Many households across America have dogs and cats, sometimes with surprising results. In an ideal world, we’d like to see both species get along perfectly. However, there are a lot of factors that influence whether dogs are a good fit with cats or not.
Best Dog Breeds For Cats and Worst Dog Breeds For Cats
Some of the best dog breeds for cats include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Beagles. The worst breeds with cats include Dachshunds, Jack Russell Terriers, and Siberian Huskies.
This video discusses some breeds known to be good with cats, emphasizing the value of proper introductions. Many of the factors that impact how a specific dog is with cats have to do with training.
What Makes Some Dog Breeds Better with Cats Than Others?
According to Purely Pets, some breeds have traits that make them more inclined to see cats as part of their social group and not to be harmed.
Some breeds, like the Beagle, Maltese, Poodle, Pug, and Sheltie, are naturally social and enjoy the company of another pet. Although most dogs enjoy having another dog around, many will enjoy a cat as a companion as well.
Cats make excellent companions for dogs when their owners are out of the house. Since many smaller breeds tend to have separation anxiety, the presence of a cat can help your dog adjust. The two animals will likely become fast friends for life.
Some larger breeds with more easy-going temperaments also get along well with cats. Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers have naturally mellow personalities. These breeds are easy to trust around cats and other small animals.
German Shepherds are a breed that can be excellent with cats, and many Rottweilers and Dobermans are also cat-friendly. Large breeds that are not as inclined to see cats as prey usually adjust to one very quickly, although socialization is necessary.
Dachshunds and Jack Russell Terriers are two breeds that, despite their size, tend to treat cats as prey. Both breeds were developed to pursue game and have a strong prey drive. These dogs will also be reactive if a cat acts defensively.
Siberian Huskies are a large breed that also tends to treat cats as prey. These dogs have learned to adapt better to other dogs than to cats or small animals. Many Huskies will, at the very least, chase cats in the household or even attack.
Other large dogs that may not do well with cats include high-energy hunting breeds like Weimaraners or some Pitbulls that have not been socialized with cats. Although such breeds can be okay with cats, they require careful owner supervision.
Almost any dog breed can adapt to cats under the right circumstances. However, breeds that have a reputation for getting along with other animals are usually the most trustworthy around cats. Supervision helps as well.
What Makes Some Smaller Dog Breeds Well-Suited to Cats?
Heather Logue highlights the importance of making proper introductions, which are crucial to all dog and cat interactions. An introduction makes a difference regardless of breed size.
However, some smaller breeds have traits that make them uniquely suited to life with a cat. For example, Pugs often get along well with cats because of their smaller size. Because Pugs thrive on attention, they always enjoy the extra companionship.
Maltese are usually well-mannered dogs who get along with other pets very easily. Although these dogs are affectionate, they respect other animals’ space, which is always helpful around cats. These dogs are unlikely to bother a cat.
Most Poodles, regardless of size, have even temperaments. Miniature and toy-sized Poodles are an excellent size to live with cats. These dogs usually have quiet personalities and are not as inclined to cause trouble or see cats as prey.
Beagles often adapt very well to cats, despite having a reputation for chasing animals of that size. One of the most appealing traits that Beagles have is being naturally sociable. These small hounds enjoy the human and animal company of all kinds.
Many consider Shelties to be excellent companions for cats because of their high intelligence level. You can teach one of these dogs not to bother a cat fairly quickly. Cats and Shelties living in the same house often form strong bonds.
These smaller breeds are usually the most mellow around cats and are most likely to get along without serious problems. Even though some smaller dogs can be cat-aggressive, they are not as likely to be openly antagonistic as some larger breeds.
Why Are Dachshunds and Jack Russell Terriers Bad for Cats?
According to Dachshund Journal, Dachshunds and cats have personalities that are often at odds with each other. Dachshunds are curious, even nosy, while cats are reserved.
One of the reasons Dachshunds have difficulty getting along with cats, in many cases, is because they were bred as badger hunters that killed their prey. Even though most Dachshunds today are bred as pets, they still have strong hunting instincts.
Even a sweet-tempered Dachshund that shows no hostility to cats can harm a cat if scratched defensively. A fight between the two pets is likely to make both wary of the other species. Dachshunds and cats get along best if raised together at a young age.
Terrier Wise states that Jack Russells get along better with the cats they have been raised with. Jack Russells, like Dachshunds, have a strong prey drive.
Jack Russells were historically bred to kill rats. Even though today’s terriers are used more as household companions, the urge to chase small animals is still there. As with Dachshunds, careful introductions are necessary to prevent poor outcomes.
