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ASPCA®'s Meet Your Match®: Puppy-ality 101

Puppy facing camera

What Is Puppy-ality™?

Eeeny, meeny, miney, moe... No, that's not how we recommend that new puppy parents pick their perfect pooch! But we do know how hard it is choose a puppy who'll be compatible with your lifestyle—and even professionals agree that it's difficult to predict how puppies less than six months old will behave with their new families. That's why ASPCA experts have developed the Meet Your Match Puppy-ality Adoption Program (MYM), a fun color-coding method that sets adopters up for success from the moment they get their puppy home.

How Does Puppy-ality work?

If people have distinct personalities, then puppies have distinct puppy-alities! The Puppy-ality Adoption program helps you figure out what your true colors are so you can choose a pup whose personality best fits with yours.

The two components of Puppy-ality:

  • The Puppy-ality Assessment
  • The Dog Adopter Survey

The Puppy-ality Assessment: The folks at shelters using the Meet Your Match system will evaluate a pup to determine many aspects of his or her behavior, including:

  • Comfort level in a new environment
  • Social responses
  • Interest in play
  • Ease of handling
  • Tendency to guard food

Once they've been assessed, pups are given a color—either green, orange or purple—that tells potential adopters the kind of training and attention they'll likely need.

The Dog Adopter Survey: This one's for you, potential pup parents! When you are ready to adopt, you'll be asked to fill out a one-page survey—including questions about your lifestyle and how you see your dog fitting in your life. Sounds fun? It is... and fast, too—think magazine quiz, not college application.

Your results will tell the shelter what your "color" is—green, orange or purple.

  • Green adopters do best with puppies who like to be physically and mentally engaged.
  • Orange adopters are a good fit with the pups we like to describe as "middle of the road," who respond best to regular activity and interaction.
  • Purple peeps dig pups who have a laid-back attitude and would enjoy an easygoing lifestyle.

Once you know your color, you're off—with a color-coded guest pass in hand. As you pass the cages, you'll notice that each pup has a special color card, too. If you—re, say, a green adopter, pay special attention to green pups. Of course, you don't have to stick with your own color—love at first sight can happen. But knowing a little about that furry bundle of joy can help prepare you when you're at home, on your own.

Meet the Puppy-alities

Does the King of the Mountain sound perfect for you? Or would you rather watch the Detective? How ‘bout if the Class Clown comes to town?

There are nine Puppy-alities in all. Here's a taste of who's out there:

  • A canine classified as a Kindergartner (1 of 3 different purple pups) may feel like it's the first day of school..and he's not quite sure where to sit or where to eat. All he needs is a person to show him the ropes and be his mentor!
  • Rookie pups (1 of 3 different orange puppies) have got the whole package—brains, good looks and raw talent—and are looking for an inspirational coach to take them to the top.
  • The Super Hero (1 of 3 green puppy types) is ready to commit 110 percent! When there's a crumb dropped, he'll be there to pick it up. When there's a hole that needs digging, he's there with all four paws... get the idea?!

You can read all nine profiles here:

Puppy-ality chart