5 min read

Shelter Starts Sorting Dogs Into Hogwarts Houses To Help Them Get Adopted

They sort them by personality — and there are lots and lots of Hufflepuffs.

A shelter in Florida was noticing that a lot of people looking to adopt dogs were focusing on breed rather than personality. Wanting people to look at their dogs for who they really are, the shelter came up with a fun (and super nerdy) way to showcase their dogs’ personalities — using Harry Potter.

harry potter dogs
Art Faulkner

Stephen Bardy, executive director at Pet Alliance Orlando, was chatting with other staff members at the shelter about how to get people to focus less on breed and more on personality when they came up with the genius idea to start sorting dogs into Hogwarts houses. Each dog is sorted based on his personality, and the shelter actually has a very sophisticated system for figuring out which dog belongs in which house, just like the Sorting Hat

harry potter dogs
Art Faulkner

“Our animal behaviorist, Diane Andersen, (and Harry Potter guru), created a test using toys that represent different qualities of each house,” Bardy told The Dodo. “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.” 

It’s universally known that Gryffindors are brave and heroic, Slytherins are determined and resourceful, Hufflepuffs are kind and loyal and Ravenclaws are intelligent and witty, and the shelter has worked hard to translate these characteristics into the traits of their dogs. 

harry potter dogs
Art Faulkner

So far, the shelter has sorted over 40 dogs into the different Hogwarts houses. The most populated house as of now is Hufflepuff, and while Gryffindor and Slytherin are also well-represented, there haven’t been too many Ravenclaws as of yet. Not a lot of studious, hardworking dogs coming into the shelter, apparently. 

harry potter dogs
Art Faulkner

Once a dog is sorted into a house, he gets a special house banner for his kennel, so that every potential adopter walking by knows exactly which house he’s in. The shelter also created a fun quiz that current dog owners can take, to figure out which house their dog is in. 

harry potter dogs
Art Faulkner

The entire concept has been a huge success so far — and has actually helped a lot of dogs get adopted. 

“The idea has created a lot of buzz and definitely an increase in walk-in traffic,” Bardy said. “We only implemented it a couple weeks ago but we are trending higher on adoptions over this time last year.” 

harry potter dogs
Art Faulkner

The shelter is only sorting dogs as of now and hasn’t started sorting cats yet … 

harry potter dogs
Pet Alliance Orlando

… as the cats don’t seem as interested in dressing up in Harry Potter-themed attire. 

The shelter hopes to continue sorting each dog into a Hogwarts house as they come into the shelter, as it has proved a very effective way of getting dogs adopted — and is also just a ton of fun. 
 

harry potter dogs
Art Faulkner

“We want to start a national conversation about dog personality rather than dog breed,” Bardy said. “That is our ultimate goal and we think this is a fun and universal way for people to start talking!”