Most Dachshunds or Jack Russells will not go as far as killing a cat, but this is a possibility. The best way to make sure something like this does not happen is to allow the animals time to get used to each other before being alone unsupervised.
Diversion methods come in handy when you have a smaller breed that might be hostile towards cats. When you can distract a dog from its fixation with a cat, you can help prevent serious injury or even the death of your cat.
How Are Some Large Breeds Good with Cats?
According to Patch Puppy, dogs are not naturally hostile towards cats. The right socialization and training can make all the difference.
Many larger breeds have calmer temperaments than smaller dogs. The size of larger dogs makes them poorly suited to pursuing smaller prey, such as Dachshunds and terriers do. Many of these breeds also serve non-hunting purposes as well.
German Shepherds are excellent guard dogs for the entire family. Another advantage that these dogs have is their high intelligence. When a German shepherd lives with a cat, it will quickly learn that the cat is a member of its pack to protect.
Labrador Retrievers rank consistently among the most popular dogs in the U.S. In addition to having a sweet disposition, these dogs are very responsive to training. They also have a “soft mouth,” making them less likely to harm cats during play.
Golden Retrievers have a similar personality to the Labrador Retriever. Most Goldens adjust well to other pets, including cats. These retrievers have a naturally playful manner that cats adjust to fairly quickly, usually with little difficulty.
Rottweilers, although they have formidable reputations, can also get along very well with cats. These dogs were initially bred to protect cattle but have enjoyed status as family guardians in recent years. They will gladly protect household cats.
Another large breed that is often excellent around cats is the Doberman Pinscher. These dogs also have a long history of being guardians and protectors while being perfect for families. Many Dobermans will gladly play with a cat, as well as protect it.
What Are Some Large Breeds That Are Not Good with Cats?
According to The Cat Site, some of the larger breeds that are the worst with cats are hunting breeds. These dogs have a high prey drive and may see cats as vermin.
Breeds that have a history of being used for fighting may also be poorly suited to being around cats. Many of these breeds are sweet with people but may have been conditioned to harm other animals, such as cats.
Siberian Huskies, for example, are a large breed that often has difficulties getting along with cats. In most cases, a Husky needs to have been raised around cats as a puppy to get along with them that well. Otherwise, there may be problems.
Weimaraners, a high-energy hunting breed, are also unlikely to get along with cats very well. These pointers usually get along with other dogs with a more submissive temperament. Cats may trigger the prey drive in these dogs.
Pitbulls are a breed that can get along with cats but often doesn’t because of inadequate training. Some Pitbull owners train their dogs to behave more aggressively. An effect of training dogs to behave this way is aggression towards other animals.
People who live in a household with a cat will need to think carefully about whether to introduce one of the breeds that do poorly with cats to the home. You will also need to think about this if adding a cat when you have a non-cat-friendly dog.
What’s the Best Way to Introduce a Cat and Dog?
iCatCare considers introductions between cats and dogs something that needs to be done with essential aspects kept in mind to ensure harmony.
Some important things to consider are how well you keep your dog under control, the dog’s age, and the breed.
The dog breeds that tend to be less cat-friendly will require a few extra steps to make the introduction go as smoothly as possible.
Before you introduce a dog to your cat, make sure the cat has a “safe space” it can go if it starts feeling overwhelmed. Make sure the cat’s food and water, bed, litter box, and toys are in this area, along with the cat tree and a place to hide.
Regardless of whether the dog is a cat-friendly breed or not, the two pets should remain in their separate areas at first. Although this may seem like an extreme measure, initially keeping the animals apart will prevent fights and injuries.
Consider giving your cat some extra playtime and other interactions when the new dog arrives. Your cat is less likely to feel as though its place in the home is threatened with the dog. The cat will associate the dog with good instead of bad things.
One of the first things you should do is get the cat and dog used to each others’ scents. Rub each animal down with a separate cloth, then allow each to sniff the cloth you wiped the other with. This step will familiarize them with each others’ scents.
Allow the cat and the dog to check out each others’ space when the other pet is not present. Between the two types of animals, the cat is likely to take longer to get used to things during this step. Cats are not socialized as dogs are, so they need time.
Visual introduction through a barrier like a baby gate should be the next step. The two animals will be able to see and smell each other, with physical contact minimized. Watch to see how comfortable they seem to be before progressing to the next step.
When you introduce the cat to the dog face-to-face for the first time, the dog should have a leash and harness on for greater control. Keep the leash relatively loose in your hand. Consider having a second person to help if things get out of hand.
How Do You Read a Pet’s Body Language to Spot Trouble?
