7 Small Dog Breeds That Are Good With Cats

Finding a small dog that likes cats. How
hard can it be?! ¹

Are you thinking of adding to your family?

Do you own a cat and want to find the perfect small dog that will love and adore your cat as much as you do?

Or are you thinking of diving straight in at the deep end and getting a new dog and a cat at the same time?

Wow- that is brave!

In this post, I provide a list of seven small dog breeds that will get on with cats. 

But before I start the list, I want to go over a few basics.

Do dogs like cats?

Thanks to parts of our culture such as the Tom and Jerry cartoons, we are led to believe that dogs and cats don’t get on- hostility is in their DNA.

Nothing is further than the truth- many dogs and cats have very loving and touching relationships.

I speak as an owner of one cat and two dogs and the closeness between the cat and one of the dogs is enough to melt your heart.

I want to add two “buts”.

Firstly, don’t expect a dog and a cat to get on like a house on fire straight off the bat. In all likelihood it will take time and effort on your part to facilitate the relationship.

Secondly, there is a list of dog breeds that you should never ever consider welcoming into a household that already has a cat. 

This is because these dog breeds are known to have such prey drives that there is a real risk of your cat being seriously injured or killed. It just isn’t worth the risk.

Most terriers are on that list but let me start my list with an exceptional terrier who can form a very strong bond with a cat- the Boston Terrier. 

[1] Boston Terrier

Bostons are well known for being cat lovers..²

Boston Terriers are great with cats and their friendly and calm disposition means that they will more than likely count a cat as a best friend!

In this sense Bostons are exceptional amongst Terriers.

Most Terrier breeds have a very strong prey drive which means that cats are moving objects to chase and not to have a cuddle with.

The fact that Boston Terriers are so accepting of cats shows just what a loveable breed they are to own.

[2] Pug

I would just love to live with a cat! ³

Do you want a lap cat to go with your lap dog?

Well, if you have a Pug, you will only need to find the right cat!

And come to think of it- you might need another lap. 

Pugs range in height between about 25 cm to 30 cm and weigh around 7 kg.  

They are very comfortable doing as little as possible as long as they have company.

The breed has its roots in ancient China where Emperors thought so highly of Pugs that they were housed in special quarters and waited on hand and foot by teams of servants!

Which is why they get on so well with cats because they both have a very high opinion of themselves

Not only do they love cats but are very tolerant with children. 

Pugs have faces that are almost as flat as cats!

[3] Beagle

Does that look like a face that could love a cat? ⁴

Is a Beagle a small breed? 

One of the two Beagle varieties, stands at about 37 cm tall and so hopefully they squeeze into the list!

Spending time in various forums, I was surprised to find that many Beagles have wonderful relationships with cats. 

It must just have been that I thought that their hunting background made them unsuitable for non- canine pets.

But how wrong I was.

They are great family pets who are very loveable and social. 

But in order to keep them happy, Beagles will require lots of exercise and there are times that they will need to be temporarily separated with the family cat. 

[4] Bichon Frise

I’m looking for a cat. I wonder if you can help me? ⁵

Ranging in height from about 23 cm to 30 cm and weighing up to 5 kg, a Bichon Frise is a popular toy breed of dog that are happy to add cats into their social circles. 

As well as having a personality that is gentle enough to accept cats, they are also great with children.

They have very distinctive white coats that are full of curls and a tail that looks as if it has been made from pipe cleaners. 

Bichon Frise can be very playful and they have bags of energy.

Without the correct training and socialisation they can be very territorial- barking and snapping a lot. 

[5] Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

King Charles Spaniels love cats ⁶

Standing slightly taller than a Bichon Frise (at around 30 cm) and weighing a few kilograms more, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a certain look.

Perhaps it is the combination of those beautiful round eyes and the long droopy ears that makes you think “what a cutie”.

The breed has a reputation of being very content with either lying around at home or being very active.

Perhaps it is the ability to lounge around on sofas that makes them an ideal match up for the family cat. 

They morph themselves into the best type of dog depending on their owner’s lifestyle.  

And that must be part of the reason why King Charles’ are very popular dogs and currently within the top 20 of dogs in the U.S. 

These Spaniels spend most of their lives on an even keel- they love attention but they are also calm and serene.

[6] Pomeranian

From afar, some people might confuse a Pomeranian with a cat- well a cat that has a fluffy coat at least.

In this article, the Pomeranian appears in my list of small dogs that look like foxes.

And foxes are very feline. 

Although they can be as tall as 30cm, at their smallest they might only be about 18 cm and weigh 1.3 kg. 

At that tiny size, perhaps it is more an issue of whether a cat wants to become friends with the dog (or a fox) than visa versa!

Although because they have huge personalities, they can be highly persuasive….

These dogs are happy enough to get most of their exercise indoors by playing a variety of games and so they will be a perfect companion for a cat who doesn’t venture outdoors much. 

[7] Papillon

Named after the butterfly shape of those ears, Papillon have a very unique look amongst toy dog breeds.

Weighing at just a touch over 4 kg and standing at about 25 cm, like the butterflies that they are named after, Papillons look as though they could be knocked over by a breath of wind! 

What makes these dogs cat friendly?

It is known to be very affectionate, friendly and highly intelligent.

With the right guidance and training, Papillons will grow to adore young children.

Just because they are small doesn’t mean that they can be ignored.

In fact the opposite is true- these dogs need to be regularly trained, walked and mentally stimulated in order to stave off boredom and help them to find their place within the pack.

Photo Credits

¹ Photo by Brianna Santellan on Unsplash

² Photo by IgorTheGoodBoy on IG — Boston Terrier on Unsplash

³ Photo by Mink Mingle on Unsplash

⁴ Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

⁵ Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

⁶ Photo by Mitchell Gaiser on Unsplash

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!