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Genre(s)Virtual pets
Developer(s)PF Magic, Mindscape, Ubisoft
Publisher(s)PF Magic, Mindscape, Ubisoft
Platform(s) of originMicrosoft Windows
First releaseDogz and Catz
Latest releasePetz Beach
Petz Countryside
October 14, 2014

Petz (Dogz and Catz) is a series of single-player video games dating back to 1995, in which the player can adopt, raise, care for and breed their own virtual pets. The original Petz has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide[3] and the brand has grown to over 22 million copies since coming under Ubisoft.[4]

The original Petz games were developed by P.F. Magic. After earning revenues of $8 million in 1997, P.F. Magic was acquired by The Learning Company for $15.8 million in 1998.[5] In 2001, UbiSoft acquired the entertainment division of The Learning Company, granting Ubisoft exclusive publishing rights to 88 titles, including Dogz and Catz.[6] After UbiSoft acquired the series, some games that were actually Japanese in origin were localized under the Petz name. For example, Petz: Hamsterz Life 2 on Game Boy Advance is a localization of Hamster Club 3, and distinctly different from its DS counterpart, although both DS Hamsterz games were also Japanese-developed but published in English territories by UbiSoft.


The player starts at the Adoption Center, where they may choose a Dogz or Catz to adopt of a Breedz and gender of their choice. Once the player has found a Petz, they can adopt and name their new Puppyz or Kittenz. After around three days (real time) the Petz become adults. Adult Petz can then breed and have Kittenz or Puppyz of their own in Petz 3, Petz 4, and Petz 5. Cross-breeding can create different types of petz, called 'Mixed Breeds'.

There are a number of Toyz, food and water bowls, and Treatz available. Petz can learn tricks with positive rewards such as petting and Treatz, or trained not to do something using the punishment (water) spray bottle. Petz must be looked after properly; abused or neglected Petz may run away.[7][8]

Players may share their Petz with others who have the game via an email. Each version allows the importing of Petz from all earlier versions. There is also a camera feature, permitting snapshots of petz to be taken and saved as .bmp files.

Other animals include Pigz and Bunnyz. Later versions of the games included a Petz Web Fun Pack, Petz Publisher and a Petz Player web browser plug-in, allowing players to publish their Petz online in playable webpages.[9] The Petz Publisher does not work anymore, due to the fact that the website has been remodeled with the newer Petz games by Ubisoft.

Users learned how to reverse-engineer the system, and began producing additional Breedz, Toyz, playscenes, clothes, and developer tools for the games, as permitted by PF Magic, Mindscape, and Ubisoft.[10]


Each Petz breedz has its own body shape and colour variations.

Catz and Dogz 1 began with 5 Breedz per game. Petz 2, 3 and 4 contain 10 Breedz per game, referred to as the Original PF Magic Breedz. In Petz 5 there are 16 different Dogz and 16 different Catz Breedz in the adoption center.

Breeding and Petz geneticz[edit]

Mixed Breedz often clearly show traits of their base Breedz, but also have mutations (e.g. the ruddy fur and black eyes/eyelids in this case).

Petz in the game can become attracted to one another and breed to produce offspring. This feature was introduced in Petz 3 and has also appeared in Petz 4 and Petz 5. In Petz 3 and Petz 4, a petz couple could only produce one Kittenz/Puppyz per breeding, but in Petz 5 a mother can bear up to four offspring per litter.

The user can encourage Petz to fall in love by squirting them with love potions and perfumes and giving them food with aphrodisiac-like qualities, as well as using other means. When Petz have mated, a heart will appear on the screen informing the user of the female's pregnancy (which generally lasts 3 – 5 days). In that time, females will become noticeably rounder and will require extra food and attention.

Petz's genes carry through to their offspring but can mutate, resulting in different fur and eye colours to that of the parents. The shape and size of body parts is also inherited in "sections;" e.g. the legs, head, and ears could be inherited from one parent and the feet, tail, and body could be inherited from the other parent.

When two different breeds of Petz are bred together, the offspring will have the base personality of one parent (or ancestor). The base personality can be determined by the Petz' eyes, their personality and behavior and how they pose.

Petz life cycle[edit]

The difference between a high-generation Calico (left) and one from the adoption center (right) can be easily seen, despite being the same breed.

When Petz have Kittenz/Puppyz, the player is asked to name the offspring. During the first few days of a Petz' life, it is blind, small and cannot walk. The mother feeds her infant and the user can also do so with the milk bottle.

The newborn will later open its eyes and is able to walk around, jump onto ledges and stop suckling. They can eat from food bowls and drink from the milk bottle, but cannot swallow treats.

In Petz 5, when the Puppyz/Kittenz are young, they remain in the nursery room with their mother until they are weaned. Only the mother and offspring can access this room and the mother and offspring cannot be taken out separately. When the Puppyz/Kittenz have grown up, the nursery becomes inaccessible. In Petz 3 and 4, the mother and her single Puppyz/Kittenz have free access to all areas.

Eventually, the offspring will separate from their mothers as they grow to Kittenz and Puppyz.

Main series[edit]

Game Developer Publisher Distributor Release Date
Catz and Dogz II: Your Virtual Petz P.F. Magic P.F. Magic Virgin Interactive Entertainment 1995 (Dogz), 1996 (Catz)
Catz and Dogz II: Your Virtual Petz P.F. Magic P.F. Magic Mindscape 1997[11]
Catz and Dogz 3: Your Virtual Petz P.F. Magic P.F. Magic Mindscape 1998[12]
Catz and Dogz 4 P.F. Magic Mindscape Entertainment Mindscape 1999[13]
Catz and Dogz 5 Studio Mythos Ubi Soft Ubi Soft 2002[14]


Entertainment Weekly gave Catz a B+ and wrote that it is an accurate simulation of felines.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dogz (1995) for PC - GameFAQs
  2. ^ Catz (1995) for PC - GameFAQs
  3. ^ "Dogz and Catz Dash Past 1.5 Million Mark; PF.Magic's Virtual Petz Brand Established as Leader in Category". The Free Library. 1998-02-19. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  4. ^ "Ubisoft 2010-11 H1 Earnings Presentation" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Learning Co. to acquire PF. Magic". Cnet. 1998-05-07. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  6. ^ "Ubi Soft Acquires The Learning Company's Entertainment Division". Gamezone. 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  7. ^ "About Petz". PF Magic. Archived from the original on 21 June 2000. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Children's Software Review: Petz: Dogz 5 & Catz 5". Edutaining Kids. June 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Web Fun Pack Help". WebPetz. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  10. ^ Hansmeyer, Becky (11 March 2015). "Ballz & Linez: Remembering the Golden Age of Petz Hexing". Becky Hansmeyer. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Catz II: Your Virtual Petz Release Information for PC - GameFAQs". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  12. ^ "Catz 3: Your Virtual Petz for PC - GameFAQs". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  13. ^ "Catz 4 for PC - GameFAQs". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  14. ^ "Catz 5 for PC - GameFAQs". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  15. ^ "Catz: Your Computer Petz". Retrieved 2018-11-03.

Academic papers[edit]