As for the term, we’ve all heard it, the origin although seemingly to be of American invention, probably is not. Younger folks probably thing it was invented by the folks who wanted to worry about Ralphie shooting his eye out with his Red Ryder BB gun in the movie, “A Christmas Story.”
It seems that the folks over in England want to claim the origin of the term, probably rightfully so. There was a book, “The Child in Folk-Thought,” published in England back in 1896 that they claim first used the term. In the book, the author discusses American children using terms like, “I dare you; I black dog dare you; I double black dog dare you.” Over the years, the black dog part was simplified to the “dog dare” and “double dog dare.”
The “black dog” term was slang for a bad or counterfeit shilling, the term used by thieves dating back to around 1700 in England. Why a black dog? It seems black dogs were scarier than others. I wish someone would tell my big black poodle that he was scary; although I don’t think it would work. He seems to roll over when a Chihuahua comes into the yard.