What Makes Dogs Hard to get Adopted?

What makes dogs hard to get adopted?  We get asked this question quite a bit.  We wish there wasn’t an answer to it.  That all dogs, no matter what, would be easy to adopt out.  And I do truly believe that there is someone out there for every dog.  It’s just whether or not we can find those special people in time.

What makes dogs hard to get adopted

Having to be an only pet makes dogs hard to get adopted.

Shep, long term Orphans
Shep, 4 years in the shelter because he has to be an only dog. He’s also a big black senior dog.

This is the number one reason that dogs linger in the shelters and rescues. It’s hard to find dogs that can’t be around other animals forever homes. It’s hard to find even a foster home for a dog that can’t be with any other pets, because most foster homes have their own pets, plus the pets they foster.  And a lot of potential adopters already have at least one other pet in the home.

The bigger and older they are, the harder is it to adopt them out.  Such as Shep, the big friendly Shepard mix that’s been languishing in the shelter for over 4 years now.  He gets very little attention, even online, despite even having been featured on the local television morning show.  But he not only has to be an only pet, he’s also black and a senior dog.

Being Black makes dogs hard to get adopted. 

Little Lucky
Little Lucky is still available for adoption. She’s all black.

Black dogs are hard to get good photos of, and thus harder to adopt out.  Big black dogs are even harder than small black dogs to get adopted out.  Black dogs are often passed over for flashier dogs.  Some people think black dogs look more threatening than other colors.

Even with puppies, as I just recently saw at our adoption event for Mama Lucky’s puppies.  The little girl who looked like a German Short Haired Pointer, the flashiest of the bunch was adopted first.  At our adoption event the brown puppy, the black and tan puppy, and the two with some white on them drew all kinds of attention.  The three little mostly black ones, drew much less attention.  Two of them, the boys, had applications in pretty quickly.  One because he was the biggest in the litter (and had a family following his progress for a month.), and the second because I did some talking with a family who was un-decided.  I just mentioned how smart he was, and that he didn’t have a single application in yet.  But the little mostly black girl didn’t.  Luckily, in her case anyway, that just means she gets to spend more time with us.  Most black dogs linger in kennels for the duration.

Medical issues make dogs hard to get adopted.

Shelby, long-term shelter animal
Shelby is a long-term resident at a No-Kill animal shelter , due to her allergies, and need for a special diet.

Many families looking to adopt rescue dogs aren’t willing to take on dogs that have special medical issues. Even if it’s something easy to control, such as skin problems controlled with a special diet, or diabetes, easily controlled by daily injections.

Small dogs, especially Dachshunds tend to have back problems, they also linger in shelters and foster homes waiting on the perfect family willing to deal with their limitations. Which often include no small children or other animals, due to their fragile backs.  Making them even harder to find forever homes for.

This one is slightly more understandable though. Taking care of a dog with medical issues can be harder financially, physically, and even emotionally.  But it doesn’t make them any less loving or deserving of love than any other dog.


Bully Breeds are hard to get adopted.

Nahla, 8 year old Spay Female Pit Bull Terrier Mix
Nahla, 8 year old Spay Female Pit Bull Terrier Mix

Bully breeds in general, and Pit Bulls, Pit mixes, or anything that may remotely resemble a Pit Bull, are harder to get adopted than other breeds.  Pit Bulls have a bad reputation, an unjust bad reputation.  In the 70-90’s it was the German Shepards, the Doberman Pinschers, the Rottweilers.  Nowadays, it’s the Pit Bulls. Long ago Pit Bulls were considered “Nanny Dogs”.  But thanks to the scum of the earth dog fighters, Pit Bulls and the like are feared by many.  It’s an unjust fear though, Pit Bulls are no more likely to turn on their owners than any other breed of dog.  The media doesn’t help either, by playing on the public’s fear of bully breed dogs and splashing only bad press about them to the general public.

The Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics Behind Dog Bites, is a great read on the subject.

Senior Dogs are hard to get adopted.

Barney is a senior dog still looking for his forever home!

Although a trend is beginning, to adopt senior dogs and not let them spend their golden years in shelters, it’s still in the beginning stages.  Families looking to adopt dogs, generally, don’t want to adopt a senior dog knowing that they won’t have as much time with the dogs before it passes than they would with a younger dog.

But senior dogs are sweet old souls, who just want to live out the rest of their lives in comfort.  There are lots of reasons why older dogs make better pets, especially for busy families without the time to train young dogs.

Petfinder is filled with senior dogs desperately looking for their forever homes before it’s too late!

Senior dogs are so lovable, and not the long-term commitment of a younger dog!  A lot of shelters even have special programs to get senior dogs placed with their counterparts, senior humans.

Bonded Pairs of dogs are hard to get adopted.

Chloe and Phoenix are looking for a retirement home! Bonded Pair
Chloe and Phoenix are looking for a retirement home! Bonded Pair

Bonded pairs that don’t like to be without each other are harder to adopt out.  Many people looking to adopt are simply not ready to take on two dogs, instead of a single.

Bonded pairs of dogs are special though.  To witness the way they take care of and rely on each other is amazing.

We have a bonded pair here, the Little Boys, Santana and Pantera. Our mis-matched bookends.  You can’t have one without the other. Although they had lots of interested individually, at the time no one was willing to take on a bonded pair of young, un-trained, Jack Russell Terrier mixes.  So they became foster failures, just so they could stay together. And now, many years later, they’re still pretty much inseparable.

A few years later, another bonded pair of dogs came into our lives.  Snuggie, our permanent final refuge foster and her Sister, Baby (We called her Grammy.)  Her sister crossed the bridge almost 3 years ago now.  And she was a lost soul for a while without having her sister to care for.  But she’s doing just fine with our other older dogs now.  She even plays with the foster puppies that come through, on occasion.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.