s coat color. Based on their findings, coat color had no influence on length of stay at the shelter.

I’ve been involved with animal rescue organizations for a good portion of my adult life. I’ve volunteered at adoption events for numerous rescue organizations. I partnered with a rescue group in every city I visited during my national book tour. I was the president of a local no-kill animal shelter. Through working with animal rescue organizations over these many years there was one consistent challenge they all faced. A black dog didn’t get adopted as quickly as a lighter colored dog.

This isn’t necessarily true for puppies. Everyone loves puppies, no matter what the color of their coat. For adult black-coated dogs, it was more of a challenge to find them their right and perfect forever home. At the shelter’s facility, we would often need to place them in the dog runs that are closest to the front entry door in order for them to get noticed. At off-site adoption events, we would place their cages closest to the store’s entry point. Otherwise, they would tend to get overlooked.

When speaking to numerous rescue organizations, I found that they, too, would place their black dogs in more prominent locations. They would take pictures of the dogs on lighter backgrounds in order for their photos to “pop” when someone viewed them online. They would also place their photos first on the web pages. Some of the rescue groups would discount the adoption fees for black dogs, since they seemed harder to adopt and tended to stay at the shelter or in foster homes longer. They would also have special adoption days just for the black or dark coated dogs.

If you ask me, I would tell you that I just don’t get it. I think all dogs are beautiful no matter what color of coat they have. I’ve had black-coated dogs as part of my family and enjoyed every minute we had together. I always thought their black coats were beautiful. They had a wonderful shiny sheen to them that always made them look regal.

We should choose the dogs in our lives based on the lifestyle of the family and the heart connection we have with a certain dog. The color of a dog’s coat should be the least of our concerns.

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Positively Expert: Tim Link

Tim Link is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Animal Writes" on Pet Life Radio. He is an internationally recognized animal expert, communicator, and consultant. As part of his passion for helping animals , Tim has also mastered Reiki - an ancient art of energy healing - which he uses on animals.


2 thoughts on “Are Black-Coated Dogs Harder to Adopt?

  1. Pamela Wasserman

    Dark 'things'...dark haired people, dark animals, dark subjects of any kind do not photograph well. And they don't show up as well in the typical shelter setting. I once heard one of the reason have something to do with superstition (?)

  2. Rob Staves

    I love black dogs!

    I couldn't resist adopting Maja when I saw her. She was eight months old at the time.

    Nothing like the sheer shine and gloss on black fur.

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