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Best And Worst Dog Breeds To Live With Cats

May 12, 2014 · Updated Jun 18, 2017 · ·
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  1. Anne
    If you love both cats and dogs you may be wondering if you can ever have both as pets. The good news is: Yes, you can! Many pet owners do just that, enjoying the antics of both canines and felines together! While the individual dog's personality is the most important thing, you can improve your odds of getting Kitty and Fido to get along by choosing the right dog breed for your cat.

    Why is the breed of your dog important? There are exceptions but in general some dog breeds are more likely to have predatory tendencies. These canines may be more likely tp chase cats than others. Some may say that there are dogs that love cats and dogs that love cats as a squeaky toy. How do you achieve détente? It’s a matter of planning, management and training.

    Best Dogs for a Cat to Have

    1. Pomeranian

    These fluffy dogs weigh at from three to seven pounds and a lot of that is hair. If you can stand the grooming chores, this dog will be about the size of a cat. They are affectionate and full of confidence. Although they were originally bred to be a working dog, they relish the role of pampered pet and will want to share a lap with a cat. A devious cat may find a Pom’s fur just the thing to groom—wanted or not.

    2. Chihuahua

    This short-coated breed is very confident, willing to take on larger dogs and he usually manages to intimidate them. Weighing in at about six pounds, these pint-sized dogs will feel the chill faster than most so they welcome a warm cat as a nap companion.

    3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

    This dog is the definition of laid back. They make great therapy dogs and are very tolerant of other animals. Be sure to provide a lap for two though as the Cavalier is a cuddler. Expect him to weigh about fourteen pounds.

    4. Shetland Sheepdog aka Sheltie.

    This is an exceptionally intelligent working breed. He needs a job and herding cats might just be the thing. He’ll be glad to round up the scattered cat toys too. There’s a lot of grooming involved but this sweet tempered dog is well worth the trouble.

    5. Beagle.

    Although Beagles are a hunting dog, they are also gentle and generally slow-moving because they are scent oriented. It takes extra time to follow a trail when you’re only using your nose! Beagles have a sweet disposition and are willing to share the limelight.

    6. Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever.

    These are larger dogs, the Lab short haired and easier to groom, the Golden with longer hair and a lot of shedding. Both have a good temperament and lots of tolerance. Eager to please and in need of a job, either breed will be good with kids, other dogs and cats.

    Dog Breeds to Avoid

    1. Hunting Dog Breeds

    Avoid the hunting breeds—not the dogs who retrieve when hunting but the dogs bred to find and kill vermin or larger prey. Wolfhounds killed wolves who landowners considered to be poachers on the estate. This list would also include the Scottish Deerhound, Samoyed, Alaskan Malamute, Norwegian Elkhound and Siberian Husky.

    2. Terriers

    Terriers were bred to dig underground and eliminate animals like moles, rabbits, groundhogs and badgers. The Jack Russell, Scottie, Bedlington Terrier, Fox Terrier, Rat Terrier and Schnauzer can view a cat as a squirrel or rabbit substitute to be eradicated.

    3. Sight Hounds.

    This list includes the Greyhound, Italian Greyhound, Saluki, Whippet, Afghan, and Borzoi. These dogs are hard-wired to react to movement and rely on their superior eyesight. They will chase, and catch, anything that moves, without thought.
    Hounds. Born to track and tree raccoons or find fox, coyote and other predators, cats could easily be mistaken for prey rather than a family member.

    4. Fighting Dogs.

    Pit bulls can have a sweet personality but if they were trained as fighting dogs, cats may have been a training tool.

    4. Herding dogs.

    Herders are not a bad breed to have but be aware, they’ll annoy the cat to no end. Herders are the OCD breed that likes to keep everyone where he can see them. It’s his job to guard the group. In that respect, a cat who likes to nap twenty hours a day will be quite put out when the dog wakes him and says move long to the living room, it’s TV time.
    Don’t count on management to be the solution. Someone will leave a door open, the latch will come undone, the dog will figure out how to climb over the gate or the cat will get overly confident and start a play chase.

    Train the dog that the cat is yours. Many dogs learn to respect cats in the house (they’re our stuff) and sometimes even in the yard (it’s here with our stuff) but not outside the property line (fair game).

    If at all possible, introduce the dog and cat as a puppy and kitten. Don’t count on the cat being able to defend himself. One quick shake happens faster than claws can be drawn. Always give the cat an escape route so the dog can’t follow and remember, supervised play is best for all concerned.

    Finally, whatever their ages, make sure you make the proper introductions. Read more here about how to safely introduce a cat and a dog.

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  1. Columbine
    Some sighthounds can live with cats very successfully. I had a greyhound for many years, and he was wonderful with the cats...Asha even slept on top of him sometimes!

