What is National Black Dog Day?

by Hannah Roundy

Did you know that black dogs are often the last to be adopted in shelters? That’s why we celebrate National Black Dog Day each October to spread awareness that every pup deserves a fur-ever home.

Many shelters and rescues across the world have reported that black or dark-colored dogs struggle to get adopted compared to lighter-colored pets. This issue is commonly referred to as Black Dog Syndrome (BDS). 

Due to BDS, black dogs are more likely to stay in shelters longer and get euthanized if they aren’t adopted soon enough. 

National Black Dog Day is celebrated annually on October 1st to combat BDS. The holiday was founded by animal behaviorist and activist Colleen Paige, who also created our favorite dog celebrations like National Dog Day and National Mutt Day. To encourage the adoption of black dogs, some shelters and rescues will waive adoption fees or host special events to benefit dark-colored pups. 

Anyone can participate in National Black Dog Day. Even if you don’t have a black dog, you can use #NationalBlackDogDay on social media posts to help spread awareness about BDS. Consider donating to your local shelters and rescues to aid in the adoption of black dogs, as well. 

Black Dog Syndrome

Black Dog Syndrome occurs due to many negative connotations associated with black animals.  

Ancient superstitions may hold someone back from adopting a black pet. Spruce Pets reports that black dogs were portrayed as guardians of the underworld in mythology. It’s akin to the belief that black cats bring forth bad luck and witchcraft. 

Black dogs in movies and television are often portrayed as aggressive, as well. For example, the attack dogs in the movie The Dark Knight and Fluffy, the three-headed guard dog, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone are all black dogs. 

Even on adoption apps and websites, darker dogs are often passed over. Animal Care Center says it can be difficult to show the defining features of a black dog since they can be hard to see in a photograph. Light-colored dogs are able to stand-out a bit more in pictures. 

In reality, a black dog is no different than a pup of another color. They need love and care just like every other dog!

Benefits of Adopting a Black Dog

The best way to fight BDS and celebrate National Black Dog Day is to adopt a dark-colored pup. You can be the difference by helping us clear the shelters so that every dog can find a home. 

There are many benefits to adding a black dog to your family. Black coats naturally look and stay cleaner compared to other dogs. Their dark fur also makes their eyes pop!

You would think that the darker a dog’s coat is, their shedding is more noticeable. This isn’t always the case. 

Hannah R. is the Marketing Coordinator for Sundays and she has a beautiful, black Labrador Retriever named Bruce. She used to worry that Bruce’s black hair would be too noticeable when it shed. 

“We recently had our friend bring over their yellow Lab for a pup playdate,” says Hannah. “I was shocked by how much the yellow Lab’s hair stuck out to me compared to Bruce’s black hair! They shed about the same amount, but Bruce’s hair definitely blended much better.”

In an effort to make black dogs more adoptable, some shelters and rescues may devote more training time to those pups. These dogs might be a bit more well-behaved and might even know some fun tricks!

Black Dog Names

If you are looking to add a black pup to your family, there are so many creative black dog names

You can find inspiration for darkly-colored dog names through characters in television, movies, and books. For example, Hannah named her black Labrador Bruce after the black-clad Batman (AKA Bruce Wayne). 

Animals and nature are also good sources for black dog names such as Bear or Midnight. 

Black Dog Names in Pop Culture
  • Toothless (the black dragon from How to Train Your Dragon)
  • Black Beauty
  • Batman
  • Darth Vader
  • Kylo
  • Elvira
  • Blackjack
  • Morticia
  • Domino

Black Dog Names in Nature
  • Bear
  • Sky 
  • Midnight
  • Black Beauty 
  • Coal or Cole
  • Dahlia
  • Jet
  • Onyx
  • Panther
  • Raven
  • Shadow
  • Smoky
  • Ash

Food & Drink Black Dog Names
  • Cola (as in Coca-Cola)
  • Hershey
  • Espresso
  • Licorice
  • Coco (like cocoa)
  • Bean
  • Blackberry
  • Pepper
  • Oreo

Do you have a black pup? We want to hear their story! Tag us on Instagram @SundaysForDogs and don’t forget to use #NationalBlackDogDay. 

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