Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
Which Breeds of Cats and Dogs Get Along?
We've all heard the phrase "fighting like cats and dogs," but that doesn't always have to be the case. I have treated a lot of corneal lacerations over the years because people think that any old dog is suited for any old cat, but if you put care into the type of dog or cat you select, there are plenty of great pets out there willing to share their beds and blankets with other species.
Below, you'll find . . .
- a list of dogs that may get along with cats,
- a list of dogs that usually don't,
- and the three cat breeds that are most likely dog-friendly.
The 5 Most Cat-Friendly Dogs
Often, those dog breeds that are known for being good with kids are also good with cats, though not necessarily—there is still a lot of debate in this area. The list of cat-friendly dogs here is not perfect, but it does reflect my personal experience. None of the dogs I have met from these breeds have had a problem with cats, but as I said, there are always sure to be exceptions.
So what are the five dog breeds that get along best with cats?
- Bichon Frisé
- Golden Retriever
This small scent hound was originally bred to be a hunter, but beagles do amazingly well with cats. While they will usually chase cats while out in the yard, they treat cats gently inside the house and will snuggle up contentedly with any cat that shares their living space.
However, keep in mind that a beagle is not the right breed for everyone. They are okay as watchdogs but make friends too easily to be guards. They are also not easy to train, so if you are looking for a dog to obediently follow household commands, you need to search elsewhere. Beagles are famous for ignoring anyone calling them home when they have found an interesting scent and are following it where it leads.
This breed is also vocal; although they do not bark much, they do tend to howl. A lot. If you cannot handle the howling, you might look for another dog breed that will get along with your cats.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this breed tends to get overweight without exercise. If you get a beagle, make sure to exercise him daily.
This great dog breed will more likely wrestle with your cat than try to do her any damage. However, most boxers are strong and lively, so they need a tough cat to play with.
Unlike the beagle, this dog can serve as a good guard dog. Boxers are also fairly easy to train and almost always respond to their owners. If you want a big dog who is good with the family and great with your cat, this breed is a good choice.
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3. Bichon Frisé
This is a very happy, very social dog breed that will likely view a cat as just another small playmate. Just make sure that you have a playful cat. For very laid-back cats, you will need to supervise their interactions closely, since the bichon may be a little too happy at times when the cat wants to be left alone. If the cat is not a cuddler, a bichon might find himself a canina non grata. Several sites also list this dog as one of the best breeds for a family. In fact, they are so loving, my main worry about the Bichon is that he might miss you too much when you're not around.
The bichon frisé is a small dog, and his white coat doesn’t shed much but does need to be taken care of. These dogs need to be trimmed and brushed like a poodle and bathed regularly; if they are ignored, they can develop some serious matts and skin diseases. They are easy to train, fun to have around, and will not bark excessively once they get to know the visitor.
Do you want a small companion to keep your house busy and your young cat occupied? The bichon might be a great choice.
4. Golden Retriever
This dog is one of the best dog breeds with kids and is also tolerant around most other pets in the household. They are excellent with cats of all sizes and ages. The golden retriever is unlikely to be rough with your cat even when playing, and, like most dogs, will just consider the cat part of his family if they are introduced while he's still a puppy.
They are not good guard dogs but they will protect a kitten that they have decided to nurse and raise. Goldens are considered one of the easiest breeds to obedience train and are willing to do almost anything, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. If you want a great family dog, a hard worker, and a good companion, the golden is an excellent dog.
The smallest of the dog breeds that likes cats, the Maltese is a slacker who sometimes just lies around on the couch and ignores anything else going on, including the activities of a cat. In fact, maybe this dog does not really like cats; he just knows better than to ask the cat to move off of his favorite spot. That is a good thing. It would take a tough Maltese to take on even a lazy cat.
