Very often we find ourselves in the middle of a tiff with one group in favour of dogs and the other in support of its “mortal foe”, the cat. However, there is a whole bunch of people who laud the two species equally. In a survey conducted under the Gallup’s annual lifestyle poll, 17% of the Americans own both a cat and a dog. This changing trend in pet ownership brings us to the topic of discussion “large breed dogs that are good with cats”.
Common stereotypes suggest that cats and dogs cannot co-exist; this generalization is however incorrect. If socialized at an early stage, dogs tend to live with cats in harmony. A study carried out at the Tel Aviv University under the Department of Zoology indicated that out of the 200 pet owners that were interviewed, 66% confirmed a positive relationship between their cat and dog, given that the kitten was introduced before 6 months and the puppy before its first birthday.
Similarly, another misconception is that large breed dogs are inherently aggressive and hostile towards cats. A dog whatever the size, may fight with a cat due to misunderstood signals. The two species are unable to interpret their body cues at first, for example while a dog may growl in aggression; a cat tends to strike its tail. However, in the recent years cats and dogs have developed the ability to understand each other. This breakthrough has allowed them to develop a harmonious relationship. While the connection between the two seemed paradoxical at first, research shows that not only do they have the ability to evolve beyond their instincts but, they also have a lot in common than what was previously suspected. This brings us to the conclusion that large breed dogs are not instinctively aggressive, in fact it is the environment and setting that influences their behavior. In other words, both cats and dogs can be tamed into co-existing peacefully.
Most Cat Friendly Dog Breeds
German Shepherds are one of the most fast learning dog breeds. If introduced at an early age, your dog will develop a friendly relation with your cat almost instantly. Since they are intelligent compared to other breeds, it is also easier to train them to leave the cat alone.
Despite their large size, Golden Retrievers are gentle, social and friendly dogs. They are loyal and devoted to their families. If you have a cat, your Golden Retriever will consider it to be a part of the family. These attributes makes them a good pick with cats of all ages.
Shetland Sheepdogs are sweet and intelligent making them a good addition to a cat loving family. Research has shown that shelties get along with cats very well. Moreover, since these dogs are prone to barking when bored, having a cat as a companion will prevent them from developing this bad habit.
English Setters are very mild mannered dogs, they are playful and affectionate. Setters tend to get along with not only cats but, other pets like birds and fish as well. This makes them an ideal choice for any animal loving family.
Newfoundlands are sweet and gentle giants. They are surprisingly unobtrusive while sharing their space with a cat. Thanks to these dogs, we know that size really doesn’t matter!
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Dogs are well known for their work with the cattle’s in the Swiss Alps thus, they are used to sharing space with other animals. This quality makes them a good competitor in the long list of dogs that are good with cats.
Learning to Get Along
In order to help your cat and dog get along, you must at first develop the skill to interpret their body language. This will help you understand the introduction process and guide you with your next move. There is no easy way to do this, however, do not rush into a physical introduction session straightaway. Simple things such as scent introductions can go a long way. Swap their blankets at night or brush them using the same comb. This will help them get used to the presence of another animal in the house.
Once you feel like your pets are ready to meet each other, follow a few basic steps to make this encounter successful.
The introduction sessions must be short and should end on a positive note
When you allow your cat and dog to meet at first, keep it short, let them get a sniff off of each other. Do not prolong the session to the point where one of them becomes aggressive or combative. Have several short sessions per day.
Exercise with them before the meet up
Do not let your pets meet while they’re fully active. Allowing your pets to meet while they’re tired makes a huge difference. Take your dog out for walk while someone plays with your cat at the same time.
Let them observe each other from a distance
If you think that either one of your pets might get aggressive, don’t allow them to engage physically. Place your cat on a tree; let it to observe the dog from a distance. Another option is to place a baby gate between the two.
Reward them for good behavior
This applies more to your dog than your cat. Whenever your dog is calm or listens to your command give him or her a treat. This will help you keep your dog in control during the introduction session.
Repeat the above steps daily; let them increase their familiarity by a fraction each time. The task might seem impossible at first but don’t lose hope, there are millions like you who love both our canine and feline friends. Just remember that patience is the key if you want your pets to become best buddies.