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Black dogs: breeds, myths and legends

Guardians of hell or harbingers of death, black dogs suffer from a bad reputation. Where do the superstitions around the black dog come from? What is the black dog syndrome » ? What are the breeds of black dogs?

According to some popular beliefs, black colored dogs would bring bad luck or be a harbinger of death.

Black dog: beliefs, myths and superstitions

The black dog is a victim of popular false beliefs, associated with the color black. Indeed, black is in Europe the color of mourning, sadness, despair and death.

It is at the time of ancient Egypt that we find the first beliefs around the black dog. Anubis, the god of the dead and the conductor of souls, featured the head of a black canine.

In Greek mythology, Cerberus, guardian of the Underworld, was a monstrous black dog with three heads and a serpent’s tail.

Later in European beliefs, black dogs were associated with death. In the collective imagination, he is close to the wolf. In Britain, the black dog was a specter whose appearance was considered an omen of death.

The “black dog syndrome”

We all know the superstitions, myths and beliefs surrounding the black cat, but the dog seems to suffer from this bad reputation too.

Indeed, the color black and the negative connotations it conveys has led some animal shelters in the United States to speak of “black dog syndrome” (Black Dog Syndrome). In France, the site Second chancean animal adoption platform, has also launched the “Adopt a Black Pearl” operation, which highlights black dogs and cats for adoption.

Black dog breeds:

The Scottish Terrier

The Scottish terrier

The Scottish Terrier or the Scottish Terrier is a stocky dog, short on legs, with a strong character. This small dog from Scotland was once used to hunt pests. Today the Scottish Terrier is an affectionate dog, close to his master and knows how to be a very good guard dog.

  • Lifetime : the life expectancy of a Scottish Terrier is, on average, between 12 and 15 years.
  • Height and weight : females and males weigh 8 kg to 10 kg and measure 25 cm to 28 cm at the withers.
  • Physical features: the head of the Scottish amazes with its bushy eyebrows and mustache.
  • Hair : its body is covered with a hard and dense hair generally black, and which requires regular maintenance.
  • Character : This breed of dog has a strong character.
  • Living conditions : the Scottish is a very active dog that needs exercise. However, he adapts to living in an apartment if he is out regularly.
  • Health : this dog is predisposed to contracting various diseases affecting the breed, including Scotty Cramp (Scottie cramp) and some dermatological conditions.

The Schipperke

The Schipperke

The Schipperke is a small breed of Belgian dog, hence its name “little shepherd”. This very loyal dog is both an excellent guardian and a very pleasant companion dog. This lively and curious dog needs a lot of exercise.

  • Lifetime : the life expectancy of a Schipperke is, on average, between 13 and 15 years.
  • Height and weight : a female weighs 3 kg to 5 kg and measures 30 cm to 32 cm at the withers. A male can weigh up to 8 kg and measures around 34 cm.
  • Physical features: his thick hair gives him the appearance of a mane.
  • Hair : this dog has a very dense hair only black.
  • Character : The Schipperke is an intelligent and very sensitive little dog. He needs a soft and calm education.
  • Living conditions : this breed of dog adapts to all lifestyles. However, this little shepherd needs to exercise regularly.
  • Health : The Schipperke is a robust and resistant dog.

The Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is one of the oldest European companion dogs. Its name in German means “griffin-monkey”. Indeed the simian expression of this dog differentiates it from other breeds. This little dog is a very good rodent hunter. Sometimes stubborn, he loves playing with children.

  • Lifetime : the life expectancy of an Affenpinscher is, on average, between 12 and 14 years.
  • Height and weight : females and males weigh 4 kg to 6 kg and measure 25 cm to 30 cm at the withers.
  • Physical features: this dog is recognizable by its hard and completely black coat.
  • Hair : his hair is coarse and dense in texture.
  • Character : the Affenpinscher is a courageous and alert dog that enjoys family life.
  • Living conditions : this little dog adapts very well to life in an apartment if he is sufficiently walked and stimulated.
  • Health : this breed of dog is predisposed to certain diseases: persistence of the arterial duct (heart defect), dislocation of the patella and Legg-Perthes-Calvé disease (necrosis of the head and neck of the femur).

The Kelpie

The Kelpie

The Kelpie, also known as the Australian Shepherd, is an excellent herding dog, capable of herding sheep. This dog from Australia appeared in the 1870s. This athletic and enduring dog can quickly get bored if he is not busy. Sweet and docile, this dog is very devoted to his master.

  • Lifetime : the life expectancy of a Kelpie is, on average, between 10 and 14 years.
  • Height and weight : a female weighs from 11 kg to 20 kg and measures from 43 cm to 48 cm at the withers. A male can weigh up to 22 kg and measures around 51 cm.
  • Physical features: the Kelpie is characterized by its head similar to that of a fox.
  • Hair : this dog has a short coat that is generally black in color. It can also be black and tan, red and tan, chocolate (brown) or smoke blue.
  • Character : this excellent herding dog can’t stand being locked up, he always needs to be on the move.
  • Living conditions : this dog seeking physical activity thrives in wide open spaces. A house with a large garden is necessary for the well being of this dog.
  • Health : this dog has a very solid health. There is no particular breed predisposition.

The Russian Black Terrier

The Russian Black Terrier

The Russian Black Terrier is a dog originating from Russia, as its name suggests. This robustly built dog is considered one of the largest Terriers. This dog, formerly used for guarding military buildings, is today a well-balanced and pleasant companion dog.

  • Lifetime : the life expectancy of a Black Russian Terrier is, on average, 10 to 14 years.
  • Height and weight : females and males weigh from 36 kg to 50 kg and measure from 68 cm to 76 cm at the withers.
  • Physical features: this dog is distinguished by its well-furnished beard and mustache.
  • Hair : its body is covered with hard, wavy black hair.
  • Character : Endowed with a strong temperament, this dog is very suspicious of strangers. It requires a firm education.
  • Living conditions : The Black Russian Terrier is a large, powerful and lively dog, he needs space to let off steam.
  • Health : Due to its large size, the Black Russian Terrier has a predisposition to elbow or even hip dysplasia.

Adopting an animal commits you, it is a decision that you will have to think carefully about. Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian or the shelter closest to you before starting. They will be able to give you their advice on the breed of dog that will suit you best.


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