Dog communication - are black dogs harder to read?

(15 Posts)

I may be imagining it but I'm sure BerthaDog is more suspicious of black coloured dogs than others. She tends to ignore them whereas most other dogs she's instantly friendly with.

She's fine with black dogs she knows but never gets that instant 'play with me' vibe going with those she's not met before.

Anyone know if this a dog thing generally or is it just her?

basildonbond Fri 10-Jan-14 21:14:12

Our pup is wary of patterdales or dogs which look like patterdales (so quite a few medium black terrier ish types) after an unprovoked attack a few weeks ago but he loves black labs and spaniels - has no problem reading them at all

She's never had a bad experience with a black dog that I am aware of. I'd understand that more.

IDoAllMyOwnStunts Fri 10-Jan-14 21:20:39

I read somewhere that black dogs faces are harder for other dogs to read as their features don't stand out. My dog certainly gets a bit more nervous of all black dogs.

Lilcamper Fri 10-Jan-14 21:32:11

Yes, definitely, I am the owner of a black lab and a studying behaviourist, I used to have my dog on a head halter, I found it distorted his facial features and dogs would have a go at him on a regular basis. I put him on a harness and found he gets on with a lot more dogs but he is still at a disadvantage because other dogs cannot see subtle changes in his face like eyebrow movements or wrinkles in his forehead.

bassetfeet Fri 10-Jan-14 22:03:01

We do the sharp about turn trot with bassetdog if I see a black lab approaching bless it . I believe it true .

basildonbond Fri 10-Jan-14 22:08:14

weirdly our pup is terrified of jack russells even though he's at least twice their size - as soon as he sees one his tail goes between his legs and he sort of tiptoes round them and doesn't relax until they've passed - he's never had a bad experience with a JRT so I've no idea what that's about!

moosemama Sat 11-Jan-14 10:53:00

Yes, it's harder for dogs to real the more subtle facial signals in black dogs and this can make them more wary of them. The easiest dogs for other to 'read' facially are those with a wolf-like mask and/or facial highlights, such as eyebrow tips, like Malamutes, Huskies and GSDs, as their masking highlights their facial features.

My pup is fearful of other dogs anyway - although getting there now with a lot of hard work - but is definitely more worried by black dogs, especially if he sees them head-on and can't read their body position.

Basil, Pip is most scared of little/toy breeds as well. It's quite embarrassing sometimes when someone approaches with a nice friendly little dog and he hides behind me or tries to run away. blush The only exception to that rule was the tiniest Border Terrier puppy I've ever seen that came to our puppy classes. He loved her, but only because she slept through the first two classes, her owners let him sniff her all over while she slept and he could approach without her ... heaven forbid - looking at him! grin They were best of friends by the end of the 6 week course, but it seems he doesn't extend this courtesy to all Border Terriers.

Thank you, that's really interesting. She's become far more cautious in her approach to other dogs generally recently Which is a good thing as she needed to learn some manners she's always been naturally submissive with some dogs, often picking up signals from some distance away, but the difference with black dogs was intriguing me.

Floralnomad Sat 11-Jan-14 15:06:45

Well I have a black Patterdale X and he is ok with all dogs off lead but on lead can't seem to stand yellow / golden dogs ,which is unfortunate as I seem to live in golden retriever central .

PipkinsPal Sat 11-Jan-14 15:07:58

Yes because you can't see the print smile

littlewhitebag Sat 11-Jan-14 20:37:48

My dog loves black dogs and white ones, gold ones, brown ones, rainbow ones any dogs really. grin She is a yellow lab.

bakewelltartandcustard Sun 12-Jan-14 20:48:11

My dog hates one we meet with hair all over his face. I'm sure it's because she cannot tell which end is which.

JethroTull Sun 12-Jan-14 20:54:06

I have a boxer. Not many other dogs like him. I read this was because Boxers have a squashed face so other dogs find them difficult to read. It could be this but it could also be because he's got no off switch...

Our lurcher hates small black fluffy dogs. If she is on a lead and they come up, she actually growls.
She's never had a run in with one but i went to a behavioural lecture a couple of months ago, where the speaker said fluffy faces obscure a lot of doggy communication, especially when humans get them clipped into weird shapes. I believe this and the blackness do make my lurcher nervous.
Being a sighthound she really relies on vision, and only needs to see a greyhoundish/ whippety/ lurchery silhouette coming towards us to get all bouncy and puppyish.
The GSD X, on the other hand, definitely responds to smell and size. He is bolshy with all but dogs bigger than him!

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