The 10 Best Small Dogs That Get Along With Cats

dog laying down with cat

Have you ever heard the phrase “fighting like cats and dogs?” Dogs and cats have gained quite a reputation for not getting along, and for good reason! Even small dog breeds may be prone to chasing and barking, which can be stressful for everyone in the house, including your precious kitty.

The good news is that some small dog breeds are great with cats! In this article, we’ll discuss 10 small dog breeds that can happily share a home with a cat.

Why do some small dogs get along with cats?

So how exactly do we know which small dogs are good for cats? Here are a few things to look for when choosing a small, cat-friendly dog breed.

Prey Drive

Humans have been breeding dogs for thousands of years. Some dogs have been bred to hunt and kill while others are designed for companionship. Even some small dogs such as the Jack Russell Terrier are experts at finding and fetching animals.

Unsurprisingly, hunting dogs do not typically get along with cats. These fierce pups are more likely to view your pet cat as their prey. Even if they don’t injure your kitty, there may be endless chasing around your house and backyard. So if you own a cat, you should only consider dog breeds with a low prey drive.

Personality and Temperament

As we all know, cats can be quite different from dogs! For one thing, cats don’t bark. And most cats don’t enjoy chasing and rough play the way dogs do. If you want to adopt a small dog, be sure to choose a breed that is known for a relatively quiet, gentle temperament.

Individual temperament matters too, so even if you are adopting a dog whose breed is famous for being agreeable, try to ensure that the individual dog himself seems cat-friendly. Some dog breeders will even ask about your preferences so that they can observe the personalities of pups in their litter and select the most compatible for you.

Cat Breeds

Before you bring a new small dog into the home, you should also consider your cat’s breed. As you might expect, cats that act like dogs are the most likely to get along with dogs. Ideally, your cat should be able to tolerate a little barking and energetic play. Some great dog-friendly cat breeds include Bombay, Birman, American Shorthair, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds That Are Good With Cats

Now that we have discussed the features of small dogs that get along with cats, let’s look at 10 of the most cat-friendly breeds so that you can decide which is best for you.



The Papillon, also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel, is an elegant small dog breed with ears shaped like butterfly wings. Your cat may be amused by the Papillon’s wispy ears and long hair and it may even initiate gentle play. This gentle-natured dog will probably not be too bothered and may even enjoy the attention.

As an added bonus, the Papillon is small enough to snuggle with both you and your cat. After a while, you may even forget that your two pets belong to different species!



Pugs are famous for their silly, playful nature. If you’re lucky, your cat will appreciate your pug’s sense of humor and they will spend many hours playing together. This small breed is not interested in chasing everything that moves, and your cat can rest easy while your pug is being lazy or begging for snacks.

Be careful when choosing a hybrid dog, however. The puggle, which is a mix of pug and beagle, could be a bad choice if it inherits the beagle’s hunting instinct. Purebred pugs are a safer choice if you own cats.

Toy Poodle

toy poodle

The poodle is known for its sweet nature and desire to please its owner. This gentle temperament makes them a great dog breed for cats. Many poodles are intelligent enough to leave your cat alone if the cat feels overwhelmed. They also shed very little, which can be a relief if you’re already tired of removing cat hair from your clothes and furniture.

If you’re looking for a small dog, consider the toy poodle, which weighs between 6 and 9 pounds when fully grown. Your cat may see the tiny toy poodle as his equal and could be less likely to feel threatened.

Tibetan Spaniel

tibetan spaniel

Tibetan Spaniels, or “Tibbies” for short, are a gorgeous small breed dog that isn’t too loud or obnoxious. Your cat is probably no fan of barking and will surely appreciate the reserved temperament of the Tibetan Spaniel.

Like cats, Tibbies are intelligent but can also be stubborn and uncooperative (in a very cute way, of course). This means that potty training may be a bit harder for you, but your cat is likely to respect the self-assured confidence of your tiny Tibbie.

Bichon Frise

bichon frise

If you want a cute, fluffy little friend for your cat, consider the Bichon Frise. The Bichon will spend plenty of time playing with the family kitty and should have plenty of time left for snuggling on your lap.

Bichon Frises are notorious for their playful energy. They are not normally aggressive but they will jump and bark if they need attention. For this reason, the Bichon may not be the perfect dog for cats that are easily startled. However, if you love small rambunctious dogs and your cat is not especially anxious, this little white fluff-ball may be right up your alley.