Normally they are small lap dogs that don’t care for much more than hanging out, which makes them one of the best breeds for a first-time dog owner. However, if they have an opportunity to play and their opponent does not outweigh them ten to one, the Maltese can be an entertaining member of the household. This is a great dog breed for both new and old cats, because they are unlikely to mess with a new member of the family but are also fine with a cat that just wants to be left alone.
Worst Dog Breeds Around Cats
My personal observation is that almost any dog is willing to accept cats in his environment, as long as the cat is willing to accept him. When I owned Siberian Huskies, even they would leave the cats alone because my cats were able to move around our garden and remain aloof. Terriers have a bad reputation when it comes to cats, but I have often spoken with owners of Westies and Cairn terriers that get along fine with mellow cats.
The sighthounds might be an exception to the rule, since they have been bred with a very strong prey instinct, but I have heard stories of retired greyhounds that do okay with cats in their house. It is important that the cat does not run and act like prey; some dogs never seem to understand the concept that all pets are part of the family.
It Depends on the Dog, But Be Careful With These Breeds
Anyway, although there are sure to be plenty of people who disagree, here is my list of dog breeds that do not usually do well with cats:
- Sled dogs (Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, etc)
- Sighthounds (Whippets, Salukis, Azawakh, and some others)
- Terriers (Jack Russel Terrier, Rat Terrier, etc)
- Guard dogs (this can vary a lot but some breeds like the Presa Canario, Cane Corso, and Fila Brasileiro usually do not do well with small animals in their territory.)
But, as I mentioned above, a lot of those dogs can do okay if introduced to a cat early in life.
Cat Breeds That Do Well Around Dogs
If you do not yet have a cat, it is also a good idea to get a cat breed that like dogs. Not all cats will put up with a canine companion in the house, and some dogs (especially breeds like thepug, with its protruding eyes) can be hurt by an aggressive cat.
Recommended breeds for households with dogs include the following:
- Ragdoll cats
- Siberian cats
- Maine coon cats
These are all muscular cats that are large enough to feel confident around dogs. This means they are less likely to feel threatened and try to run away when your dog approaches them. There are many other breeds to choose from, of course.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have never owned a dog before, and I have a seven-year-old cat. Which breed of dog would you recommend?
Answer: I do not know if you prefer big dogs or small dogs, hairy dogs or dogs that do not shed much, if you rent or own your own house, if you live in the country or city, etc.
My personal recommendations are the dogs on this list. I had a Maltese, one of the best dogs ever, but he passed away several years ago. If you want small, the Maltese is a great choice.
I also have a Boxer mix. She is a great dog, so if you like big and do not mind a bit of slobber, they are a fun dog you can wrestle around with and still trust with your cat.
Question: Are Cavalier dogs friendly with cats?
Answer: Cavalier dogs are an affectionate breed and usually prefer to lie around and enjoy their owner's warm lap. Almost all of them are good with cats.
Question: We have a very docile 5 year old male indoor Siberian cat and would love to introduce a King Charles spaniel and/or another Siberian. Which mix would you advise, if at all?
Answer: Both combinations are fine. Cavs are a very mild dog and do great with a confident cat like a Siberian, so you should have no problems with that mix. Enjoy your new family member!
Question: Do Labs like kids and cats?
Answer: They are known to be a kid-friendly breed, but they are a hunting dog and are not especially good with cats. If you get a puppy, however, and he is exposed to the cats, you will probably not have any problems.
Question: I have two cats that are about 3 years old and have been together since birth. I really want to get a dog also, I’m just not sure which would be a good choice to have with two cats. Any recommendations?
Answer: Yes, this article lists five dog breeds that usually get along with cats. If you choose one of the breeds on this list you will probably have success.
Question: Will a Yorkshire terrier get along with a cat?
Answer: Yorkies were originally bred to hunt rats. They have been selected to have a high prey drive and to chase and kill things that run away from them.
Some Yorkies will do okay as this has not been an important factor in their selection in some time. I would not want to risk my cat´s well being on a Yorkie, however. If you do decide to get one, and own a cat, make sure that you monitor them when together.
