Big Black Dogs—or BBDs, as shelter workers call them—undeniably have it tough. Many animal shelter workers report that adoptable black dogs are frequently passed over in favour of lighter-coloured pups, leaving the black dogs to languish in shelters or, far worse, not make it out at all. They call this Black Dog Syndrome and the reasons are diverse and unclear: it could be negative stereotypes or it could simply be greater intake of black dogs, but one thing is indisputable—there are an awful lot of black dogs patiently waiting for their shot at a forever home.

A contributing factor is that black dogs are more difficult to photograph, and a good photo is crucial to sparking the interest of a potential adopter. Enter photographer Shaina Fishman who, upon hearing of the phenomenon, decided to tackle Black Dog Syndrome with her striking photo series, Overlooked Black Dogs. Shaina teamed up with Foster Dogs NYC to take photos of 14 black rescue dogs in foster care against a black background and the results are incredible. “While I can’t take great photos of every black dog in a shelter,” Shaina says. “I can bring awareness to the problem and with this series show that black dogs are stunningly beautiful.” We couldn’t agree more.

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