Worst Dog Breeds for Cats

The Top 5 Worst Dog Breeds for Cats

You’re a cat person. You love everything about cats – their soft fur, their purrs, the way they rub up against your leg. But your partner wants to get a dog. You’re worried. Some breeds just don’t mix well with cats. So which dogs should you avoid if you want kitty to stick around? We’ve got the inside scoop on the top 5 worst dog breeds for your cats friend.

From their high prey drive to their sheer size, these pups spell trouble for tabbies. We’ll count down the worst offenders, looking at why they and cats don’t mesh. We’ll also suggest better breeds to consider if you’re set on getting a dog. Read on for the 101 on which dog breeds and cats just don’t jive.

Why Some Dog Breeds Don’t Mix Well With Cats

Worst Dog Breeds for Cats

As a cat owner, you want a dog that will get along with your feline family members. Some breeds, unfortunately, have a strong prey drive and instinct to chase small animals like cats. These breeds pose a risk to cats in the home and are not recommended if you want a harmonious multi-pet household.


Feisty terriers, like Jack Russell Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers, were originally bred to hunt vermin and small prey. They have a strong instinct to chase and may view cats as something to be pursued. While socialization at an early age can help, their natural instincts can still kick in, especially if the cat darts quickly.


Hound breeds, such as Greyhounds and Beagles, also have a keen sense of prey drive. Greyhounds are fast and may chase out of sport, while Beagles have an uncanny sense of smell and hearing tuned to track small animals. Even if hounds are friendly towards the cat at first, their instincts can lead them to chase at any given moment.

Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes

Energetic, pack-oriented breeds like Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes have a tendency to chase and hunt smaller animals. While socialization can help curb chasing behavior, their predatory instincts are deeply ingrained and may override any training. These breeds do best in cat-free homes where their natural behaviors can be expressed without stressing other pets.

Of course, there are exceptions to every breed, and proper introduction and training from an early age can help. However, some dogs may never overcome their urge to chase smaller furry creatures darting around the home. If you have a cat, do extensive research on dog breeds before getting a canine companion to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all pets in your household.

Top 5 Worst Dog Breeds for Cats

1TerriersHigh prey drive, energetic, stubborn temperament
2HoundsStrong prey drive, hunting instincts, may chase small prey
3Herding GroupInstinct to chase and corral, high energy
4Guard DogsProtective instincts, potential aggression towards cats
5Giant Breed DogsMassive size, potential for accidental harm

The Herding Group: Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Corgis

Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Corgis were bred as herding dogs, so their instinct is to chase and corral. This prey drive is not ideal for homes with cats.

Border Collies

Border Collies are energetic, intelligent dogs that need a job to do. If they get bored, they may chase and harass cats. Border Collies require extensive exercise, training, and attention, so they’re not suitable for inexperienced owners or less active households.

Australian Shepherds

Like Border Collies, Australian Shepherds are energetic working dogs that may view cats as something to herd if not properly socialized and trained from an early age. Australian Shepherds require daily exercise, attention, and stimulation. Without it, they can become destructive and may chase small animals.


Don’t let their cute and cuddly appears idiot you. Corgis were bred as cattle herders, so they have a strong instinct to chase and nip at moving objects, including cats and other small pets. Corgis require daily activity, exercise, and play to prevent boredom and discourage unwanted herding behavior.

While members of the herding group can make excellent companions, their natural instincts mean extra caution must be taken when introducing them to homes with cats. Early socialization, training, exercise, and supervision are key to helping these breeds and felines live together harmoniously. If you’re an experienced owner willing to put in the effort, herding breeds can thrive in multi-pet households. But for novice owners or less active households, one of the other breed groups may be a better choice.

Terriers: Jack Russell Terriers, West Highland White Terriers

Terriers, like Jack Russell Terriers and West Highland White Terriers, were originally bred as hunting dogs to chase small prey like rats, rabbits and foxes. As such, their instinct is to chase and hunt. This makes them a poor choice if you have cats.

High Prey Drive

Terriers have a strong prey drive, meaning they are highly motivated to chase small animals that flee from them. Your cat running away from a terrier will trigger its chasing instinct, causing the dog to run after and potentially attack the cat. Proper training and socialization from an early age can help reduce prey drive, but it is difficult to eliminate completely.

High Energy

Terriers are energetic, lively dogs that require daily exercise and stimulation. If their energy isn’t properly channeled through exercise and play, they may focus it into chasing the cat. It’s essential to give a terrier plenty of exercise, play, and attention every day to prevent unwanted chasing behavior.

