BAYSIDE — With his deep brown eyes and groomed silky hair, you can see why Louis would be a big hit with the ladies. He has a confident walk and is not shy around strangers.
Living in Bayside, however, has hurt his social life. There just aren't that many dogs for the 3-year-old Maltese to hang around with.
To help find playmates for Louis, his master Michael Chiang founded MatchPuppy.com, which bills itself as a social networking service for dogs. Visitors can sign up for free online, create a profile for their pooch, arrange for play dates and even find them mates.
“Louis is such a small dog, I wanted him to hang out with someone his own size,” Chiang said.
Users can browse doggy profiles and find a dog that matches their pet’s play needs and their temperament.
Louis, therefore, could potentially fix a date with a Chihuahua called Zoey whose owner describes her as someone who is not just "sweet and calm," but also "loves giving kisses."
MatchPuppy.com joins a growing breed of "petworking" websites that list doggy dating and networking such as playdatebuddy.com and puppy-play.meetup.com. Other sites like Doggyspace and YouPet also allow humans and pets to connect and meetup.
Just like humans, however, not all dogs are comfortable with friends they make online.
Some dog owners prefer to let their pets make friends the old-fashioned way — meeting up with other pooches in the buildings or that live on the same block.
"I just take him to the dog run to play,” said Alexander Degann, whose mixed-breed pitbull Bomba has a Facebook page with 48 friends. Deggan added that Bomba didn't play with those "friends," and preferred the four-legged kind he met at the dog run on the Upper East Side.
Still, Degann said online sites could be useful when moving to a new city.
“I’m moving to Connecticut soon,” said Degann, who starts school at Sacred Heart University this fall.
“I might have to look online to find reliable pet-sitters and other dogs."
MatchPuppy.com hopes to cash in there, too, by offering a place to meet other pet-owners who might pet-sit — an appealing prospect in a city where individual pet-sitting costs cost up to $50 a day or more, and overnight boarding could cost between $40-80.
MatchPuppy.com has signed up about 800 users across the five boroughs since it launched two months ago. Chiang said he’s now looking to expand to Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago.