Have dog, will date: Pet-friendly dating sites match up people, pooches

On these dating sites, a passion for pets will help you find more than just puppy love. Sites like PetsDating.com and YouMustLoveDogsDating.com have found a new niche as singles flock to computers and smartphones to find relationships, connecting dog owners to potential mates who enjoy long walks in the dog park and slobbery canine kisses as much as they do. Many of the sites encourage users to bring their dogs on first dates to break the ice or size up canine chemistry. Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a professor of marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, says having a common interest such as pets can help the search for love.

Having a theme that is … about one’s passion makes it feel like you are looking for a needle in a smaller and far more relevant and appealing haystack.

Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a professor of marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco

Kris Rotonda, the founder of one of the dog-focused dating services, YouMustLoveDogsDating.com, agrees that focusing on common interests helps to identify the ideal partner. Rotonda’s site was started last year and now has 2 million members. However, other veterans of the dating-service industry say focusing on a canine connection only adds an extra hurdle to finding love. Trish McDermott, who works for gay, lesbian and bisexual matchmaking service OneGoodLove.com, points out that new love is hard enough to foster, without any added issues. McDermott says considering how challenging it already is to find someone who offers what a person seeks in a romantic partner, nobody in their right mind would want to make it even more challenging by insisting on canine chemistry.

To squeeze doggie behavior under the first date microscope and to analyze every little wag, nip or bark as further commentary on compatibility is just another way to uncover the fatal flaw of an otherwise potential romance.

Trish McDermott, who works for dating service OneGoodLove.com