What Dog Breeds Get Along Best With Cats?

By Jane Meggitt

If you already have cats and want to add a dog to your household, there's no question some breeds do better with felines than others. While not every dog of a supposedly cat-friendly breed will accept every cat, your odds are better that the animals eventually will get along. Some dogs and cats form a strong bond, while others just tolerate the canine or feline sharing the household. When it comes to dogs and cats, ignoring each other is just fine.

Nonsporting Breeds

Bichon puppy standing on lawn.

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Many, but not all, of the dogs in the AKC's nonsporting group get along well with felines. That's because these dogs didn't originate as hunters, but as companions bred specifically for their good temperaments. The affable bulldog is usually fine with cats, as is the friendly, fluffy keeshond. The bichon frise doesn't mind feline friends, and the Boston terrier likes cats as much as he enjoys people and other dogs. Poodles are an exception in this group, as they did originate as sporting dogs. Still, many of them tolerate felines, and sometimes they become good buddies.

Toy Dogs

Papillon dog on leash.

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With a toy breed, getting along with a cat might not be a matter of choice -- Kitty is bigger than he is. Some toy breeds are better with cats than others. These include the papillon, Pomeranian, Japanese chin, pug, the English toy spaniel and the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Although most terriers don't do well with cats, the tiny Yorkshire terrier is an exception.


Beagle laying in the grass.

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Although ruled by their noses, beagles make good family pets and usually get along with felines. Just make sure your beagle pal can't access Kitty's food. That's true of any dog, but beagles can discover absolutely ingenious ways to obtain goodies. Whether the food is intended for people or cats, beagles are counter-surfers extraordinaire.

Spaniels and Cats

Cocker spaniel on couch.

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Many spaniels get along well with cats, especially the cocker spaniel. Although spaniels were bred to hunt, it was for birds, not mammals. They also were bred for a good, willing temperament and friendly disposition, which generally extends to felines in the family.

Labrador and Golden Retrievers

Golden retriever laying on grass.

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Two of America's favorite family dogs tend to get along with other four-legged creatures, including cats. Of course, they might not be Kitty's favorites in their young, rambunctious years, but that's usually because of sheer retriever energy, not temperament.

Breeds to Avoid

Pit bull standing outside on lawn.

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As a general rule, it's not a good idea to try to mix certain dog breeds and cats. That includes most terriers, who were bred to hunt and kill vermin, which probably includes felines in their canine minds. Siberian huskies and malamutes are intensely prey-driven and aren't good around small animals. Avoid sight hounds, such as greyhounds, which originally were bred to chase down and kill smaller animals. Pit bulls were bred for dog fighting and general animal aggression, so it's best to keep cats away from them.