Over­looked Black Dogs


One pho­tog­ra­pher’s mis­sion to shine a spot­light on black dogs and the very real and im­per­illing bias they face in shel­ters across North Amer­ica.

Big Black Dogs—or BBDs, as shel­ter work­ers call them—un­de­ni­ably have it tough. Many an­i­mal shel­ter work­ers re­port that adopt­able black dogs are fre­quently passed over in favour of lighter-coloured pups, leav­ing the black dogs to lan­guish in shel­ters or, far worse, not make it out at all. They call this Black Dog Syn­drome and the rea­sons are di­verse and un­clear: it could be neg­a­tive stereo­types or it could sim­ply be greater in­take of black dogs, but one thing is in­dis­putable—there are an aw­ful lot of black dogs pa­tiently wait­ing for their shot at a for­ever home.

A con­tribut­ing fac­tor is that black dogs are more dif­fi­cult to pho­to­graph, and a good photo is cru­cial to spark­ing the in­ter­est of a po­ten­tial adopter. En­ter pho­tog­ra­pher Shaina Fish­man who, upon hear­ing of the phe­nom­e­non, de­cided to tackle Black Dog Syn­drome with her strik­ing photo se­ries, Over­looked Black Dogs. Shaina teamed up with Foster Dogs NYC to take pho­tos of 14 black res­cue dogs in foster care against a black back­ground and the re­sults are in­cred­i­ble. “While I can’t take great pho­tos of every black dog in a shel­ter,” Shaina says. “I can bring aware­ness to the prob­lem and with this se­ries show that black dogs are stun­ningly beau­ti­ful.” We couldn’t agree more.

Want to help? Why not share a photo of adopt­able black dog in your area on your Face­book page?

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