I never thought that there was such a thing as dogs that are good with cats. I mean, one of the funniest lines in the movie “Ghostbusters,” about the end times, is “Dogs and cats, living together” or something such. In other words, can dogs and cats really live together in harmony?
Turns out they can. It all depends on what kind of dog you have — and not so much what kind of cat it is.
Dog breeds that are good with cats
So what makes a certain kind of dog better with cats than others? Breeding.
And I don’t just mean where the dog originated — a breed or a shelter. Rather what was that dog breed to do.
For example, my childhood dog was a Yorkshire/Silky terrier mix. What were terrier dogs bred to do? Hunt for and rid farms of mice, rats, voles and the like.
So a terrier’s instinct with a cat may be to hunt it and possibly hurt it. That’s not definite but why take the chance?
That’s not to say that all small dogs would be like the small dog that I grew up with. In fact, there are definitely some small, medium and large dogs that can get along with cats in the same household. However, you know your dog best and if they have a chance of getting along with a cat.
Small dogs that are good with cats
According to the American Kennel Club, toy breeds are a good place to start with small dogs you may want to live with cats. That’s because, as the AKC says, “the Toy Group consists of breeds that are affectionate and sociable. They were bred to be companions and lap warmers.”
In other words, it’s likely in their DNA to get along with everyone — including cats.
What are some dogs in the toy group that are not terriers? Here’s a list:
- Brussels Griffon
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Chinese Crested
- English Toy Spaniel
- Italian Greyhound
- Miniature Pinscher
- Toy Poodle
- Shih Tzu
Some of these dogs are small hypoallergenic breeds.
Medium-sized dogs that get along with cats
There are a number of medium-sized dogs that were bred to work with hunters — such as flushing out birds or retrieving waterfowl. However, they are potentially good companions for a feline, especially if they are, overall, very friendly dogs.
On the other hand, most dogs with hound in them are not a good choice. Hounds have been bred to chase small prey. Think about fox hunts and the dogs that usually accompany riders.
Both of my current dogs have hound in them. Rabbits in our yard have no chance, thanks to their instinct. I know that adding a cat to our household would be a nightmare. I mean, the dogs might enjoy chasing the cat but the cat surely wouldn’t enjoy living with them.
So, what are some medium-sized dogs you could consider having share a home with a feline? Here are a few suggestions:
- Cocker spaniel
Of course, not every single dog in these breeds will get along with a cat. Your best bet is to introduce them when the dog is young.
Big dogs that are good with cats
Like medium-sized hunting breeds, there are larger dogs that were bred to hunt but which make great cat companions. And they would be the retrievers — specifically Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.
Also, I’m told that collies, which are notoriously very good with children, can also be good with cats.
Finally, some really big dogs that also have a calm nature seem to get along with cats. This includes the Great Pyrenees and the Newfoundland.
As I’ve said multiple times, you know your dog best. Even if your pup falls into one of the breed categories that are supposed to be good with cats, that doesn’t mean it will always be true — especially if the dog hasn’t had proper socialization or training.
So, if you have any hesitancy about your existing animal being able to get along with a new cat, perhaps you should hold off getting one.