best dogs to have with cats

9 Best Dogs To Have With Cats And Tips

best dogs to have with cats

When you think of iconic animal archenemies, dogs and cats likely come to mind. However, this isn’t always the case, especially when deliberate decisions and thoughtful introductions are made by responsible pet owners. Cats can sometimes lead a life of uneasy cohabitation with their canine counterparts, but there are certain dog breeds that make feline friends for life. Most people think that dogs are the best pet, choosing the best pet is crucial for a better companionship so you should take a look at it.

This comprehensive guide aims to provide insights into the breeds that tend to have a favorable attitude towards cats, the strategies for integrating a new dog into a household with a resident cat, and pro tips for maintaining a peaceful relationship. Whether you’re already a cat owner looking to expand your family to include a dog, or a dog enthusiast hoping to bring a cat into your life. This guide is your go-to resource for best dogs to have with cats for harmony between two of the most beloved household pets.

Understanding the Complex Cat-Dog Dynamic

The cat-dog dynamic is as complicated as it is popularized. The truth is, each pet is an individual with its own personality and history that will contribute to the success or struggle of their relationship. Dogs may have a natural inclination to chase anything that runs or wrestles, which can trigger a cat’s sprint or fight instinct. Cats, on the other hand, often prefer to hold their ground, which may irritate overly playful or assertive canines. But these are generalities. Breeds vary, and individual upbringing plays a significant role in how well they will mesh with a pet of another species.

Benefits of a Cat-Friendly Dog

The sight of a dog and a cat napping together or engaging in friendly play is as heartwarming as it gets. A dog with a cat disposition can offer a consistent warmth and companionship that you might not expect from a dog. This environment is especially beneficial for households where the people are away for extended hours during the day. On top of that, the shared space and energy provide additional stimuli, encouraging physical activity and mental engagement that’s essential for the well-being of both pets.

Matching Breed to Behavior: Breeds Known for Cat Friendliness

Certain breeds stand out for their tendency to get along with cats and other small animals. They often possess a more laid-back temperament and lower prey drive, which are essential traits for being a good companion to your resident feline.

Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever dog

The Labrador Retriever, a beloved breed known for its sociable nature and remarkable adaptability, has captured the hearts of many dog lovers. Labs exhibit a natural affinity for getting along with various animals, even cats, making them versatile and cherished ‘all-rounder’ family pets. Their friendly demeanor and loyalty shine through with consistent training and early socialization, shaping them into fantastic companions for families of all sizes.

Basset Hound

basset hound best for cats

Bassets, known for their exceptional sense of smell, may give off the impression of constant hunting instincts. However, their true passion lies in leisurely activities. Their laid-back nature often makes them an ideal companion for households with cats, as long as the feline can tolerate the occasional droopy-eared amble without being overly sensitive.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

cavalier king charles spaniel

This regal breed, known for its love of living-room lounging and its sweet, affectionate disposition, is the epitome of elegance. Their majestic presence and graceful demeanor make them cherished companions. While generally good with cats, especially due to their gentle nature, kittens may initially be taken aback by their exuberant friendliness. Thus, a patient and gentle introduction is essential to foster a harmonious and lasting relationship.


Pug dog for cats

Pugs are known for their playful, loyal, and affectionate nature. Their docile temperament allows them to form harmonious relationships with cats. However, it is advisable to supervise their interactions to prevent playful chases from escalating into potentially stressful situations. This proactive approach can help ensure a peaceful coexistence between these furry companions. There are also some downside of having a pug.


Collie best dog for cats

Lassie wasn’t famous for nothing! Collies, particularly those that are well-bred and well-socialized, are renowned for their strong protective streak and natural inclination to watch over the “little ones” in the household, whether they are smaller dogs or cats. Known for their gentle and loyal nature, Collies are an excellent choice for families with multiple pets, providing a harmonious and caring environment for all furry companions.


bulldog best for cats

Though their appearance might be intimidating with their strong build and distinct wrinkled face, Bulldogs often surprise with their gentle nature, showing a soft spot for cats and displaying a unique independence. It’s fascinating how, despite their muscular stature, they tend to form unlikely bonds with feline friends.

To foster a harmonious relationship, it’s recommended to introduce Bulldogs to cats early on, allowing them to adapt and develop a mutual understanding from a young age. Due to their less active nature compared to other breeds, Bulldogs find comfort in the presence of a cat that shares their preference for a more relaxed pace of life.


