Talk:Black dog syndrome

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I noticed that someone had added "and cats" to the page description. This isn't correct. The phenomenom seems to be strictly related to dogs.

Really? There's a whole article on how people regard black cats as bad luck. I'm going to at least put it under "see also". MrVoluntarist (talk) 19:04, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
The shelter here gives a discount for adopting black cats! —Tamfang (talk) 03:41, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

Oddly enough the ancient Romans recommended black dogs as guard dogs against human intruders and light colored dogs against wolves. Kitfoxxe (talk) 16:10, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

worth linking to / mentioning?[edit]

Black dog (ghost) seems reasonably related to me — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:01, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

While it would be original research (WP:OR) without a source backing up the connection, a recent scholarly article also made that connection, proposing "cognitive biases" in those exposed to cultural influences like the ghostly black dogs you mentioned: Quaile, Sheilagh (2013). "“The black dog that worries you at home”: the black dog motif in modern english folklore and literary culture" (PDF). The Great Lakes Journal of Undergraduate History 1 (1): 37–61.  ––Agyle (talk) 03:26, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Is that all????!!!!![edit]

Very interesting and unusual topic but there is no information about black-dog bias. I would add more legends to prove it, do more research and upload different pictures.--Zofochka (talk) 18:43, 16 September 2011 (UTC)Black-dog bias

The phenomenon seems either recently noted in media (2006+), or at least recently named, and there really wasn't scientific research on the topic until very recently (2012+). There is a lot of conjecture, and while that can be noted in the article as conjecture, it's not fact. Absolutely agree research & facts improve the article, and hopefully this will continue to be a topic of research. ––Agyle (talk) 03:21, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Article input[edit]

I read your article and I found it very interestion and I would have to agree that there is a black dog bias.However I would like to make a few suggestions on how you could improve your article....I think it would interesting to see what the results for a survey would be.Is there a specific bread that is most common? Is there a specific area where this is more of a problem than other areas? Are the shelters that are having problems with this showing the black dogs to the potential adoptee's before they show them other dogs,or are they showing the more physically appealing dogs first? You know kinda like department stores and how they put the most colorfull and appealing clothes in the front window and on the front racks. It would be interesting to know weather animal shelters use the same advertising technics....? I also did not notice anything pertaining to the the ages of the dogs? Is it most commonly adult "Black dogs" that are not being adopted? You also did not include anything regaurding the gender of these dogs? Jennifer dunbar (talk) 02:28, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Black-dog bias[edit]

Insurance companies, Home Owners Associations, and even entire cities and townships have jumped on the "Breed Banning Bandwagon". Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chows ... all have a substantial black mark on their reputation these days, and it's become to a common thing for the owner to watch as people cross the street and shoot dirty looks as she walks her well-behaved Rottweiler down the street. People who lived in controlled neighbourhoods with a Homeowner's Association are not allowed to have any of the potentially "dangerous" breeds as pets. Insurance companies are starting to refuse policies to people who own these dogs. And in some cities, people have had their dogs confiscated and euthanized due to strict by-laws. Animal shelters are no longer adopting out these breeds, but rather euthanizing them on receipt. --Zofochka (talk) 02:51, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

I think the information that you added to the article is very informative, but I was unable to locate the source. Also, I would put the information on the article page instead of the discussion page.Kingsley78 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 02:04, 10 October 2011 (UTC).

Black Dog Syndrome/Big Black Dog Syndrome more common names[edit]

I found no books that refer to it as "black–dog bias", 16 that refer to it as "black dog syndrome" (14 listed here), and 2 that refer to it as "big black dog syndrome. The oldest book is from 2008. "Black dog syndrome" occurs in three scientific studies, as well (one study of the phenomenon mentions "in the popular press, this is sometimes referred to as 'black dog syndrome' (Hipp 2006; Nakano 2008)", so it's possible the name is from around 2006. I was mainly looking to make the point that the wikipedia article title should be changed, but I'm including the links here with some brief excerpts or summaries, as the information might be useful to improve the article. Sorry if the length is excessive for a Talk page. ––Agyle (talk) 02:58, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

4 journal articles referring to "black dog syndrome" or "big black dog syndrome":

