Are Australian Shepherds Good With Cats?

do australian shepherds get along with cats

Cats and dogs are usually not the most compatible of companions. Cats are very smart most of the time and so are Australian Shepherds along with their great temperament so this is a good thing right?

So do Australian Shepherds get along with felines?

Yes more Australian Shepherds get along with cats then those that don’t. So the odds are in your favor that is for sure. Even if they don’t get along most Aussies will keep their distance from cats so they will put up with a each other. 

Of course every Aussie is going to be a little different then the next when it comes to their overall personality and such just like humans. So there is no way of knowing until you introduce them to cats and actually see what happens.

The younger you start them out with a cat the better it will be in the long run. This goes for the cat as well get them both very young if possible so they get used to each other before they have bad experiences with another dog or cat.


The cat is probably the one you have to worry more about not liking the Aussie in this case. As Aussies are usually pretty friendly with other animals and people overall. A cat if it has had a bad experiences or multiple ones it will not let that memory go. They won’t go out of their way to harm the Aussie but they will disappear and keep to themselves if this is the case.

Since we are only one set of owners that have personal experience with this we wanted to go out and get others opinions. We don’t own inside cats only barn cats so our Aussies get together with them on more even ground outdoors so that may be why they get along as well as they do.

So we have gone out and curated information from many Australian Shepherd owners to get their personal opinions on how to get Aussies and Cats to co-exist happily.

The collected this information from different dog forums and dog websites and only corrected grammar or spelling where needed. Other then that the answers have remained the same.

Tips From Owners On Introducing Aussies To Cats

Real Owners Opinions

1. Hacelepues “Wear down the Aussie first before intro” – Hmmmm, well the best way I’ve heard to go about it (especially if they’re both adult animals) is to make sure the dog is happily worn out so he’s calmer when you first introduce. Then you actually keep them in

different rooms for an hour or so, give the dog a chance to take in all the kitty smells, so it’s not a surprise. Then let them interact on their

own accord but always supervised. Make sure the cats have a safe place to go.

Koda doesn’t really like cats either. As a puppy he just wanted to play with my bf’s parent’s cats and they were having none of that and

traumatized him. Now that he’s older he’ll actually clear the room he’s in of any cats, but they tolerate eachother’s existence otherwise.

2. Caffeine_IV_Stat “Keep area for cat to escape” – I had an elderly cat when I got my pup. She was not thrilled. I did slowly

introduce them, but I always kept an area for just my cat to escape to, my bedroom was all hers… she was old. They did sunbath together for

a few brief moments, and eventually as long as my pup was relaxed, the cat would give her love. My pup does not like the neighborhood

outside cats! Here is sort of what I used to help guide me:

3. AussieLover3456 “Gradual and slow” – I think it’s just a matter of familiarity and gradual introduction. My aussie Luca has two cats

that she grew up with, wrestles with, cuddles with, naps with, and even sometimes they lick each others ears. They are like the three amigos,

getting into all sorts of shenanigans together. And she loves all dogs and all big humans. But when she sees a child… She cowers, and hides!

So it’s taken a bit of work to help her become comfortable with them but she’s getting there.

I think the same can be said about a good portion of dogs with regards to familiarity. Slow goes it at first, and gradual easing into it until it’s

just the norm. You might want to look into Jackson Galaxy’s tips for introducing cats to each other because that’s how I eased my adult cats

into meeting Luca when she was a puppy and it went perfectly. I think the tips apply to both cats and dogs pretty well. See and this and also


4. LittleDoogie287 “Make sure Aussie tired and calm” – Couple of things, first, EASE them into the introduction. Make sure the dog

is tired and calm, and let them smell each other for a few minutes. If the dog shows any signs of excessive interest, remove the cat. Do this

frequently over a period of a week or two to get them used to each other.

Another good thing to try is feeding them near each other.

Also, make sure the cat has a safe place to run to if she feels threatened. A child gate in the doorway of a bedroom can be good for this (cat

can jump it, dog won’t).

