New York Photographer Sheds Light On Black Dog Syndrome In New Series

Shaina Fishman’s Project Shows “Overlooked Black Dogs” Are Worthy Of Adoption

By Justyne Yuen-Lee


Credit: Instagram / @nellieandpenny

I think in today’s day and age, at least in Western culture, we like to pride ourselves on the illusion that color has no meaning. Alas, it is just an illusion. As people we see the problems that arise when respect and acceptance of the color of our skin is not present. You would think that animals wouldn’t be subject to discrimination, but apparently black dogs are usually the last to be adopted. Because of this, more and more black dogs are left to be euthanized. This issue is so prevalent that it even adopted a name – Black Dog Syndrome.


Credit: Instagram / @mollythenewfie

But why is it an issue? Black dogs are just the same as their fair-coated counterparts. They’ll love you just as much as their siblings, yet people hesitate to adopt them.


Credit: Instagram / @sukiandthecity

One of Get Leashed’s contributors, Kasey Maguire, commented on this issue in the piece, “BBDS: BIG BLACK DOG SYNDROME”.

She says, “Some shelters even train the black dogs in their care to do special tricks, give them backstories and ensure that they are well-trained to make them more appealing. But sadly, more often than not, it’s all to no avail.”


Credit: Instagram / @linnnaa_

Shelters put extra effort in trying to get black dogs adopted, but there is still bias. The color of a pup’s fur doesn’t define their personality!

New York based photographer, Shaina Fishman, created a photo series – “Overlooked Black Dogs”.

Credit: Shaina Fishman

In an effort to raise awareness of BDS, Fisherman partnered with Foster Dogs NYC to shoot black dogs only to give them their deserved chance in the spotlight.

Credit: Shaina Fishman

A client of Fishman inspired her to start this project when the client wanted a dog photoshoot with absolutely no black dogs. In response, Fishman did her black dog only photo series.

Credit: Shaina Fishman

When you look at these stunning photos, you’re able to focus on the innocence and adorable faces of black dogs. There is nothing to distract you from liking them any less than another pupper.

Credit: Shaina Fishman

We can only wonder why there is such prejudice when it comes to adopting black dogs. Is it our culture? Is it our fear? Can you really bring it to just “preference”?

Maguire explores several theories: superstition, culture, and the difficulty in “understanding” black dogs.


Credit: Instagram / @sukiandthecity


In the simplest of terms, we can equate the superstitious thought that black cats are unlucky and therefore so are black dogs. As nonsensical as it sounds, there are some people who think this way and don’t have black dogs as a first option.


Credit: Instagram / @greatdaneofmischief

The culture theory Maguire argues is that culturally, we equate black with evil or even scary. There is fear of the darkness and there’s a reason why big black dogs like Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Great Danes are great guard dogs. They look scary.

Credit: Instagram / @linnnaa_

When you see a dog from this close, it’s easy to see that these puppies will do you no harm, but from far away, it is harder to discern their emotions. Even other dogs have difficulty reading other black dogs facial expressions.


Credit: Instagram / @miss_olive_the_frenchie

But all these ideas are just guesses to why black dogs are less likely to be adopted. Now there is photographic proof that they are just as kind, lovable, and playful as fairer-colored dogs.

Black Dog Syndrome is a thing and we need to stop it.


Credit: Instagram / @linnnaa_

Puppy love is a genuine love and it doesn’t include color bias at all. All dogs are the same as long as you love them!


Credit: Instagram / @miss_olive_the_frenchie

We shouldn’t need shelters to create heart-warming back-stories for their black dogs. Having a dog is a blessing in itself and we see it in so many dog-human relationships.


Credit: Instagram / @boko.corgi

At Get Leashed, we’re advocates of love. We hope that now you know about the issue that you can educate yourself more and love a black dog!


Credit: Instagram / @1room1cat

We’d also like to give you a friendly reminder that black cats are not unlucky and need protection from us animal lovers! #LoveABlackCat!