Dog Breeds for Cat Lovers
By Kim Boatman
Even the most ardent cat-lovers sometimes find space in their lives and homes for a dog. After all, perhaps you’ve married a dog lover, the kids are clamoring for a puppy, or you have simply decided a happy-go-lucky dog would be a nice addition to your household.
The Dog-cat Overlap
The key to your happiness as a cat-loving dog owner, say the experts, is to understand the traits you enjoy in cats and to look for similar traits in a dog. “Unfortunately, ‘low-maintenance dog’ would be an oxymoron for most cat lovers,” says Dr. Bruce Silverman of Village West Veterinary in Chicago. However, Silverman and other experts agree that with a little thought, you can find a dog breed that’s right for you.
Among factors you should consider:
· Activity level Some dogs are miserable without an outlet for their boundless energy, while others are content to sit on your lap or at your feet.
· Noise Some breeds are more talkative or yippy. If you’re accustomed to a cat that seldom talks, you might consider a quieter dog breed.
· Grooming If you’re used to caring for a long-haired Persian, you likely won’t mind the care needed by a Collie or Shetland sheepdog. However, if your cat takes care of its own grooming needs, you’ll likely want to consider a dog that needs less grooming.
· Size If your cat weighs around 8 or 9 pounds, it might be something of a shock to add a large dog to the household. Remember: That cute, wiggly cat-sized puppy is going to grow.
· Nature A number of dog breeds were bred for working purposes. If you have a cat in your household or plan to add a cat someday, avoid dogs that have been bred to hunt small animals, says Amy Shojai, a Dallas-based certified animal behavior consultant who has written 23 pet-care books. For example, terriers and sight hounds might perceive the family cat as prey.
These Dogs Channel Their Inner Cat
Of course, every dog possesses its own individual personality and quirks, but in general, breeds can be counted on for certain predictable traits. Experts say you’ll likely find some familiar, almost cat-like traits among these breeds:
· Toy poodle Cat lovers likely will be comfortable with the Toy poodle’s small stature, says Shojai. Toy poodles are smart and playful, and they make good pets for novice dog owners. However, they do require regular grooming, and they thrive on interaction with you. They’re likely to be more dependent than the average cat.
· Basenji The Basenji is known as a bark-less breed, but that doesn’t mean they’re silent, says Shojai. “They will scream, yodel and more when not getting their way, something like a complaining Siamese,” says Shojai. If those vocalizations aren’t enough to sell you on the Basenji, consider the breed’s other cat-like qualities. “The breed likes to self-groom with licking, similar to a cat. It’s a very clean dog,” says Shojai. “They also may enjoy countertop surfing or lounging on the backs of chairs, as do cats.”
· Cavalier King Charles spaniel “The Cavalier is a sweet, lap-sitting, quiet and clean dog,” says Shojai. The Cavalier’s gentle, adaptable nature works well in a household with cats.
· Pekingese Do you appreciate most cats’ regal approach to life? The little Pekingese might be the dog for you. “The Pekingese’s holier-than-thou attitude could be compared to some cats that know they are the center of the universe,” says Shojai. Be aware, though, that the Pekingese’s large, slightly protruding eyes might make it more vulnerable to eye injuries from cat scratches.· Golden retriever Certainly the golden retriever is a bit larger than a cat -- or several cats. However, these dogs are known for their happy, gentle and adaptable natures. Plus, retrievers are likely to have gentle mouths as well, says Shojai. “Dogs like retrievers have inhibited bites.”
Kim Boatman is a journalist based in Northern California. She is also the managing editor of ExceptionalCanine.com. Boatman's work has appeared in The Miami Herald, the Detroit Free Press and the San Jose Mercury News. She is a lifelong lover of animals, and a frequent contributor to The Dog Daily.