    A specialist greyhound rescue will routinely cat-test all dogs that they take in (at least, they do in the UK), and will tell you which dogs are cat-friendly/cat trainable.
      CHATTY KATTY HOME purraised this.
  2. notimetosleep
    Completely disagree. I have a house of foster dogs, mainly bullbreeds and my own Jack Russell.  They all get on with my cats.  Only had one dog with cat issues. 
      CHATTY KATTY HOME purraised this.
  3. sparkymema
    I have a lab, Irish setter, and a beagle along with my 5 cats(two are kittens) the two big dogs are trained hunting dogs that I trained myself. They get along very well with each other. But I think it's more so because I have a great amount of control over my dogs because of my previous experience of working as a hunting dog trainer. Everyone lives happy happy inside. 
      CHATTY KATTY HOME purraised this.
  4. carinajosefine
    It says to avoid herding dogs, yet Shetland sheepdog is a suggested breed. Yep it's a herder. A very good one as well :)

    I've kept cats and herders together all my life. Shelties, Collies and Bearded Collies. I've yet to see the dogs use their instincts on the cats. They get plenty mental stimulance, and get to use their head in other ways :)
  5. catluvr321
    My cats do ok with a toy fox terrier. they are mean to her, though. the dog is 16, is blind, and almost all the way deaf.
  6. juriesempai
    I have an old style chihuahua (A techichi?) and a jack russel/italian greyhound mix. It took some getting used to but our dogs are pretty content with my cat. I think it really depends on training, not breed. All animals are different. Just because they're bred for a purpose, doesn't mean it needs to be fuffilled and these behaviors can be corrected with training!
  7. omahamike
    I have had 2 Doberman's, both do not bother either my 7 indoor/outdoor cats or the 3 free range chickens left that the raccoons haven't killed. Now if I only could get the Dobies to kill the raccoons! They kill just to kill. They never eat any of their kills. I would imagine that dogs and cats either get along or not, mostly due to the way they were brought up, together or not!
  8. Anne
    @Jeff1 If you're concerned, you should really seek the advice of the dog breeder that sold you the dog, and possibly that of a professional dog trainer. The issue here is with the dog, not the cat. That said, if you wish to ask for advice, the forums here are the ones you need. The comments section is only for comments and insights. Actual questions should be posted to the cat forums. Thanks! 
  9. jeff1
    was wondering, does this apply to american husky (small one that doesn't grow)  and with the kitty I have my prof pic as?(called Tabby as far as I checked internet)
    Should I be worried? cz I have both of these now, and I am afraid he might hurt the kitty when he gets out of the box and walks around. 
  10. kittenboy
    I do not believe you can predict what breed is good or bad.  Every dog is hard-wired different. 
    We have a sweet loving Sheltie, always happy.  She hurt one of our cats, drawing blood!  We disciplined her and from then on, kept the cats and dogs separated when we left the house .  One day, we came home to find our older cat dead.  The cat must of come out of the master bedroom to lay on the desk with his poof & heating pad. 
    I asked our Vet about this terrible behavior and if there was anything we could do to correct it.  He said when they kill, they get a euphoria (rush) that is highly addicting.  It is too ingrained in them to remove.  Part of some dogs natural nature.  =(
    We also have a Whippet (sight hound).  She could care less about the cats.  When she runs in the woods, she pounces with her front feet to make small critters move in the grass & chases squirrels up trees BUT never catches or kills.
    We owned 2 greyhounds & fostered many.  Most dogs we 'introduced' to our version of Garfield and they never wanted to mess with a cat after that.  On occasion, we received a foster greyhound who could not stop watching cats and we knew the breeders had 'trained' that racing dog on cats, a disgusting part of dog racing.  We would not foster them.
      CHATTY KATTY HOME purraised this.
  11. puck
    Regardless of breed, cats and dogs have separate living areas and common areas in successfully harmonious homes of clients and my own. Dog gates are a wonderful invention. Cats have space to get away, eat and eliminate privately, and go vertical as much as they dare. Especially for indoor only cats, for which the house is their whole world. Dogs get to explore outdoors, on walks, constantly stimulated and conditioning themselves to new experiences. New foster cats and dogs go through an introductory process, starting with their own private space. All leave socialized with both species; some love it, some tolerate it. None leave to their new home fearful, predatory, or aggressive of either species. Not all cats like each other, but tolerance is all that is expected of them. My house of 10 functions well with this expectation, and in turn, giving them enough space to be in solitude or share at their leisure. Puck is the grumpiest, and he's pretty tolerant, for an olde codger ;]
  12. kntrygrl256
    My bf just moved in with his Blue Heeler (herding dog). It drives my cats nuts because he's always getting in their space and constantly watching them. They aren't happy at all about him being in the house. My cats cause him more trouble by antagonizing him than he does with them. LOL 
  13. kremena
    We had two cats and when I brought a puppy home they would attack it viciously. So we kept them separated but that was a full time job.
  14. nashleah
    I have a terrier mix (like a bit of schnauzer, shitzhu, and jack Russell) and although he NEEDS to give them a thorough sniffing when they first get here, after that he is totally up for cuddling or play! I'm fostering (and maybe adopting) a kitten with cerebellum hypoplasia and he walks funny, but my dog is so gentle and fun with him. My dog has an amazing temperament and can read my feelings toward another human or animal, and plays off of that.
