I’ve always heard people are less likely to adopt black dogs. True or not, there are an awful lot of black dogs lingering a bit longer in shelters and rescue programs.

Maybe it’s our obsession with finding that “perfect” family dog that most closely resembles a golden retriever.

My last dog was a golden, and when I set out to look for my next dog, I did not have a black mutt in mind. I thought I’d end up with another blond, long-haired dog like my old Brittni.

But the best advice I can give people when adopting a dog is to choose a dog based on his personality and temperament, not his appearance. Ace is the ideal dog for me, whether he is black, tan or spotted doesn’t really matter.

Adopt a black dog

When someone goes through a dog rescue group or animal shelter to adopt a dog, she already has a “perfect” dog in mind before she even meets the dogs.

This makes it much easier for that person to overlook all the big, black mutts, and walk right towards the beagle or the first “golden retriever mix” that catches her eye. Tip: If you want to get a dog adopted faster, call it a golden retriever mix.

What’s wrong with black dogs, anyway?

They’re sweet…

lab mixes

They’re pretty…

lab mix

They have personality…

mutt in snow

There are dozens of black dogs in our regional shelters and rescue organizations, but I thought I’d bring your attention to one of my favorites. Stormy is a black lab mix up for adoption with 4 Luv of Dog Rescue in Fargo. I’ve gotten to know her over the last few months by taking her for runs twice a week.

Reasons to adopt Stormy

black lab adoption1. Stormy is smart.

She might actually be the smartest dog I’ve worked with. This dog has amazing potential. She needs a job to do and would thrive with extra training.

When Stormy hangs out with Ace and I, she grabs his collar and leash and pulls him where she wants him to go.

2. She is unique.

That goes for her appearance and her personality! Stormy is all about socializing. She likes to pick up her toys and shove them into Ace’s mouth, tricking him into playing.

Stormy has a long, shepherd-like nose and body with a thick, black coat. Her ears point up and then flop over, and she has a long tongue!

3. Stormy is friendly.

She lives with three cats and has lived with multiple dogs of different sizes. She wants to play with all other animals, but will leave cats alone as long as the human sets rules. Stormy loves all people as long as she is not startled. She cuddles, shows affection and loves being included in “the pack.” Her foster owner says she loves to give hugs and kisses. Aww.

4. Stormy has had obedience training.

Her foster mom took her through beginning obedience training where Stormy got extra practice with commands such as sit, down, stay, come and heel. This training will make life much, much easier for Stormy’s new owner. When I adopted my mutt Ace, he had no concept of the word sit, let alone stay or coming when called.

5. She is kennel trained.

Although there is always an adjustment period to a new environment, Stormy currently stays in her kennel quietly while her foster owner is at work. What a good girl! She knows her kennel is her place to nap and wait patiently. Then again, it’s always stocked with goodies!

6. She is housebroken.

This will save her new owner a lot of work! Stormy never has any accidents.

black lab adoption fargo7. Stormy loves walks.

I run with Stormy because of her extra energy, but she doesn’t mind walking either. She would love to walk for several hours and makes the perfect exercise partner. She has gotten much better at not pulling when she sees other dogs.

8. She is young.

Most people want to adopt a young dog or a puppy. Stormy is less than 2 years old, giving her new owner plenty of years to bond with her. She is passed the puppy stage, but she is still full of energy and eager to learn.

OK, so no dog is perfect.

Stormy is very large (at least 80 pounds). She is strong and needs to know the human is in control, not her. If no rules are set, she will take over. She would do best with someone who has a lot of experience with dogs and is not afraid of a few challenges.

Since Stormy is so smart, she needs daily challenges and lots of interact or she gets bored. She loves dog daycare, the dog park, training and exercise.

Stormy would love a big yard or a farm with another dog to play with as long as she gets to come inside and be with the family. And did I mention she loves to eat?

Stormy is just one rescue dog who has been waiting for a permanent home for a long, long time. Please consider adopting Stormy from 4 Luv of Dog Rescue or sending this to someone you know who might be the right person for her.

Do you own a black dog or cat? Do you know a black dog or cat that needs a home?

Email your black dog and cat pictures to Lindsay@thatmutt.com, and I will post them all next week.

8/8/10 update: Stormy was recently adopted! Woo hoo! Go, Stormy!

24 Readers Commented

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  1. Abbey + the girls on October 29, 2009

    Definitely right on several fronts Lindsay.. I wasnt after a black dog.. I was after a Dalmation as Bella and I are so active.. there were none to be had… in my google search I came across a Harlequin Great Dane, which was my childhood image of a Dane.. I showed Bella and she loved the Danes.. I researched them madly and after a while Bella picked a black Dane.. I kept trying to nudge her back to the spots or perhaps a blue.. no her mind was made up and Chelsea became ours… I wouldnt swap her for the world but I know if something happened to me she would be harder to place than Shiloh purely placed on colour… Odd us humans, I mean a dogs not a lounge, you dont want to match the colour with anything…lol

    Most black dogs Ive known have been beautiful animals and I think your on to something with the Golden thing..

    I hope your girl gets the home she obviously deserves… give us an update down the track and paws crossed for her

  2. Tammy on October 29, 2009

    I’m always so surprised when I hear about people not adopting black pets. I have no problem doing so! My Luna girl is a big, beautiful panther of a black cat. (She is with a new family, and quite happy with her little boys.) I didn’t even hesitate when I adopted Luna. I had lost my black cat, Bear, not long before I got her.

