Companion Animal

Independent Study 490A: To Determine the Effectiveness of the “Black Dog” Program

  • Brittney A. Carson (Iowa State University)
  • Anna K. Johnson (Iowa State University)
  • Paula Sunday (Animal Rescue League of Iowa)
  • Tom Colvin (Animal Rescue League of Iowa)


Many animal shelters across the country have noticed that black dogs are not adopted as quickly as lighter colored dogs. This trend goes even further as a dog that is all black is not adopted as quickly as a black dog with one white toe or other small white flashing. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of the “black dog program” on the speed of adoption of all black dogs at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. This study was performed at the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Iowa, located in Ankeny, IA. A total of 43 canine records (30 pre BDC and 13 post BDC) were used in this study. A total of 30 black dogs were in the “pre” BDC and 13 black dogs were in the “post” BDC. The average time (days) for black dogs in the “pre” black dog club to be adopted was 15 days (range 0 to 64 d). The average time for “post” was 11 days (range 2 to 22d; Table 1). There was a difference (P = 0.009) for the length of time that black dogs remained in adoption, with dogs being adopted faster after the implementation of the program (11. 51 ± 1.9 vs. 19.69 ± 2.68 days) respectively. Therefore in conclusion, this program has essentially added extra value to the all black dogs thus making them more appealing to potential adopters. As a result, dogs that are all black spend less time in adoption which may increase their quality of life. Quicker adoption rates for these dogs also improves the quality of life of other dogs because they are able to go into adoption more quickly when space is limited.

Keywords: ASL R2512

How to Cite:

Carson, B. A., Johnson, A. K., Sunday, P. & Colvin, T., (2010) “Independent Study 490A: To Determine the Effectiveness of the “Black Dog” Program”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 7(1). doi:

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Published on
01 Jan 2010
Peer Reviewed