Best Dog for First-Time Owners with Cats

Contrary to their reputations, not all dogs are mortal enemies with cats. Many cat owners report peaceful living at home when they introduce a new dog to the family.

If you’re planning to get a new dog for the first time but are worrying because of your cat, have faith that they will get along well with each other.

Here’s a list of the best dogs for first-time owners with cats, and a guide on how to introduce your new dog to your cat.

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dog breeds for cat owners

How to Choose Your First Dog When You Have a Cat

Here are some things to think about when choosing your first cat-friendly dog. 

Look for a Dog With a Track Record of Living Peacefully With Cats

Don’t hesitate to ask the rescue group or shelter caring for the dog you’re interested in.

If the dog stalks and fixates on cats and other animals, they tend to be predators. They may chase or even kill smaller animals. 

It’s difficult, if not impossible to train dogs to ignore their instincts, especially if they’re already adult dogs. Certain breeds tend to have higher prey drives than others. 

Get a Breed That Is Easier to Manage

For your first dog, it’s better to look for a breed that is easygoing, friendly, and calm.

Even if they don’t have a high prey drive, many dogs like chasing cats. Cats dislike being chased, so think of your kitty’s peace of mind.

Dogs that are bred to hunt big game or guard property may also not be cat-friendly and can demand a lot of maintenance. 

If you live in a small apartment with cats, you may choose to get a smaller dog. For example, toy poodles are joyful, productive dogs.

But not all small breeds are easy to care for, especially if you have a cat.

Some small breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Corgis, can be nuisance barkers, difficult to house-train, or wary toward strangers

Go for Laid-Back Dogs

You can also consider dog breeds that love to snuggle and are generally calm.

Breeds like Great Danes and Newfoundlands generally don’t need constant activity or exercise and won’t bother messing with your cat. 

However, don’t mistake their relaxed attitude for laziness.

These dogs also need exercise and stimulation, so make sure you have enough time to juggle your work, family, cats, and a new dog.

Best Dogs for First-Time Owners with Cats

When choosing your first dog when you have a cat, there are a lot of things to compromise. Here are some dog breeds for new owners with cats at home. 

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is small and social and will certainly consider your cat as their playmate. This breed is also great for children of all ages and other household pets.

Aside from being friendly, the Bichon Frise is also obedient and attentive, so they thrive in human company and are easy to train. 

What makes them the perfect breed is their hypoallergenic coat. This makes them suitable for any allergy sufferers in the house.


best dog breed papillon

The Papillon is great for first-time dog parents and those who are also cat lovers.

As one of the most intelligent and trainable toy breeds, Papillons get along well with the entire family and adapt to a range of households. 

They may be goofy and playful, but they are also intelligent and amiable. Like cats, Papillons bond fiercely with their human counterparts.

German Shepherd

best dog breed german shepherd

If you’re looking for a bigger dog breed who can guard the family, but still be friendly to everyone including your cats, the German Shepherd is the best pick for you.

German Shepherds are one of the most intelligent dog breeds and are also easy to train. German Shepherds are loving and obedient.

If you say that the cat is part of the family, you will be guaranteed that they will get along with it and protect your feline friend at all costs. 

Basset Hound

best dog breed basset hound

As mentioned, laid-back dogs are great with cats. There are times when they’re friendly, but most of the time they just don’t care.

The Basset Hound is a perfect example. They’re not likely to bother the cat very much. Basset Bounds would rather lay on the couch, play with themselves, or just sniff your cat.

Just be sure to give them as much attention as you give your cat since they can get very jealous. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

best dog breed cavalier king charles spaniel

This sweet and affectionate breed has a puppylike appearance, a small size, and a gentle demeanor.

You don’t have to worry about them chasing your cat because they have very moderate energy levels. 

Although they require regular basic grooming, they are a very trainable breed that also makes a great companion. 

How to Introduce Your New Dog to Your Cat

Meeting a playful young puppy or an adult dog for the first time can be exhilarating for humans, but terrifying for cats. When introducing your new puppy to your cat, do the following.

Don’t Rush It

You don’t have to introduce them to each other right away. Your house is a new and scary environment for your new dog, so give them time to get used to the smells and surroundings.

It may even take weeks before you introduce them to each other. One way to help them become familiar with each other’s smell is by swapping bedding before they meet.

On the Lead

It’s best to keep your dog on a leash for the initial meeting. Introduce the cat after they have learned basic dog commands like sit and stay.

This will help the dog understand that seeing a cat does not mean playtime.

Positive Reinforcement

Always have dog treats on hand to reward your dog for good behavior and obedience.

As a new dog parent, you probably don’t know yet that punishments are not effective.

If you try punishing your dog, you might make them associate the cat with negative outcomes.

Dogs Can Be Friends With Cats!

Becoming a dog owner for the first time can seem daunting but becoming a first-time dog owner when you have a cat is more daunting. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have both.

Introducing a new furry friend to the family is a rewarding and exciting experience if you have made a good decision at picking a dog.

The most cat-friendly dogs are laid-back, easy to manage, and have a track record of living peacefully with cats.

The five breeds we mentioned are the best options as they fit the given criteria. 

Adopt a Bichon Frise, German Shepherd, Basset Hound, King Charles Spaniel, or a Papillon, and learn the basics of introducing your new dog to your cat for a harmonious household.

You should also make sure you have everything you need for your new addition with this new puppy checklist.