Beagle for cats

Beagles are known for their friendly and curious disposition, which makes them great companions for cats. Their moderate size and energy levels allow them to adjust well to a cat’s space and routine, without being too overwhelming. It’s important to start early and maintain consistent training with Beagles to help them learn the necessary discipline to respect a cat’s boundaries and ensure a harmonious living environment for both pets.


poodle best for cat

With their hypoallergenic coat that sheds minimally, Poodles are an excellent option for households with cats. Their high level of intelligence adds to their charm, making them quick learners and great companions for feline friends. Available in three sizes – standard, miniature, and toy – Poodles offer a versatile choice for any type of cat household. Ensuring they get regular exercise not only keeps them physically healthy but also mentally stimulated, reducing the likelihood of them bothering the cats out of boredom.


Pappillon best for cats

Don’t be fooled by the Papillon’s delicate appearance; behind those graceful looks lies a spirited and curious nature. These little daredevils not only love to keep up with their feline friends but also display an unyielding energy that keeps them engaged in playful antics. Their boundless enthusiasm for playtime ensures your cat will always have a lively companion to keep them entertained and on their toes.

Introducing Your New Dog to Your Cat

A successful integration of a new dog into a household with a cat requires patience, planning, and positive reinforcement. Cats are territorial and can be slow to accept newcomers, especially those that disrupt their routines.

Separate But Within Smelling Distance

Start by keeping your new dog separated from your cat in different rooms to allow them to adjust to each other’s presence. Provide opportunities for them to get familiar with each other’s scent by exchanging items they have interacted with, like toys or bedding. Slowly progress to sharing items that carry the distinct smell of the other pet, helping them acclimate to each other’s presence and reduce potential stress during their introduction process.

Giving Your Cat Space to Acclimate

Create a safe space for your cat, ideally elevated, providing a vantage point for them to observe the newcomer. It’s important to ensure this designated area is inaccessible to the dog. In addition, dedicate time to give your cat ample attention and engage in play activities. This will help prevent any feelings of neglect and foster positive associations between your cat and the presence of the dog.

Supervised Interactions with Positive Reinforcement

When the time comes to introduce your pets face to face, it’s important to create a calm and controlled environment. Make sure your dog is on a leash or securely contained to prevent any sudden movements. Allow your cat the freedom to approach at their own pace, giving them the choice to interact when ready. Remember to praise and offer treats to both pets if they exhibit calm and interested behavior, rather than showing signs of aggression or excessive excitement. Building positive associations during their first meeting can help foster a harmonious relationship between your furry companions.

Monitoring Progress and Adjustment

Each pet’s rate of acceptance will vary based on factors like their individual personalities, past experiences, and current environment. It’s crucial to monitor their interactions closely, looking out for signs of stress or discomfort, and be ready to step in and separate them if things get too tense. With patience, repeated, controlled introductions, and positive reinforcement, most cats and dogs can gradually learn to coexist peacefully, building trust and forming bonds over time.

Using Treats to Promote Positive Associations

Encouraging calm or friendly behavior through rewarding interactions can aid pets in forming positive associations with each other. By offering high-value treats that are not part of their regular diet, you can make the rewards extra special and reinforce the desired behaviors effectively. This positive reinforcement approach can contribute to a harmonious relationship between pets and create a more peaceful environment at home.

Additional Tips for Harmony Between Dogs and Cats

Once the initial introduction has been made, and your dog and cat are sharing the same space, there are several strategies you can employ to promote continued harmony.

Providing Separate Spaces

Ensure that each pet has their designated territory within the household, furnished with essential resources such as a designated feeding area with their food and water bowls, a cozy resting spot, and a separate area for litter boxes for cats. Dogs and cats, being territorial creatures, find comfort and security when they have their own space where they can exercise control and feel at ease.

Establishing Routines and Boundaries

Consistency is crucial for both dogs and cats. Dogs truly value routine and clear boundaries, while cats thrive in environments where they can predict what’s next. To ensure a harmonious atmosphere, consider crafting a well-thought-out schedule that grants each pet their individual time to bond with you and unwind in peace. This thoughtful approach can help nurture the unique connection you share with each furry friend.

