15 Dog Breeds That Act Like Cats

Comparing dogs and cats is like pitting apples and oranges against each other. Sure, they’re both fruits, but why compare? They’re entirely different species, wonderful in their own unique and beautiful ways! However, generally speaking, cats are fairly self-sufficient indoor pets. Felines nap emphatically, play sporadically and meow dramatically. There are definitely dog breeds that act like cats in this way—breeds with a penchant for lazy afternoons in the sun and following you from room to room for no other reason than keeping tabs on you. If you’re in the market for a curious yet aloof, playful yet sleepy pet who can glare at you with the best of ‘em, try one of these dog breeds.

Cat vs. dog behavior

It should be noted that there are many cat breeds hailed for their adventure-seeking tendencies and athleticism. Felines enjoy climbing and reaching the highest perch possible. Cats have also been known to experience the zoomies, where they sprint from one end of a hallway to the other, a burst of energy that comes out of nowhere. The dogs on our list may exhibit similar behaviors. Instead of playing fetch or tug-of-war with you, these dog breeds tend to prefer solo exploration. They may have a burst of energy and then spend the rest of the day preoccupied with their own sleep schedule.

Cats are meticulous groomers. Rarely—if ever—do you need to give your cat a bath. Some of the dog breeds on our list are fairly clean pups who either self-groom or require very little attention when it comes to grooming. (Keeping in mind, of course, both canines and felines with long coats should be brushed regularly to avoid matting.)

As always, remember every dog (and cat) is unique. Their lineage, breeder practices and experience may sway their personality in an entirely different direction than anticipated.

dog breeds that act like cats afghan hound

1. Afghan Hound

Height: 25-27 inches

Weight: 50-60 pounds

Personality: Independent, proud

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Hypoallergenic

Life Expectancy: 12-18 years

Afghan Hounds are elegant dogs who love their alone time. Though incredibly sweet-natured, they have independent streaks and aren’t keen on learning commands. These pups need to burn off energy throughout the day; like cats, they can actually jump over short fences and gates, so prepare your yard and home accordingly. Even though you’ll have to frequently brush their long, silky coat, Afghan Hounds are hypoallergenic.

dog breeds that act like cats american hairless terrier

2. American Hairless Terrier

Height: 12-16 inches

Weight: 12-16 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, curious

Activity Level: Low to Moderate

Shedding Factor: Hypoallergenic

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

These loving pups can be totally hairless with smooth skin or have short, shiny coats (that barely shed). American Hairless Terriers are affectionate, curious animals who enjoy playtime but can’t wait to curl up and nap. They need just a few walks a day to satisfy their exercise quota, but be sure to slather them with dog-safe sunscreen to protect their overexposed skin.

dog breeds that act like cats basenji

3. Basenji

Height: 16-17 inches

Weight: 22-24 pounds

Personality: Smart, serene

Activity Level: High

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 13-14 years

Basenjis exude confidence and awareness. They’re alert to their surroundings (like cats) and will drop everything to chase potential prey (like cats). Basenjis famously never bark and have short, low-maintenance coats. Another catlike tendency? Their impatience for training. However, if you can start them early in agility or coursing sports, you’ll have a happy dog.

dog breeds that act like cats basset hound
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4. Basset Hound

Height: 13-15 inches

Weight: 40-65 pounds

Personality: Mellow, charismatic

Activity Level: Low

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 12-13 years

This stubborn dog breed will constantly invent new ways to ignore your requests. Basset Hounds are some of the laziest pups out there (until they catch a whiff of something they’d like to track down, then good luck getting their attention). Charmers at heart, Bassets are great with kids and other pets.

dog breeds that act like cats bedlington terrier

5. Bedlington Terrier

Height: 15-18 inches

Weight: 17-23 pounds

Personality: Loyal, lively

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Hypoallergenic

Life Expectancy: 11-16 years

Bedlington Terriers are relatively rare dogs who hail from Northumberland, England. Ideal roommates, these canines don’t shed and are loyal through and through. Sure, they may not shower you with affection. But after they’re allowed to sprint around the yard, they’ll happily lounge next to you for a quiet night in.

dog breeds that act like cats chihuahua
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6. Chihuahua

