The Black Dog Syndrome

Photo Bear by Sheila Waller

When one of my prominently black dogs was young and muscular, people and dogs would tend to step back and leave her space,  the butch muscled  look probably didn’t help.
Looking at the history of survival, coat colour and the journey to domestication, could it be a genetic down load that instinctively causes this reaction, in some but not all dogs/people.

Thinking about the natural world, how many backgrounds are black? We don’t have black sand or fields or woods.
Looking back in time most animals coat colours would reflect their habitat, they would blend in, be they prey or predator, they would need cover to survive.

Synaesthesia.  The ability to join senses.

I put the “Black dog” question on my timeline a while back, and the  suggestion was made that maybe dogs can smell colour, if that’s the case, is this an aversive scent? 
Something to think about.

Some people have experienced synaesthesia of two or more senses and our sense of smell is not a patch on our dogs olfactory system.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170821105523.htm

Different Blacks?
Many collies are predominantly black, but don’t seem to have the same effect, as other black dogs, could that be because of the way they move, or that there are a good number to be seen on a regular basis?
Rarely seen completely black at the head, and that would be seen first, when travelling towards.

Could different blacks elicit different responses?
Hair colour is the pigmentation of hair follicles due to two types of melanin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. Generally, if more eumelanin is present, the colour of the hair is darker, if less eumelanin is present, the hair is lighter
https://www.combibreed.com/…/…/Coat-colour-and-variation/Dog
From
Dr. van Haeringen Laboratorium B.V.  (genetics in practice)

Green Dogs
Thinking of colour and camouflage for hunting/hiding and past survival needs, we don’t have green dogs either, but that could reflect how their predators or prey see colour.

Another thought on black, having looked at green, is from what we know, most animals don’t see all colours, so maybe it is just black catches the eye, draws them in, makes them stand out, hides features that show them clearly, difficult to define facial expression,  harder for an artist to capture expression too.

Today in the natural world we have the Arctic fox and Arctic wolf that blend in with the snow, many other examples can be found in the natural world, coat colours changing with the seasons.

Looking at the history of survival, coat colour and the journey to domestication, I think man chose black not nature. 

The Arctic Wolf


Their all very individual.
Looking into the differences in the olfactory, visual and auditory systems of dogs that are selectively bred for various tasks,  there are marked differences, compared to dogs bred to be companions, as one would expect, so that then raises the question, how thorough and varied has the research been into how dogs see colour?

Was it a vast number of breeds and types? 
Dogs with and without visual streak?
Dogs bred to use their noses against dogs bred to use their eyes?
Or just dogs in general?  Could this make a difference to the research outcome? 

Could there be any variation, that could make some react more than others to black?Who knows?
                                                                     
How dogs see in colour from research done.
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsos.170869
https://www.youtube.com/watch?

Animal Shelters/Sanctuaries
Added to the “Black Dog/Cat” superstition and myths, animal shelters/sanctuaries find black dogs and cats are often overlooked, they don’t stand out, they blend in with the background, but that’s looking through human eyes.

Wonder if colour blind people are more likely to notice black dogs in a shelter (just a thought)
Their characters are missed, because their facial features and expressions are less clear, its not so easy to see the eyes.
They don’t photograph so well for promotion.
 
Folklore
Black dogs have a place in folklore as being bad luck, I’m thinking there are many dogs that have a black dog best friend they walk with or are family members,  just as they may have their own family cat, but woe betide any other cat that crosses their path.

Interesting article by Kristin Urban  Black dog mythology
/

When I grow up, I’m going to be a “big black dog” 

Black cats have a place in mythology too, article by Franny Syufi
      

Black dogs used to describe the overwhelming weight/pressure that depression can cause.  Health Organisation
I had a black dog, his name was depression

Black dog (ghost)
Black dog (ghost) – Wikipedia

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