Guide: How to play Petz in 2021 for returning or new players

I first played Petz back in the late 90s and was really into it in the early 00s. Then life happened. I went to college, about 18 years passed and I decided to play Petz again recently. A new YouTube video called The Rise and Fall of Petz has also awakened interest for new and returning players. The game is no longer sold so how do you play? And what other things do you need to know.

Which game should I play?

While Petz 5 was the last mainline game released, Petz 4 is the most popular game. Petz 3 still has a devoted fanbase because it loads faster and has some behaviors absent in the later games (dogs dancing to music for example).

Where can I get Petz 4?

I recommend downloading Petz 4 from Yabiko. Under the "PETZ 4 FULL GAME" header click the "For Windows" link. It comes with Petz A installed automatically.

You can just drag it to your desktop and the game should run perfectly fine on modern Windows.

If you're on a Mac it's a little more difficult. I wrote up a guide for using VirtualBox, which is free but extremely buggy. There is another free software called Wine. I've never been able to get Wine to work, but someone wrote a guide for Babyz here that might work for Petz.

What do all these weird words mean?

Hexing: Editing petz game files to create custom/"modded" breeds, pets, toys, clothes, and more!

Brexing: Specifically editing an existing pet (a .pet file). Extremely useful for some hexed breeds that don't "breed true" (the offspring don't look quite right). But also commonly used for fixing eyelid colors and other minor issues.

Prefixes: Used in showing Petz. Each shower usually has their own prefix and their showing name will be the prefix + the pet's show name. Sometimes prefixes are combined so it's owner + breeder's prefix + pet's show name.

Overwrite(OW): This is a custom breed file that overwrites an original breed file (like the Save the original as a backup. The advantage is people can adopt petz from this breed without installing anything. If you breed while the OW file is in, any pet with that breed in its lineage will be born with the modded traits. Which can be fun! But also annoying if you have just forgotten to replace the OW with the original. For example, I was using a horse Dalmatian OW when I bred this dog and it doesn't look quite right.

Selective Breeds: Breeding the original breeds to get interesting combinations and then fixing the traits (usually by inbreeding) until they breed true (puppies/kittens are mostly identical). Here are a couple at Cirrutopia for example and some of my own on my own site Unique Petz.

Unibreeds: These are custom breed files that work in both Petz 3, 4, and 5! You use the LnzPro program mentioned below to create them. A caveat is they may have some missing personality/animations compared to the "real" breeds but some people prefer them.

What's Petz A?

Petz A is an amazing tool created by a Petz fan. Petz A fixes some bugs and also allows more control over the game like instant mating and sex changes. It comes with a help file that I recommend reviewing.

That same fan, Nicholas Sherlock, also created a bunch of other incredible tools like

Being a programmer, I'm most excited by Lnz Pro, which allows me to tinker with some weird stuff waaaayy more easily than in the past, where you had to use a hex editor. The funnest thing I discovered lately is SCP swapping which means swapping personalities from different breeds.

Any other essentials for playings Petz 4?

I highly recommend using some overwriting breedfiles that fix some subtle annoyances in the game but don't alter it substantially.

What else is new?

  • GenePoolz: A tool for reading an individual pet's "genome". Really useful for creating selective breeds.
  • Horsez at Seeing Stars: Petz hackers have always made horse files but they've gotten more and more advanced over the years and this site has the newest files.
  • PUGS: Registration isn't open right now but from what I gather it's a Neopets-like site where you can buy, sell, and play games with Petz
  • The Flea Market: An auction site for buying/selling Petz (with fake money ofc)
  • LnzLive: A web-based petz file editor currently in development

Why not Petz 5?

Petz 5 pros:

  • Litters (Petz have more than one offspring at a time)
  • New toys and mini games
  • New breeds

Petz 5 cons

  • Most people find it's way more buggy and prone to crashing
  • The new breeds have some major flaws and are largely considered poorly designed
  • Petz files in Petz 5 cannot easily be brought back into Petz 3/4

Personally, I don't think Petz 5 was created with the same care that defines the other games. For example, the new breeds don't seem to have any new animations or behaviors compared to the Petz 4 ones.

Whatever game you pick please back up your .pet files often! That goes double for Petz 5, which is known to corrupt them randomly.

Where can I get the other PF Magic games?

Someone posted this amazing collection called The Ultimate Petz Collection. A fair warning though is that the older the game is, the harder it is to run on older computers. Some games can run OK in Win 10's Compatibility Mode. But games like Oddballz (1996) really only run on old computers or virtual machines (like a fake computer that runs on a real computer) with old OSs. Getting them to run properly can require some technical skill.

You can also find many old PF Magic games as ISOs (like a virtual CD) on Web Archive

Other helpful links



Awesome hexed stuff and other downloads