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While prospective pets never ask ``what's your sun sign?", prospective pet owners may benefit from checking what sign they were born under. It can be a good guide to choosing the right kind of pet for you and your lifestyle.

Here is a run down on the twelve signs of the zodiac, their animal associations, and famous pet owners and animal lovers born under those signs.

Aries: Arians are pioneers and have a fondness for exotic and exciting pets, like big cats and predators. Arian Hugh Hefner indulges his love of wild animals with a private zoo. Arians of lesser means will probably prefer pets with an air of the great outdoors about them. Dog lovers will go for an energetic breed, such as a retriever, pointer or sporting hound. Arians may also favor an unusual breed, such as an Australian Kelpie, a wolfhound or an African Basenji.

Taurus: Taureans love comfort, so a pet that enjoys being pampered and that doesn't require too much exercise will be ideal. Cats are perfect pets for Taureans, especially the affectionate, home loving British Shorthair. Think Garfield, and you will find a feline soulmate. The right dog breeds for Taureans are the gentle kind, such as a spaniel or schnauzer. The silky coated Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and the Pekinese, are just longing for a Taurean to provide them with a comfortable home and all the spoiling they can take. Of course, you could emulate Taurean George Clooney, whose favorite pet was a pot belly pig, but that might be a bit impractical in suburbia.

Gemini: The lively Geminian enjoys a pet with the same sociable nature. Often their lives are too busy to include a pet, and sensitive Geminians would prefer to not have a pet rather than be neglectful. But when a Geminian decides to adopt a pet, they prefer something small and lively such as a playful cat, dog, or even a monkey. For dog lovers, the chihuahua is a popular choice. Geminians are loving and loyal to the pets they choose to adopt. Geminian `American Idol' judge Paula Abdul tripped over her pet chihuahua Tulip and broke her nose. The accident occurred because Abdul preferred to fall rather than step on her beloved pet.

Cancer: Kind, nurturing Cancerians are rarely without something or someone to love, and this includes pets. Like Cancerian Princess Diana, they prefer children when they can get them, so you can be sure that any Cancerian pet will be treated like a member of the family - and like the title of a movie starring that other Cancerian John Cusack, prospective partners Must Love Dogs. The ideal Cancerian home has kids, dogs and lots of love to spare. The dogs don't have to be fancy breeds either. A 57 varieties bitzer will be loved just as much as a pedigree schnauzer.

Leo: Like their animal sign, Leos are proud, powerful beings, who are rarely overlooked. They like their pets to have the same qualities. Leo pets are lucky pets, because the generous nature of the Leo extends to everything in their care. Movie Star Ben Affleck shows Leo love of excess - he has five dogs! Cats would seem an obvious choice for Leos, but actually most prefer dogs, which offer more companionship. The best dog for a Leo is as big and generous as the sign itself, such as a German Shepherd, or a Old English sheepdog.

Virgo: Virgos are known to be perfectionists, and they want a pet that fits in with their lifestyle. For the active Virgo, a dog who can take some action is a good choice, like Pink's bulldog. Virgos love animals and are believers in conservation, so it is not surprising that Pink is also a supporter of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Domestic pets are associated with this sign, but they prefer pets that are used to living with humans, rather than keeping wild animals that they believe should remain wild.

Libra: Underneath the easygoing, but somewhat detached, surface of this sign, beats a soft heart. Like Libran Alicia Silverstone, when it comes to pets, compassion is often an important factor. Alicia has adopted six homeless dogs, so the animal shelter is usually the first place for a Libran to start looking for a pet. In spite of the fact that Libra enjoys harmonious, elegant surroundings, and pets who shed hair all over the place might not be the right choice, need is a greater factor than looks. But Librans will certainly want to avail themselves of pet grooming services so the pet always looks its best.

Scorpio: Scorpios don't show much on the surface - this water sign is a very deep well, and they value unquestioned loyalty above all things. Often, they find this in their pets more than in people. They admire power, but they also admire spunk, so a Scorpio may love the feeling of controlling a wild stallion as much as they love the feistiness of a tiny chihuahua. Scorpio relationships are intense, and this extends to pets as well. Just look at Scorpio Kelly Osborne and her pet pug dressed up in matching outfits!

Sagittarius: This free wheeling sign, the very soul and spirit of freedom, needs a pet that can keep up. Long legged active pets are right for Sags, including horses, hunting dogs and even camels. Sagittarian Jake Gyllenhall loves walking with his dogs, and you will rarely see a Sagittarian dragging a pet along on a leash. A playful pet with a spirit of adventure who enjoys a good romp in wild surroundings is right for this sign.

Capricorn: Goats are the animal most associated with this sign and indeed, Capricorns do very well with hoofed animals, and enjoy working with horses in particular. Actor Orlando Bloom has become known for his cinematic horsemanship, but in his choice of pet he has shown the compassionate side of Capricorn by adopting a stray dog he calls Sidi. Capricorns make good pet owners, and treat their animals as part of the family. But they do like obedience and will make sure the animal is well trained.

Aquarius: Eccentric Aquarius might keep anything, from an elephant to a snake, as a pet, but will generally try to do their best to be a good owner. Aquarians don't starve or neglect their animals - they are too humanitarian for that - but occasionally, like Paris Hilton, they may do odd things like carrying their dog in a handbag. Exotic birds like parrots and cockatiels make great pets for Aquarians because they are good companions who can be let out of their cage. Aquarians sometimes like to shock with their choice of pet - tarantulas and snakes included!

Pisces: Pisceans love animals as they love all nature. Just look to the late Steve Irwin, famous Australian animal lover and conservationist. He even loved crocodiles. Like most Pisceans he was strongly influenced by his love of the creatures of the deep, and while this sadly led to his death, there is no doubt that he would not have given up his conservation work for any risk. Pisceans want the animal world to thrive and be part of their world, A well stocked aquarium is an ideal choice for less adventurous Pisceans.

Gail Kavanagh 2008

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