Can dogs and cats ever be friends?

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Although studies suggest that up to 70% of dogs and cats get on well together and can become great companions at home, there are some dogs that will never accept them. Sighthound breeds are typical of this as they rely on their exceptional sight to track and hunt small animals and the movement and size of a cat can often fit their criteria of something fun to chase. All dogs instinctively have a prey drive (an inherited instinct to chase), but some breeds have been bred for reasons which accentuate their need to hunt or chase, so if you are planning to get a dog to join a household with a cat in it, here are some breeds which may not suit:

Sight hounds: salukis, whippets and greyhounds.

Terriers: fox terriers,  Bedlington terriers.

Scent hounds & trackers: blood hound, beagle, coonhounds.

Dogs originally bred for fighting: bull terriers, pit bulls.

Herding breed: border collies, Australian cattle dogs.

Of course there are some breeds which easily accept cats in their lives, often smaller or good family dogs like chihuahuas, cavaliers, shelties, labradors and retrievers will easily accept other animals in their household and often curl up together.

However, if you have a dog which chases or hunts cats, it’s important to keep control of them at all times when out and about. A well-fitting muzzle is a good idea but in addition to this he will need to be on a lead when you are around houses, gardens or even parks in built up areas. If you have a very strong dog who pulls on the lead and is hard to hold when he spots a cat, it may be worth considering some specialist training for him to prevent accidents like being pulled into the road, or letting him loose in a dangerous area.

dogs versus cats

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