Superstition has it that black cats are unlucky, leading some to avoid them.
But it turns out that their canine counterparts are also being shunned for their dark fur, according to an animal charity.
The Scottish SPCA explained that dark coloured rescue dogs in their Dundee centre tend to be the last to find new homes, a tendency known as “Black Dog Syndrome”.
A number of Scottish women’s institutes have now stepped in to help the pooches by knitting colourful woollen overcoats to make them more attractive to potential re-homers.
Scottish SPCA superintendent Sharon Comrie said: “This syndrome really does affect the adoption of animals in our care and, through no fault of their own, black dogs are almost always the last to find new homes. It’s a really creative idea to knit coloured jackets to show these dogs off to their best advantage.
“Knowing that the SWI has members in every part of Scotland, many of whom are extremely dextrous when it comes to traditional crafts, means that we’ll hopefully be able to help animals in the nine rescue and rehoming centres we operate in Scotland.
“Knitted jackets will be ideal because they will be soft on the skin, have an element of give and stretch, and can be created in any, or many, colours of wool.
“Every knitted jacket that we receive will be put to good use at our rehoming centres across Scotland and with the SWI knitters’ support, we will be able to build up a collection of special jackets for our dark dogs to wear with pride.”
The knitting of the technicolour coats forms part of the celebrations to mark 100 years of the SWI.
SWI national chairman Christine Hutton said: “We are encouraging our members to pick up their knitting needles and help a homeless hound.
“It’s sad to think of black dogs being less appealing simply because of the colour of their coat.”
* For more on this story see Friday’s Courier, also available as a digital edition.