10 dog breeds known for getting along with cats (+ tips for introductions)

May 31, 2024 - 6 min read
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s care, treatment, or medical conditions.
A dog lying between two cats on a bed

Bringing a dog into a home with cats can seem like a daunting task. However, some dog breeds are known for their cat-friendly nature, making them ideal companions in a multi-pet household.

In this guide, we’ll explore some dog breeds that are known for getting along better with cats, qualities that make any dog more kind to felines, and offer tips on fostering a peaceful relationship between your pets.

Top dog breeds for cats

The best dog breeds for cats typically have certain qualities that make them more compatible with feline companions. These dogs are often known for their gentle, friendly, and adaptable nature.

Qualities that make dog breeds friendlier towards cats

Breeds that are less likely to have a strong prey drive or herding instincts tend to do better with cats. For example, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers tend to be friendly and tolerant, making them great choices for multi-pet households.

But contrary to popular belief, it's not just big dogs that do well with kitties. Small breeds like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Maltese are also known for their gentle, cat-friendly demeanor.

Breed qualities that make dogs *less inclined* to like cats

Hunting breeds with a strong prey drive, such as some terriers and hounds, may see cats as targets rather than companions. Similarly, herding breeds like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds might try to herd cats, which can be stressful for the feline members of the household (to say the least). Some working breeds, known for their protective instincts, may also struggle to coexist peacefully with cats.

Proper training and early socialization can help, but it’s still important to consider these traits when choosing a dog breed for a cat-friendly home. Now, let's take a look at some of the dog breeds that tend to excel at coexisting with cats.

1. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers shine as friendly, tolerant companions for, well, pretty much everyone. Their easygoing temperament and eagerness to please make them ideal for households with feline friends. Known for their gentle nature, Goldens often form strong bonds with cats, showing a remarkable ability to adapt to their feline companions' behaviors and routines.

2. Labrador Retriever

Labrador looking left

Labradors are known for being outgoing and friendly. Their social nature often makes them best buddies with cats. Early socialization enhances their compatibility, but their natural friendliness and gentle playfulness usually win over feline companions. Labs’ adaptability and smarts also help them understand and respect cat boundaries, making for a more harmonious home.

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier king charles spaniel

Cavaliers are renowned for their gentle nature, making them a great fit for most cats. Their adaptable, calm demeanor suits indoor living with feline friends. Small in size, Cavaliers thrive on companionship and rarely intimidate cats, forming strong bonds with all household members, felines included.

4. Basset Hound

A Basset hound cut out on a light pink-beige background

Basset Hounds embrace a laid-back, easygoing life (which is why they're on our list of great low-maintenance dog breeds). Their calm disposition and willingness to share space with other animals make them excellent housemates for cats. Their low energy levels and non-aggressive behavior contribute to peaceful coexistence.

5. Beagle


Beagles bring curiosity and sociability to the table. Their friendly demeanor and playful nature make them great for households hoping to adopt both dogs and cats. Although their hunting instincts might make them a bit TOO interested in cats at times, proper training and supervision turn Beagles into fantastic friends for felines.

6. Poodle

Toy poodle

Poodles (in any size, really) are the epitome of intelligence and adaptability. Friendly and playful, they naturally tend to get along with cats. Their social personalities and eagerness to please make them a great fit for multi-pet homes. Plus, Poodles’ quick learning ability makes it a bit easier to train them to respect their feline companions.

7. Maltese Maltese

The Maltese embodies gentleness and affection (which is why they're also on our list of great small-breed dogs for famies). Known for their calm demeanor, they make excellent cat companions.

8. Boxer


Boxers bring a playful, energetic vibe to the home (emphasis on the energy). With proper training and socialization, they can get along well with cats. But be warned: Boxers need plenty of exercise to burn off energy, which will help them have more calm interactions with the household kitties.

9. Papillon


Papillons are small, friendly, and smart. Their social nature often makes them fast friends with cats, especially with early introductions. As an added bonus, their small size and playful disposition make them less intimidating to kitties on the shy side.

10. Shih Tzu

shih tzu

Shih Tzus are affectionate and outgoing, making them excellent companions for cats. Their gentle nature and small size help them get along well with feline friends. Shih Tzus thrive on companionship and enjoy lounging around, making them ideal for homes where they can spend plenty of time with both their human and feline family members.

How to help your dog and cat get along

Introducing a dog and cat to each other can be a delicate process, but with patience and careful planning, you can work your way towards a positive relationship!

Here are some steps to help keep introductions smooth:

  1. Take it slow: Start by letting your pets become familiar with each other's scents before any face-to-face meetings. Swap their bedding or use a pet-safe cloth to transfer scents between them.

  2. Create safe spaces: Provide each pet with their own secure space to retreat to. This helps reduce stress and gives them the freedom to interact on their own terms. You might want to consider using pheremone infusers to help calm your cat. (Ask your vet!)

  3. Use positive reinforcement: Reward calm and friendly behavior with treats and praise. This helps both pets associate each other with positive experiences. (Avoid punishing behavior at any cost; this will achieve the opposite.)

  4. Supervise ALL interactions: Keep a close eye on their interactions, especially in the beginning. Step in if you notice any signs of stress or aggression.

  5. Increase time together gradually: Over time, gradually increase the amount of time your pets spend together as they become more comfortable with each other.

By following these steps, you'll be on your way to creating a happy and harmonious home where your dog and cat can thrive together. But that doesn't mean it will be easy. If you find you need help, your vet and an animal behavioralist can be great to have in your corner.

multi-pet cats and dogs

Introducing dogs and cats: Does age matter?

Introducing a dog and a cat to each other can vary in difficulty depending on their ages. While puppies and kittens generally adapt more quickly, every age combination can work well if you take the proper steps to acclimate each pet to the other.

Here’s a closer look at the different scenarios:

Puppy + kitten

Introducing puppies and kittens can lead to quick bonding and easy adaptation. Their playful and curious natures help them adjust to new companions smoothly. Growing up together allows them to develop a natural, comfortable relationship.

Puppy + adult cat

Introducing a puppy to an adult cat requires patience. Puppies can be exuberant and may overwhelm a mature cat. It's extremely important to make sure the puppy respects the cat’s space. Supervised interactions and gradual introductions help foster a positive relationship.

Adult dog + kitten

Adult dogs might be puzzled or overly interested in a kitten. Close supervision and gentle correction are necessary to ensure the kitten feels safe. Providing separate, secure spaces for each pet allows them to interact at their own pace, easing the transition.

Adult dog + adult cat

Introducing adult pets requires more patience. Adult dogs and cats may have established behaviors and territorial instincts, making the process more delicate. Gradual, supervised introductions and consistent positive reinforcement are key to helping them adjust to each other and form a bond.

The bottom line

Choosing a dog breed known for its compatibility with cats can make a world of difference in creating a harmonious multi-pet household, but it's not a guarantee.

Patience, proper training, and gradual introductions are key to helping your dog and cat become the best of friends—or at least tolerate each other.

And no matter how tough it gets, remember that fostering a positive relationship between your pets is entirely achievable. It just might take some time (and a little help from your support network).

While you work on building this bond, remember that pet insurance can help reimburse you for unexpected accidents and illnesses, so both your dog and cat stay happy and healthy. Get a risk-free quote today!

Leanna Zeibak
Content Manager

Leanna Zeibak is a Content Manager at ManyPets. In her spare time, she paints pet portraits and bakes far too many chocolate chip cookies.