23 Cats That Act Like Dogs, In Case You’re Looking for the Best of Both Worlds

What does it mean to act like a dog? If you ask cats, they might tell you it means begging shamelessly for food scraps and blindly obeying commands. Felines tend to be more independent, low-maintenance pets. They don’t need to go for walks outside nor do they take well to training (other than litter box training, of course). However, there are a number of cats that act like dogs in several ways. Like canines, the feline breeds on our list tend to be adventurous, outgoing and affectionate. Some of these cats are smartypants who enjoy learning tricks, while others are soothing presences meant as companion or therapy animals. At the end of the day, breed standards are only estimations of what a cat’s personality will really be like. Every animal is an individual! Dogs and cats can agree on that, at least.

15 Dog Breeds That Act Like Cats

cats that act like dogs abyssinian
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1. Abyssinian

Height: 8-10 inches

Weight: 8-12 pounds

Personality: Athletic, cheerful

Coat: Short, thick

Color: Red, blue, tan

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

VCA Animal Hospitals emphasizes the Abyssinians’s tendency to be demanding and endlessly energetic—almost like an Australian Kelpie who needs plenty of outdoor time. Though these cats can be happy indoors, you’ve got to stock up on interactive toys, solo toys and towers or perches to ensure they don’t resort to destruction out of boredom. Abyssinians work well with other pets and children.

cats that act like dogs american bobtail
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2. American Bobtail

Height: 9-10 inches

Weight: 7-16 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, friendly

Coat: Shorthair and longhair versions

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 11-15+ years

Here’s a cat who may take exceptionally well to harness training. Sure, most cats prefer an indoor lifestyle, but some are willing to don a harness if it means getting outside for an adventure. Affectionate American Bobtails are known for the tight bonds they form with their humans, making them excellent companion or therapy animals.

cats that act like dogs american shorthair
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3. American Shorthair

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 6-15 pounds

Personality: Loyal, social

Coat: Short, thick

Color: Variety of colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 15-20 years

Think of the American Shorthair as the Golden Retriever of the household cat world. They adapt well to just about any circumstance, including busy households with kids and other pets. You can find them in just about any color or pattern. American Shorthairs are playful, sweet cats who can live long, healthy lives.

cats that act like dogs balinese
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4. Balinese

Height: 8-11 inches

Weight: 5-15 pounds

Personality: Curious, loving

Coat: Long

Color: Brown, red, tan, or cream with dark brown or black points

Life Expectancy: 10-20 years

Curiosity won’t kill this cat, but it may wear you down. Balinese cats love to explore and may demand to be let outdoors. Like Abyssinians, these kitties are happiest on high shelves and perches—and get ready to hear about how much they love it. Balinese vocalize frequently to let you know where they are and what they think.

cats that act like dogs bengal
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5. Bengal

Height: Medium to large

Weight: 10.5 pounds

Personality: Adventurous, intelligent

Coat: Short

Color: Spotted, marbled tan and brown

Life Expectancy: 9-15 years

The Cat Fancier’s Association says Bengals are “confident and devoted.” Sounds like puppy energy to us. These optimistic creatures will climb anything and follow you everywhere. They’ve been known to learn and respond to commands, as well. Try teaching them agility tricks—they may even go for a swim if given the chance!

cats that act like dogs bombay
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6. Bombay

Height: 9-13 inches

Weight: 8-15 pounds

Personality: Curious, lively

Coat: Short-haired

Color: Black

Life Expectancy: 9-13 years

Bombay cats are the only breed of housecat that always has a black coat. Combine that with their bright, golden eyes and you’ve got an absolute stunner of an animal. These doting cats love to love their humans. They also don’t tire easily and are always up for playtime. Bombays thrive in a variety of environments, as long as they receive as much affection as they give.

cats that act like dogs burmese
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7. Burmese

Height: 9-13 inches

Weight: 8-15 pounds

Personality: Outgoing, charming

Coat: Short

Color: Blue, grey, brown, tan

Life Expectancy: 10-17 years

More often than not, you’ll find a Burmese cat in a short, chocolatey brown or tan coat. However, they do come in many different colors and are always a cinch to groom. Burmese have been called “dog-like,” comparable to Labrador Retrievers because of their enthusiasm for people of all ages and incredibly playful temperaments.

cats that act like dogs chausie
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8. Chausie

Height: 13-17 inches

Weight: 8-13 pounds (females), 13-19 pounds (males)

