Animal shelter, Pet Alliance of Orlando, Florida started to notice that a lot of people were adopting their new dogs on looks alone and not really getting to know the dog's personality first. In an effort to get people to see who the dogs really are in a fun and very (nerdy) unique way, the shelter has started to place the dogs into Harry Potter Hogwarts (otherwise known as Pawgwarts) houses. The shelter says it's no longer labeling them by breed. Instead, they are labeling them by the animal's personality.

The Pet Alliance website reads, "To encourage people to adopt based on personality, we decided to show them for their individual behaviors and personalities." The idea is a great way to get people to realize that dogs, just like humans, have very different personalities, even though we all look alike. Stephen Bardy, the executive director at Pet Alliance said that he was talking with other staff members at the shelter about how to get people to focus less on the breed of the dog and more on the personality.

After Stephen Bardy had the open discussion, their animal behaviorist came up with the magical idea of separating the dogs by personality in Harry Potter style. Bardy explains.

"Our animal behaviorist, Diane Andersen, (and Harry Potter guru), created a test using toys that represent different qualities of each house. The dogs are tested individually similar to the Sorting Hat process in the novels. In our case, the dog's choice of toy indicates his house, not the Sorting Hat, but we do have one on hand."

Via toys, physical obstacles, interactions with humans and fellow canines, and monitoring of the dogs' independent demeanor, Andersen's test looks to identify the dominant personality trait in any of the shelter's dogs and then separates them into Hogwarts houses.

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After the tests, the dogs are then placed in their Pawgwarts house. For example, a dog who takes to learning obedience cues or quickly figures out a puzzle has the knowledge of a Ravenclaw. A small dog who has the determination to climb the agility A-Frame possesses the ambition of Slytherin house. The affectionate happy-to-know-you dogs embody the friendliness of a Hufflepuff, and a dog who embraces change and new things has the bravery known to all Gryffindors. Once the dogs are all sorted, they get a banner for their cage that announces their respective house. In addition, the canines all get scarfs to chew up.

Apparently, the Harry Potter inspired idea has brought in a lot of people who have taken the test to see which Hogwarts house that they would personally fit into. Next, that person has started to look for a dog with the same traits that they have. The sorting quiz on the Pet Alliance website has been taken over 30,000 times as more and more Harry Potter fans find out about the brilliant sorting idea. The cats at the shelter haven't been sorted because, well, cats are mostly jerks anyway. Head over to the Pet Alliance Orlando to take the sorting quiz on your own.

Kevin Burwick