They say that beauty is skin deep. Apparently, the same goes for cuteness, which is why the ASPCA’s Meet Your Match pet pairing program — designed to match pet and human personalities — has been such a success.

Instead of bringing home the most adorable pooch or kitten that first catches their eye, soon-to-be pet owners who sign up for Meet Your Match are encouraged to choose based on compatibility.

For dogs, the process starts with a 15-minute animal analysis, which pairs the shelter pet with a color that corresponds to the animal’s personality, persistence level and motivation to interact with toys or people.

Emily Weiss, Ph.D., CAAB, the ASPCA’s vice president of shelter research and development — who owns three dogs, two miniature cows and a llama — describes green as “the Donald Trump of dogs, the life of the party.” The nine “canine-alities” also include purple, “couch potatoes,” and orange, “wallflowers.”

Cats, on the other hand, are judged based on “valiance,” or how they respond to new situations and environments. “Purple is less valiant, so when you take home a ‘secret admirer,’ ‘love bug’ or ‘private investigator,’ you may not see the cat very much at first,” says Weiss.

Once potential adopters fill out a 19-item questionnaire, they’re matched with appropriate pets. For both cats and dogs, the type of breed is less important than you’d think.

“Believe it or not, while a Jack Russell terrier is more likely to be a green than a purple, there are purple Jack Russells,” notes Weiss. “We’re looking at the individual dog or cat, not the breed. If someone takes home an animal based on appearance and breed type alone, they could go home with displaced expectations.”

Of course, the secret is not just to find compatible personalities, but to also set up realistic expectations for owners, so that the relationship endures.

“People often make decisions based on their heart and not their head, and maybe that won’t be the best match,” says Weiss. “The beauty of this program is that we can help shift perspective and set that person up with the right expectations. Love conquers all — especially if you have the right tools.”

Read the rest of the story by Nora Zelevansky on Vetstreet.

Also on Vetstreet: is a new animal health and lifestyle site dedicated to giving you the most accurate pet information possible, so you can keep your dogs and cats healthy and happy. Our articles are written and reviewed by leading veterinarians, journalists, and animal health experts.

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