Height: 5-8 inches

Weight: 6 pounds

Personality: Charming, independent

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

Looking for a lap dog whose exercise needs can be met in an apartment? Hello, Chihuahua! These small pups have big personalities and enormous stubborn streaks. Training early is key to establishing ground rules. Get ready to give in to demands (including taking your Chihuahua wherever she wants to go since she easily fits into your purse).

dog breeds that act like cats chow chow
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7. Chow Chow

Height: 17-20 inches

Weight: 45-70 pounds

Personality: Serious, loyal

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Moderate to High

Life Expectancy: 8-12 years

Life Afghan Hounds, these fluffy dogs need their space. Chow Chows are conundrums in some ways. They’re loving, loyal animals who protect their favorite human at all costs. On the other hand, they’re serious and aloof and aren’t ideal for households with kids or other pets (aka, they want you all for themselves). Don’t introduce them to a lot of new people at once. They’ll go into watchdog overdrive (or sequester themselves in a safe spot).

dog breeds that act like cats french bulldog
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8. French Bulldog

Height: 11-13 inches

Weight: 22-28 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, even-tempered

Activity Level: Low

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Unlike Chow Chows, French Bulldogs adapt well to change and aren’t afraid to show affection. They make ideal apartment pets due to their quiet, laid-back tendencies. Generally speaking, they can get enough exercise right at home. Frenchies are up for anything, whether it’s a trip to the park, hang time with pals or a chill night in.

dog breeds that act like cats greyhound

9. Greyhound

Height: 27-30 inches

Weight: 60-70 pounds

Personality: Independent, sweet

Activity Level: High

Shedding Factor: Low to Moderate

Life Expectancy: 10-13 years

Greyhounds are catlike in several ways. First, they can be stubborn when it comes to following commands. Second, they want to be in on the action but not too in on the action. Give them ample attention but don’t be surprised if they feel smothered. Finally, get ready for high highs and low lows (aka, extreme sprints outdoors and then an absolute refusal to get up and walk anywhere).

dog breeds that act like cats italian greyhound
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10. Italian Greyhound

Height: 13-15 inches

Weight: 7-14 pounds

Personality: Sensitive, alert

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 14-15 years

Italian Greyhounds would rather be in your lap than on the floor, according to the American Kennel Club. These tiny canines were literally bred to be a human’s best friend, so be prepared for them to follow you around and cuddle up as soon as you stop moving. Like cats, these pups don’t need regular baths.

dog breeds that act like cats japanese chin

11. Japanese Chin

Height: 9.5 inches

Weight: 9 pounds

Personality: Quiet, loving

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Like Italian Greyhounds, Japanese Chins were bred as companion pets. This is an ancient Japanese breed known for its charm and doting personality. You won’t hear a Japanese Chin bark at an intruder nor will they happily greet them at the door. Always use a leash on walks because these toy dogs have a tendency to wander off on their own.

dog breeds that act like cats maltese

12. Maltese

Height: 7-9 inches

Weight: 6-7 pounds

Personality: Sweet, elegant

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Now here’s a catlike dog breed who is also known for getting along well with cats. A Maltese pup’s gentle disposition makes them excellent pets for seniors. Incredibly affectionate and adaptable, these dogs don’t have intense exercise needs. A walk around the block or indoor playtime is sufficient.

dog breeds that act like cats manchester terrier

13. Manchester Terrier (toy)

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 10-12 pounds

Personality: Lively, intelligent

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 15-17 years

Manchester Terriers—both the toy and standard versions—act a lot like cats. The toy-sized Manchester fits snugly on your lap and does well with a few spirited walks every day. These are smart dogs, though, so don’t neglect their mental health. Keep them entertained and they’ll keep out of trouble.

dog breeds that act like cats vizsla
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14. Vizsla

Height: 21 - 24 inches

Weight: 44 - 60 pounds

Personality: Devoted, intelligent

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Vizslas are known for clinging to their families. Don’t expect to be able to go anywhere without your Vizsla. These dogs are definitely more like athletic Bengals or affectionate Peterbalds when it comes to cat breeds. Be sure to incorporate cognitive challenges into playtime to keep their brains sharp.

dog breeds that act like cats whippet

15. Whippet

Height: 18-22 inches

Weight: 25-40 pounds

Personality: Calm, playful

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Low to Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Here’s another dog breed that doesn’t bark much. Whippets, though prone to spurts of intense energy, are calm, cool and collected for the most part. When they’re not playing, they are content to lounge about the house and remind you how much they love you.

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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...