Question: My dog is half Maltese and half white highland terrier. Do you think she will get along with cats?
Answer: Although Maltese get along with most cats, many Westies do not. This is not a rule, by any means, since some lines have had the terrier bred out of them and are mild and do well with cats and other small animals.
If you bring home a cat, you need to think about adopting an adult that is already used to dogs, and preferably a Ragdoll or one of the other cats on the list. Let her around your dog, but only under supervision until you are absolutely sure the dog will not chase.
Question: Do Cocker Spaniels like cats?
Answer: Most cockers I have been around are good with cats.
Question: I have two cats that are about 4 years old and have been bonded since birth. I really want to get a corgi after doing a lot of research on them. Do you think that the corgi would get along with my cats?
Answer: Since the corgi is a herding breed, he has a tendency to chase prey. If you get an adult from a rescue, and the first thing he does is chase your cats, it will be difficult to stop it. If you get a puppy he will probably not be able to push your adult cats around and will be more likely to get along.
Question: I have a three-year-old Rottweiler and want to get a cat, but he has never been around cats. Will they get along?
Answer: It will depend on the dog, but there is a good chance that they will not get along if the cat runs away or displays any prey characteristics. If you decide to get a cat, you have to always be around them for the first few months. If the dog displays aggression to the cat, you need to let him know that it is not acceptable, right at that moment. If you do not, he will probably catch and kill the cat.
Question: My parents have a bichon poodle, four years old, very fluffy and sweet and get along with kids very well. I just moved into their house with my cat Goochi who is four as well. Do you think these two pets will get along?
Answer: The best thing you can do for cat is keep him calm and try to encourage him to hold his ground. If he runs from the dog it will stimulate his prey drive and he will chase. If he chases, he will most likely chase every time unless he gets bored of the game.
Question: My friend has two old cats, and she wants a German Shepherd. She will not change her mind. She has never owned a dog before, is not sure if her cats like dogs, and (of course she says that they do) and I just want to make sure she’s not going in over her head. Any advice?
Answer: All dogs can be hard to handle around cats, but some are worse than others. She will need to train her new dog in basic obedience, train him to not chase, and enroll him in a program like the AKC´s Canine Good Citizen program. Since her dog will be large and may be difficult to handle, her cats might end up suffering for her.
Question: Will Bernedoodles get along with a Siberian cat?
Answer: That is very hard to say. Bernese do not have much of a prey drive, but Poodles were hunting dogs and will be a lot more likely to chase.
A Siberian cat, however, is very confident and not likely to run. If your cat is confident enough to face the dog it is unlikely he will ever mess with the cat again.
Question: Will an Australian shepherd get along with cats?
Answer: Since Australian shepherds are herding dogs, they are not a breed that does well with cats. If you have not yet brought home a puppy, I would consider another breed.
If you have already put a deposit down, or have your heart set on this breed, the best thing you can do is introduce your puppy gradually, and make sure that your cat or cats feel secure and does not run from the puppy. If the cat runs from the puppy, and the dog gets into the habit of chasing the cat, the situation will be difficult.
Question: Is a Saint Bernard cat friendly?
Answer: Many Saint Bernards do well with cats. If you are getting a puppy, be sure to introduce your cat in a controlled environment so that the dog does not start to chase.
If you are getting a cat, try to get a large breed like a Siberian or a Maine Coone. Those breeds are much more confident around dogs.
Question: How can I tell if my two cats like each other?
Answer: Just like with two dogs, they will tend to hang out together, sleep in the same bed, play together, eat at the same time, etc. It is a good question, because we cannot know what is going on in the dog and cats mind but we can at least judge their reactions.
Question: Do big mixed breeds of dogs like cats?
Answer: There is no way to generalize for all mixed breed dogs. Some do, some do not. Look at the dog and try to figure out what the mix is, and see if the parent breeds have a high prey drive. Dogs with a high prey drive are more likely to chase cats, especially if they run or show any fearful movements.