Personality: Smart, adventurous

Coat: Short, dense

Color: Brown, tan

Life Expectancy: 12-18 years

Chausies are large, bold cats ready to explore any space they can wriggle into. These intelligent felines actually enjoy learning new tricks and are eager to please (which may come as a shock to some cat owners). Chausies may take well to harness training if you want to go for a jaunt outdoors. Since their lineage includes wild cat DNA, it’s no surprise they look like miniature mountain lions roaming throughout your home.

cats that act like dogs cornish rex
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9. Cornish Rex

Height: 8-12 inches

Weight: 6-10 pounds

Personality: Charming, playful

Coat: Short, curly or wavy

Color: Solid black, white, gray, red, lilac; tabby, calico or tortoiseshell

Life Expectancy: 9-13+ years

If you’re throwing a party, get ready for your Cornish Rex to demand attention from everyone. These funny little cats are true charmers who thrive on affection. Sure, they’ll sit on your lap if that’s what you want to do, but they’re also often up for a spirited game of fetch. Just don’t ignore them (or leave them alone for lengthy periods of time).

cats that act like dogs devon rex
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10. Devon Rex

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 5-9 pounds

Personality: Devoted, mischievous

Coat: Short, curly or wavy

Color: Various colors and patterns

Life Expectancy: 14-17+ years

According to The International Cat Association, Devon Rexes stick to you “like Velcro.” While devoted sweethearts, like Chihuahuas they have a mischievous, stubborn streak and won’t let you forget it if you let them wallow in boredom. They’re tiny but mighty and work well with kids and other pets.

cats that act like dogs havana brown
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11. Havana Brown

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 6-10 pounds

Personality: Mischievous, loving

Coat: Short

Color: Chocolate brown

Life Expectancy: 8-13 years

Similar to the Devon Rex, the Havana Brown enjoys frolicking with children and other animals. While mischievous and active, they are also highly sensitive and definitely need plenty of one-on-one time with their favorite human to feel good at the end of the day.

cats that act like dogs japanese bobtail
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12. Japanese Bobtail

Height: 8-9 inches

Weight: 6-10 pounds

Personality: Active, loving

Coat: Shorthair and longhair varieties, bobbed tail

Color: All colors

Life Expectancy: 9-13+ years

Japanese Bobtail cats don’t have long tails, making them look even smaller than their already tiny stature. These goofy felines are great with kids due to their endless energy and constant activity. Sure, they’ll snuggle, but not for long. Japanese Bobtails are known as the Good Luck cats of Japan.

cats that act like dogs maine coon
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13. Maine Coon

Height: 10-16 inches

Weight: 12-15 pounds (females), 18-25 pounds (males)

Personality: Sweet, smart

Coat: Long, silky

Color: Various

Life expectancy: 12-20 years

A Maine Coon is the feline version of a Bernese Mountain dog: sturdy, furry, built to weather harsh winters and incredibly sweet. This makes them ideal pets for kids. Maine Coons have playful, friendly dispositions and aren’t afraid to be included in group activities. However, they aren’t as demanding as some of the breeds on our list, which means less vocalization and/or restlessness.

cats that act like dogs oriental shorthair
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14. Oriental Shorthair

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Personality: Smart, Affectionate

Coat: Short

Color: Hundreds of versions, often tortoiseshell or tabby coloration

Life Expectancy: 10-20+ years

Oriental Shorthair cats thrive when surrounded by their family members. Like Abyssinians and Chausies, they may resort to scratching furniture if they’re bored or lonely. As relatives of Siamese cats, Oriental Shorthairs chirp, trill and meow frequently, especially if it leads to playtime with their people.

cats that act like dogs pixiebob
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15. Pixiebob

Height: 9-13 inches

Weight: 9-11 pounds (females), 11-14 pounds (males)

Personality: Active, loyal

Coat: Thick double coat, Long- and short-haired varieties

Color: Brown, tan, tabby

Life Expectancy: 13-15 years

The name Pixiebob may evoke a fairy-like kitten, but these cats are actually quite muscular and have thick coats. Never ones to turn down a new activity, Pixiebobs are eager to be part of the action. Like Shiba Inus, they are incredibly loyal, quiet pets. Don’t forget to brush their thick coats regularly to avoid matting.

cats that act like dogs ragamuffin1
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16. Ragamuffin