    I will almost certainly have another black pet at some point! I’d love it to be a little black pug! 🙂

  3. Esther Garvi on October 29, 2009

    I’ve always liked dark dogs! I’d go for the black one, if I was adopting!

  4. Lindsay Stordahl Author on October 29, 2009

    I’ll keep you updated on Stormy, Abbey!

    Tammy, I can’t wait for you to adopt a dog! I hope you get a black pug like you said. 🙂

    I will always consider black dogs when I’m adopting as well!

  5. Apryl DeLancey on October 29, 2009

    My doggie is mostly black with tan. I’ve never heard that people don’t want black dogs. It seems like everyone has one out here. Maybe I am missing something.

    Oh, and Stormy isn’t so large – she’s 50lbs lighter than my Gus! I hope she finds a forever home soon.

  6. Lindsay Stordahl Author on October 29, 2009

    Maybe you are right about people not wanting black dogs. Who knows.

  7. Kari on October 30, 2009

    I also foster a black dog for 4 Luv of Dog Rescue. Her name is Bella (pending adoption tonight). She is a beautiful dog, very smart, great with other animals & kids and have a WONDERFUL personality! Sad to see the black dogs have the hardest time to find a home. Thanks for the explanation on your website. Hope it gets a lot of reads.

  8. Shoshannah on October 30, 2009

    My own dog Goodman is a big (88lb)black dog. I adopted him about a year ago from a shelter, and never looked back.
    Goodman is the best dog I could have got!

    Some of his pictures (the early pictures where taken when he was still at the shelter- the pictures below are current):

  9. Lindsay Stordahl Author on October 30, 2009

    Hi Kari, I hope it works out for Bella in her new home!

    Shoshannah, Goodman is a gorgeous dog! He looks a bit like Ace, just bigger and more muscle!

  10. Shay on November 2, 2009

    We recently adopted from a lab rescue organization, and we did not use physical appearance as a guideline, except to the extent we preferred to avoid the heaviest dogs of the bunch (I would prefer to have a dog I could physically carry for a short distance, if need be in an emergency).

    Amazingly, our “top 5 candidate” list wound up being 4 black dogs and 1 chocolate, even though color was not a criteria of ours. And the dog we ultimately chose to adopt (who wasn’t on our initial list simply due to how we searched) is also black.

    We told the rescue organization that we were happy to adopt a black dog, because so often they don’t get an equal chance. We weren’t trying to *avoid* yellows (or golden mixes) in our search. It just turned out that there were simply more black dogs that fit what we were looking for (already housebroken, well adjusted to dogs, kids, etc.). Part of this is that there are simply MORE black dogs needing homes. But it also seemed like light dogs got adopted so much faster – and with acceptance of greater challenges – to the point where on average, adopting a dark dog was far more likely to return a well-adjusted, well-mannered dog.

  11. Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 2, 2009

    Hi Shay. Thanks for our input. You are probably right about the fact that there are just MORE black dogs. I hope it’s going well with the dog you chose to adopt.

  12. Laura K on November 6, 2009

    Lindsay, I have been gone for work and just finally read this, I’m so sorry. WONDERFUL article on “big black dog phobia” and my Ms. Stormers!!! She loves her runs with you!!! 🙂

  13. Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 6, 2009

    Thanks! I hope she finds a home soon! She deserves it!

  14. Mel on November 9, 2009

    Knowing about how it’s harder for black pets to find homes, we purposefully looked for black animals when we adopted our dog and our cat. We call it our Affirmative Action program for pets. : )

  15. Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 9, 2009

    Ha, Affirmative Action, that’s funny. I didn’t purposely adopt a black pet, but I will be favoring them in the future.

  16. Julie on November 20, 2009

    Our black dog is the sweetest. And we love his black fur. Everyone who meets him loves him. I agree…black pets are just as great, if not better, than the rest!!

  17. Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 22, 2009

    Thanks, Julie!

  18. Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 8, 2010

    Yep! That’s her! 🙂

  19. belina on July 12, 2010

    my last dog was black but sadley passe away last year aged 14. the dog before was sandy colour which i didnt choose myself. but at the moment i am looking for two pups, but they dont resemble the ones ive had before and need to be free as i dont agree with dogs being sold and would never pay for one there are plenty out there unwated

  20. Lindsay Stordahl Author on July 12, 2010

    Good luck finding your new dogs! I know what you mean about not wanting to pay an adoption fee. I feel the same way, depending on who I’m getting the dog from. I don’t believe in paying someone for giving up their dog – they should be paying me for giving the dog a good home and taking away expenses for them. Here’s a post I wrote on the topic: http://www.thatmutt.com/2009/02/18/giving-away-free-dogs/

  21. Kim on November 8, 2010

    You are so right. So many dogs in need go unnoticed because of their apperance. We adopted a rottweiler who was going to be put to sleep and he is the biggest baby you’ll ever see! Not to mention, I got another dog who is a lighter color like redish tan… and her fur is visable on everything. My rottie’s fur is black of course, and is barely noticed. So black doesn’t mean you’ll see hair everywhere. Here’s a pic of my babies http://everythingearthandanimal.blogspot.com/2010/11/things-to-consider-before-adopting-dog.html

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 8, 2010

      I love my black mutt and he is very handsome! Aww, your dogs are so cute 🙂

  22. Ian on December 9, 2010

    I have my second Black Labrador/German Shepherd cross, the first a female and this one 10 years old. Both were adopted. In my opinion this breed combination brings about a positive, happy disposition. Great with people and other dogs but maybe not so great with cats and other creatures.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on December 10, 2010

      There seems to be a lot of black lab/shepherd type mixes out there, at least in my area. They are great dogs!