Many people are wary about bringing a dog into a home where a cat is already settled and happy. Cats are largely independent animals and may not feel comfortable if you bring a boisterous, excitable or aggressive dog into the home. However, don’t let the age-old idea of dogs and cats as enemies put you off! There are many cases where cats and dogs are able to live together happily and they can even become great friends. A large part of a successful match is due to the breed and temperament of the dog you choose. Below, we’ve outlined the top ten dog breeds which make great companions for cats.
Golden Retrievers are known for being loyal, gentle and friendly, so they will make a great addition to a household which already owns a cat. Their intelligence and obedient nature mean that Golden Retrievers are often used as therapy or assistance dogs – this shows how easy they are to train. They are a great choice for a family who owns a cat because Golden Retrievers are very well-behaved around other animals and children. However, one thing to keep in mind before getting your heart set is the size of your living space – they are a large breed of dog which needs a lot of room to move about.
There is a reason that Labrador Retrievers are themost popular dog breed in the US, and a lot of it comes down to their sociable nature and friendly temperament. Like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers are intelligent, obedient and loyal. They are also used as assistance dogs which reflects how caring they are, as well as how willing they are to be trained. They enjoy making friends with adults, children, and other pets alike, so a Labrador will have no problem settling in with your cat. Labradors are big dogs and need lots of walking but if you are willing to dedicate your time, they can be a wonderful addition to your home.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
If you are looking for a smaller breed of dog, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might be the one for you. They are a sweet-tempered and amiable breed who enjoy socialising with humans and other animals, as long as they do so from an early age. They also enjoy cuddling up on the sofa, so would be well-suited to the calmer temperament that a lot of cats have. These Spaniels behave politely around other animals so would be easy to introduce to a skittish cat. They can suffer from bad separation anxiety and shouldn’t be left alone for too long, but if you have a cat it could work really well as they will always have a companion.
Basset Hounds are one of the most good-natured and relaxed dog breeds around. They enjoy making friends with adults, children and other animals alike and will approach another pet in a friendly and peaceful manner. If, however, you have been a cat owner thus far because you don’t have the time to walk a dog twice a day, you may want to think twice before getting a Basset Hound.
Without constant exercise, they areprone to weight gainand health problems which could result in expensive vet bills. If you are willing and able to take your dog out for plenty of exercise, a Basset Hound could be perfect for you! They will almost definitely get along with your cat and have the potential to become its friend for life.
Although toy breeds sometimes have a reputation for being aggressive and feisty, the Papillion is good-natured breed who is welcoming to other animals. They are a good dog to choose if you live in an apartment or smaller house because of their small size. However, it is still important to walk a Papillion frequently as they can become agitated if stuck inside for too long. They can also be prone to barking which may disrupt and disturb your cat, so if you do plan on getting a Papillion, you should train them from a young age so that they don’t develop a tendency for excessive noise.
Pugs are friendly and loving dogs which really benefit from having company, so it could be a great idea for them to have a partner in your cat. As another small breed, a Pug won’t pose too much of a threat to your cat in terms of size or temperament. However, cats can actually be a threat to Pugs! If your cat is prone to swiping or clawing, it might not be the best idea to choose a Pug because these dogs have large eyes which can easily be injured. Claws aside, cats who are relaxed and friendly will get on really well with Pugs because they have a similar docile nature.
If you want a loyal and caring dog who is polite around strangers and other pets, the Collie could be right for you. They are highly affectionate and enjoy company, so would benefit from being around another animal. Collies have been bred to herd sheep and, if they have strong herding instincts, they may follow your cat around. This could work if your cat is either playful or patient.
However, if they prefer to be left alone it might not be a good idea to introduce a Collie with a strong herding instinct (the kennel or breeder will be able to tell you information about a particular Collie’s behaviour). Collies are also a highly intelligent breed and require a lot of mental stimulation – this is another factor to bear in mind if you are considering bringing this dog into your home.
The Boxer is an energetic and playful breed, so whether you choose to bring this dog into your home will depend on the personality of your cat and whether they will be able to cope with its energy. They have historically been used forhunting wild gameso might potentially have the instinct to “chase” your cat – this is something you should ask the breeder or kennel about.
Boxers are relatively easy to train, however, so if you lay out ground rules from a young age they should know how to behave around another animal. They are incredibly loyal, protective and friendly dogs who have the potential to settle in really well with a cat.
Known for its happy and sociable nature, the Irish Setter thrives when in the company of people and other pets. Like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, this breed of dog doesn’t like being left alone for too long, so it could really benefit from living with a cat.
They can be lively and excitable when young which has the potential to spook a more timid cat. However, if trained well from a young age they will soon settle down into a peaceful and good-natured animal who wants to make friends with and be around other animals.
Like the Papillion, the Maltese is another toy breed that is a perfect choice for those who live in a smaller home (or just have their heart set on a little dog). Again, contrary to the reputation of aggression that small dogs sometimes get given, the Maltese is a timid and relaxed breed that will approach other animals in a gentle manner. One thing to note is that they are very delicate, so if you own a large or hostile cat who is prone to fighting it might not be a good idea to bring a Maltese to live with them as they can be easily hurt. However, most cats are peaceful and relaxed like the Maltese, so they often get along really well with one another.
Owning both a dog and a cat definitely doesn’t have to become a nightmare scenario. As shown above, there are a number of dog breeds which are friendly, gentle, sociable, and will get on well with cats. It is the same as any other big decision, it just requires careful research and consideration.
Of course, this is only a guide based on typical breed characteristics and the personalities described may not be true for all dogs so it’s always a good idea to get advice from the breeder or kennel. It can be hard to tell what a dog’s personality will become while they’re still a puppy, so a good alternative is to adopt an adult dog because the shelter will be able to tell you about the temperament and requirements of the dog. Another possible option is to get a crossbreed dog – you can still use the guide above to see which kinds of crossbreeds would work well with cats!
Hopefully, this guide to the top ten dog breeds for cats has helped you to feel more comfortable and confident about bringing a dog into your life. All of the breeds outlined above make for wonderful pets, so it’s up to you to decide which one will work for you!
SynergyVetsis a dedicated veterinary recruitment agency, with almost 30 years of experience supporting the profession with locum and permanent personnel. They have a great blog which, alongside advice for veterinary candidates, includes useful animal care tips for pet owners.
Certain dog breeds get along better with cats than others. Here are ten of the best dog breeds for cat owners.