There are dog people and there are cat people — but what about those of us who love both? Can we have a cat and a dog in our household, or are they truly mortal enemies? Rest assured, dogs and cats
can become the best of friends, or at least learn to peacefully coexist. If you already have a cat at home and are looking to add a dog, choosing the right breed will go a long way toward a harmonious relationship.
Understanding Breed Groups
Certain breed groups are more likely to get along with cats than others. For example, the Toy Group consists of breeds that are affectionate and sociable. They were bred to be companions and lap warmers. Members of the Sporting Group are friendly and outgoing. These happy-go-lucky dogs are pleased to make friends with anybody they meet, including cats.
On the other hand, spirited Terriers were developed to hunt and kill vermin. A fast-moving cat could trigger those feisty, predatory instincts. And the Sighthounds of the Hound Group are hardwired for a chase. No cat will appreciate being the target of that kind of attention. Finally, members of the Herding Group have a strong desire to herd anything that moves, including their owner and children. Some cats might find this too annoying to tolerate.
Keep in mind that these are generalizations. Most dog breeds can live calmly with a cat if they are socialized as puppies and are trained to leave the cat alone. Teaching your dog a “leave it” cue and a strong “stay” can help keep the peace. Proper introductions will also help, and it’s a good idea to make sure the cat always has an escape route. Never leave your new dog alone with your cat until you are positive they won’t have issues.
The individual personality of both the dog and cat will also come into play. For example, an older cat that likes to be left alone might not mix well with an overly bouncy puppy. Do your research before bringing a dog into your cat-owning family and speak with potential breeders about the suitability of a given breed for a multi-pet household.
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