By Langley Cornwell
In the past, I’ve only shared my home with dogs – and those dogs had little to no interaction with cats. On those unfortunate occasions when they did interact with cats, it usually turned out poorly for me. It would invariably happen when I was walking both dogs at once and a cat would saunter across our path, glancing slyly at us with a gleam in its eye. My big dogs would take off on cue, lunging on the leashes like sled dogs, and it would take every ounce of my might not to do a face plant right on the pavement.
Experiences like these made me marvel at dogs that got along with cats. I thought that “those dogs” were rare and wondrous, that their humans must have worked long and hard to get them comfortable with “the opposite” species. At that time, in my mind dogs and cats were like day and night or black and white – they were opposites. Then I met my husband, a Real Man Who Loves Cats. When we decided it was time to add to our family, we went to the shelter and came back with a dog and a cat.
Our dog and cat have formed a tight interspecies bond; they are good friends. With appropriate socialization, most dogs and cats can live together harmoniously. Some breeds seem to be more accepting of feline friends than others, however. Here are five dog breeds that are recognized as being cat-friendly:
Golden and Labrador Retrievers
Big, happy and athletic, retrievers love everybody. Known for their devoted and obedient nature, retrievers are easy to socialize with other dogs and with cats. Many households that have retrievers also have cats, proving that size doesn’t matter.
Chihuahuas are known for their self-reliant, confident personalities. Even though they are fearless, they seem to have a soft spot for felines. In fact, Chihuahuas and cats seem to genuinely enjoy one another, often seeking each other out.
The lively Boston Terrier is a cat-friendly dog. Their intellect and determination make them easy to train, so if your cat is the type that likes to have plenty of personal space, this dog breed may be a good addition to the family. They will likely develop a mutual respect, at the very least.
Charming and good-looking, Maltese are smart dogs that love to please. Because they’re fast learners, even if your cat can’t figure out that running away will cause dogs to chase him, the Maltese can be trained to ignore the cat. These dogs are naturally gentle-natured, so they are excellent companions to cats.
Cocker Spaniels catch on to things quickly, and readily obey their human companions. Most will happily cuddle with anything, human or feline, within paw’s length. Good for households with an existing cat, this breed seems to have a penchant for smaller creatures.
These are just a few of the many breeds known to connect well with cats. Generally speaking, dog breeds that are said to be intelligent and have a good temperament usually adapt to new experiences more easily and coexist more harmoniously with cats and other animals.
Even so, the relationship between a dog and a cat will vary depending on each animal’s personalities, social skills, past experiences and a variety of other factors. With very few exceptions, almost any dog can learn to be cat-friendly if he’s gradually and lovingly socialized, preferably at a young age. Plenty of patience and CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Heaven Biscuits worked for us.
Do you have interspecies friendships in your home? If so, did it happen immediately, or did the animals take time to warm up to one another?
Top photo by Pete Markham
Middle photo by Aviva West
Bottom photo by CavinB
Read more articles by Langley Cornwell