  • Woodward, Lucinda; Humy, Sonya; Milliken, Jennifer (2012). "Give a Dog a Bad Name and Hang Him: Evaluating Big, Black Dog Syndrome". Society & Animals 20 (3): 236–253. doi:10.1163/15685306-12341236. ISSN 1063-1119. 
"Results of two separate studies indicated that among participants’ ratings, breed-specific differences were more powerful predictors of interpersonal trait attributions than the color or size of the dog. In general, with the exception of the golden retriever, black labs were perceived as consistently less dominant and less hostile than other large breeds, contrary to the assumption that large, black dogs are viewed negatively."
  • Fratkin, Jamie L.; Baker, Suzanne C. (2013). "The Role of Coat Color and Ear Shape on the Perception of Personality in Dogs". Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals 26 (1): 125–133. doi:10.2752/175303713X13534238631632. ISSN 0892-7936. 
Based on manipulated photographs to adjust color and ear shape, "participants rated the yellow dog significantly higher than the black dog on the personality dimensions of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Emotional Stability."
Study confirms the phenomenon, in cats: "Results indicated that black cats, regardless of age or sex, require the longest time to adopt. They are followed by primarily black cats with other colors."
Discusses historical cultural influences, from a literary rather than scientific perspective: "Recently, some dog enthusiasts and animal shelters have contended that black dogs are slower to be adopted and are euthanized at higher rates than their lighter-coloured counterparts.(3) This phenomenon has become popularly known as “big black dog syndrome,” and has been recognized and addressed by both the SPCA and UBC professor of psychology Stanley Coren.(4) Coren has suggested that the cultural ingraining of black creatures as symbols of ill-boding may have formed—and con- tinue to form—cognitive biases in those exposed to the culture.(5)"

14 books referring to "black dog syndrome":

Suggests it's due to fear of aggression.
Mentions they don't photograph well. Some shelters try to counteract by avoiding lining up black dogs next to one another, and putting colorful bandanas on the dogs.
Claims that "even black people don't like black dogs." Discusses other reasons people are attracted to or deterred from dogs.
Mentions that labs can behave like puppies for several years, increasing their rate of being "relinquished to shelters."
"What it comes down to is that people just don't like them."
From snippet-view search: "It's no wonder black dogs often sit in the shelter twice as long as their lighter counterparts – no one can get a good picture to show them off and get them adopted! It's such a widespread, devastating reality for homeless animals that it's been dubbed the “black dog (or cat) syndrom.”)"
"Black–dog syndrome, the condition of being overlooked due to color, seems to be in play here. There are many guesses as to why black–dog syndrome exists – black dogs are more common; they don't photograph well; there are superstitions surrounding them (similar to those surrounding black cats); some feel they are just too plain, and others that they look too mean. The rescuer says that for a time after J. K. Rowling – God bless her – created Sirius Black, a character who could shapeshift into a dog, the black dogs in rescue got a break, even a little advantage, maybe. Black dogs in that period moved."
"To help black dogs get noticed and adopted, they may tie bright ribbons or bandannas around the dogs' necks or place brightly colored blankets or toys in their cages."
"Black dogs don't photograph well, so they look like blobs on Internet sites for rescue groups. The dogs from scary movies or who are used to frighten people are usually black. Hunters who bred for better retrieving dogs will have huge litters of black puppies and take them to shelters when they don't pass muster. ... Sometimes the biggest crime that black dogs commit is being too ordinary. Since shelters get more black dogs than anything else, they simply don't stand out when people look for a new pet to adopt. They are a part of a big crowd of sameness, so they are transparent or invisible."
"Theories on this phenomenon range from the practical (black dogs might not stand out in a poorly lit dog run) to the social (that perhaps racial prejudices play out, unconsciously, even in dog adoption). Some shelters have gone to great lengths to showcase their dark-colored mutts, even waiving adoption fees." Mentions a photographer who published a book to champion black dogs, with proceeds going to an animal shelter.
Cites fear, superstition, and preference. Says shelters sometimes use lighter-colored blankets or sheets to provide contrast to make them more attractive, interact closely with them in front of potential adoptees to show they're friendly, and feature them prominently on web sites.
"Some say that it's because there isn't a contrast between teh dark eyes and dark fur, so there's no emotional connection. Others perceive black dogs as somehow more aggressive or unfriendly. On the contrary, black dogs are not more aggressive than other colors of dogs."
"It happens in cat shelters too." "Maybe there's something superstitious about it. Maybe people worry about seeing black hairs shed all over their light-colored furniture. The most popular theory seems to be that adopting a dog is all about love at first sight. Eye contact. Dark dogs can get lost in the shadows of dimly lit shelters. If you go unseen, you go unadopted and for the most part, wearing a shocking pink ribbon around your neck doesn't do much to improve your chances. Black dogs stick around three times longer than dogs of any other color."

Two books refer to it as "big black dog syndrome":

Note that "black dog syndrome" has also been used to describe "the bouts of depression many artists struggle with," in more than one book; it's credited in one source to Byron. Also, Winston Churchill called his depression a "black dog" (mentioned in one of the dog books, here).