When we first started getting involved with Greyhounds, we heard that a lot of times people don’t want the black dogs for a variety of reasons. Some people think they look scary, have a mean temperament, aren’t as pretty, shed more and make it impossible to wear white clothes. Of course, there are myths about other Greyhound colors, too. Blue dogs are often thought to be more quirky and a bit odd. I wrote these things off, because I reasoned that surely in this modern age, people know better than to believe such things. It’s not like we’re living in the Middle Ages anymore or anything.
Of course, our first personal experience with a black dog has been bringing Küster home as a puppy. We had an online friend with a solid black Shepherd for a while and I had been admiring him for ages. I was secretly hoping that when it came time for us to get our puppy that he’d turn out to be a black Shepherd, and I lucked out. When Küster was really little and still looked like Toto, I didn’t notice much bias. As those spectacular ears of his started to stand up, though, a lot of people began to step back.
Now that Flattery has come to join us, I have seen it a little differently. I’m very surprised by how many people tell me stories about people stepping back from their black Greyhounds. I can understand a little fear if you meet a high prey dog whose ears stand up at attention, making her look like a tiny Doberman with a long tail. However, I can’t imagine that impression lasting long. She couldn’t maintain an scary face for more than two seconds if she tried. The only thing in danger of our girl are the rabbits. Well, cats and squirrels should probably beware, too, but we haven’t tested that theory yet. Toys and tennis balls are also endangered in her presence. I am sure that humans are completely safe around her, though.
I guess I’m surprised that some people can look at black dogs and see something scary, because that’s not what I see at all. Küster and Flattery are both works of canine art in my eyes. They actually have a lot in common. As the two youngsters here in the house, they both have a penchant for mischief. Both of them were blessed with a spectacular set of ears. Toys are not safe in their presence, especially tennis balls. Each of them has strong drives, although of different natures. They’re both very affectionate and soak up attention from people. Neither of them has ever met a stranger. The funny thing is, none of those things have anything to do with them being black.
People have told me through the years that black dogs are really hard to photograph, and I admit that was my biggest reservation about adopting Flattery. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep capturing that Greyhound spirit in a way that would make people out there want a Greyhound of their own. I took a few test pictures of her when we met her at the kennel, and when I looked back at those pictures, what struck me the most was her incredible eyes. So now, maybe between the two youngest members of our family we can start a new mission to make everybody out there want a black dog of their own.