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23 Best Small Dog Breeds for Cats: The Best of Furry Friends

Are you one of those people who just can’t decide if you’re a dog person or a cat person? Many of us love both of these adorable creatures and wish they could be besties. Luckily, with a little effort, dogs and cats can learn to get along and become the ultimate duo. When it comes to the best dog breeds for cats, going smaller can be a good idea.

If you have a feline friend at home, you need to choose a dog breed that is more tolerant of cats. And if you already have a dog, proper puppy socialization is key to ensuring they’ll get along with your cat. 

To help make your decision easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best small dog breeds for cats.

23 Best Small Dog Breeds for Cats

So, without any further ado, here are the top 23 small dogs that get along with cats.

1. Chihuahua


Image by Гульнара on Pixabay

Chihuahuas and cats are more alike than you might think. They are similar in size, just as intelligent, and love to play. While you might see your Chihuahua chasing your cat around the garden, it’s usually just a game. Once they’re back inside, they’ll be happy to snuggle up next to their feline friend.

One of the reasons why Chihuahuas can be great with cats is their happy-go-lucky nature. Many are laid back and incredibly playful, making them the perfect playmate for your kitty. Of course, some Chihuahuas can be a bit feisty, but that doesn’t mean they can’t coexist peacefully.

2. Teacup Bichon Frise

Teacup Bichon Frises are adorable little balls of fluff and love to play, making them a great addition to any family with furry friends. They tend to get along famously with other pets, especially when introduced at a young age.

teacup bichon frise hand span

Their bubbly and outgoing nature may be overwhelming for cats who prefer a more laid-back lifestyle. But most cats who tolerate (or even enjoy) their playful antics will be great friends with a Bichon.

3. Pug

Pugs are known for being generally good-tempered and sociable, and they pack a lot of love into their small bodies. So when it comes to the best small dogs with cats no wonder these cuties are high up the list. These cute and cheeky dogs have a special talent for snuggling up next to their feline companions and using them as a source of warmth and comfort. 

Pug Dog

Plus, they love to play and tease, making them the perfect companion for cats who aren’t easily put off by uninvited advances. Pugs also enjoy lounging around, so you won’t have to worry about them chasing your cat.

4. Corgi


Image by Brianna Tucker on Unsplash

Corgis are one of the cutest and most popular dog breeds out there, known for their short legs, pointy ears, and fluffy butt that everyone adores. They are also known for their loyalty and intelligence, and while not all Corgis are crazy about cats, they are one of the best dogs when it comes to getting along with felines. 

These cute pups have a herding instinct, so it’s important to teach them that cats should not be herded. While a Corgi may see a cat as a pesky vermin, it’s unlikely that they will hurt them. In fact, you might find it quite amusing to watch a Corgi try to herd a cat around the house.

5. Maltese

Cats and Maltese dogs make a curious but charming pair. This pint-sized pooch weighs less than your average cat and is a great companion. With a carefree attitude and a preference for lounging on the couch, Maltese are unlikely to get in a cat’s way.

white maltese dog on bed why is my dog peeing on my bed

But don’t let their relaxed nature fool you: these little dogs are full of energy and love to play, especially with other furry friends. While they may be a bit too fragile for the big dog park, they’re the perfect size to frolic with your kitty at home. Plus, their luxurious, silky coat makes for excellent snuggling on chilly days.

You might enjoy reading my articles on Siamese cats and dogs and are purebred pets more expensive to insure?

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a charming and friendly canine that was bred to be a companion dog. Cavaliers are adaptable and gentle little creatures, making them the ideal emotional support dog and a cat-friendly dog breed.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

With their laid-back nature, they won’t be fazed by a cat (or two) in the house, making them a great choice if you have bossier feline friends. They can sometimes become overexcited, but you can simply ensure that their feline friend has space to take a break.

7. Beagle


Image by joy on Pixabay

Beagles are known for their friendly, sociable nature and love for being part of a pack, making them great cat companions. Although they might chase each other while out in the yard, Beagles will treat your kitty gently inside the house.

If you’re thinking of adding a Beagle to your household, it’s important to note that they may develop a “pack mentality” if there are too many of them, which could lead to trouble for your cat. So, it’s better to stick to just one Beagle and enjoy the company of two furry friends getting along just fine.