Question: I've heard Papillons are good with cats. Is this true?
Answer: Yes, many small breeds like Papillons are great with cats. If you already have a cat and introduce the dog when still a puppy, there should be no problems.
Question: Will a Maltese puppy get along with a four-year-old cat?
Answer: A Maltese puppy is unlikely to try and chase a four-year-old cat. They should get along just fine.
Question: I have a 10 year old female Maine Coon cat and am moving in with someone who owns a 3 year old female Dalmatian. Will they get along? What steps can I take to help their transition?
Answer: It is always a good idea to introduce the dog and cat while the dog is very young, but as long as the cat does not run away when introduced they should do fine. Maine Coon cats are usually very confident animals and much less likely to run than some of the other breeds.
How should you introduce the Dalmatian and the cat? That is hard to say because it depends on their individual personalities. If the dog is calm and obedient, you can allow him to come into your apartment when your cat is on your lap. If the dog is more rambunctious, he might need to be put in a crate before introduced to the cat.
If your cat is nervous, and likely to bite you, a slow introduction (where the dog is locked up and the cat is free) is a good idea.
You mentioned that you and your cat are moving in with the Dalmatian, but I definitely recommend that you let the two of them get together for the first time on the cat´s turf. After they have met and are able to get along you can take the cat to the dogs territory. NOT before that.
© 2012 Dr Mark
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 02, 2020:
Rick, no guarantee for any breed of any dog, but GSDs might be a better choice. It really depends on the individual, and how the cat responds to their first contact. If your cats are pretty mellow, and not likely to run off, there is much less of a chance of a problem.
Rick on June 27, 2020:
Hi, I have 3 cats but need to get a guard dog(s). I can potentially house the dog(s) outside but I am worried that will mean they will see the cats as prey or an enemy...
What would you do? I had wanted Rhodesian ridgebacks or GSDs
Kathryn on November 10, 2019:
I had a Jack Russell which we adopted as a rescue. He was probably about 4 years old when we got him. I had 2 indoor cats, and he got along with them wonderfully. As importantly, I have 2 friendly feral cats who live on my deck (don't worry, they have a heated house lol) and he made friends with them! He never chased them, and they would all greet each other when he went out. It was pretty amazing. He was a pretty wussy Jack Russell though lol.
Julia on August 25, 2019:
We have had Fila Brasileiros since year 2002. They have all been good with our cats, as they consider them to be family members. We also had Great Pyrenees who are a cat’ best friend. Even our Catahoula was able to get along with the felines. Training and guidance can go a long way in assuring a peaceful menagerie.
Penny A Stewart on January 23, 2019:
My large male Boxer, Henry is known as the kitten whisperer. My 3 cats adore him. They go to him for comfort and one of them is always curled up to him. I am quite envious.
Cathy Bauer on January 21, 2019:
I have cats, l started getting Chihuahuas(rescues)....they get along beautifully...l rescued a small standard Doxie...after a bit, everybody is family!!!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 14, 2018:
RH, doxies are not usually the best dogs with cats. Since it is a little kitten, however, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. (One of my pitbulls, for example, hates cats and chases them all but when I found an abandoned kitten on the side of the road she just looked at him and has never been aggressive.)
I think you should give the Doxies a chance and see how they do. Be aware that you might need to find another home for the kitten though.
RH on August 14, 2018:
I have 3 2-yr-old female mini Dachshunds and a newly rescued male kitten. Any chance they will all get along or would I be putting the cat at risk.
Laurel Shimer on May 24, 2018:
I got my wonderful dog Jasper through Petfinder. I sent out a list of questions to different rescue groups indicating I was looking for a dog who was currently being fostered and had known behavior around kitties/ Lou at Tiramisu Dog Rescue followed up and found my perfect pooch Jasper. He and our kitty get along fine. All Petfinder groups gets pets from shelters.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 25, 2018:
Spaniels, since they are hunting dogs, can have a high prey drive and are usually not recommended with cats. Some hunting dogs, however, do not recognize a cat as prey and as long as the cat does not run from them do very well. A lot of this will depend on how the cat acts when the dog is introduced, and if the dog is still a puppy the results are often good.
