The paper begins by describing Big Black Dog Syndrome and its effects in shelters across the United States. I then discuss the physical and environmental factors that contribute to BBD Syndrome; Western symbolism associated with the color black, historical examples of black dogs as negative entities in Western culture, and the concept of “unconscious background checking,” which negatively impacts the adoption rates of BBDs. Lastly, I offer some suggestions as to how shelters in the United States can ameliorate the negative effects of BBD Syndrome.
Leonard, A. (2011). The plight of “Big black dogs” in American animal shelters: Color-based canine discrimination. Pap Kroeber Anthropol Soc, 99, 168-183.