  15. osc4r
    Why is there a mouse on the cats head next to the beagle
  16. mysty1
    I can attest to the fact that Golden Retrievers and Labs are great with cats.  I've had both.  My Golden was a puppy when she came into my household and, for awhile, I think she actually thought she was a cat.  Another breed that does well with cats is the Chinese Crested.  It's not a common breed, but they are very sweet dogs in general.  Our Crested got along great with the cats.  I've also had a Dalmation/Lab cross.  She too came to us as a puppy.  When she was full grown she challenged one of my male cats once. He happened to be a rather large tom.  (Actually, I think the dog was just playing and got a little over excited. Typical Dalmation).  End result - the cat popped her in the face and drew blood.  After that she never bothered any of the cats again.  Rusty (the cat) did make up with her later with a head rub, but the dog was always a little wary of him after that day.
  17. ysabella
    I can definitely agree that Beagles are fine with cats. We have a 4-year-old Beagle and recently brought home a Persian kitten. Cassie (our beagle) was very eager to meet King at first, but she quickly grew calm around him. Needless to say, I can definitely see them lying together for a nap sometime soon. <3
  18. helsic
    this is so useful! I'm not planning to have a dog but is interesting to understand why they can't be mixed with any breed of dogs
  19. leigh3
    A more in depth comment than "hmmmm" would be helpful.
  20. praisebast
  21. leigh3
    There are always exceptions and from personal experience, I have had zero worries with over 58 years of my indoor cats alone with a Boxer, Miniature Schnauzers and now Siberian Huskies.  Never once a problem with them being left alone together.  They always considered the cats part of the pack.  I don't doubt there are dogs one should not be left alone with the family cats.  Know your animals.  Being raised together from puppyhood & kittenhood together also helped.
  22. goingpostal
    Shelties are herders too, chasing and nipping at cats isn't usually fun for the kitty, that behavior is inhibited prey drive and how much inhibition depends on the dog.  I know shelties who have killed cats.  Pit bulls were bred for fighting, not "trained" for it and how would tormenting or killing a cat make a dog a better fighter?  That's more of a HSUS myth made true thanks to people spreading it around and wannabe dogfighters who get their info from the media.  Terriers in general are obviously risky with cats or other small furry critters.  I've got three pit bulls who know to ignore the cat but they are not left unsupervised with her, nor should any dog for safety. 
  23. leigh3
    I've had three Siberian huskies and 6 cats in my life.  The huskies never once bothered the cats, but then they were raised since puppyhood with cats and considered them part of the pack. Our Maine Coon gives them kisses.  Neighborhood cats, as well as rabbits & birds, are another matter.  Why sled dogs are lumped in with hunting dogs, I have no idea.  They are working dogs, but not bred for hunting. They will kill prey, but have them off leash and they are more than likely to take off.  Not the greatest at obedience.
  24. wanja
    We have 2 cats and a Great Dane.
    He was a puppy when he was introdused to the cats but he is so loving and only wants to play, he does not always release that he is so big but the cats figured out the tricks around him, they love to cuddle together and play, it is so cute to see the black cat and dog cuddling together.
  25. luvmybirmans
    My mom had a cat that was killed in our yard by the neighbor's three maurading German shepherds (mixed, but big dogs). The neighbor didn't believe her because they have cats and nothing like that had ever happened between the dogs and their cats. But my mom witnessed the attack and knew who did it. Thanks for pointing out that off their property, our cat was "fair game".
  26. bertiebassett
    i have 3 dogs - a german shepherd, a turkish kangal and a bulgarian shepherd dog and all 3 get on with my 2 cats just fine. the kangal and my 4 year old cat spend hours playing in the garden together and the cats always make a beeline for the dogs first thing in the morning.  The dogs don't like other cats coming in the garden though
  27. cat servant
    We had a collie and he was the BEST.  He would sometimes bark and want to herd if a cat was outside the fence and he was in, but if there was no fence between them, he was very gentle.  We also didn't get him till he was old and he didn't formerly live with cats; it was just the way he was.  Collies are known to be good with other animals and they're one of my very favorite dog breeds. 
  28. 3nails
    As a pit bull owner, I have a problem with number 5. I don't disagree with the fact that in general pit bull dogs should not be your first choice as a companion for your cat. However, the pit bull (aka American Pit Bull Terrier/American Staffordshire Terrier) is a part Terrier breed, and was also used for baiting/hunting, so the strong prey drive should be the true reason- not fighting dogs, as it is not common practice,nor is the bait cat bit.
     
    I agree with your last bit. I introduced my current dog to my senior cat as a puppy, so they do well together, but I always keep a close watch anyway. :) 
  29. kat0121
    I have a border collie and she gets along with my 2 persians very nicely. she has yet to try to herd them but she has been known to try to herd people who come into the house (especially men). this might have something to do with her age (12 this July) but she has always been very gentle with smaller animals.  
  30. Anne
    I am the culprit, the chooser of the images. It's the closest I could find in the stock photography collection we use. Sorry!
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