Cat Behavior, Cat Care

A Full House: The Best Cat-Friendly Dogs for Any Home

A Full House: The Best Cat-Friendly Dogs for Any Home

So you have a house full of kitties, but canine companionship is calling. Of course, you don't want to disrupt the harmonious flow of your household, but the friendship of a pup is just too enticing. Despite what some say, dogs and cats can co-exist, and sometimes even bond. Just about any dog, given the right introduction, can befriend a feline; however, there are some breeds who seem especially keen to get attached. Today we will look into some of the most cat-friendly dogs around.

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Large Cat-Friendly Dogs

You would think that, because of their size, large dog breeds wouldn't fare well with kitty companions; however, you might be surprised to find that several of the larger breeds, big and lovable as they are, will make for great friends to your feline. It is best to keep in mind, though, that you'll have to match your new pooch's personality with your cat's - but then, that's true of any size of pup.


Boxers are a great example of matching up personalities. Overall, these big goofballs will get along beautifully with cats, but... your cats might find it difficult to tolerate their incredibly high spirits. If your cat is the playful sort, though, you'll find that the boxer's sweet and intelligent demeanor fits in beautifully.


These dogs are huge and oh-so-delightfully furry, and they are definitely the gentle giant sort that any cat would be crazy not to love. According to the AKC Standard, their overall sweetness is the main standout feature of their personality. Furthermore, Newfoundlands are real companions, loving to be at the center of family life, and since your cat is essentially the heart of your family, well, it's all but certain that the pair will become fast friends.

German Shepherd

Ridiculously smart and deeply trainable, German Shepherds will fall into two categories when it comes to your cat: they will either learn to love him via cues from you - that is, body language that says, "This cat? This is a good cat!" - or he will completely ignore him. If you're looking for an adorable interspecies friendship, this may or may not be what you get from this co-mingling, though you'll likely get some pretty solid amicability.

Basset Hound

There really are only a few hound-style dogs who fit into the category of "cat-friendly dog breeds," as hounds tend to want to "hunt" your small, prey-like cat. Basset hounds, though, are largely low energy and will either ignore your kitty or want to cuddle with him. Assuming your cat is on the affable side, don't be surprised to find the pair piled together in the dog bed at all hours of the day.


Like Boxers, Collies are active and highly intelligent creatures. They are also very family-oriented, and like to be included in whatever the household is doing. Because of their loving nature, they are considered some of the best dogs for cat lovers, as they are likely to spread that love to every member of the house, including their new kitty friend. Again, though, be sure that your cat is fairly high energy himself, as a more low key feline will likely not appreciate being herded around the house.

Small Cat-Friendly Dogs

If you're looking for a pup that will blend into your clowder just a little bit better, there are plenty of small cat-friendly dogs to be had. Surprisingly, when it comes to aggression, small dogs tend to rank higher; however, there are still plenty of good-natured little guys who will not only get on with cats, but will also think that they are one of them! In fact... if you're not careful, you might find that you're left with a gang of small, furry creatures who bully you for food, then ignore you while they go off and play together. ...But... I'm not speaking from personal experience... ahem.


What I do have experience with is Dachshunds and cats. For some reason, this combination has always worked in my household. I think, perhaps, it's because their personalities match up fairly well. Like cats, Dachshunds are impossibly smart, loyal, and intermittently playful - that is... five minute burst of energy, nap for the rest of the day. They are also shockingly patient, which is good news if your cat doesn't respect personal boundaries. The only downside I've found with this pairing is that it is next to impossible to keep a doxie out of the cat toy box!


So not all spaniels fit into the small category, I know. I also know that not all of them get along all that well with cats. Cocker and Cavalier King Charles spaniels, however, are both relatively small and are thought to be excellent companions for kitties, as they are gentle, patient, and affectionate. They are also great little family dogs, and, as I've said about other breeds, because your cat is the head of household, you'll likely find that the two will be quite friendly.


These little lap dogs are fairly easy-going, and are unlikely to trouble their feline housemates. In the event that they do decide to mingle, it will likely be for a good cuddle or a short, non-contact round of chase. This, though, is one of the those breeds that will either passively associate with your cat, or simply ignore him. Either way, the likelihood of trouble is relatively minor in this pairing.

Bichon Frisé

Unlike the Maltese, a Bichon Frisé will probably want to spend a good deal of time socializing with your kitties. These dogs are busy, busy little creatures with a good deal of energy to burn. They are good-natured and affectionate, but would do best with an equally high energy feline. If your cat tends to be lazy or needs a lot of alone time, the Bichon Frisé will probably bother him - so you'll either want to opt for something closer to a Maltese in temperament, or do a good deal of supervising when the pair interact.

English Bulldog

Because of their tough outer shell, you might not think of an English Bulldog as a good counterpart for your cat, but you might be amazed. Despite being rather laid-back and willful, these adorable little tough guys are surprisingly friendly and docile, and probably won't mind a good solid cat-bath around the wrinkles. They can also be quite protective of the things they love, and because of their stocky little bodies, this could mean that if your critters bond, your cat will have his own personal bodyguard for life!

Dogs for Cat Lovers

All right... so far we've talked about dogs who generally get along with, or at least ignore, cats, but what of the dogs who flat out act like cats? Well, if you want a canine who leans towards the feline, if you're trying to find a compromise when it comes to the whole, "Should I adopt a cat or a dog debate," or you love cats but you're allergic, then here is a short list to help you along - though, I must warn you... cat-like as they may be, not all of these dogs actually get along with cats.

Shibu Inu:
  • Independent
  • Agile
  • Very clean
  • Confident
  • Hunter of smaller creatures (bugs, rodents, etc.)
  • Happy to nap in your lap all day
  • Laid back
  • Quiet
  • Suspiciously smart
Finnish Spitz:
  • Agile
  • Independent
  • Love their owners, but tend to be cautious around strangers
  • Confident
  • Loyal
  • Relatively kitten-like when it comes to playtime

Least Cat-Friendly Dogs

Now that we've discussed some of the most cat-friendly dog breeds, not to mention touched on a few kitty-like canines, we need to quickly talk about the worst dogs for cats. Though these pooches may be wonderful animals, they may not be able to tolerate their feline housemates, or their instincts might make them think that that zippy little ball of fluff is something worth hunting. Either way, if you have a house full of cats, you might want to avoid these dog breeds:

  • Terriors
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Doberman Pinchers
  • Greyhounds
  • Whippets
  • Pitbulls
  • Borzois
  • Samoyeds
  • Afghans


Like people, each dog - and cat - is an individual. While cat-friendly dog breeds have a reputation for getting along with kitties, a true cat-friendly dog can spontaneously erupt from just about any breed, while those with said reputation may suddenly decide he really isn't a cat person at all. Given all the variables, no matter what variety of dog you choose, the most important thing is to gently introduce your pets, monitor their interactions, and slowly ease them into a calm, harmonious living arrangement.

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Feature image by StockSnap via pixabay under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

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