Society would have us believe that there’s a great divide between cats and dogs. (Not to mention cat people and dog people.) We’re taught that cats are refined, dignified creatures that have no interest in being trained or going for a romp in the water. In reality, it’s surprisingly common to come across cats that have dog-like traits!
How do we define dog-like cat breeds?
Although most cat breeds are playful to some extent, certain breeds go above and beyond by practicing behaviors not normally associated with felines. For example, these cats may enjoy activities like:
- Playing fetch
- Walking on a leash
- Learning tricks
- Being in or around water
- Involving themselves in your daily goings-on
Can you train a cat?
With practice, patience, and proper rewards, some cats are trainable just like dogs! Cats have been taught how to sit, high-five, come when called, walk on a leash, meow on command, and much more. This can be a great bonding experience between you and your cat, not to mention providing your kitty with beneficial mental and physical stimulation. Learn more about training a cat.
Cat breeds that act like dogs
If you’re looking for cats that act like dogs, look no further than these breeds.
The Abyssinian cat, which looks like a small mountain lion, jumps higher and plays harder than your average feline. They’re one of the most energetic cat breeds, and love to interact with their humans and environment.
These high-spirited cats need stimulation throughout the day and enjoy entertaining their family members, awarding them the reputation of class clown. They will play games with you (like fetch), get into your cabinets, and climb to the tallest points in your rooms.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Somali and Chausie.
The American Bobtail has been called the Golden Retriever of the cat world. They are devoted to their people and can easily be taught to walk on a leash and play fetch.
These cats are beloved loyal companions that can adapt to their environments as quickly as as a canine. Whether you live in a small apartment, on a boat, in a tree house, or spend a lot of time on the road, an American Bobtail could be the cat for you.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Highlander, Japanese Bobtail, and Pixie-bob.
The American Curl, with their distinct ears, is known as the “Peter Pan” of cats due to retaining a kitten-like personality throughout their lives. They are exceedingly people-oriented and want to be included in all your activities.
This makes these cats great in family settings, and they are very tolerant of well-behaved and respectful children. American Curls are smart and curious, so they will follow you around from room to room to figure out what you are doing. They will want to play games with you and learn tricks to impress you.
The leopard-like Bengal cat is fascinated with water. Many Bengal pet parents note how much their pets love their pool, fountain, or pond. Bengal cats will even follow their pet parents into the shower or lounge around the tub if they’re taking a bath!
Like dogs, these cats love to play fetch and watch birds. Bengal cats are very active hunters, thanks to their wild ancestors. If you adopt a Bengal, make sure you have plenty of time to interact with and dote on them.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Toyger and Ocicat.
Dogs are said to be man’s best friend, but Birman cats were sacred companions to the temple priests in ancient Burma. Not every cat on our list is dog-like due to wild energy— indeed, the Birman’s docile behavior makes them a great low-maintenance cat, albeit playful and loving.
Birmans are very curious about new people and situations, and don’t get spooked or disinterested easily. They would rather play with you than entertain themselves, and they’re always happy to lounge by your side.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Snowshoe.
If you are looking for a cat that will proudly stand by your side, the Burmese cat is for you. They are outgoing and smart while also enjoying a good cuddle session. They love to be in the company of people, and will greet both their family and visitors joyously at the door.
The Burmese cat doesn’t pick just one human to bond with and ignore the rest—they actually thrive in family settings. When more than one person is around to give them attention, the Burmese cat is truly in their glory. This makes them a great cat to bring into a family with children because they are tolerant and love to make new friends.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Bombay and Tonkinese.
The curly-coated Cornish Rex are dog-like cats in personality. They love to play fetch and be the center of attention. Their long toes enable them to manipulate objects, likely aiding in their antics.
You couldn’t ask for a more fun-loving kitty. The Cornish Rex loves to make everything into a game and appreciates when humans are involved. Whether you are pulling a toy, pointing a laser, or throwing a ball, the Cornish Rex will be happy you’re there.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Devon Rex and LaPerm.
The striking brown Havana Brown cat is often compared to a puppy, as they love to follow their family around. Sociable, playful, and intelligent, “Brownies” are easily trained to fetch.