Ensuring Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Regular exercise plays a pivotal role in maintaining a dog’s overall well-being. Not only does it contribute to their physical health, but it can also serve as a preventive measure against behavioral problems that could potentially distress a cat. Additionally, mental stimulation in the form of puzzles or training sessions can further enhance their cognitive abilities and overall happiness.

Addressing Behavioral Issues Promptly

If you notice any concerning behavior from either your dog or cat, such as excessive barking, destructive chewing, aggression, anxiety, or signs of stress, it’s important to address it promptly. By dealing with these issues early on, you can prevent them from escalating and make it easier to correct the behavior in the long run.

Breed-Specific Considerations

Each featured breed offers its own set of pros and cons when it comes to cohabitating with a cat. Here are a few breed-specific tips to bear in mind as you consider adding a dog to your cat-populated home.

Prey Drive and Hunting Instincts

Breeds with a high prey drive, such as terriers or sight hounds, might require more patience and vigilance during the introduction and socialization process. It’s important to redirect their instincts towards more appropriate outlets, such as toys or games, while ensuring that such instincts don’t infringe on a cat’s comfort or safety.

Trainability and Socialization

Highly trainable breeds like Poodles and Retrievers have an advantage when it comes to learning to coexist with cats. They’re often quick to pick up on household rules and routines, making the integration process that much smoother.

Grooming Needs and Shedding Tendencies

While grooming needs shouldn’t affect a dog’s compatibility with a cat, shedding might. Breeds like the Collie and Golden Retriever have dense coats that need regular care to minimize shedding, which can be important for a household where a clean environment is essential.

Health Concerns and Breed-Specific Issues

Beagle and Bulldog owners, for example, should be aware of the breed-specific health issues they might encounter. Regular vet checks will help ensure that any health concerns are identified and addressed early, increasing the chances of a longer, harmonious life with your pets.

Expert Insights and Recommendations

Insights from professionals and experienced pet owners can provide a wealth of knowledge on how to select the right breed and create a successful interspecies relationship.

Choosing the Right Dog Breed

Veterinarians and pet behaviorists can provide guidance on selecting a dog breed that fits your lifestyle and is likely to be compatible with your cat. They can also offer insights into the specific challenges you might face based on your cat’s temperament.

Managing and Preventing Pet Conflicts

Training and conditioning are key in preventing conflicts between pets. Learn how to read their body language and intervene if you sense things are getting tense. Professional training might be necessary for some dogs, especially if they’ve had previous negative interactions with cats.

Creating a Safe Environment for Both Pets

Ensuring that your home environment is conducive to both pets’ needs is crucial. Avoid creating situations in which one pet can be cornered or trapped, as this can lead to heightened stress levels and potential conflict.


Bringing a dog into a household with a cat is a decision that should be made with careful consideration. By understanding the unique dynamics of the cat-dog relationship and the specific traits of different dog breeds, you can foster an environment where both pets feel comfortable and content.

The process of integrating a new dog into a home with a cat can be challenging, but it is ultimately rewarding. With patience, positivity, and the right approach, cats and dogs can form strong and lasting bonds, enriching each other’s lives in countless ways. Whether your preference is for a regal King Charles or a spirited Spaniel, know that with the right steps, any household can become a loving, multi-species haven.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The time it takes for a dog and cat to become accustomed to each other can vary widely. Some pets may adjust within a few days, while others might take several weeks or even months. Consistent, positive interactions and careful monitoring are key to a smooth integration.

If chasing occurs, it’s important to intervene calmly and assertively. Separate the pets and give them time to calm down. Consider additional training for your dog to obey commands like “leave it” or “stay”, and create safe spaces where your cat can escape to.

Yes, with patience and proper introduction techniques, older pets can adjust to new furry family members. It’s important to respect the senior pet’s space and routines and to introduce the new pet gradually.

Playful behavior often includes relaxed body language, back-and-forth chase (where both pets take turns chasing each other), and gentle, inhibited biting. Fighting, on the other hand, includes aggressive body language, such as hissing, growling, or pinning ears back, and can lead to one pet trying to escape the interaction.

Both puppies and adult dogs can be successfully introduced to cats. Puppies might be more adaptable but require extensive training and supervision. Adult dogs, on the other hand, can have established temperaments that might be easier to match with your cat’s personality, but could also have ingrained behaviors that make introductions trickier. Consider your cat’s temperament and your ability to provide training when making your choice.

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