There are dogs who play gently with willing cats, and there are dogs who ignore cats. These dogs are safe. (Keep in mind that we are talking about your own cat here. Many dogs love their feline “sibling” but will go after a strange cat.) There are also dogs who are afraid of cats. This is fun for the cat but maybe not so much for the dog. Then there are dogs who annoy, chase, and torment cats. This is the type of dog you really don’t want if you have a cat in your household.
To maximize the chances of a getting a cat-friendly dog, early, supervised introductions are a necessity. When you notice your dog and cat sleeping together, you can be pretty sure they have formed a bond.
The following list describes ten breeds that generally get along well with felines, but keep in mind that individuals vary widely.
#1: Golden Retriever
Retrievers are at the top of the list, and “golden” is the perfect reason why. Kind and empathetic, Goldens accept cats readily as part of the family.
#2: Labrador Retriever
The exuberant Labrador is a lover, not a fighter. He’ll happily welcome a cat into his circle of friends.
The amiable Beagle will chase rabbits all day long, but he is smart enough to recognize a cat when he sees one. Beagles seem to enjoy feline company. Perhaps they trade hunting tales.
If a cat will allow a Pug to enter her domain, they often become fast friends. Small animals, like guinea pigs, are also safe around Pugs.
#5: Bichon Frise
The sweet Bichon will accept any cat who tolerates his charming antics.
#6: Shetland Sheepdog
The Sheltie is the one cat-friendly breed from the herding group. His mild nature, high trainability, and friendly attitude make him a good bet for cat owners.
#7: Basset Hound
Although Bassets are hunters, they are more interested in hunting for dinner than hunting the cat. The Basset Hound’s general laziness is often an invitation for a cat to use him as a couch.
All three Poodle sizes make excellent housemates for cats. Toy Poodles play with them, Miniatures tolerate them, and Standards pretend they don’t exist.
The gentle Maltese enjoys feline company as long as the cat agrees not to mess up his hair.
#10: Boston Terrier
While terriers as a rule are definitely Not Good With Cats, we can make an exception for this gentleman. Bostons are too polite for those shenanigans.
Other breeds generally great with cats include the Bernese Mountain Dog, Boxer, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Irish Setter, Newfoundland, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Cocker Spaniel, and Sussex Spaniel.
Be extremely cautious with these breeds, none of which usually do well with cats: Afghan Hound, Australian Cattle Dog, Bedlington Terrier, Fox Terrier, Greyhound, Jack Russell Terrier, Saluki, Siberian Husky, Weimaraner, and Whippet.
Diane Morgan is a pet care expert in Williamsport, Maryland, who has authored numerous books on dog care and nutrition, and has also written many dog breed and horse books.