And lastly, do not leave them alone together until you are super sure that they are friends!

5. Guy_With_A_Body  “Generally Aussies not aggressive toward cats” – My Aussie shepherd is fine with cats. She didn’t grow up

with one but my in-laws have a cat. The first time they met was when my Aussie was about 1 – there was never any aggression, she was just

super curious of the cat. She would often chase the cat around but would be put in her place if she got too close.

6. PlantLady113 “Older Aussies seem to do much better” – We got my aussie when she was a bit older (7) and she gets along just fine

with our cat. She seemed annoyed at the cats existence at first but was never aggressive even though the cat desperately wanted to love her.

The cat would try to clean my aussies face, sleep on her, and knead her and the aussie just laid there looking annoyed. It took some time but

the cat eventually taught the aussie to love her back.

Overall Consensus

The overall consensus definitely seems to be to do it slow and do it when the Aussie is calm maybe after a long walk or dinner. If at first you don’t succeed try and try again of course. Just take it slowly and maybe skip a day put them in positions where they will get used to seeing each other from a distance if possible.

Maybe the cat in an elevated position and the Aussie from outside of a room with a divider in between. Keep treats handy for both the cat and Australian Shepherd that can help to reward them and also deter them from a bad situation.

Australian Shepherd And Kitten

An older Aussie getting introduced to a kitten will actually be much easier then introducing an older cat to a puppy Aussie. This is because the older Australian Shepherd will be more settled and understand limitations much more. They are much more likely to become best friend quickly.

Although the Aussie might also not care for the kitten at first it is easier to force the issue on a dog such as an Australian Shepherd then force the issue toward a cat with you know claws.

Still try to provide a safe place for the kitten which can be something as simple as your lap. So something like having the Aussie on the ground with the cat on your lap while sitting on the couch may be sufficient. Let the Aussie creep in slowly and hopefully give the kitten kisses and it will be all over with shortly.

If they don’t get along right away keep desensitizing the two over and over until eventually they will give in.

Opposite Sex or Same Sex Of Different Breeds?

It is a proven fact that having a female and male dog that are of opposite sex will get a long much more percentage wise then having two males and females.

This is also the case for your Aussie and cat. If you can have them be of the opposite sex. A female cat will get along with a male Aussie much more then a female Aussie. Also male cat will get along with a female Aussie much better then a male.

I am not saying that the two of the same sex can’t co-exist and do it well it is just normally much more easier when one is female and one is male.

Australian Shepherds & Cats

Owning a cat when you already have an Aussie dog is actually a good idea. The breed is very friendly, loving, and affectionate. Aussies are very affectionate toward families, kids, and other dogs. But, when it comes to cats, the results are not the same.

In general, the majority of Aussies do get along with cats. As individual personality differs from one Australian shepherd dog to another, many of them might not get along with cats. Sometimes, it may take some time for both the pets to get along, while sometimes, the personality of both the pets just doesn’t match.

The Australian shepherd is a very intelligent dog breed. They have enough intelligence to understand that they should not harm a cat. If you see sudden changes in your Australian shepherd’s behavior toward your cat, then there is something wrong.

The possible reason why your Aussie is behaving wrong with your cat could be any health problem, physical problem, it could be anxiety. When you notice anything usually, get your Aussie to a good vet. The dog vet will help you know what’s wrong with your Aussie and why he was behaving differently with your cat.

Will Australian Shepherd Harm My Cat?

The Australian shepherd is a loving, affectionate, and natural dog breed. Their loving and affectionate nature doesn’t make them harm or hunt small animals like a cat.

The problem is its high and intense energy levels. Aussies are highly energetic and active. In order to keep your Aussie dog healthy and happy, it is very important that you provide him with regular exercise and intense physical activities. The mistake that the majority of Australian shepherd owners make is they adopt the Australian shepherd and don’t provide enough exercise to them.