According to Paradise Pet Resorts cats and dogs often use different types of body language. It’s a lot easier to spot trouble if you know the cues.
Pet owners who have never had a cat and dog sharing the same space may miss some aspects of body language that signal trouble. By knowing when each of these animals is acting agitated, you may be able to prevent problems leading to fights.
A dog that has its mouth closed may be feeling upset or tense about a situation. Also, watch for panting, which is another common sign of canine stress. If the dog is showing visible signs of stress, you may need to cut the interaction short.
Sometimes, a wagging tail on a dog is a sign of aggression, not friendliness. Holding the tail pointing up can be a sign that the dog might chase the cat. If the tail is in a non-relaxed position, be prepared for possible trouble.
A stiff body posture in a dog is never a good sign. Sometimes, a dog will stiffen up if it is getting ready to chase or attack another animal. If your dog feels intimidated by the cat, which is possible with smaller breeds, it may also stiffen.
Watch the cat’s mouth to see if it opens much when the dog is around. Sometimes, a cat will snarl and show its teeth without making noticeable noise. If the cat starts hissing in the dog’s presence, that is a signal for the dog to back off.
If the cat has an arched back, with or without fur standing up, this is a sign that the cat is stressed and might become reactive. Even when a cat is lying down, this does not necessarily mean that it is calm. Cats can spring into action quickly if angered.
Another part of a cat’s body to watch is the tail. Unlike dogs, cats usually twitch or appear to wag their tails if agitated. When a cat holds its tails tucked under the body, this is a sign of a scared cat that could flee or attack if threatened.
When initially introducing these animals to each other, it is a good idea to have a plan if things get out of hand. You want to prevent injury but also want to make sure that you don’t separate the animals in a way that causes more stress.
According to Jean Marie Bauhaus, cats can be aggressors just as easily as dogs. A common mistaken assumption is that the dog is the trouble-maker.
Understanding what causes the hostility toward the other pet is essential. Watch the body language of both animals to get an idea of what is going on. There are some mitigation procedures you can try for preventing problems.
Consider allowing interactions in a setting where the dog is leashed and your cat has access to a cat tree where it can get out of the dog’s reach. Make sure the cat tree is balanced or anchored so it cannot tip over and cause damage or injury.
If a fight seems likely, calmly remove the dog from the room and make sure the door is closed. You can coax your cat down using a tasty treat. Avoid crating the cat because this may make the cat more stressed, thinking it is headed to the vet.
Should a fight break out, avoid screaming at them or physically separating them. Making a loud noise will often distract the pair long enough to allow retreat. If a loud noise doesn’t end the fight, throwing water on them usually does.
If your pets start fighting, make sure there are no injuries after they have been separated. Allow a day or two as a cooling-off period before any further interactions. Should the problems persist, consider seeking a dog trainer’s assistance.
What Are Some Easy Ways to Give Cats and Dogs Separate Spaces?
According to Emma Williams, cats and dogs benefit from having personal spaces. The conflict between pets is easier to avoid when they have safe spaces.
Cats will often feel a lot more relaxed if they have a higher place to go to. Your kitty can not only stay out of the dog’s reach but will also have a vantage point where they can see more going on around them. This is why cat trees are popular.
If you are unable to invest the money in a cat tree or condo or lack the space to do so, there are other options worth considering. For example, you could keep a high bookshelf cleared off and put a cat cave or enclosed cat bed on it.
Another alternative is using a cat enclosure, such as those often used to give apartment-dwelling cats outdoor time. This solution is ideal in settings where both pets want to go outside, but you don’t want the cat climbing a tree.
You will probably want to consider having a crate for your dog, even after it is fully housebroken. A crate with a warm bed and favorite food provide a good escape if the dog has enough of the cat’s company and wants some privacy.
By giving your dog its own space, you can also avoid food-related conflict. Although most cats show little interest in dog food, dogs will interpret cats sniffing their food as theft attempts. Many fights happen this way, sometimes with tragic results.
Always keep the door to the dog’s crate closed when occupied. If you keep food or toys in the dog’s crate, keep the door closed at all times. Dogs are possessive of their personal property in a way that cats cannot understand.
There Are Several Breeds Great with Cats as Well as Several That Are Not
Despite the common belief that cats and dogs never get along, there are several breeds that are excellent companions for cats.
These breeds span different sizes, as well as breed classifications. There is likely a perfect canine companion for your cat.
Regardless of the dog breed involved, a careful introduction will make all the difference. Both pets need to have mutual respect for each other and their space. The more focused you are on peaceful interactions, the better.