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16 Dog Breeds That Act Like Cats (With Pictures)

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

shiba inu

16 Dog Breeds That Act Like Cats (With Pictures)

Most people looking for a dog have a few notable traits in mind. If you’re looking for a dog that shares traits with your cat, you may be struggling to find what you’re looking for. The good news for you is that there are quite a few dog breeds that have cat-like traits while still having a pet that doesn’t need a litter box. Here are some of the most cat-like dog breeds.

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The 16 Breeds of Dogs That Act Like Cats

1.  Basenji

Basenji_Verbitskaya Juliya, Shutterstock
Image By: Verbitskaya Juliya, Shutterstock
Height: 16–17 inches
Weight: 22–24 pounds
Temperament: Curious, confident, independent

The Basenji is an African dog breed that is known for its lack of ability to bark, as most other dogs do. They can be vocal dogs, though, often making a sound that is described as similar to a yodel. They’re highly intelligent dogs, but their temperament is marked by independence and confidence. These dogs are cat-like in that they rarely rely on humans to feel comfortable in their day-to-day lives. Their most cat-like trait is their fastidiousness and habit of routinely grooming themselves. They have very expressive faces and are well-loved for their human-like ability to display emotions.

2. Shiba Inu

portrait of a shiba inu dog under flower shrub
Image Credit: OlesyaNickolaeva, Shutterstock
Height: 13.5–17 inches
Weight: 15–24 pounds
Temperament: Fearless, loyal, confident

Although a fiercely loyal breed, the Shiba Inu is known to be a cat-like dog. These Japanese dogs are an ancient breed that is known for their confident, fearless nature. They are bold and sturdy dogs that love their people but can operate quite independently of humans. Like the Basenji, the Shiba Inu has the ability to display emotions with their facial expressions. This dog is quite popular in its homeland but has been rapidly growing in popularity in the Western hemisphere. Their least cat-like trait is probably their highly adaptable nature.

3. Chow Chow

chow chow dog in the grass
Image by: Flower_Garden, Shutterstock
Height: 17–20 inches
Weight: 50–75 pounds
Temperament: Serious, dignified, aloof

The Chow Chow is a large dog breed that hails from China. These dogs are known for their aloof but dignified nature, making them exceptionally cat-like. They are serious dogs that are quite protective of their people and their territory. They are fastidious groomers, much like cats. They’re extremely clean dogs, and many Chow Chow owners report these dogs lacking “dog smell” and being exceptionally easy to housetrain. They tend to be aloof with strangers, but they are extremely loyal dogs to their humans. Some Chow Chows will only closely bond with one or two people.

4. Greyhound

greyhound standing on grass
Image by: nonmisvegliate, Pixabay
Height: 27–30 inches
Weight: 60–70 pounds
Temperament: Noble, gentle, lazy

The Greyhound may be a racing dog, but these dogs are known by their owners to be couch potatoes most of the time. They tend to be homebodies who are quite lazy and will spend a lot of the day sleeping, much like a cat. Greyhounds tend to bond closely with their people, and with proper socialization, they can be quite outgoing. However, most Greyhounds would rather spend the day on the couch with you than go on adventures.

5. Afghan Hound

afghan hound_Anna Goroshnikova_Shutterstock
Image by: Anna Goroshnikova, Shutterstock
Height: 25–27 inches
Weight: 50–60 pounds
Temperament: Loyal, independent, sweet

The Afghan Hound is a beautiful sighthound that is exceptionally loyal to its people, but this breed also exhibits a strong level of independence. They are agile and athletic dogs that have eye-catching coats, but these dogs aren’t just for any dog owner. Although elegant, their independence and strong-willed temperament can make them difficult to train and handle. They aren’t particularly social dogs, which can make them difficult in homes with other pets and frequent visitors alike.

6. Whippet

Image by: No-longer-here, Pixabay
Height: 18–22 inches
Weight: 25–40 pounds
Temperament: Affectionate, athletic, dignified

The Whippet is a dignified dog breed smaller than a Greyhound but similar in temperament. This breed is agile and athletic but can be lazy and may require encouragement to stay active. They tend to exert energy in short bursts, preferring to take long naps, much like a cat. They are loving dogs that show a great deal of affection toward their people. They may be a little standoffish with strange people and animals, but with proper introductions and socialization, this breed can be social.

7. Manchester Terrier

two Manchester Terriers
Image by: Ricantimages, Shutterstock
Height: 15–16 inches
Weight: 12–22 pounds
Temperament: Observant, stubborn, affectionate

The Manchester Terrier is a spirited and stubborn dog breed that tends to show the ability to be extremely observant of their environment. They’re not overly social dogs when it comes to strangers, other animals, and children, but they tend to be highly affectionate dogs with their own families. With proper socialization and training, Manchester Terriers can be good dogs for homes with children as well. They are vigilant watchdogs that, although stubborn, aim to please and can be trained.

8. Vizsla

magyar vizsla dog standing on grass
Image Credit: Lena_Sokolova, Shutterstock
Height: 21–24 inches
Weight: 44–60 pounds
Temperament: Loving, gentle, active

The Vizsla is an uncommon dog breed that shows a great deal of love and affection toward people, especially people it’s familiar with. Although uncommon, the Vizsla is rapidly growing in popularity due to its fantastic temperament. They are a gentle breed, but they do need an outlet for their energy. Unlike cats, this breed doesn’t like to spend a lot of time alone. They are sensitive dogs, though, and they have soft-footed, cat-like movements.

