Thinking of getting a puppy or kitten as a gift for someone during the holidays?  In the last episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, episode 31, I spoke about the thing you will want to do first and foremost to make sure the new pet will work out to be a joyous and welcome addition to the family.

Make sure that the type or breed of dog or cat you choose will be a good match for the person, people or family you are giving the pet.  Do some research first!  It can be fun and easy. Below, you’re going to find two resources, I really like,  that are going to help you know what kind of breed you should get.

First of all, here’s why to do this.

It’s the things we don’t tend to think about when we pick out a pet that can lead to frustration, unhappiness or animal behavior problems later – such as,  is the dog breed a challenging one to train, which ones have the tendency to bark or howl a lot, which cats naturally talk (meow) a lot, which dogs are kid friendly, or which cats  need a lot of attention?

We can be easily charmed by the looks of a puppy or kitten and its affectionate behavior when they are at the shop or shelter but this will not help when the dog breed you chose needs to run and move at least 2 hours a day to be sane and you are the type of family that lives in an apartment and barely have time to give the dog a 15  minute walk each day. Can you say, behavior problems?  To give the pet the best odds that it will stay in your home and be loved for the rest of its life and that you can handle the needs of the dog or cat check out these resources. I think they are both really good.


The first one, is for finding your perfect dog. This is a really cool website.  At there is a match up tool that determines which types of breeds and mixes may be a good fit for you and  your family.

Dog Matchup

Then you can browse their detailed dog breed profiles to read all about the characteristics of the different types of dogs. 

Dog Breed Selector

I really like that there are categories of the breeds you can look through such as dogs that: adapt well to apartment living, ones that are easy to train, which dogs have drooling potential and the flip side, dogs that are not big droolers.  There are many other designations like – dogs that are good for novice owners and most importantly the breeds with high energy levels and exercise needs and which breeds have lower ones.  Really helpful feature and its fun to look through no matter what. 

This website goes a long way to help you think about and find the dog breeds that can be a good match.  There is even an “Are You Ready” Quiz , you can take if you’re not sure you’re ready to have a pup or not.

Now, head over to the ASCPA Meet A Match™ Program.

This one helps you to figure out both dogs and cats that would be good for you. It is designed for matching you with dogs or cats that you would adopt from an animal shelter. First, lets talk about dogs. Dog shelters conduct an assessment on dogs 6 months and older (the Canine-ality Assessment) which helps them determine the individual needs of each dog. A battery of five tests help them to determine his or her general canine-ality including friendliness, playfulness, energy level, manners, motivation and drive.

It’s also very fun to look through and do. It color codes dogs into three designations,  easy maintenance (purple), average maintenance (orange), and high maintenance (green). Within each color category are three descriptions to help you better understand the dogs canine-ality.  Here are the category descriptions for adult dogs.  (Puppies are also divided into the three colors but have different descriptions. To learn more about puppy- ality, click here.  

Couch Potato
Like the easy life? Then I’m the perfect match for you. I’m a relaxed, laid-back kind of dog who enjoys long naps, watching movies, curling up on laps, and walking very short distances from the couch to the food bowl and back. (Internally motivated)

Constant Companion
Looking for an emotionally secure, mutually satisfying, low maintenance relationship? I am all you need. Let me sit at your feet, walk by your side, and I’ll be your devoted companion forever. (Socially motivated)


Teacher’s Pet
I’ve got the whole package — smart, fuzzy, four legs, love to learn and live to please. Go ahead, teach me anything. Sit, stay, balance your checkbook, I can do it all. Keep me entertained and I’ll be yours forever. (Externally motivated)

Shy yet charming canine searching for patient owner with relaxed lifestyle. Looking for gentle guidance to help me come out of my shell. Treat me sweet and kind and I’ll blossom. (Internally motivated)


Busy Bee
I’m a naturally playful, curious, and trusting canine. Take me for a big walk every day; give me something to do. After my job’s done, I’ll curl up in front of the fire with you in the evenings. (Externally motivated)


I’m a fun-loving, happy-all-the-time, glass-is-half-full kind of dog looking for someone who loves to laugh and play around. Must have a great sense of humor and some time to spend with me. I’m a dog on a mission to please you. (Socially motivated)

Life of the Party
I think everything is fun, interesting and meant for play, especially you. Anything you do, I’ll want to do too. With my own brand of surprises, life with me will keep you constantly on your toes, and the fun is guaranteed. (Socially motivated)

Want to get more exercise? Action is my middle name. My “Let’s GO!” lifestyle will keep you motivated to get outside and move. I’ve got tons of energy; and just like the sun, I’m burning and working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’ll run for miles, chase a ball for hours, and still want to play at the end of the day. (Externally motivated)

Free Spirit
Intelligent, independent, confident and clever, I prefer making my own decisions but will listen to you if you make a good case. We’re partners in this adventure. Treat me like one and we’ll both live happily ever after. (Internally motivated)

Which color of dogs will work well with you?  On the ASCPA Meet A Match™  website you can take a short easy survey (dog adopter survey) and you’ll find out which color categories of dogs blend well with your needs and expectations and helps conclude what kind of canine-ality you are looking for in a dog.

Many shelters across the United States are using this system. Call your local shelters to find out if they are using Meet A Match™ and then you can take your completed survey into the shelter so they can begin to match their dogs’ or cat’s behaviors to your expectations, experience, lifestyle, and home environment. Many of the dogs in the shelters that are using the program, will have identifying color cards on each of the dog’s kennels. Easy peesy!

If you’re looking to adopt a cat that will match well with your family, meeting a cat through the Feline-ality Adoption Program allows you to bring home a new companion already knowing something about them.  And you take a survey for cats just like for dogs to find out your color match. (cat adopter survey.) 

  • Green adopters are most successful with cats who adapt quickly to new situations.
  • Orange adopters are a good fit with easy-going cats.
  • Purple adopters are comfortable with cats who need time and encouragement to adjust to new surroundings.

You can see a poster showing the above cat color category descriptions.  Click here. aspca_felineality_poster


Additional Resources for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 31.

Title: Before Giving a Pet as a Gift, Do This First  & How Search and Rescue Dogs Find Missing People.

North Star Search and Rescue Website

North Star Search and Rescue on Facebook.


Chief Diane Stefanick and Shiloh.


Deputy Chief Ross Butterfield and Bosco.



Tracking dog.


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