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February 10, 2023
As the saying goes, they’ll fight like cats and dogs…
Not necessarily if you find the right dog. But what qualities does a dog need in order for it to get along well with a cat? The first thing to take into consideration is the dog’s breed group. Dogs in the Terrier Group were by designed bred to hunt small game. (Such as a cat!) Dogs in the Hound Group were bred to chase and follow, which would mean a cat on the run could cause this type of breed to chase it.
Dogs that fall under the Herding Group were designed to do just that, herd. Cats are very independent animals and may not appreciate being led where to walk. Although all of these types of dog breeds are able interact well with cats, many dogs within these groups naturally may have a hard time doing so.
On the other hand, dog breed groups known for having a less energetic and more laid-back mentality tend to do well with cats. For example, the Toy Group includes smaller lapdogs who generally spend more energy gently licking their owner’s hand than chasing them.
They also tend to be less alarming to a cat since they are almost the same size. Being that they are not as active, a cat may not feel as intimidated around them. Smaller and calmer breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known for their gentle disposition and do not over-bark, which can startle a cat.
In a perfect world, the cat and dog are introduced while both are young, which allows them to grow and bond without having a territorial conflict. For those of us who add a cat to the mix after already owning a dog, it is important to remember that they first need to get familiar with one another. This will take time and initially keeping both pets spaced apart. By allowing each pet to sense (smell and hear) the other animal will allow for a gradual adjustment between the two. Eventually, both pets will need to see each other, but it is advised that they do so standing on different sides of a pet gate. This will prevent one pet from scratching or biting the other.
Below are the top five dog breeds that we believe do best with cats inside the home.
The Bichon Frise has a warm and gentle demeanor and tends to do well with cats because of this. They are not aggressive dogs and enjoy curling up next to any fur-legged friend they can find. They are also a smaller dog which may allow the cat to feel less threatened.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are extraordinarily loving and calm dogs who enjoy being close to family. They quickly warm up to people and other pets in the home and are not known for overly barking. This breed is gentle and caring and does make a great fit for those who also want a cat.
Poodles (all three sizes) make excellent housemates for cats. Many Toy Poodles enjoy actually playing with cats. Miniature Poodles have been known to just exist with a cat and be partial. Standard Poodles seem to have a “who cares” outlook and pretend the cat isn’t even in the house. The Poodle is a very smart dog who is able to get along with just about anyone or anything.
Golden Retrievers are one of the top dog breeds in general. They get along well with people, other dogs, and cats. The Golden Retriever enjoys his family, and if a cat is a part of that, so be it. With very pleasant and warm personalities, this breed normally does well with cats. They are also not aggressive or known to push other animals around.
The always “pup-ular” Labrador Retriever, or “Lab,” is a very social yet not anxious or excited dog. They tend to be patient and have very warm and loving personalities. This breed tends to coexist well with other pets in the home, including cats. For many years this breed has been ranked as a top dog breed in the United States.
Regardless which dog breed you decide to introduce to a cat, the key is being patient. Remember, by nature not all animals “get along” but with time, care, and introducing the animals in steps, your puppy’s new best friend may be a cat.