Dog lovers and cat people often highlight the unique behaviors of their preferred pets. However, certain dog breeds show feline-like qualities, blurring the lines between these two adored pets. From loving their independence to constant grooming habits, these dogs have characteristics that appeal to folks who want canines with a touch of cattitude. Keep reading to learn about seven cat-like dog breeds.
The Shiba Inu, a small and spirited Japanese breed, stands out as the most cat-like dog breed. Shibas, as they are also known, have a habit of self-cleaning and mimic feline behavior by frequently licking their coats to clean themselves. Another commonality lies in their fast reflexes. When the Shiba Inus' quick, agile movements are considered along with their strong prey drive, they present a slyness common in felines.
Shiba Inus also share cats’ independent spirit. This breed is not the easiest to train and the American Kennel Club rates them as a 2/5 for trainability levels. Like cats, Shibas fall more into the self-willed end of the spectrum. They require a patient and persistent trainer who can look past their freethinking nature.
Greyhounds are most known as race dogs with incredible speeds and elegant coats. However, owners and enthusiasts can share several of the breed’s cat-like traits. First, their lean bodies and graceful movements bring to mind an agileness associated with felines. A second similarity is that greyhounds are also known for their reserved and independent way of being. They take after cats in their need for personal space.
Similar to cats, greyhounds love a cozy spot to lounge and observe. They might look for a sunny windowsill or corner to rest and prefer quiet, calm environments. Despite their large size, greyhounds can curl up into small spaces, resembling a feline's ability to find snug spots –like boxes– for relaxation.
Next on the list of feline-like canines are Chow Chows. They belong to the Spitz group, a class of primitive dog breeds with thick coats, stocky bodies, and sharp ears. Chow Chows have been human companions for millennia. Similar to other Spritz varieties like Shiba Inus, these dogs need minimal mental stimulation and have moderate energy levels compared to other breeds.
Another trait that mimics cats is their reserved personality. Chow Chows are more protective against strangers and need time to open up to new people. Like cats, Chow Chows can be selective with whom they form bonds, often reserving their affection for their owners and only a few others. Add this to their aloofness, and you get a cat-adjacent dog.
The Basenji is an ancient dog breed. It’s also known as the “barkless dog.” Instead of a traditional bark, it makes a unique noise that sounds somewhere between a yodel and a chortle. Their lack of bark makes them more cat-like, as does their preference for personal space.
Basenjis also take after felines in their daily habits. These furry friends regularly self-groom and use their tongues to clean their coats and keep themselves in tip-top appearance. Additionally, Basenjis are curious beings that show an interest in climbing and perching––behaviors often associated with their kitty companions.
Afghan Hounds have luxurious flowing coats and elegant posture that embodies feline grace in the dog world. They are independent like most cats. This breed also has frequent self-grooming habits and licks their long, silky coats for cleanliness. The Afghan Hounds’ selective affection means they form strong bonds only with their chosen human companion, another cat-like behavior.
The biggest similarity between cats and this breed can be summed up in one word: stubborn. Afghan Hounds are notoriously difficult to train and will do what they want when they want to. They earn a 1/5 for training ability on the American Kennel Club’s scale, meaning they are entirely self-willed and resemble cats in their attitudes.
Yet, what they lack in obedience, they make up for in affection––and speed! They’re among the speediest breeds in the world.
Few breeds will flaunt their sense of nobility more than the Japanese Chin. These dogs were owned by nobles in ancient Japan and given the best treatment with beds made from silk and the finest delicacies. Japanese Chins behave much like cats who walk around with a sense of self-importance.
The Japanese Chin Club of America also states that these small, furballs enjoy climbing! Much like cats, they will climb furniture, and it’s not uncommon to see them perched on a higher-elevated surface. When you ask them to get down, Japanese Chins will tap into their inner feline and remain firmly in place.
The French Bulldog is much more open to meeting new people, engaging in play, and adapting to new routines or environments. They are not as stubborn and independent as most other breeds on this list, but they deserve a special mention for their low-maintenance activity levels. Frenchies, as they are often called, are similar to cats in their exercise and energy demands.
French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed and have short, flat skulls and wrinkled faces. Because of their facial structure, Frenchie’s have narrower nostrils. This makes breathing more difficult for them, and these dogs prefer and need less exercise compared to others. Since they don’t require much physical activity and comfortably sleep on laps, they make great cat-like pets!
There’s an Allure to Cat-Like Dog Breeds
These seven cat-like dogs might not be the first choice for new dog owners looking for the classic canine experience. While they are stronger-willed than most, they are also loving and loyal to their human caretakers. Consider these breeds if you want a lower-maintenance dog, a self-groomer, or a furry friend with fewer exercise needs.