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Sick of the People on Dating Apps? Now There’s a Tinder for Dogs

3 minute read

The person-to-pet trickle down effect has provided dogs with everything from facials to Halloween costumes. It was only a matter of time until dogs got a dating app, too.

Bark & Co.—the company behind monthly dog-treat bundle service BarkBox and on-demand, in-home veterinarian service BarkCare—recently launched BarkBuddy. Which, as co-founder Henrik Werdelin says, “in short is like Tinder for dogs.” Because, let’s face it, you swipe right for guys with puppies in their photos anyway.

But don’t worry, BarkBuddy isn’t for creepy breeding purposes. (There was actually a Kickstarter for a dog-breeds-with-dog matchmaking app that only raised $187 out of a $50,0000 goal). Rather, BarkBuddy is to match lonely humans with single dogs who are up for adoption at nearby shelters.

“There are 250,000 dogs in the database, and we are open to talking to any shelter about joining us,” Werdelin says.

Here’s how it works: The first step is downloading the app, currently only available on iPhone, and listing your preferences of dog size, age, and gender. Then location-based tracking finds dogs in your area, and a bunch of different dogs, looking for love, come on screen.


You can click on their picture to get contact information for the relevant shelter. (Yes, you have to call them. You can’t just order a puppy via the app.)


Swipe right to add the dog to your list of favorites (the dog automatically swipes right for you, too, because they’re equal opportunity lovers), and left to pass.

Based on what dogs users swipe right on, a BarkBuddy algorithm narrows down dog preferences and specializes what dogs get shown.


But you don’t need to have a type. “Sometimes people might not even know what they’re looking for, but they get that instant emotional reaction when they see it,” Werdelin said.

And just like some people play Tinder for fun and not to date, Werdelin expects that there will be some casual browsers: “A lot of us just love dogs a lot, so the thought of sitting and swiping through pictures of dogs is very appealing.”

Unlike Tinder, Werdelin isn’t expecting a lot of the dogs to show off bathroom mirror selfies in their profiles. “I guess puppy eyes is going to be their cliche thing,” he says.

Bark & Co. isn’t the first company to try to meld the weird world of dating sites with pet adoption. The ASPCA placed targeted ads on OKCupid in February as part of a pro-bono campaign, making them look like dating profiles, to help homeless pets find true love.

“In the four days following the launch of the campaign, 6 dogs and 35 cats were adopted, with an impressive 28 cats finding homes on that Saturday and Sunday!” the ASPCA tells TIME.

BarkBuddy also hopes that it can streamline the adoption process by creating a quick pre-approval process. “We’re going to try to make it easier for you to be approved to get a dog,” Werdelin says. “It can be complicated with required home visits and letters from landlords, which is a process you often have to go through before you even meet a dog and know its a match.”

Considering how many positive responses a guy who posed as a dog on Tinder got, the real thing will probably grow pretty popular. After all, who wouldn’t want to swipe through cute dogs instead of people?

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