These cats are notably people-oriented and can get lonely easily. They prefer to have some sort of companion in the house with them, whether it is another cat, a dog, or someone in the family. On the flip side, Havana Browns are highly adaptable and can make themselves at home almost anywhere, especially if their favorite human is with them.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Javanese.
The mighty Maine Coon cat is more independent than the average dog, but they’re just as playful and adaptable as their canine counterparts. They are also very intelligent, which means training them is easy.
For instance, if you are looking to spice up how you bond with your kitty, consider walking your Maine Coon on a leash! This is a great way to let your cat explore the outdoor world safely and get proper exercise.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Norwegian Forest cat.
Looking for a guard dog? Consider hiring the tail-free Manx instead. This breed of “watchcats” will growl and even sometimes attack if in a situation out of the ordinary. Otherwise, this breed is highly people-oriented and loves to learn tricks.
Unfortunately the tail-free mutation in the Manx breed can cause severe developmental abnormalities and even death in kittens and cats. If you are looking to have a Manx as a pet, be sure to adopt from a rescue group rather than perpetuate inhumane breeding practices.
Munchkin cats are happy-go-lucky kitties that are also known for some odd dog behavior of their own, often borrowing small, shiny objects and stashing them away for later play. They are very clever and come up with these games all by themselves. (You may or may not know that you are part of their games.)
When they aren’t being tricksters, this tiny cat will follow you from room to room, probably zipping between your legs as you walk. They enjoy watching you and being as involved as possible. If you can’t engage with them, they will want to play with their toys in the same space as you.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Kinkalow.
Ragdoll cats are literally called “puppycats” because they’re known to collapse into the arms of anyone who holds them. They often learn to come when called and can easily pick up tricks.
Similar to dogs, Ragdolls prefer to stay on the same level as their humans, gazing adoringly at them rather than observing from the highest point in the room. These cats are very laid-back and sweet, making them an excellent choice for someone who wants to spend a lot of their time relaxing with their pet.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Ragamuffin.
You must be able to devote a lot of time to the exotic-looking Savannah cat: They are highly energetic cats that require a lot of exercise, play, and interaction. They can jump to very high places, and take well to walking on a leash and playing in water. They are exceedingly clever, sometimes said to “play tricks” on their humans.
In fact, Savannah cats may be too clever for their own good: They can learn how to open doors and cupboards, among other troublemaking situations.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Egyptian Mau.
The Siberian cat has lots of personality and playfulness. Furthermore, stories from Russia tell of this breed growing huge and protecting their families as would a guard dog. While we can’t verify that for sure, Siberian cats are known to be watchers and surveyors of their space.
This breed also has a fascination with water. They are highly intelligent and good at problem-solving. They like to chase and hunt, and can even learn to fetch. Bonus: They are one of the few cat breeds considered to be hypoallergenic, due to their lesser production of the allergen-causing protein Fel d 1.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Balinese.
The Sphynx cat will do anything for a laugh, as cats that act like dogs often do. This hairless cat always wants to be the center of attention, and may get into trouble otherwise. They are affectionate, needy, and not very independent; they prefer to be around you and voice how they feel.
Don’t worry, they also have a sweet side—they love to be held and sleep with you. Sphnyxes will follow you around and try to curl up on your lap whenever you sit down. They may get into trouble in order to get your attention, but they really just want to be the center of your world.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Peterbald.
The lovely Turkish Angora cat is an active breed that needs plenty of play. They like to chase after toys on settings, pounce at anything moving quickly, and can be trained to fetch. They also enjoy water and are considered strong swimmers!
If you want to train a Turkish Angora to walk on a leash, it might take some time, but it’ll soon become your cat's favorite activity. It’s also a good way to get your kitty outside to (safely) explore the world.
Similar cat breeds that act like dogs: Turkish Van.
- Maine Coon: Photo by Amber Kipp via Unsplash
- Ragdoll: Photo by Kanashi via Unsplash
- Siberian: Photo by Moderne Attraction via Unsplash
- Sphynx: Photo by Kanashi via Unsplash