Golden retrievers are kind of a no-brainer entry for this list. They are easy to train, incredibly friendly, and know when it’s time to chill. Goldens are an example of a breed that gets along well with kids and other pets (psst: just because a dog is kid-friendly, doesn’t mean it’ll be cat-friendly). As a rule of thumb, introduce your cat to any new dog before the pup is four months old. Learning to cohabitate as a puppy makes both parties more comfortable around each other. Plus, seeing the kitty as a littermate typically leads to super-cute, protective-big-sibling behavior from the golden once it’s older
These long-eared, droopy-faced pups are stubborn and usually hard to train. This might be why they make great companions for cats. (Great minds think alike?) Not only are basset Hounds mild-mannered and friendly, they don’t need tons of exercise and tend to live longer than most breeds. Just like cats, after playtime, bassets are more than ready to curl up for a good, long nap. This independent, chill AF dog breed is a great choice if you’ve got adult cats who aren’t super rambunctious.
The bichon frise is one of several small breeds on our list, which could mean their feline roommates will outweigh them. Not a problem for this incredibly active, cuddly dog. They’re playful and curious (hello, cats climbing into closets) yet need long periods of rest and relaxation (hello, cats falling asleep in closets). Their tiny, fluffy bodies are perfect for snuggling, and they don’t like being left alone, which makes them good partners for cats who like to sleep in bed all day while you’re at work. We don’t recommend bichons if you’ve got a temperamental, older cat who needs space. If you’ve got kittens, though, have at it.
At heart, beagles are hunting dogs bred to live and work in groups; therefore, they see cats as fellow members of the pack. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this cat-dog relationship. Beagles love to play outside but know that indoors, it’s time to calm down. They also play well with other animals, using both energetic and gentle moves. Plus, having a companion at home helps prevent boredom in beagles, even if it’s just the judgemental eye of a feline. It’s best to socialize these puppies early with cats—and other dogs. One word of warning: they howl. So if your cat spooks easily at loud noises, keep that in mind.
This small dog lives to love and loves to lay. Pugs were literally bred to be peppy companion dogs, so plopping them into any household (a big family on a ranch or a single-and-looking in a studio) works. A perfect combination of tough and sweet, pugs love attention but will happily snore on the sofa waiting for you to come home. Again, this is a breed that benefits from having other animals around for playtime and cat-naps (get it?). So, if you’ve got an affectionate and/or energetic kitty, a pug might be the best breed for you.
CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL
When it comes to ego, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel could easily go head-to-head with any cat. These graceful canines are descendants of sporting dogs and are not easily intimidated. (Ever seen one walk the runway at a dog show? Their silky, beautiful ears rival a Pantene Pro-V commercial.) These spaniels are also incredibly affectionate and adaptable, which means they give a lot of love and can shift gears to meet your lifestyle. Like going for runs with your pup at dawn? No prob! Like sitting on the couch with a good book all day? Say no more! Cats rule the roost already? Cavalier King Charles spaniels can work with that! (Fun tip: feeding the dog and the cat at the same time bonds them like brother and sister.)
Labrador retrievers have it. That magical quality everyone in Hollywood wants. That aura of happiness and light. They are kind, energetic, devoted and friendly. Labs get along with everyone, in part because they are eager to please, but also because they genuinely want to bond with you. This breed is one of the best when it comes to mixing and matching pets. Labs are one of the smartest dogs, easily trained and gentle enough to give another animal space when it needs it. It’s always best to introduce cats to Labs when they are still puppies, so everyone gets off on the right foot.
It was surprising to discover boxers are some of the best dogs for cat households, perhaps because they are known for being wildly energetic and strong. However, these qualities work well with kittens and younger cats who like to flop around and play. Boxers are also notoriously good with kids and other dogs—as long as they are introduced to them early in life. Boxers have been known to make terrific service and therapy dogs, too. Anyone who has young, spry cats eager to play should consider making a boxer part of the fam.
Beware the Maltese-cat friendship: The two of them could become BFFs and start a text thread without you. These tiny (seven pounds on average) pups know how to make friends and really enjoy being lazy. Like Cavalier King Charles spaniels, they can adapt to different schedules and energies and don’t need much outdoor physical activity. Stubborn like a cat and content to chillax around the house, a Maltese is an independent breed perfect for families with older cats or cats who prefer sunbathing to chasing the laser pointer.