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 like cats
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 they enjoy people and other dogs.
Pugs love being around others and will be happy to have another companion at home. 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.
Breeds in the toy group
With a toy breed, getting along with a cat might not be a matter of choice — your cat may be bigger than they are. In general, toy breeds were bred to be companions to humans and be lap dogs. 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.
Beagles are a good choice
Although ruled by their noses, beagles make good family pets and usually get along with felines. Just make sure your beloved beagle can't access your cat'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.
Cocker spaniels and cats
Many spaniel breeds 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 their good, willing temperament and friendly disposition, which generally extends to felines in the family.
Sporting group dogs are friendly
Two of America's favorite family dogs tend to get along with other four-legged creatures, including cats. Of course, they might not be your cat's favorites in their young, rambunctious years, but that's usually because of sheer retriever energy, not temperament.
Labradors and golden retrievers are both members of AKC's sporting group and are loving additions to any family that includes children or other dogs. Their high level of sociability makes them popular canine companions — even for your cat.
Dog breeds not for cats
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. Dogs that are members of the AKC's herding group, like Australian shepherds, were bred to herd cattle, and their herding behavior may annoy your cat.
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, so it's best to keep cats away from them.
Of course, regardless of the breed, dogs need to have the temperament to deal with cats. The best dogs for cats are ones that are socialized as puppies and trained to follow commands like "leave it." It's generally a good idea to supervise dogs and cats and to not leave them alone.