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Okay, let’s get this out of the way right off – I’m not much of a cat person. I have pointed out, in How to Keep a Dog When You’re on a Tight Budget, that I have had cats, and some of them I’ve been quite fond of. But I’m not really a cat person. Dogs have my heart, plain and simple.
What that means is that I’ve never had to worry about integrating cats into my household – simply because I’ve never especially wanted to.
If I had wanted to have cats and dogs in the same home, though, there would be some breeds that I would consider, and others that I would not.
Some dogs, quite simply, see cats as prey, and no good comes from having them live together. On the other hand, some cats will run roughshod over dogs. So, which dogs do well with cats, and which are best left to just be dogs? Is it really possible for cats and dogs to live compatibly in the same household?
I think it is, but then I’ve been wrong before. Usually when it was someone else’s fault.
Let’s take a look.
Most Cat Friendly Dog Breeds
You might not think that these little dogs so known for being ankle-biters would be among the most cat friendly dog breeds, but they are. They’re actually very cat friendly, maybe because they’re just about the size of a cat. Usually, they’ll share your lap with your cat, and get along very well.
Here we’re talking about a very confident little dog that typically won’t weigh much more than seven pounds – in other words, he’s pretty much also the size of a cat.
This is a very obedient dog, though, and if you want to have other animals in your home, he’ll probably be okay with it.
This dog is the definition of laid back. They make great therapy dogs and are very tolerant of other animals. Be sure to provide lots of lap space, though, because this dog is a cuddler.
This working breed likes to herd, and he’ll be just as happy herding cats as he will other animals. He’s one of the most cat friendly breeds because he genuinely has no issues with other animals.
The Beagle also rates among the most cat friendly dog breeds, mainly because this is a dog with a very sweet disposition. Although the Beagle was bred for hunting, his gentle nature makes him very good with cats and other small animals.
The Golden Retriever is a big dog, and bred for hunting and retrieving. However, he has a very kind disposition, and is good with kids, other dogs, and yes, cats as well.
Okay, so now you know which breeds are the most cat friendly. There are other breeds, though, that you might want to avoid if you have cats in your household.
Usually, with exceptions like the Beagle, you’ll want to avoid hunting breeds. You’ll also particularly want to avoid breeds with a high prey drive, like the Samoyed, the Alaskan Malamute, the Jack Russell Terrier and other highly aggressive breeds.
Sight hounds are also not typically good with cats. This category includes the Greyhound, Whippet, Borzoi, Afghan Hound, Saluki and other. These dogs will, simply stated, chase down and catch just about anything. They don’t usually understand the concept of, “This animal lives in my home and therefore is not prey.”
For that matter, any hound that is born and bred to track other animals is a bad bet when it comes to getting along with cats. Other dogs that definitely don’t fall into the category of most cat friendly breeds include Pit Bulls and virtually any herding breed not touched on previously.
All I can tell you is, don’t count on it. Some people will tell you that just about any dog can be trained to just about any kind of behavior, but my experience and that of a lot of other dog people I know is that if a dog has a really high prey drive, he’s simply not going to be good around cats.
It’s exactly what I’d call a defect in the dog. Over the course of time, different breeds have been developed for specific purposes. If a dog is bred to hunt, then it’s in the nature of the dog to hunt, and with very few exceptions, it’s not going to be something that can be “trained out” of the dog.
Additionally, some dogs are bred to herd, and certainly no one would argue that herding dogs are, in general, hard to train. It’s in the nature of a herding dog, though, to want to know where every single animal is at any given time, and that includes cats. This can lead to conflict, when a cat that just wants to crash out on the sofa doesn’t want to be herded, but the dog is essentially saying, “C’mon cat, it’s time to move along!”
The other thing is, you can’t count on training to correct the problem. You’re often trying to overcome something that is, quite simply, hard-wired into the dog. You might go on for months, or even years without ever having a problem with a breed of dog that is not typically good with cats, only to have things go wrong in a huge way at some point. So, if you really want to have dogs and cats in the same household, it’s probably best to stick with breeds that are known to be good with cats.
One thing is for sure, the issue of most cat friendly dog breeds generates a lot of debate. I know that just among my own circle of friends, there are those that will denounce certain breeds as being cat-hostile, while others vigorously defend those same breeds.
If you take a look at TheCatSite.com, you’ll probably find the level of disagreement astonishing. Tons of people post comments like, “What are you talking about; I’ve had cats and dogs together for years and never a problem!”
In fact, sparkymema claims to have had three dogs and three cats living together compatibly for years.
juriesempai says that she’s had a Chihuahua and a Jack Russell mix living compatibly with cats for practically forever.
omqhqmike has seven cats that have been living with two Dobermans quite happily for quite some time.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that cats and dogs are not generally a good mix, and in fact must be supervised constantly. kittenboy says that his Sheltie ended up killing his cat.Since that happened, kittenboy hasn’t given up on keeping cats, but has identified distinct living areas for the dogs and cats, and keeps them separated.
So, are cats and dogs good together?It seems that there is a lot of potential for disagreement as to what constitutes the most cat friendly breeds of dogs.
What I will tell you right now is that I don’t keep cats along with my dogs, despite the fact that I would hardly call a Boxer ill-natured. I don’t think that either Janice or Leroy would deliberately hurt a cat, but they are big dogs, and prone to aggressive play. For that reason, I think it’s best to keep them away from cats.
It seems to me, too, that if we’re talking about the most cat friendly dog breeds, we should be thinking about breeds that are generally kind and gentle, that we know to be good-natured, and that don’t come up over and over on “most aggressive dog breed” lists. Generally, I think that if a dog can be trusted with other dogs, and with children, it’s probably a pretty safe breed to have around cats.
I’d also suggest that if you’re planning on having dogs and cats in the same household, it’s probably best attempted when the dog is young. A puppy that’s raised with cats is more likely to be respectful than an adult dog that’s never been around them.
I don’t much miss the presence of cats in my life, but I do know that there are a lot of people who love cats as much (or at least almost as much) as they love dogs. So if you can’t imagine not having both species in your home, rest assured, harmony can be achieved. It’s easier with certain breeds than others, though, and you’re more likely to have an easy time of it if your dog of choice is among the most cat friendly dog breeds.