Height: 10-15 inches

Weight: 8-13 pounds (females), 14-20 pounds (males)

Personality: Patient, doting

Coat: Medium to long, soft, dense

Color: Various

Life expectancy: 12-16 years

Picture a Newfoundland or Great Pyrenees, but in cat form. That’s the Ragamuffin. Big, furry felines. These are excellent companions for introverts, seniors and folks looking for ample cuddles. Friendly doesn’t begin to describe these cats; though they may shy away at large gatherings, they happily approach new friends and will trust anyone with a warm lap.

cats that act like dogs ragdoll
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17. Ragdoll

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 10-15 pounds (females), 15-20 pounds (males)

Personality: Sweet, patient

Coat: Long, soft

Color: White bodies, pointed markings

Life expectancy: 13-18 years

Say hello to another ideal therapy cat or companion pet. Ragdoll cats embrace being picked up (unlike many cats) and tend toward the lazy side (like Basset Hounds or Great Danes). They can put up with a lot of commotion, staying calm in a bustling household without running for cover. Their long, soft coats heighten their already affectionate nature.

cats that act like dogs savannah
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18. Savannah

Height: 10-17 inches

Weight: 11-20 pounds (females), 13-23 pounds (males)

Personality: Energetic, outgoing

Coat: Short- to medium-length, coarse

Color: Black and brown spotted

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Talk about a big, long cat. Savannahs are routinely recognized for their impressive size and high energy. Similar to Japanese dog breeds, these cats love adventure and performing a job, but can be very wary of strangers. It’s not recommended to adopt a Savannah if you’ve never owned a cat before; they require a lot more space, attention and finesse than most of the other breeds on our list.

cats that act like dogs siamese
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19. Siamese

Height: 8-12 inches

Weight: 5-12 pounds

Personality: Social, athletic

Coat: Short

Color: Cream or fawn with brown or black points

Life Expectancy: 10-20+ years

Part of the Oriental cat family, Siamese cats are known for their smarts and athleticism. Fair warning: Leaving them alone all day or ignoring their pleas to play will result in destructive behavior. Siamese cats thrive in social households surrounded by people and pets. In fact, adopting another animal to keep your Siamese company during the day is a very wise move.

cats that act like dogs singapura
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20. Singapura

Height: 6-8 inches

Weight: 5-8 pounds

Personality: Extroverted, energetic

Coat: Short

Color: Tabby coloration, tans and browns

Life Expectancy: 9-18 years

While Singapura cats really want you to watch them climb, play with them and dote on them all day long, they tend to forgive easily if you don’t deliver. They’re low-maintenance, but do best when hanging out with their family, like Papillon pups. Interactive toys are a hit with Singapuras.

cats that act like dogs somali
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21. Somali

Height: 7-11 inches

Weight: 6-10 pounds

Personality: Loyal, social

Coat: Long

Color: Red, brown, tan, lilac

Life Expectancy: 11-16 years

Think of the Somali cat as an explorer, eager to seek adventure and report back on their findings. These smarties enjoy climbing as high as they can and won’t leave any space unexplored, according to The International Cat Association. Somalis want to know what you’re doing and insert themselves into the activity. Beyond this, they are incredibly affectionate and love to snuggle.

cats that act like dogs tonkinese
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22. Tonkinese

Height: 8-10 inches

Weight: 6-12 pounds

Personality: Active, Intelligent, Sweet

Coat: Short, silky

Color: Cream or mink with darker points on the face, ears, and paws

Life Expectancy: 12-16+ years

The Cat Fancier’s Association says Tonkinese are “firmly convinced that humans were put on Earth to love them.” That should tell you everything you need to know about owning a Tonkinese. As highly intelligent felines, they figure out puzzles well and enjoy new challenges. Expect to find hints of Burmese and Siamese, the two breeds that were crossed to develop the Tonkinese.

cats that act like dogs turkish van
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23. Turkish Van

Height: 10-14 inches

Weight: 10-20 pounds

Personality: Social, smart

Coat: Medium to long, soft

Color: White with red, cream, black or blue markings on the head and tail

Life expectancy: 13-17 years

Live near water? Your Turkish Van may want to take a dip. They’re known for their love of all things aquatic and tend to be acrobatic in their movements. Constantly on the move, Turkish Van cats will tolerate other pets (ahem, dogs) as long as the introductions are made gradually. If you can’t find them, look on top of the highest shelf in the house.

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Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...