9. Xoloitzcuintli

Image by: TatyanaPanova, Shutterstock
Height: 10–23 inches
Weight: 10–55 pounds
Temperament: Loyal, calm, fastidious

The Xoloitzcuintli, also called the Xolo, is an ancient Aztec dog breed that is still being bred today, although it’s an uncommon breed. This breed comes in toy, miniature, and standard varieties. They’re known to be extremely loyal dogs that make great watchdogs, but many owners also report these dogs being highly fastidious, often grooming themselves daily like cats. This is a complex breed that can be difficult for the wrong owner to manage, so it’s important to thoroughly research this breed before bringing it home.

10. Maltese

maltese dog in meadow
Image by: TaniaVdB, Pixabay
Height:  7–9 inches
Weight: Up to 7 pounds
Temperament: Gentle, playful, inquisitive

The Maltese is a cute, tiny dog breed with a very playful and curious temperament. These dogs form close bonds with their people and tend to be extremely loving. They may be standoffish with boisterous children and other animals, though. They may prefer to spend time in quiet environments with their humans, making them a good breed for seniors and people who work from home. Don’t let their small stature fool you, though! The Maltese loves to play and needs a daily energy outlet.

11. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound
Image by: Alexandra Morrison Photo, Shutterstock
Height: 13–15 inches
Weight: 7–14 pounds
Temperament: Sensitive, alert, delicate

The Italian Greyhound is a dog breed that tends to be quite delicate and sensitive to a cat-like degree. Like the Whippet, this breed prefers to exert large quantities of energy rapidly and then take long naps afterward. They are sensitive to cold weather and often require coats in the winter. Although they are more delicate than most dog breeds, they are true sighthounds and are known to chase after small animals. The Italian Greyhound may be cat-like in some of its behaviors, but it’s unlikely to be a good fit for a home with cats.

12. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier outdoors
Image by: Grigorita Ko, Shutterstock
Height: 15–17.5 inches
Weight: 17–23 pounds
Temperament: Loyal, genial, loving

The Bedlington Terrier is a unique dog breed that has a charming personality. These terriers have sighthounds in their lineage, so they tend to be athletic dogs but may not be overly energetic. They’re protective of their humans, but they aren’t overly affectionate dogs. They’re moderately reserved with strangers, and while they love their humans, they aren’t the type of dog that requires a lot of playtime. Like cats, many of these dogs are content to spend most of the day being a little on the lazy side.

13. Japanese Chin

japanese chin in grass
Image by: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock
Height: 8–11 inches
Weight:  7–11 pounds
Temperament: Dignified, elegant, charming

The Japanese Chin is an elegant dog breed with a charming and outgoing personality. However, this breed tends to be a big fan of the indoors, so the Japanese Chin is not a good breed for active households that are into hiking and other outdoor activities. This breed is graceful and has a flowing movement to its walk. They tend to be fastidious groomers and are an overall quiet dog breed, giving them a distinctly cat-like air about them.

14. Chihuahua

Cute purebred Chihuahua puppy resting on green meadow
Image by: Rafael Guajardo, Pexels
Height: 5–8 inches
Weight: Up to 6 pounds
Temperament: Sassy, graceful, charming

The Chihuahua is a very popular dog breed that stays small its whole life. These charming dogs are known for their sassy antics that give them a notably cat-like personality. They also tend to think they’re big dogs, often being referred to as having a little dog complex. They’re fearless dogs that tend to be quite clean and fastidious. Some Chihuahuas may even groom themselves like cats do. They tend to be lap dogs and enjoy spending time with their humans. They’re confident dogs that often make great companions in apartments and other urban environments.

15. Papillon

papillon in the autumn
Image by: AndyBir, Shutterstock
Height: 8–11 inches
Weight: 5–10 pounds
Temperament: Happy, friendly, agile

The Papillon is a friendly and happy dog breed that is well-loved by the people who keep it. This small breed is athletic and can make a great companion for sports like agility. They’re highly trainable dogs that aim to please, making them suitable even for beginner dog owners. This is a graceful dog breed with elegant, cat-like movements. However, their personality isn’t particularly cat-like as they tend to be adaptable dogs that love going on adventures and participating in activities.

16. Shetland Sheepdog

shetland sheepdog lying on log
Image by: K E Walker, Shutterstock
Height: 13–16 inches
Weight: 15–25 pounds
Temperament: Playful, sensitive, agile

The Shetland Sheepdog is colloquially known as the Sheltie. This breed is an agile working dog that is extremely social and good with people, although they can be a little standoffish with strangers. They’re also highly sensitive dogs that love to spend time with their people. They tend to be in tune with their people, much like cats. Shelties are more likely to act on the moods of the people around them than cats are though, making them reliable and loyal companions.

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While some people are distinctly cat or dog people, other people look for specific traits in their pets without accounting for the species. For those people, cat-like dogs like the ones included in this list can be a great option. These cat-like dogs often have a great combination of dog and cat traits, making them suitable for people who prefer specific traits or people who prefer cat-like traits while still having a dog.

Featured Image Credit: Akbudak Rimma, Shutterstock

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