In addition to dogs that attract bad adopters, there are dogs that don’t attract many, or even any, adopters.
A fat dog
I’ve encountered applicants who didn’t want a fat dog. I think some of it is superficial (they imagined something different), sometimes it’s that they are concerned that the dog is unhealthy, and some of it has to do with the idea that if a dog is fat, it probably isn’t as bad off as the skinny dog in the run next to her. None of those is a smart reason to reject a dog. First of all, dogs with extra weight often are that way because they are underexercised, not because they have any underlying health problems. When it comes to dogs surrendered to rescues and pounds, it is almost consistently true that during that last few months of their time in their old homes, they have been extremely limited in where they have been allowed to go within their homes, and in the amount of exercise they get. Second, dogs can be both overweight and malnourished: it wasn’t uncommon for us to get dogs who had been fed only human-food scraps, which can be overly caloric while providing few nutritional benefits.
A black dog
There are a lot of people I know who adore black silky dogs, but then again, I have friends of discriminating taste. The bottom line for most people, though, is that they tend to gravitate to yellow, biscuit, or white dogs. I think one very simple unconscious reason for this: I think black dogs are scarier to inexperienced dog owners. Black is a viable color for a mammal in the wild. There are black wolves, black bears, and black foxes. Yellow mammals tend to be…dogs. Another reason for this is that many people are first exposed to their pets through Petfinder and other websites. The pictures there aren’t normally top quality, or taken in optimal lighting. As a result, the black dogs’ features don’t stand out the way they should.
An old dog
Old dogs will die sooner, have less energy, and cost more in upkeep. These are all logical reasons for steering away from a senior pet. However, senior pets are also more grateful, better behaved, and have less energy. They also can fit well into your life timelines. If you are thinking about starting a family in ten years, that puppy you are adopting now will be a senior citizen in a house with a baby. That’s not an ideal fit. However, the senior dog you adopt now will not be around. Yes, it’s cold to say it, but it’s also true. If you are concerned about the health costs, check around to see if there are any rescues that set up perma-fosters for senior dogs. That allows humans who might not have the budget for senior dogs’ veterinary costs to give a home to a dog who would otherwise end up at a shelter. Finally, it’s tragic but true that some senior dogs have made it through their lives without anyone ever loving them. The time is running out for them to experience love and kindness. By adopting a senior, you can have the heady experience of introducing a dog to the idea that they are special and important to someone. Until you experience that, you can’t possibly comprehend what a privilege that is for you.
An odd dog
There are some dogs who just don’t look like much, especially when they are unhappy. Their coats are undistinguished. Their bodies are disproportional. They are fluffy in some spots and have short hair in others. A lot of people won’t look twice at such a dog. However, when you meet these dogs, you’ll quickly find that everything that made them look odd at first makes them all the cuter now. Besides, it’s fun to have a dog that doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
An ugly dog
Trick category. There is no such thing as an ugly dog.