8. Chinese Crested

Although they may be considered an ugly dog breed, the Chinese Crested certainly makes up for their unconventional looks in personality. They get along well with other dogs, cats, and small animals, so they’ll fit in well with any multi-pet homes.

You might enjoy reading my article on dogs and ragdoll cats.


Though they are playful and loving, they can be a little shy, which could lead to a feisty feline taking charge. However, if your kitty is willing to give the Chinese Crested a chance, they’ll make for great companions.

9. Miniature or Toy Poodle


Image by JacLou DL on Pixabay

The lovable Poodle comes in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. All of them are highly intelligent and can be trained to be cat-friendly. The smaller varieties, such as the miniature and toy poodles, are usually less intimidating to cats and often become fast friends with their feline housemates.

Poodles’ active nature means they require plenty of exercise and playtime, which is great for building a strong bond with your cat. Plus, they don’t shed much, which is a huge bonus for those who suffer from allergies.

10. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are known for their perky, happy temperaments and are great at making new friends, including felines. They have a low energy level and love spending time cuddling with their humans or lounging on the couch, so adding a cat to the mix is no problem.

Shih Tzu white and brown dog

Shih Tzus were once the prized lap dogs of Chinese emperors, and their royal roots might just explain why they’re so well-tolerated by their feline siblings. Shih Tzus are non-confrontational and consider themselves far too important to engage in unnecessary skirmishes with those they feel are below them (aka cats).

11. Tibetan Spaniel

small-spaniel-and-cat best small dog breeds for cats

Image by StockSnap on Pixabay

Tibetan Spaniels are a playful and affectionate breed that is sure to win the hearts of both you and your feline friend. Unlike some small breeds that bark at the slightest sound, they are generally quiet, which is a huge relief for your feline friend’s nerves.

These sweet little dogs are also independent thinkers and love to have their own space to relax and observe the world around them, much like cats. They like to be perched up high, so provide them with plenty of vertical space in your home, such as a tall cat tree they can climb.

12. Boston Terrier

Terrier breeds are usually not fond of cats, but Boston Terriers are the exception to the rule. These pups may be small, but they have loving, warm personalities and are quick to become buddies with the other furry animals in your home.

boston terrier puppy why do puppies whine so much

Their distinctive feature is that they’re very easy to train, making them a good choice for pairing with a cat. While they may sometimes chase after the cat, it’s usually just for fun and not driven by any prey instincts.

13. Papillon

The Papillon, named after the French word for “butterfly,” is a delicate and beautiful creature with big wing-like ears. But despite its dainty appearance, this little pup has some serious cat-like qualities.


Papillons are agile and curious, just like their feline counterparts, making them an ideal addition to families with cats. These cat-friendly dogs love nothing more than spending time with their kitty siblings, whether they’re exploring together or snuggling up for a nap.

14. Pomeranian


Image by Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash

If your cat enjoys playing with a fun-loving small dog who won’t overwhelm them, the Pomeranian is a great option. These charming toy dogs are usually no more than seven pounds, making them smaller than most cats.

Pomeranians are a high-energy breed, so they may need more playtime than some cats. Luckily, their small size means they can get a lot of exercise just by playing with their kitty friends and running around the house.

You might enjoy reading my articles on dog breeds that stay small and dogs that fit under airline seats.

15. French Bulldog

Contrary to popular belief, French Bulldogs (Frenchies) and cats can be great friends. These adorable little pups may look grumpy, but they’re big softies at heart. Frenchies generally get along well with other animals, thanks to their minimal prey drive. 

french bulldog

Frenchies are known for their friendly and pleasant temperament, making them perfect for cohabiting with cats. And, being about the same size as the average cat, it’s even more likely that they will get along well.

16. Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher looks just like a tiny monkey, full of mischief and cuteness. Despite being a little ball of energy, these wire-haired pups have a certain calmness that makes them great companions to their human and feline families.

Affenpinscher dog

As they were initially bred as ratting dogs, Affenpinschers tend not to do well with smaller rodent pets such as hamsters, ferrets, or gerbils. Luckily, their natural curiosity and playful nature make them great friends for your kitty.

17. Dachshund


Image by Nadia Vasil’eva on Pexels

When it comes to Dachshunds and cats, it’s easy to assume that they won’t get along, but that’s not always the case. These little pups, also known as wiener dogs, are notoriously stubborn, but they are also social creatures that can live in harmony with your kitty.

