If you already have a Dalmatian and are thinking of getting a cat, or perhaps you already have a cat and would like to get a Dalmatian, then your decision-making process is very likely to include the following question: Are Dalmatians good with Cats?
We’ll have a look in more detail but first let’s say that all dogs and cats are individuals, so it’s possible for Dalmatians and cats to live together in perfect harmony.
To answer the question, it’s best to understand if the odds are stacked in favour of them getting along on or not, so let’s have a look at some influencing factors.
Which Breeds of Dog are known to get along with Cats
There are breeds of dog which, generally speaking, are usually known to get along with cats. We’ll look at that in a minute, but first we need to understand what type of dog we have.
There are seven groups of dog breed – herding, terriers, working, sporting, non-sporting, hounds and toy breeds.
Interestingly, depending on country, Dalmatians are classified in several differing categories. The American Kennel Club lists Dalmatians as non sporting, whereas the Kennel Club (United Kingdom) lists Dalmatians as Utility and the UKC (United Kennel Club, USA profit making corporation open to individuals) classifies the Dalmatian as a companion dog.
In general terms, the dog breeds known to get along (usually) with cats are; Beagles, Basset Hounds, Spaniels (Cocker & Cavalier King Charles particularly), Labradors, Labrador Retrievers, Bichon Frise, Maltese, Boxer, Dachshund, German Shepherd, Poodle, Collie, Pomeranian & Shetland Sheepdogs.
Straight away, we can see from this list of dogs they are all from different categories and so we are left to consider it’s not just about the classification of a particular breed of dog which is known to get on with cats, but also the type and personality.
The Types of Dogs
You may have noticed there is no terrier listed above but this of course doesn’t mean a cat and a terrier won’t get along.
Terriers were bred to hunt out vermin. Typically, terriers are small in stature, wiry build, fearless and independent. They have a high prey drive and are prone to chase small animals. So it follows terriers are not the ideal type of dog to live with cats.
Of the remaining dog types, breeds known to get along with cats are; non sporting, toy, working, hound, herding, working, sporting (gun dog). You can see breeds known to get along with cats are in every category of dog, except for the terrier.
This doesn’t mean terriers never get along with cats, but their very strong prey drive stacks the odds against them being compatible with cats. That said, different types of terriers have different characteristics and individual dogs have different personalities, so it is possible terriers and cats could get along.
Dalmatians and Cats
A Dalmatian, as we said above is more often known as non sporting. The Dalmatian has a rich, colourful and varied past. Their individual striking appearance and unique spotted coats have seen them used as carriage dogs, fire house dogs, circus performers, guard dogs and as vermin hunters to name a few.
It’s therefore not easy to establish whether a Dalmatian and a cat are more or less likely to get along as house companions.
If you already have a Dalmatian, then you will know your dog’s personality and if they have a keen prey drive and this will doubtless be an influencing factor on whether to add a cat to your household.
Dalmatians aren’t known to have a particularly strong prey drive but we should not forget their history as they were used to hunting out rats and also as hunting companions in the past. Instinct may lead them to chase cats and other small animals you may have in the house.
That said, Dalmatians also have a strong desire to please their human owners. It is often this, overriding desire, together with consistent training where we should signal to our Dalmatians what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour which will allow the chase or hunt instinct to be trained out of them.
Fighting like Cats and Dogs
No smoke without fire they say and the above expression reminds us that dogs and cats historically don’t get along.
Any dog needs to know their place in the household and once they do, they are very settled. It is up to us to ensure we lay the ground rules and who is pack leader and once a dog knows his place, he will be very happy with life.
Introducing any change to the household (or pack), be it a new human, dog, cat or hamster will cause your dog to question their place in the pack.
Any odd or unwanted behaviour initially could be your dog adjusting to their place in the household ‘pack’. Don’t expect miracles overnight, it often takes time and patience, together with a little appreciation on our part of the other creatures who share our homes.
So there we have it, don’t discount getting a cat to add to your household just because you have a Dalmatian – we can see it is up to us to ensure harmony reigns in our household. They key is to know your Dalmatian and make certain we provide clear and consistent signals in our dog training, so that our Dalmatians know which behaviours are desirable and more importantly which behaviours are undesirable.
A Dog’s Life or Cool for Cats
Cats and dogs can not only get along, but they can be very harmonious together. If your dog was around cats as a young puppy, it is possible he will remain relaxed around them.
It may be advisable to think twice about introducing a cat to the household if you cannot trust or train your dog not to chase the cat. If your dog has shown any kind of prey drive, i.e. chasing animals, it may take a lot of dedication to train them out of it, so it’s best to know and understand your dog’s temperament and breed characteristics and also to be keenly aware of the road which may lie ahead.
Another consideration is whether a cat may cause injury to your dog. If your dog and cat are not getting along and there are incidences of them fighting, a cat is likely to strike out with its claws in fear and is capable of inflicting injury to a dog by way of scratches.
If you have more than one dog, they could work together, ganging up on a cat, particularly if they are known to chase animals, so it is always best to proceed with extreme caution if you have a multiple dog household.