Aussies have a huge energy level. When you don’t provide enough exercise and don’t involve your Aussie in different physical activities, he won’t be happy. To keep your Aussie happy and healthy, you need to provide him enough exercise regularly.

Failing to provide enough exercise and physical activities to your Aussie will lead to destructive behavior. If you don’t want your Aussie dog to build negative behavior and behave destructively, keep him happy by keeping busy.

One of the possible reasons why your Australian shepherd is not behaving well with your cat could be the lack of enough exercise. Apart from this, Aussies also have a high prey drive. Due to their high prey drive, they chase small animals and kids when they are running.

There are different ways through which you can reduce the high prey drive in your Australian shepherd dog. One of the best ways is exercising. When your Aussie gets regular intensive exercise & physical activities, his energy will be utilized in the right place. This is the best way to burn the dog’s energy and avoid your Aussie harming your cat or your kids.

In a nutshell, Australian shepherds do not harm or hunt small animals like a cat. The only problem is their high energy levels. If you own a cat with your Aussie, make sure to help your dog burn off his energy in a proper way. Apart from this, providing socialization training is also important.

Which Dogs Are Good With Cats?

As we have seen, the behavior of the Australian shepherd may differ based on their individual personality. So, we cannot conclude that all Australian shepherds are good with cats. If you have decided to adopt a dog and a cat together, then getting a cat-friendly dog breed is very important.

Because Aussies’ behavior toward cats may differ, you may need to consider adopting another dog breed that is friendly with cats. Here are some dog breeds that are good with cats:


If you are looking for a friendly and affectionate dog breed, the beagle is the best one. The Beagle will properly get along with your cat. The good thing about Beagles is they are friendly with everyone. They can get along with families, kids, strangers, other dogs, and cats. The Beagle will chase rabbits all day long, however, he can nicely recognize the cat.

The reason why Beagles do great in a group is that they were bred to hunt in packs. Hence, your Beagle is likely to see your cat as a member of the pack.

Basset Hound

Basset Hound is the dog breed used for hunting small animals like rabbits. Just like the Beagle breed, Basset Hound is also a friendly dog breed. The breed is great with families, other dogs, strangers, and kids. Basset Hounds were bred to hunt in packs. So, just like Beagle, the Basset Hound will also consider your cat as a member of the pack.

If you have an inactive lifestyle, it means if you can’t provide intensive exercise to your dog due to your busy schedule, Basset Hound is for you. This breed has a low energy level and its exercise needs are also less.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. To keep a Golden Retriever happy, you just need to spend time with him. Goldens are happy when you are with them. This breed is friendly toward family members, kids, other dogs, as well as strangers.

The gentle, kind, and empathetic nature of Golden retriever dog breed makes it a good companion of cats. The adaptable nature of Goldens will make them easily get along with your cat. They have a high energy level. After adopting a Golden retriever, you need to provide him regular exercise.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a little dog breed with affectionate, friendly, adaptable, and gentle nature. This dog breed is the part of American Kennel Club toy group. Toy group dogs were bred to be affectionate, loving, and companions.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog can get along with every person. The breed is great toward everyone, families, kids, other dogs, and strangers. The adaptable and gentle nature of Charles Spaniels makes it one of the best dog breeds that get along with cats.

Labrador Retriever

This Labrador Retriever was bred to be a friendly companion as well as a useful working dog breed. Labradors are very friendly and affectionate in nature. Though this breed is not the size of a cat, however, it will be a great companion for cats.

The thing which makes Labradors attractive is their kind and outgoing nature. They will be kind toward everyone they meet. They are great toward families, kids, other dogs, as well as strangers. Hence, if you are finding a loving dog breed for your cat, this is another one.

Border Collie

Border Collie is another affectionate and loving dog breed. This breed is known for its love for children. We may also see this love for cats. However, due to the herding instincts of Border Collies, they may or may not dog great with cats.

To keep a Border Collie breed stay happy, it is imperative to provide regular intense exercise and physical activities. If you are owning a cat with your Border Collie, this becomes more important. In order to control the high prey drive or herding instincts of Collies, regular exercising plays a crucial role.


