Black dogs and cats overlooked in shelters –

– in part, some think, “because they don’t photograph as well as lighter-colored animals.”



The only reason my black cat Mandala Piranha Bacon is difficult to photograph is because he hates the paparazzi.

This is how they killed Princess Di, lady. Back off.

This one was taken in a low-light den of catnip iniquity:

Emoting just fine, thanks.


Gilly has been a professional model for Jolly Ball, in addition to his film and poster career.

Admit it: this one could out-perform the Farrah poster.

Here’s two from low-light days:

Please note complicated and clearly visible eyebrow position which reduces the viewer to a rubble of gratitude for dogs’ devoted guardianship of our species for lo these many thousands of years

Please note chicken-frog-butt

Black animals photograph just fine.

Superstition also plays a part, of course, as does the notion that black animals will be scarier to people than a fluffy blonde (a systemic problem of perception in our culture, eh?).


Black dogs (especially big ones) and black cats take twice as long to get adopted and are euthanized for lack of space/’unadoptability’ at a much higher rate.

Adopt a black cat or dog and you do double the rescue.

Additional benefits of a black animal:

  • they look good in everything, and out-chic everyone around them
  • if you’re a goth/beatnik/New Englander or someone else prone to wearing a lot of dark clothing, their shedding hardly shows at all!
  • they encourage more creative endearments. Gilly, for example, is my “Onyx Anubis.” Mandala is my “Obsidian Dragon.”

Seriously, black-colored animals get a harder road.

Consider adopting one of them the next time you’re looking for a companion.


3 responses to “Black dogs and cats overlooked in shelters –

  1. Hence four of my six rescues are all black. Mind you, black cats and dogs have historically been my most profound friends and heartfelt companions. So I’m left to wonder if (a) my history defines my proclivity and (b) if their hardship defines theirs.

  2. I have wondered the same thing, Jason – many black animals have come my way, and in the last 15 years, they’ve all been all or mostly black.

    Partly it’s that I know they suffer more, and go out of my way to adopt them. Partly they just seem to dig me (and me them).

  3. I have read several studies which indicate that mammals of all types with lower melanin levels tend to be more aggressive and less psychologically stable than their counterparts with darker gums/skin/hair/eyes (not necessarily a causal relationship, but apparently genetically coincidental).
    Woop- I just made a quick tour of Google, and there is, apparently, a link between dopamine production and melanin levels, so I guess that it is, in fact, causal. Further, it seems that melanin has a neurochemical affect on brain chemistry that is related to that of dopamine.
    yay, dark animals! I know it has also been clearly demonstrated that mammals with lower melanin levels are generally less healthy, to boot. Among the myriad issues with purebred cats and dogs, the lighter ones are always more problematic; my own experience with a breeder of Abyssinian cats twenty-odd years ago also proved that the so-called Red & Faun animals were always less healthy than the Ruddy (the Aby’s natural feral coat).

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