Adoption Pictures Strike Home for Black Pooches

Fantastic photo strategy continues to work wonders for shelter dogs

By Brian Reynolds


An emerging trend has captured the hearts of pet lovers across the globe. We first featured photographer Sophie Gamand’s portraits of Pit Bulls series titled, Flower Power, in the fall and just last month another similar initiative took the internet by storm: Black Dogs.

Parents of pooches often complain that it’s more difficult to get a really great picture of their dark-haired hound than say, their Bichon Frise. Light-coloured canines can easily jump through the camera’s lens and melt your heart. But is it really more difficult to photograph black dogs? Photographer Guinnevere Shuster from the Humane Society of Utah is breaking that barrier and showing off the beauty of these amazing animals.

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Black shelter dogs have trouble getting adopted. It’s become an issue to the point where ‘Black Dog Syndrome’ directly refers to the low adoption and high euthanasia rate of black dogs in animal shelters. With the reality of Black Dog Syndrome it’s no wonder that these wonderful, dark-haired hounds from the Humane Society of Utah and other local area shelters needed an extra little bit of help. So Shuster thought she’d shine a spotlight on them through the art of photography and maybe help inspire everyone to adopt their own black dog. “Using photography to feature adoptable animals is a passion of mine and I’m always trying to come up with ideas to help those who need it most,” Guinnevere Shuster said in an interview to the Huffington Post.

Using a black backdrop that helps show off the gorgeous eyes of the dogs and adorning them with fake flowers, Shuster has pulled off some incredibly stunning pictures. The pictures were so breathtaking that other shelters have reached out to Shuster for advice on how they can best feature their own black pooches.

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The success of the adoption pictures show that Shuster isn’t barking up the wrong tree. From the end of January to mid-February, six of the eight dogs that modelled for the series have been adopted. Two of those dogs were 10 year-old Labrador retrievers who have been passed over for adoption regardless of having appeared in Utah Humane Society’s weekly television commercials. Shuster estimates that maybe two or three dogs would have been adopted in the same time frame without the pictures.

Capturing the beauty of these black dogs is helping them to find the loving homes that they so deserve and many shelters have taken to photography as a way to help their pets in need. We hope this trend continues with breeds of all sorts.