Dogs for Cat People

What makes a great dog for a cat lover? It’s not necessarily the size, but the personality.

It can be hard to know how to choose a dog if you’ve only had cats all your life. If so, you probably understand and appreciate all their quirks and behaviors, but dogs may seem like alien creatures. But maybe now you want a pet that can more easily travel with you. Or maybe you want a pet that you can take on walks. By choosing a dog with cat-like qualities, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds! Following are some breeds that are good bets for cat people who still have a cat(s) and those who don’t. 

If you still have a cat:

In general, breeds in the toy group or sporting group will blend right into your kitty home because they don’t have the same high prey drive as other breeds that might lead them to chase your cat. Here are some great breeds to consider:

Basenji: Quiet in voice and personality, these dogs that rarely bark can be shy but get attached to their owner. They can be stubborn and may or may not do what you ask–just like a cat!

Japanese chin: Cat-sized at 7-11 pounds, these fastidious lap cuddlers are almost like a cat disguised as a dog. They are generally quiet and indoorsy.

Papillion: Smaller than some cats, these dainty dogs weigh 5 to 10  pounds. Confident and good-natured, they are just as happy curled up in your lap as they are hunting small insects. They don’t require a ton of exercise or long walks. Sound familiar?

Shiba Inu: Independent and reserved, these feline-like dogs let you pet them when they feel like it. They also clean themselves like a cat. 

If you don’t have a cat:

You have more leeway to choose a dog breed that likes to hunt and chase, such as terrier breeds and sighthounds. Some wonderful catlike-dogs in these groups include:

Greyhounds: Mellow and gentle, these couch potatoes are happy to lie around and don’t need a lot of exercise beyond a couple of walks a day. They are sweet and loving but not clingy.  Italian greyhounds are smaller than standard greyhounds and, just like many felines, like to lie in high places. 

Manchester terrier: Smart and curious, these dogs love to sit on your lap and cuddle. They also like to chase small prey like mice, just like a cat.  And at about 12 pounds, a toy Manchester is even the same size as some cats.

Whippet: A racer prone to night-time crazies (ring a bell?), whippets like a good sprint now and then. In the meantime, these gentle dogs are content to lounge in warm places.

The lists above aren’t exhaustive, so these dogs aren’t your only choices. Of course, individual personalities can make a difference, so a particular dog of a certain breed may–or may not–fill the bill. Also, there are other things you’ll want to think about besides a dog’s feline characteristics in order to find a good match for you and your household. For example, how tolerant are you of barking? How important is it to you that a dog be easy to train? You can find a helpful guide at Dog Breed Selector – What Breed Of Dog Should I Get?

Know what qualities in a pet dog are most important to you, be sure to ask questions about the personality and behavior of the specific dog you’re considering, and you won’t go wrong.

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