Stubborn Temperament

Terriers are intelligent but often stubborn, independent dogs. They can be difficult to train and often ignore commands to stop unwanted behaviors like chasing. Early positive reinforcement training is important to teach a terrier proper behavior around cats. However, their strong-willed nature means they may not always listen, even with the best training.

Size Difference

Some terriers like Jack Russells are small enough to be intimidated by a cat, while others like West Highland Terriers are too large. In either case, the difference in size can make them unsuitable for homes with cats. Larger terriers may injure a cat, even if just playing, while smaller terriers may feel threatened by a cat and become aggressive.

In summary, while some terriers and cats can get along, their natural instincts, energy level, and temperament make them generally a poor choice for homes looking to add a dog to a cat household. Early training and proper introductions can help, but there is no guarantee they will become fast friends. If you have cats, you may want to consider other breed options.

Hounds: Beagles, Basset Hounds, Dachshunds

Your cats and hound dog breeds are unlikely to become fast friends. Hounds were originally bred as hunting dogs, and many still have a strong prey drive that can make them dangerous to small animals like cats.


Beagles are friendly, gentle dogs, but their instinct to chase smaller animals can kick in when they see a cat running away from them. Never leave a beagle and cat alone unsupervised. Early socialization and training is key to helping beagles curb their urge to chase. With time and patience, some beagles can learn to get along with cats, but their hunting instinct may always remain.

Basset Hounds

Basset hounds were bred to hunt small game like rabbits, so they may see cats as prey. They can be stubborn and single-minded when chasing something that is moving away from them. Proper introduction and training from an early age is important to teach basset hounds not to chase the family cat. However, their instinct to hunt may always remain, so close supervision is advised.


Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt badgers, so they have a strong prey drive toward smaller animals. They can be aggressive toward cats and may chase, attack and even kill them. Early socialization may help, but in many cases, the hunting instinct in dachshunds overrides training. It is generally not advisable to have dachshunds and cats in the same home.

While some hounds can get along with cats with proper introduction and training, their instinct to chase and hunt smaller animals may always remain. Close supervision, keeping dogs and cats separate when unattended, and training dogs from an early age are musts for hound and cat owners. However, there is always a risk of aggression by hounds toward cats, so the two animals may not be compatible for some owners.

Guard Dogs: German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers

Guard dogs like German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and Rottweilers can be risky companions for cats. These breeds have been bred as guardians and protectors, so they may view smaller animals like cats as potential threats.

German Shepherds are intelligent, loyal, and protective of their homes and families. However, their herding instinct can kick in around smaller animals, causing them to chase and corner cats. Early socialization and training from an experienced owner is key to helping a German Shepherd become cat-friendly.

Doberman Pinschers were originally bred as guard dogs. They tend to be aloof toward strangers and territorial, so they may perceive cats as intruders. Some Dobermans can learn to get along with cats, especially if raised together from an early age, but they require patient, rewards-based training and close supervision.

Rottweilers are natural guardians and can be aggressive toward other animals. They may chase and attack cats due to their strong prey drive. Rottweilers require experienced, confident owners who can properly socialize and train them from puppyhood to overcome aggression toward cats and other animals.

In general, guard dog breeds should only be brought into a home with cats by owners fully prepared to do extensive socialization and rewards-based training to acclimate them to feline housemates. Early positive exposure in a controlled setting, patience, and consistency are key. However, some guard dogs may never become truly cat-friendly, so close supervision and management may be an ongoing requirement to ensure the safety of any resident cats.

High Prey Drive Breeds: Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes

Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes were originally bred as working dogs to pull sleds, so they have a very high prey drive. This means they have a strong instinct to chase and hunt small animals. For cats, this can be dangerous.

Siberian Huskies

Siberian Huskies are energetic, friendly dogs, but they were bred to hunt in packs. They have a strong prey drive and may view cats as something to chase. Proper introduction and training from an early age can help, but their instincts may still kick in, especially if the cat runs. Siberian Huskies require patient, consistent training to learn to live peacefully with cats.

Alaskan Malamutes

Alaskan Malamutes are the largest of the sled dogs and were used to hunt seals and polar bears. They have an even higher prey drive than Siberian Huskies. While also friendly towards people, their predatory nature means they are difficult to train not to chase smaller animals. Alaskan Malamutes should generally not live with cats unless raised together from puppyhood with patient training and supervision.

