I have 2 friends looking for a rescue dog at the moment. One is off to the local pound today to check out a lab/spaniel mix (I've met one before - weird looking dog but lovely). My other friend is just umming and arring, checking petrescue every 5 minutes and dreaming about dogs at night.
She has a shortlist but says that none made her say: "Drop everything - this is the one".
Now I'm a pretty pragmatic person and I chose my rescue based on pretty logical arguments. Her photo appealed to me, but in the end I chose compatibility and convenience. I got a dog that I could walk off leash the day I got her home (away from roads obviously) and was therefor easy to teach recall to - which is very important to me. She was awesome with other dogs so a breeze to walk. I also didn't have to worry about the rickety gate in my rental as she never tried to escape. And never had to deal with barking or similar bad habits. And that was good enough for me, even though she is not my soulmate, like my previous dog was.
So I may not be a good person to advise my friend on this, I think. I can suggest to her which dogs to avoid because they sound like trouble (she definitely wants an easy dog too), but apart from that, I don't know.
How do you pick a dog from a website? How do you decide which ones to go meet if they are 100s of kilometers away?