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15 Dog Breeds That Actually Like Cats

There might be a little truth to the age-old rivalry between cats and dogs. They do have differing natural tendencies, as well as some language barriers. But in many cases, cats and dogs can become loving family members — or at least tolerate each other living in the same home.

VetStreet has assigned cat friendliness ratings to its directory of dog breeds — with the higher scores meaning the breed in general has a “tendency toward a tolerance for cats and a lower prey drive.” It must be noted that every dog’s personality is unique — influenced by instincts, as well as training, socialization and other life experiences. Still, if you’re looking to adopt a dog who’s likely to do well with cats, check out these 15 breeds (or mixes of these breeds).

1. Basset Hound

The easygoing basset hound tends to be a friend to just about everyone. “As a pack dog, he’s full of team spirit,” VetStreet says. “His motto is ‘The more the merrier,’ and he enjoys the company of people, kids, other dogs and cats.” As long as your cat is tolerant of a moderately playful dog — and some classic hound howls — they generally should do just fine with a basset hound.

Bichon Frise puppy portrait on red burgundy velvet background

2. Bichon Frise

The bichon frise is one of the more ancient dog breeds — able to trace its lineage back roughly 2,000 years, according to VetStreet. These dogs were popular companion animals, as well as circus performers, which helps to explain their loving, clownish personality. And their happy demeanor remains in the presence of other dogs — and other species. “With people and other pets, the Bichon is affectionate and lively,” VetStreet says. “He loves attention and will take all you have to give.”

3. Black and Tan Coonhound

Although the black and tan coonhound is in fact a scenthound with a prey drive, they still can be socialized and trained to live in harmony with other animals. “He’s great with kids, although he might be a bit too rambunctious for toddlers, and he can get along with other pets such as cats if he’s raised with them,” VetStreet says. These hounds typically have a friendly temperament, and they respond well to food rewards during training sessions.

4. Bulldog

It’s not too difficult to make friends with a bulldog, no matter what species you are. “Bulldogs are friendly, easygoing and get along with everyone, including children and other animals,” according to VetStreet. They do well with young families and older adults alike, and they’re suitable for apartment living. Just be sure to give them an air-conditioned life — as overheating can lead to serious health issues for the breed.

5. Corgi

a cat sitting on a couch with two corgisCredit: LightFieldStudios/Getty Images

Both the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh corgis tend to do fine around cats. “His moderate size and activity level makes him adaptable to any type of home or family, and he’s sturdy and tolerant of children and other pets,” VetStreet says of the Cardigan. “In fact, the company of another dog or a cat is a big bonus for him.” But these dogs do still have strong herding instincts, so it’s important to make sure they’re not stressing your cat by trying to herd them. Give your dog some training and your cat some escape routes, and they should tolerate living together.

6. Collie

Speaking of herding dogs, collies also retain that instinct and might have a tendency to nip at heels, so training is a must. But they’re also very devoted and eager-to-please canines who bond closely with their families. “Collies think of everyone as their friend,” VetStreet says. “They are an excellent choice as a family dog and get along with other pets.”

7. Coton de Tulear

The Coton de Tulear is part of the bichon family. And like the bichon, these dogs have an affectionate, yet entertaining persona. “He tends to be easygoing and is sturdy enough to live in a family with children, as long as they are supervised when handling him,” according to VetStreet. “He also generally gets along well with other pets, including cats.”

8. Havanese

Persian cat and Havanese dog lying on a bedCredit: Dorottya_Mathe/Getty Images

Another bichon cousin, ancestors of the Havanese arrived in Cuba in the 18th century and evolved into a distinct breed from there. These little dogs have a big sense of humor and love to entertain. And their affectionate temperament allows them to get along with almost everyone — humans, other dogs, cats, etc. “Just don’t expect him to spend a lot of time alone: this is a dog who needs company all his life,” VetStreet says.

9. Japanese Chin

The Japanese chin doesn’t just get along well with cats. This dog breed also has some classic feline tendencies. “People joke that Chin can fly, or that they are part cat, because of their incredible ability to reach high places,” according to VetStreet. “Some have been known to clear six feet.” They tend to be confident, quiet little dogs who prefer to perch somewhere up high to observe their domain. Sounds pretty catlike, right?

10. Mastiff

Some of the larger dog breeds don’t do well with cats, simply because their size could injure the smaller feline during otherwise friendly play. But the mastiff is a true gentle giant who wants to live a peaceful life — though they are quite protective of their family. “Mastiffs are gentle with children and other animals, wanting only to take care of them,” VetStreet says. “They are famous for having a ‘soft mouth,’ or the ability to carry things like kittens and squirrels without damaging them.”

11. Papillon

Papillon and cat sitting on a couchCredit: yykkaa/Getty Images

Look beyond the petite papillon’s elegant exterior, and you’ll find an intelligent, energetic dog. These canines need a day full of play and exercise before they curl up in your lap like other small dogs. They also prefer a busy social life and aren’t picky about species. “He believes in ‘the more, the merrier,’ and he likes to live in multi-pet homes,” according to VetStreet. “Many Papillons and cats have become fast friends.”

12. Pekingese

Despite their rather peculiar appearance, the confident Pekingese is a dog who demands respect. They generally aren’t too fond of children or strangers unless they have ample socialization. But surprisingly many tolerate cats just fine. “With cats, Pekes are polite, recognizing them as fellow royals,” VetStreet says. “They are likely to get along with other dogs, as long as their supremacy is acknowledged.”

13. Pug

The fun-loving pug aims to charm everyone they meet. “He is good with other dogs, cats, and children, and nothing makes him happier than being part of the family,” according to VetStreet. These dogs are only moderately playful and energetic, so they won’t overwhelm any feline residents. But like bulldogs, it’s necessary to watch them for overheating, as their flat faces can make it difficult to breathe.

14. Shetland sheepdog

Shetland sheepdog and cat curled up on a couchCredit: MirasWonderland/Getty Images

The Shetland sheepdog might look like a smaller version of the collie, but their origin actually is unknown. They might be related to the collie, as well as possibly the Pomeranian or King Charles spaniel. One thing is for sure: They are a herding breed with a tendency to herd or nip at moving objects. Still, these dogs are loyal and intelligent, and they love their families — even other pets. “Shelties generally get along with other dogs, typically seem to enjoy cats, and are fine with other household pets,” VetStreet says.

15. Toy Fox Terrier

Some terrier breeds might be too exuberant or have too high of a prey drive to coexist well with cats. And though toy fox terriers still have that instinct — especially for hunting small rodents — many actually prefer to have some feline friends. “Plenty of TFTs live with cats, sometimes cats that are two or three times their size, and they get along beautifully with them,” VetStreet says. “It’s not unusual to see them sleeping and playing together.”

Bonus: More Breeds to Consider

VetStreet gave several more dog breeds a high rating for their ability to get along with cats. Many other small dogs — such as the Brussels griffon, Chihuahua, Lhasa apso, Lowchen, Maltese and Pomeranian — tend to do well with feline family members. And even some large breeds — including the bloodhound, Newfoundland and St. Bernard — can be gentle and coexist peacefully with cats.

Still, it’s imperative to remember every dog (and cat) is different. And nurture will influence their ability to tolerate cats just as much as nature. An easygoing demeanor and low prey drive help, but proper training and socialization are key for any dog to safely live with cats.

Main image credit: bodza2/Getty Images

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