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Pet-friendly dating sites match up people

  • In this May 5, 2014 photo provided by Dana Humphrey, Joanie Pelzer poses with her dog Hubbell, a 9-year-old Chihuahua, in New York. When Pelzer signed up with a dog-friendly online dating service a few years ago, she was honest about her Chihuahua: He likes people more than other dogs, craves attention, steals food and can't stand to ride in the backseat of a car. Even with a man who loved animals as much as she did, he couldn’t keep up with her dog’s quirks. On their first date, Hubbell stole the man’s breakfast as they drove from New York City to Long Island. They only had one more date. (AP Photo/Dana Humphrey)

    In this May 5, 2014 photo provided by Dana Humphrey, Joanie Pelzer poses with her dog Hubbell, a 9-year-old Chihuahua, in New York. When Pelzer signed up with a dog-friendly online dating service a few years ago, she was honest about her Chihuahua: He likes people more than other dogs, craves attention, steals food and can't stand to ride in the backseat of a car. Even with a man who loved animals as much as she did, he couldn’t keep up with her dog’s quirks. On their first date, Hubbell stole the man’s breakfast as they drove from New York City to Long Island. They only had one more date. (AP Photo/Dana Humphrey)

  • In this May 5, 2014 photo provided by Dana Humphrey, Joanie Pelzer poses with her dog Hubbell, a 9-year-old Chihuahua, in New York. When Pelzer signed up with a dog-friendly online dating service a few years ago, she was honest about her Chihuahua: He likes people more than other dogs, craves attention, steals food and can't stand to ride in the backseat of a car. Even with a man who loved animals as much as she did, he couldn’t keep up with her dog’s quirks. On their first date, Hubbell stole the man’s breakfast as they drove from New York City to Long Island. They only had one more date. (AP Photo/Dana Humphrey)

    In this May 5, 2014 photo provided by Dana Humphrey, Joanie Pelzer poses with her dog Hubbell, a 9-year-old Chihuahua, in New York. When Pelzer signed up with a dog-friendly online dating service a few years ago, she was honest about her Chihuahua: He likes people more than other dogs, craves attention, steals food and can't stand to ride in the backseat of a car. Even with a man who loved animals as much as she did, he couldn’t keep up with her dog’s quirks. On their first date, Hubbell stole the man’s breakfast as they drove from New York City to Long Island. They only had one more date. (AP Photo/Dana Humphrey)

  • In this July 2014 photo provided by Kris Rotonda, Rotonda, who founded YouMustLoveDogsDating.com, poses with his girlfriend Denise Fernandez and three of his four dogs, Kobe, a bichon frise, Jordan, a bull mastiff German shepherd and Samoyed mix, and Coco, a Yorkie in Clearwater, Fla. "Dogs on first dates are amazing icebreakers," said Rotonda, who started up the site last year that now has 2 million members. “You find out right off the bat how everyone in a relationship will fit in.” (AP Photo/Rebecca Brittain)

    In this July 2014 photo provided by Kris Rotonda, Rotonda, who founded YouMustLoveDogsDating.com, poses with his girlfriend Denise Fernandez and three of his four dogs, Kobe, a bichon frise, Jordan, a bull mastiff German shepherd and Samoyed mix, and Coco, a Yorkie in Clearwater, Fla. "Dogs on first dates are amazing icebreakers," said Rotonda, who started up the site last year that now has 2 million members. “You find out right off the bat how everyone in a relationship will fit in.” (AP Photo/Rebecca Brittain)

  • In this July 2014 photo provided by Kris Rotonda, Rotonda, who founded YouMustLoveDogsDating.com, poses with his girlfriend Denise Fernandez and three of his four dogs, Kobe, a bichon frise, Jordan, a bull mastiff German shepherd and Samoyed mix, and Coco, a Yorkie in Clearwater, Fla. "Dogs on first dates are amazing icebreakers," said Rotonda, who started up the site last year that now has 2 million members. “You find out right off the bat how everyone in a relationship will fit in.” (AP Photo/Rebecca Brittain)

    In this July 2014 photo provided by Kris Rotonda, Rotonda, who founded YouMustLoveDogsDating.com, poses with his girlfriend Denise Fernandez and three of his four dogs, Kobe, a bichon frise, Jordan, a bull mastiff German shepherd and Samoyed mix, and Coco, a Yorkie in Clearwater, Fla. "Dogs on first dates are amazing icebreakers," said Rotonda, who started up the site last year that now has 2 million members. “You find out right off the bat how everyone in a relationship will fit in.” (AP Photo/Rebecca Brittain)

  • In this May 5, 2014 photo provided by Dana Humphrey, Joanie Pelzer poses with her dog Hubbell, a 9-year-old Chihuahua, in New York. When Pelzer signed up with a dog-friendly online dating service a few years ago, she was honest about her Chihuahua: He likes people more than other dogs, craves attention, steals food and can't stand to ride in the backseat of a car. Even with a man who loved animals as much as she did, he couldn’t keep up with her dog’s quirks. On their first date, Hubbell stole the man’s breakfast as they drove from New York City to Long Island. They only had one more date. (AP Photo/Dana Humphrey)
  • In this May 5, 2014 photo provided by Dana Humphrey, Joanie Pelzer poses with her dog Hubbell, a 9-year-old Chihuahua, in New York. When Pelzer signed up with a dog-friendly online dating service a few years ago, she was honest about her Chihuahua: He likes people more than other dogs, craves attention, steals food and can't stand to ride in the backseat of a car. Even with a man who loved animals as much as she did, he couldn’t keep up with her dog’s quirks. On their first date, Hubbell stole the man’s breakfast as they drove from New York City to Long Island. They only had one more date. (AP Photo/Dana Humphrey)
  • In this July 2014 photo provided by Kris Rotonda, Rotonda, who founded YouMustLoveDogsDating.com, poses with his girlfriend Denise Fernandez and three of his four dogs, Kobe, a bichon frise, Jordan, a bull mastiff German shepherd and Samoyed mix, and Coco, a Yorkie in Clearwater, Fla. "Dogs on first dates are amazing icebreakers," said Rotonda, who started up the site last year that now has 2 million members. “You find out right off the bat how everyone in a relationship will fit in.” (AP Photo/Rebecca Brittain)
  • In this July 2014 photo provided by Kris Rotonda, Rotonda, who founded YouMustLoveDogsDating.com, poses with his girlfriend Denise Fernandez and three of his four dogs, Kobe, a bichon frise, Jordan, a bull mastiff German shepherd and Samoyed mix, and Coco, a Yorkie in Clearwater, Fla. "Dogs on first dates are amazing icebreakers," said Rotonda, who started up the site last year that now has 2 million members. “You find out right off the bat how everyone in a relationship will fit in.” (AP Photo/Rebecca Brittain)

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 smart phones 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.

Many dating sites cater to religious, cultural and political preferences, but won’t focus as heavily on interests like pets, music or travel, said Karen North, a professor of social media at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism.

“If you find somebody with the same lifestyle passion, you don’t have to start out at square one,” North said.

But some veterans of the dating-service industry say focusing on a canine connection only adds an extra hurdle to finding love.

“When you consider how challenging it already is to find someone who offers what you are seeking in a romantic partner, and who seeks what you are offering, and where there is also mutual chemistry, and the timing is right . . . you have to wonder who in their right mind would want to make it even more challenging by insisting on canine chemistry,” said Trish McDermott, who spent 10 years as the dating expert and spokeswoman for Match.com.

Associated Press

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