Winnipeg Humane Society Says Dog Adoption a Problem for Black Dogs - Launches "Black Dog Club"

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Winnipeg Humane Society's new "Black Dog Club" aims to curb unconscious discrimination of people looking to adopt a pet. Added benefits of membership aim to promote black dog adoption & ownership.

Dog Adoption

Black Dog Syndrome

Black dogs, it seems, are the last to be picked by potential owners looking to adopt a pet because of unintentional discrimination.

Have you ever heard of Black Dog Syndrome? It’s a subconscious condition in the minds of people interested in dog adoption. Black dogs, it seems, are the last to be picked by potential owners looking to adopt a pet because of unintentional discrimination. The Winnipeg Humane Society, a non-profit organization and registered charity committed to animal welfare, says it’s not just superstitions, but deep seated beliefs in society. To help curb this trend, the WHS has started a “Black Dog Club,” giving those who adopt black dogs additional benefits.

“Some believe black dogs are more aggressive,” states the WHS, This phenomenon of bias is seen in animal shelters and veterinary clinics across the world may be due to a number of factors. It could be a stigma of fear against certain dog breeds and even the fact that black dogs are often portrayed as aggressive and dangerous in popular culture and media. Some even believe that the color black is associated with evil or misfortune, a belief that is prevalent in many potential owners during dog adoption.

Black Dog Syndrome could also be caused by the fact that black dogs often do not photograph well. When people are looking for dog adoption services online they will often find profiles, with photos, of dogs that are available on a shelter’s website. Lighter colored dogs have an advantage over black dogs in this regard. But this long-held belief may not have a basis in reality. Black dogs can also be very affectionate, loving and safe.

The Winnipeg Humane Society runs a pet and dog adoption shelter in southern Canada and hopes to minimize the effects of this bias through their “Black Dog Club.” People who visit the shelter and adopt a black dog are automatically made a member of the club and receive discounts on everything sold by the WHS for life. Any dogs whose coats are at least 50% black are eligible for the special offer. Even pet owners who already have a black dog are eligible for membership into the club. The Winnipeg Humane Society is a non-profit, volunteer based organization that runs an animal shelter offering pet education, adoption services and engages in animal care advocacy. To learn more about the WHS, dog adoption or the Black Dog Club visit


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Aileen White
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