If you’re like me, you love all fur babies. Unfortunately, not all animals love each other equally. Many dog breeds will get along with cats just fine if they are socialized with them as a puppy, but some are inherently bad neighbors. If you already have a cat and looking to adopt a dog, the below listed are the best dogs for cats that live peacefully alongside felines.
Ironically, some of the worst dogs for cats are those that are closer to cats’ behavior in nature – breeds with strong prey drive. Some dogs were bred and raised as hunting dogs for centuries, and it’s in their genetics to chase after small animals. In general, adopting one of these dogs to live with a cat is not a good idea.
Some of these gun dog breeds with a strong prey drive are:
- Afghan Hound
- Australian Cattle Dog
That’s not to say that every hunting dog breed, or those with strong prey drive, will never get along with cats. It’s possible to train and socialize almost any canine to live alongside a feline, but it may be significantly harder with gun dog breeds, or hyperactive dogs, or genetically more aggressive dogs with strong prey drive. The best dogs for cats are typically easy going and laid back, more friendly or at the very least, lazy.
13 Best Dogs for Cats
1. Labrador Retriever
Easily one of the best neighbors for a cat is a Labrador Retriever. An ideal family pet, Labs are gentle, sweet-natured dogs. They do well with families, children, and strangers. The laid back nature of Labrador Retrievers makes them a favorite among websites for households that also have cats. These dogs are intelligent and easy to train. Labrador Retrievers are larger, active dogs. They need frequent walks, or a yard to play in.
Although the Beagle is a hunting dog, they are an exception due to their friendly demeanor and history of getting along with other animals. Our editor Samantha has a Beagle (and a Lab!) living together with cats in complete peace. They love to play, and want to make friends with any animal that will play with them. I grew up with Beagles myself, and they never bothered the neighborhood cats. They were also friendly with kids. These dogs require little to no brushing and grooming, and make a perfect companion.
3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The King Charles is a favorite of the Queen of England and cat owners alike. They are gentle dogs that are affectionate and loving. This breed is gentle with kids and cats, so they make a great family dog in a diversified family setting. These little dogs generally love people and other animals. However, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel does not do well if left alone for long periods of time.
This is another breed that is playful and affectionate. The Maltese just wants a friend! They are a smaller dog, so they won’t be as intimidating to feline friends. Maltese are also great with kids. They are a curious breed, and would love learning about the other pets in the house. They are an ideal dog for families looking for a canine companion.
5. Bichon Frise
Similar to the Maltese, this is another happy, friendly breed. Bichon Frise are mild mannered and do well with cats and kids. They can be shy, so it may take them a little while to warm up to cats that they were not raised with. This is one of the best dogs for people who suffer from allergies as shedding is minimal. The Bichon is not without it’s fault, though. They can be difficult to housebreak, and they require a bit of grooming to keep their coat clean and tangle free.
Although this breed is usually not good with children, they tend to be one of the best dogs for cats. They are bright and inquisitive, usually preferring to be the boss. The Pomeranian is playful and friendly towards cats. They have a tendency to become frightened when around strangers. It is best to socialize Pomeranians with many different people and animals when they are young.
7. Shih Tzu
Like the Pomerian, Shih Tzus love being the boss. In fact, they can be downright arrogant. They are lazy dogs that prefer to sit quietly in someone’s lap. While not great with children, they are just fine with cats. Shih Tzus may not play with them, but they will tolerate them. These dogs are hard to housebreak, so you may want to skip this breed if you don’t have the patience.
Boxers make great family dogs. They are good with children and one of the best dogs for cats. These friendly and affectionate dogs have a lot of energy and enjoy playing with their two- and four-legged family members. Bred as guard dogs, they make excellent watch dogs as well. Some do like to chase cats, so you may want to get your boxer as a puppy to raise with a cat, or get one that has already been socialized with cats.
9. Australian Shepherd
This is another breed that I have personal experience with. They are loving, friendly dogs. Good with kids, strangers, cats, and other dogs. I foster animals, and I have never had a problem with either of my Australian Shepherds and fosters. These dogs play with cats and dogs a like. I have also never had an issue with my daughter’s friends and the dogs. They are a very gentle breed that would fit in well with virtually any family.
10. Japanese Chin
The Japanese Chin is not as hyper as some other toy breeds. They are peaceful and cuddly. They are good with children and one of the best dogs for cats. These dogs are agile climbers, with behaviors similar to cats. They can be a little timid, so they may not be a playmate for your feline friend, but your cat will be safe. These dogs need human companionship most of the day. They do not do well with a lot of alone time, meaning the Japanese Chin is not a suitable breed for an owner that is out of the house most of the day.
11. Cocker Spaniel
These beautiful dogs are mild mannered and friendly. They are playful dogs that are good with cats and kids. Unfortunately, inbreeding has produced a lot of mean, aggressive dogs. If you choose this breed, make sure you get one from a reputable breeder. Due to inbreeding, these dogs are considered one of the riskiest breeds in terms of health. Their coats require a lot of effort, so only get a Cocker Spaniel if you are willing to put in some time.
12. Yorkshire Terrier
This is a breed I have fostered before. They are great with cats. I had no problem bringing an adult Yorkie into a home filled with cats. She actually loved them. The previous owner said she had not been socialized with cats. This breed may not be suitable for a household with kids. Yorkies do not need much exercise and are great for apartment living.
The Pekingese is another breed that is great for apartment living. They are small and calm. They require little exercise. These little dogs are generally good with cats, and other dogs. They can be hard-headed, so they require an owner that has firm training skills. They have long hair that needs to be brushed regularly and trimmed. If your budget won’t allow for a good amount of grooming expenses, this may not be the breed for you.
The important thing to remember is that almost any dog can be good with cats, if you get them young enough. If a dog is raised with a cat, they will rarely turn on them when they are older. The ideal situation is to get a kitten and a puppy, and raise them together.
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