Dachshunds have a lot of personality and love to be a part of the family. In fact, some have been known to cozy up with their cat companions and even groom them like they would their own puppies.

18. Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin was initially bred as a companion animal and has a naturally friendly and loving personality, making them great companions for cats. These little pups love nothing more than snuggling up with their owners and are always happy to share the same space with their kitty counterparts.

Japanese Chin dog

Interestingly, the word “Chin” in the breed’s name means “cat-like,” and the Japanese Chin lives up to that description with their dainty and graceful movements. They may not be as delicate as a cat, but they are certainly elegant and make a delightful addition to any household.

You might enjoy reading my articles on dog breeds that are calm and don’t shed and teacup dogs.

19. Miniature Schnauzer

The adorable Miniature Schnauzer belongs to the toy dog group, which means they are the perfect size to coexist peacefully with your kitty.

Miniature Schnauzer

These little pups have excellent social skills and are often more likely to befriend cats than other dog breeds. While warming up to their feline housemates may take some time, they are not typically aggressive toward cats.

20. Yorkshire Terrier


Image by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová on Pexels

Yorkshire Terriers may be small in size, but they have big personalities. These little dogs can be pretty bossy, so they need a cat that can handle their strong-willed demeanor and occasional barking outbursts.

Despite their size similarity, these little guys have very different personalities. While Yorkies are energetic and outgoing, cats tend to be more laid-back and reserved. This can sometimes cause clashes, especially if your kitty feels threatened by the dog’s strong personality. 

But, if you have a well-trained Yorkie, you may just have found your cat’s new best friend.

21. Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffons are not just small and spunky; they’re also great pals to other pets. These intelligent dogs have tons of personality and are social animals who thrive on companionship.

Brussels Griffon

Despite their sometimes sensitive and high-strung nature, Brussels Griffons are known for their ability to coexist peacefully with cats. They are small enough in size to not intimidate their feline counterparts and are eager to please and make new friends.

22. Havanese


Image by JackieLou DL on Pixabay

The Havanese is a breed that just can’t resist a good cuddle. They may have been bred as lap dogs, but they also have a love for other animals. These cute pups are known for being gentle, playful, outgoing, and loving towards children, other dogs, and feline friends.

Havanese dogs have a high tolerance for other animals and are not quick to show aggression or anger, making them an excellent fit for multi-pet households. Additionally, their small size makes them unlikely to accidentally hurt their cat siblings while playing.

23. Pekingese

Pekingese are intelligent and affectionate little dogs that make loyal pets. With their long manes and stocky build, this small breed was bred to live as pampered royal pets in the palaces of Chinese emperors.

Pekingese brown dog

Despite their bossy tendencies, Pekingese can get along well with cats. Their low-energy and laidback nature make them a perfect match for a feline friend, and they won’t mind sharing the spotlight or the sofa.

FAQS: Best Small Dog Breeds for Cats

There are a few things to keep in mind for cat owners when picking a buddy for their cat. Here are some common questions you might be worrying about when thinking about bringing a new dog into your life and creating a multi-pet household.

Which Dog Breeds To Avoid for Households With Cats?

It’s best to avoid dog breeds with a strong prey drive, such as terriers, or high-energy herding breeds, like Border Collies. Terriers were bred to hunt and kill small furry animals, so they may see your cat as prey. Similarly, herding breeds may have an innate desire to herd everyone in the house, including the cats.

Can I Train My Dog To Get Along With My Cat?

Yes, many dogs can learn to get along with cats with patience, training, and proper socialization. However, it’s essential to introduce them gradually and under supervision.

What Can I Do if My Dog and Cat Aren’t Getting Along?

If your furry friends aren’t getting along, safety should be your top priority. Consider keeping them apart by using baby gates, crates, or separate rooms. When you’re not around, supervise their interactions or keep them separated. If the situation doesn’t improve, consider seeking help from a professional trainer or behaviorist to help them learn how to live together harmoniously.


Final Thoughts on the Best Small Dogs for Cats

Choosing the right dog breed to introduce to your feline companion (or vice versa) is crucial for a friendly relationship. While there are small dogs that are good with cats, some are naturally more cat-friendly than others. Consider your companion’s personality and choose a breed that matches their temperament. With proper introductions and patience, your cat and dog can become the best of friends.

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