To have a Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute live safely with cats, early positive introduction and training are essential. Strong leashes, baby gates, and close supervision may always be needed. However, their natural instincts can still kick in, especially if the cat runs or acts like prey. In some cases, the characteristics of these breeds may make them unsuitable for homes with cats. If you have an existing cat and are set on one of these breeds, consider adopting an adult dog with a known cat-friendly temperament for the best chance of success. With time, patience, and consistency, some owners have been able to build positive relationships between these breeds and cats. But there is always an element of risk, and in some situations, it may not be worth it.

Giant Breed Dogs: Great Danes, St. Bernards, Newfoundlands

Giant Breed Dogs

The Great Dane

The gentle giant Great Dane may seem like an unlikely threat to cats, but their huge size alone can intimidate felines. Great Danes can weigh up to 175 pounds, so even an accidental bump or step on a cat can cause injury. Their prey drive is usually low, but some Great Danes may chase smaller animals. Proper training and early socialization with cats is essential. If you already have a cat, carefully supervise initial meetings and give both animals their own space when unattended.

St. Bernards

Friendly St. Bernards are bred as rescue dogs, but their massive size—up to 260 pounds—poses risks for cats. St. Bernards may chase and pin down smaller animals in play, not realizing their strength. Early positive experiences with cats, training the dog to be gentle, and close supervision are musts. St. Bernards drool and shed heavily too, which most cats won’t appreciate. Consider whether a St. Bernard’s size and messiness will stress out your feline companion.


Sweet-natured Newfoundlands, up to 150 pounds, are usually good with children and other pets. However, their size and enthusiasm during play or when seeking attention can frighten or injure a cat. Proper introduction at an early age, training the Newfoundland to be gentle, and close supervision, especially during play, will help ensure the safety of cats in the home. Newfoundlands also drool and shed profusely, so the mess may be off-putting to cats as well.

With positive experiences, training, and vigilant supervision, giant breeds dog and cats absolutely can live together happily. However, their massive size alone presents risks to felines that require extra care and responsibility on the owner’s part. If you have an existing cat, think carefully about whether adding one of these breeds is the right choice for your situation. With time and patience, many owners have found ways to ensure the safety, health, and happiness of all their companion animals.

Tips for Introducing Dogs and Cats

When bringing a new dog into a home with cats, careful introduction and supervision are musts.

Some key matters to keep in mind:

Slow and steady wins the race. Keep initial interactions short, around 10-15 minutes at a time. Give the animals breaks in between to prevent overstimulation. Gradually increase the time together over days or weeks as they become more comfortable. Forcing interaction can do more harm than good.

Provide separate spaces for eating, sleeping and using the litter box that the dog cannot access. This gives the cat opportunities to retreat if feeling stressed.

Keep the dog leashed at first, and teach the ‘Leave it’ and ‘Look at me’ commands to help redirect attention away from the cat. Reward and praise the dog when it responds to commands around the cat.

Once the animals seem comfortable in each other’s presence, you can drop the leash while still supervising. Continue to reward and praise the dog breeds for ignoring the cats.

Never leave them unsupervised unmuzzled until you are sure they get along. Always separate when you are not home to avoid chasing or fighting.

With time and positive experiences together, many dogs and cats become friendly or at least learn to co-exist peacefully. However, some breeds like terriers that were originally bred to hunt small prey may never be fully trustworthy alone with cats. In those cases, lifelong management and separation when unsupervised are necessary.

The key is slow, positive introductions, close supervision, and setting the animals up for success by providing separate spaces to escape if needed. If after a few weeks of trying the animals still do not get along, it may be better for the health and safety of both to keep them permanently separated. But many a contentious first meeting has turned into a beautiful long term friendship with patience and persistence.


So there you have it – the top 5 worst dog breeds for cats. While some dogs can coexist peacefully with cats, these breeds tend to have high prey drives that make them incompatible housemates. If you have a cat at home, it’s best to avoid these dogs, who might stress out or even harm your feline friend. Instead, do your research and choose a breed known for getting along with cats. That way, you can have the best of both worlds – a dog and a cat who live harmoniously together. With the right match, your pets can become the best of buds. And who knows, maybe your cats will even teach your dog breeds some manners! At the end of the day, a multi-pet household takes work, but with the right breed choices for your cat, you’ll be on the road to success.

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