Cats and dogs: nature's most notorious nemeses, right? Not necessarily! If you're a cat-person looking to add a dog to the family (or vice versa), there's still hope. While almost any breed of dog can be good with cats, especially if they are raised together, some breeds are known for specific temperaments that make them more likely to be cat-friendly.
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1 - Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers, like other retrieving breeds, have a natural tendency to be gentle and have "soft mouths," since they've been bred to retrieve game for hunters carefully without mangling it. Goldens have a well-deserved reputation as good family dogs, because they are rarely aggressive. Although a young golden may be boisterous and want to chase cats, it's less likely to do any actual harm to them.
2 - Great Pyrenees
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Despite its impressive size (they can weigh over 100 lbs), the Great Pyrenees is calm, loyal, and patient with even the smallest of animals. Bred as guard dogs for livestock, the Pyrenees tends to be watchful over its "flock," which will likely include both you and your cat. The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the Pyrenees as a tolerant and quiet dog, but one who won't hesitate to defend its territory from intruders.
3 - Bichon Frise
Image: Warren Photographic
The bichon frise is a companion dog known for being gentle and playful. According to the AKC, "a cheerful attitude is the hallmark of the breed." Since it's not much bigger than the average house cat, a bichon and a friendly cat can make excellent playmates, especially when raised together.
4 - Boxer
Many dogs known for being gentle with children are also good with cats. Historically, boxers have worked as guard dogs and hunters, but the modern boxer is primarily purchased as a family pet. They're known for being energetic, confident, and friendly.
5 - Labrador Retriever
Golden labs are the most popular dog in America, and it's no wonder why. Labrador retrievers are generally kind, trusting, intelligent, gentle, and outgoing. If there's any dog out there can learn to put up with some serious cattitude, it's a lab.
6 - Maltese
Image: Cutest Paw
In addition to being playful and affectionate, the Maltese has a reputation for being fearless. It may end up going toe-to-toe (paw-to-paw?) with your cat, but its easy-going nature means a faceoff is more likely to end in a romp than a riot.
7 - Labradoodle
Perhaps the most popular of the designer mixed breeds, labradoodles combine the best features of labradors and poodles. They're smart, playful, affectionate, and hypoallergenic. And because they're mixed breeds, they're less prone to the health problems that often affect purebred pups.
8 - Pug
Pugs are charming and eager for affection. Although strong-willed and playful, they're rarely aggressive. They're also known for spending a lot of time napping, which is a trait that any cat owner will find familiar.
9 - Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel originated in the United Kingdom, but its popularity in the United States is growing. These spaniels are said to be sociable, affectionate, and adaptable. They're also cute as a button. That probably doesn't matter to your cat, but is a nice bonus for you.
10 - Basset Hound
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The Basset Hound's droopy face can give it a melancholy air, but in reality, these dogs are friendly and affectionate. A cat is likely to appreciate the Basset Hound's peaceful and sweet-tempered demeanor.
11 - Mixed Breed
Mixed breed dogs have temperaments as varied as their looks, and many mixed breed dogs can be very good with cats. If you're planning to adopt an adult dog, look for one that was raised with cats, or has been kept in a foster home with a cat.
Final thoughts: breed is one of many factors that you'll have to take into account when getting a dog. If you're looking for one that will get along with your cat, you may want to avoid dogs such as terriers and sighthounds, which are bred for hunting, and are likely to have a stronger "prey drive." Some research also suggests that animals of the opposite sex will get along better than animals of the same sex. That being said, while they may not end up being best buds, a well-trained dog will likely learn to get along with your cat regardless of breed.