Cat Breeds that Act Like Dogs

Raising a kitten alongside a laid back canine companion will not only help them overcome their fear of dogs, but can also make them more sociable.
Cat Breeds that Act Like Dogs
Paloma de los Milagros

Written and verified by the biologist Paloma de los Milagros.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Believe it or not, there are some cat breeds that act like dogs, displaying some distinctly canine behavioral patterns. For example, they may be more sociable than other cats, and enjoy spending lots of time with their owners. This sociability is also seen in their body language, and can be reinforced through training.

There’s a deep-rooted belief that all cats are independent and aloof creatures. In fact, they’re often thought to be the polar opposite of dogs. However, not all domestic cats conform to these stereotypes. Many love playing games, will come when they’re called, and even enjoy playing in water.

One of the most common similarities between dogs and cat breeds that act like dogs is their range of facial expressions, including the way they move their ears. Tail movements and posture are also important indicators of their mood and well-being.

In addition, both species are characterized by their acute sense of hearing and smell, which are important for recognizing and communicating with other animals.

Cats breeds that act like dogs

Although any cat can behave like a dog, whether for genetic or environmental reasons, some breeds are more prone to it than others.

  • The Abyssinian: Ethologists define this as the ideal cat for those who are more accustomed to dealing with dogs. They’re energetic, sociable, play fetch, follow their owners around, and often enjoy water. With training, they can even learn to walk on a leash.
The Abyssinian.
  • The ragdoll: Named for their docile and sociable nature, ragdolls are playful animals. Their most notable characteristic, however, is their tendency to go limp and relaxed when picked up and stroked. They’re also the ideal cats for households with other animals.
  • The Turkish Angora: Of all the cats on this list, the Turkish Angora is perhaps the most similar to a dog. Playful, loyal, and sociable, they love being the center of attention, and enjoy meeting new people. On top of all that, they’re also great swimmers.
  • The Maine Coon: One of the largest breeds of domestic cat, Maine coons are often larger than many small dog breeds. They’re loyal and playful, and will even play fetch with their owners. However, they can be warier around strangers.

Encouraging canine behavior in cats

While there are some breeds of cat that naturally act like dogs, there are also some ways you can encourage this sociable behavior in your pet.

  • Agility and memory training. Although it may take more time than it would with a dog, many cats can learn to respond to their name and play fetch. Clicker training often produces the best results, so that they associate certain behavioral patterns with specific sounds.
  • Take your cat for a walk. Some cats respond positively to walking on a leash. It’s best to go for walks in quiet spots where there won’t be any dogs.
Some cats can learn to walk on a leash.
  • Raising cats with dogs. Kittens that are raised alongside dogs are more laid back and receptive to attention from their owners, often imitating canine behavioral patterns. Similarly, maximizing human contact during the first few months of life will make them more sociable later on.

However, it’s important to understand the limits of each species. When it comes to litter box training or how many tricks they can learn, you can’t expect cats to act exactly like dogs.

Finding out which breed of cat will be best suited to your lifestyle is essential for ensuring your cat’s well-being. It’s also important to be aware that our pets’ personalities are often a reflection of their environment on a day-to-day basis.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.