You will notice that there are several hunting dogs on this list. (Beagles and goldens.)
Samryan20 on April 24, 2018:
Would a springer puppy be good with two 3yr old cats
Grace on March 31, 2018:
I have 3 cats and 1 dog and the dog is lovely to the cat!!!Its a Labrador.
bookpaw on March 28, 2018:
my boxers try to eat my cats
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 28, 2018:
Hi puglover, since Pugs do not have a high prey drive most of them do not have any problems. If you already have cats and are getting a new puppy, just introduce them somewhere that the cat is not going to run away. That is what makes most dogs chase.
I would actually be more worried about the Pug. Those large eyes are delicate and if scratched by a cat you can have a big problem. Be sure to supervise them at first to make sure the cats are not picking on the puppy.
Puglover852 on February 28, 2018:
And I have a cats
I don’t know if they
Will like each other
PLEASE TELL ME YOUR WAYS!
Natasha on January 18, 2018:
I have five dogs and they all tolerate my old cat as long as he doesn't unexpectedly charge across the garden as they're all sitting on the verandah ... not likely though as he's already 14 yrs old. The German Shepsky completely ignores him, the Rhodesian Ridgeback will happily lie with him on the bed, the little Terrier cross snaps at him as he jumps off the chairs but she only has about three teeth left and is almost completely blind (an old rescue) and the Jack Russell X is also completely tolerant but will join in cat chasing fun if the others are going to join her. The only one who's ever been scratched by the cat is the Pomeranian X and he's now very careful around him.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 12, 2017:
Lunad, most yellow Labs are okay, and of course most Golden Retrievers are also good dogs with cats. Many breeds do okay if the dog meets the cat while still a puppy, and since your Tortoiseshell is older there should be no problems.
lunad on November 12, 2017:
I have a Tortoiseshell Cat. I want to know what is the best dog breed to pair my cat with? I love Golden Lab.
I just don't know if the would be a good match.
Jesse on November 08, 2017:
I don't agree about Bichon Frise liking cats. My stepsister had one and it kept barking in the cats faces and they would both hiss at him to get him to stop. The only time my cat Attila ever hissed was at the Bichon Frise.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 04, 2017:
It sounds okay, and I hope they both have fun!
Angie on July 29, 2017:
I recently got a beagle puppy mixed with something else of the unknown. We also rescued a tiny kitten no more than 8 weeks old. I hear that Beagles are great with felines and I am trying to get them to live in harmony under the same roof. The tiny kitten is in no way afraid of the dog which is cool but I feel as though the dog is super tough with her. I don't know if he wants to hurt her or if it's simply just that he is big. When he sniffs her, he forcefully pushes his snout into her body and he is always kind of nipping at her. Is is safe to just let them play and learn about one another on their own terms?
amoore6489 on May 09, 2017:
I know every dog is different- I have seen pits that love cats. I just wanted to say that I have four dogs- all different breeds- and my jack Russell absolutely LOVES the cats, she tries to kiss them every chance she can-though normally the cats want nothing to do with it. I have had cats before that would play with my cairn terrier. None of them would hurt the cats- I raised them that way and they have no reason to. I would say it is mostly how you raise them, and yes getting them young together helps. Growing up we had a sheltie and she loved our cats, but would chase others out of the back yard.--example
lanez on April 11, 2017:
your dog is so cute
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 28, 2017:
Jenan, I have had clients that tell me their Sibes are good around cats, so it is not impossible. If you want to adopt a senior, great, but a lot of the behavior of a senior or puppy is going to depend on the cats.
Jenan Johnson on March 27, 2017: