Best And Worst Dog Breeds To Live With Cats

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 breeds to live with cats.

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 to 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.

Golden retriever dog and cute mixed breed tabby cat laying together, Best And Worst Dog Breeds To Live With Cats

Best Dogs for a Cat to Have

1. Pomeranian

These fluffy dogs weigh 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 working dogs, they relish the role of pampered pets 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.

Pomeranian and a cat

2. Chihuahua

This short-coated breed is very confident and 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.

Chihuahua and a cat

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.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog and a cat


4. Shetland Sheepdog, aka Sheltie.

The Shetland Sheepdog 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.

Shetland Sheepdog and a cat

5. Beagle.

Although Beagles are hunting dogs, 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.

Beagle and a cat

6. Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever.

These are larger dogs, the Lab short-haired and easier to groom, and 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.

Golden Retriever and a cat

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 that they are supposed to hunt down.

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.

For generations, people bred hounds to track and tree raccoons or find a fox, coyotes, 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 someone trained them as fighting dogs, cats might have been a training tool.

If you don't know the history of a rescued pit bull, make sure to consult with a dog trainer before introducing the pup to your cats.

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 they 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 along 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 introduce a cat and a dog safely.


Have questions about dog breeds and how they mix with cats? If you leave a comment below, we won't be able to reply or help you.
Instead, please register and start a thread with your question in the cat behavior forum.

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48 comments on “Best And Worst Dog Breeds To Live With Cats

Jay April 2, 2024
My female Parson russell sees any cat as lunch.
Yevgeniya August 7, 2022
Chow chow is good or bad for kitten?
Juls February 4, 2022
My vet said a Boston Terrier would be a good dog - as long as I introduce right from puppy-hood to my current only fur-child 8 year old orange house cat. I have concerns bc the cat is of course a member of the family and I want him to be happy. Any experience with this please share ? Should I be scared to get a puppy ?
    Lisa February 15, 2022
    From what I've read Boston Terrier's tend to be the exception to the terrier/cat rule. I have a friend who has two Boston Terriers and they get along wonderfully with her cat however they were introduced as puppies. Introductions, done properly and early, and training is often key with any dog/cat relationship. I fostered a 6 month old pitbull/basset hound mix a couple of years ago that after a month of closely supervised interactions grew to love our cat and thought she was the best thing ever. Another thing in addition to the breed of dog to consider is your cat's temperament and personality. If your cat is very timid and scared it is likely to be a long, hard road to get your cat to get along with even the best tempered dog. But if your cat is more easy going, friendly, and accepting of new animals then you'll have a much easier time. Cats and Dogs can be the best of friends as long as they have accepting personalities and are both trained to appreciate and respect the other. If you do notice any problems I would quickly get a trainer, one well versed in dog and cat behaviors if possible, to help you work out any issues occurring. Good Luck!
    Jo July 12, 2022
    Mike wheaten terrier came to the house as a puppy in the cats were already here. She would chase the younger cat but sometimes the cat initiated that and for the younger cat it was definitely play. She could always get out of it by jumping on a chair or a counter. (She left the older cat alone and the older cat left her alone.) I have some endearing videos of the two of them nuzzling and greeting each other in the morning. The dog has passed on now and sometimes I think the younger cat who is now the only cat misses her.
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Alfonso Kjellsen November 7, 2021
i love this
Cat store March 4, 2021
Thanks for sharing. Our website about Kittens supplies
camilla June 11, 2020
Would my 2 adult cats be okay meeting a puppy austrailian shepherd because I love my cats but I don't want them to be killed or injured because one of my cats is already fighting with the other outdoor cats on my street
    Furballsmom November 26, 2020
    Camilla, in case you come back to the site, please register with us (it's free) and post in the forum. Our members can help you :)
girarde May 19, 2020
My previous dog was a male Samoyed, gotten as a puppy with full-grown cats, and while the female never liked him much, he and the male became fast friends, sleeping together and giving each other ear licks in passing. The cat would come with us on walks until we reached the end of his territory, and be waiting when we got back. The plural of anecdote is not data, though.
Columbine March 11, 2017
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.
notimetosleep April 22, 2016
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. 
sparkymema November 3, 2015
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. 
carinajosefine October 15, 2015
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 :)
catluvr321 July 31, 2015
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.
juriesempai July 20, 2015
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!
    Cindy July 18, 2020
    Thank you for your reply. I agree with you!
omahamike July 17, 2015
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!
Anne July 10, 2015
@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! 
jeff1 July 9, 2015
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. 
kittenboy May 28, 2015
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.
puck March 13, 2015
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 ;]
kntrygrl256 January 30, 2015
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 
kremena November 16, 2014
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.
nashleah November 7, 2014
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.
osc4r October 19, 2014
Why is there a mouse on the cats head next to the beagle
mysty1 July 26, 2014
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.
ysabella July 26, 2014
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
helsic July 24, 2014
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
leigh3 June 23, 2014
A more in depth comment than "hmmmm" would be helpful.
praisebast June 23, 2014
leigh3 June 18, 2014
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.
goingpostal June 18, 2014
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. 
leigh3 June 16, 2014
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.
wanja June 4, 2014
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.
    belahn December 21, 2019
    Yes, Great Danes are the best with cats.
luvmybirmans May 25, 2014
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".
bertiebassett May 14, 2014
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
cat servant May 13, 2014
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. 
3nails May 13, 2014
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. :) 
Kat0121 May 13, 2014
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.  
Anne May 12, 2014
I am the culprit, the chooser of the images. It's the closest I could find in the stock photography collection we use. Sorry!
kittywhiskers May 12, 2014
When I was growing up we had five cats and three dogs, (two German Shepherds and a Golden Retriever). All of our animals were rescue. The dogs came first so when my mother decided to bring a kitten into the home she was more than a little worried that the German Shephards might eat it! She needn't have worried, that little kitten was the boss. The dogs actually used to lay down for the cat to groom them. That said, I do think it makes a difference if you have well trained dogs right from the start (as ours were). Too many people can't be bothered, I've seen it myself and the poor cats that live in these households must lead such sad and stressful lives.

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