The Maltese is a precious toy breed with plenty of charm and personality. This dog is the perfect buddy for lonely cats who are amused by small, bouncy dogs. Plus, they’re very unlikely to drool or shed, so they may require even less maintenance than your cat.

Maltese are known as the watchdogs of the toy breeds. They are harmless but always alert and will bark if they sense strangers approaching. You should slowly and gently introduce your cat new a new Maltese so that the cat does not feel threatened by the dog’s curiosity.

Mini Bernedoodle

mini bernedoodle

Mini Bernedoodles are typically bred from a Bernese Mountain Dog and a toy poodle. This means that Bernedoodles are not considered to be purebred, but they make great companions for both humans and cats! Mini Bernedoodles are not especially prone to chasing or hunting, but they will enjoy the occasional play session with you and your kitty.

In some ways, these soft, gentle creatures resemble teddy bears more than dogs. Plus, Bernedoodles are famous for their lack of shedding, especially if their poodle lineage is greater than 50%.



Pekingese dogs were bred by Chinese royalty to live pampered lives in a palace. As you might have guessed, they have very cat-like personalities! The Pekingese barks when he feels threatened but is otherwise quiet and reserved.

The Pekingese does require some grooming for its hair, which can become long and flowing if you like. You will find that this small-but-noble breed is worth every ounce of effort. The loyal Pekingese forms a close bond with its pack, including both you and your cat.



This puffy little fuzzball is known as a Pomeranian, or “Pom”, and it’s one of the best small cat-friendly dogs you will find. The Pomeranian has a well-balanced personality: playful but not overwhelming, open to strangers yet also protective. The Pom’s mild demeanor is usually a good match for an anxious cat.

Poms have a long double coat that keeps them warm in cold temperatures. Have your camera ready, because you might just find your cat snuggling up with your Pomeranian for a little extra warmth.

Boston Terrier

boston terrier

Terriers were bred to hunt, so we would not normally consider them to be compatible with cats. However, the Boston Terrier is a special breed. Boston Terriers can run and chase with the best of them, but they usually do so in a playful manner. If your cat can tolerate a little rambunctious energy, this might just be the dog breed for you.

Boston Terriers are a little larger than some of the toy breeds on this list. They can weigh between 15 and 25 pounds, and they stand between 16 and 18 inches tall. But if you enjoy the Boston Terrier’s charming and energetic personality, you and your cat may agree that size doesn’t matter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get a cat or dog first?

If you plan to own both a dog and a cat, ask your local shelter if they currently have a dog and cat that lived together in the same home. This is the ideal scenario because the two animals may already be friendly with each other.

If this is not an option, we recommend that you adopt a dog first. You will have an easier time if the dog is fully grown and obeys commands such as “sit”. A well-trained dog will adapt more easily to a new cat.

Will a dog make my cat sad?

Your cat may need time to adjust when you bring a new dog into the home. Cats can become sad and anxious when their environment changes, and sharing the home with a new pet is certainly a big change.

The acclimation process may take days or even weeks, but don’t give up hope. With proper training and guidance, there is a good chance that your dog and cat will eventually learn to tolerate each other.

Do cats get along better with male or female dogs?

This question tends to be controversial among pet owners. Some believe that the best approach is to mix a male dog with a female cat, or vice versa. Others say that a female dog and female cat get along best.

Regardless of which arrangement you choose, ask your veterinarian about options for having your pets spayed or neutered. This is a simple medical procedure that will help reduce aggression and prevent health issues.

How do I introduce my cat to a small dog?

Enforce a strict “no chasing” rule with your dog, especially in the beginning. If your dog is a puppy or an untrained adult, consider signing him up for obedience school and reinforce good behavior at home.

Make sure the cat has a safe space for when things get out of hand. Despite their size, small dogs can chase and bark loudly, which can be stressful for cats. And until you are sure that they are comfortable with each other, the two animals should be supervised when they are together in the same physical space.

Which dog breeds are worst for cats?

Some dog breeds have a higher prey drive than others. If a dog has been bred to hunt, it is more likely to chase and intimidate your cat. This includes the following dog breeds:

  • Beagle
  • Greyhound
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Jack Russel Terrier
  • Weimaraner
  • Afghan Hound
  • Scottish Deerhound
dogs being friendly with cats


When you’re designing the perfect environment for your pets, the last thing you want is conflict. And yes, dogs and cats are sometimes prone to fighting! But as we’ve seen in this article, there are some small dog breeds that get along very well with cats. We hope this has helped you make your decision about which small dog breed is best for you and your cat.