The poodle is one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. Apart from a high intelligence level, Poodles are also popular for their hairstyle and overall appearance. Poodles are affectionate and loving. This is the dog breed which comes in three sizes: miniature, standard, and toy.

No matter which size variety of Poodle you get, their personality traits are the same. They are good with cats. Getting a cat in the house won’t be an issue for your Poodle dog.


Maltese is a gentle and fearless dog breed. This cute and beautiful dog breed is also good with cats. This breed is normally of a smaller size than the average cat. Malteses are affection toward families, friendly toward dogs, but mostly, they may not be good toward strangers. Due to high prey drive, they may not be good with kids.

Malteses can get along with other dogs as well as cats. The important thing is providing socialization. When your Maltese will be provided proper socialization, it will get along with your cat. With socialization training, the Maltese will be a good companion of your cat.


The Newfoundland is a strong and giant dog breed. This breed used to be a working breed, hence it is hardworking. Newfoundlands are also very friendly and loving. They can get along with family members, kids, other dogs, and even with strangers.

Apart from kids and other dogs, the Newfoundland can also get along with cats. Hence, if you are planning to get a cat or you already have a cat, you may consider adopting a Newfoundland. The energy level of this dog breed is low, hence its exercise needs are also comparatively less.


Pugs are charming, happy, and cute. They are the part of the American Kennel Club’s Toy group and are also known as the clowns of the canine world due to their great sense of humor. Their small body, round face, short nose, and curly tail make them look cute.

This breed is affectionate and loving. It can get along with families, kids, other dogs, strangers, and cats as well. A cat will be the perfect companion for your pug when there are no people around him.

What Dog Breeds Are Not Good With Cats?

Many dog owners make the mistake of selecting the dog breed. Later, they realize the breed they had selected was not cat-friendly. Hence, if you already have a cat or planning to adopt a cat, make sure to avoid getting a dog breed from the following. These dog breeds are not cat-friendly:

The Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle is a herding dog breed. It is still used today as a herding dog. The breed is intelligent, affectionate, and loyal. They will be loving toward your family. Due to the high prey drive, the breed may or may not do good with kids. Talking about cats, it’s based on socialization. If the Australian Cattle dog is raised with your cat from when he’s a puppy, he may get along with your cat. However, if this is not the case, then chances are your Australian Cattle dog may chase and kill your cat.

The Manchester Terrier

The Manchester Terrier has been bred for hunting rats. The breed is intelligent and high-spirited. The energy level of the Manchester Terriers is pretty high. This is the reason why they require intensive exercise on a regular basis. The breed might do well with other dogs, but it will be not good with cats. And, the Manchester Terrier would chase and kill small critters like rats.


The Greyhound was originally a hunting dog breed. It was bred to chase hare, foxes, and deers. The energy level of Greyhounds is amazing and they are the world’s fastest dogs. The Greyhound can reach speeds of 40 to 45 miles per hour. The breed is loving toward families, kids, other dogs, and even with strangers, but it is not good with small animals like a cat. Apart from the high energy level and fastest running speed, Greyhounds also have a high prey drive. Hence, your Greyhound may view your cat or other small animals as prey.

Jack Russel Terrier

Jack Russel Terrier is another dog breed that is not cat-friendly. This breed was developed in England to hunt foxes. It is an independent and friendly dog breed. Though the breed is friendly toward families, kids, other dogs, and even strangers, it will not be good with cats. The reason is its high prey drive. After adopting a Jack Russel Terrier with a cat, there are high chances that your dog will chase your cat and may harm. Hence, avoid adopting this breed, if you have a cat or planning to adopt a cat.

Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is another worst dog breed for cats. This breed is often related to wolfs. The breed is very affectionate and loving. A Siberian Husky will be great with family members, kids, other dogs, and even with strangers. Siberian Huskies have pretty high hunting instincts. They chase small animals such as rabbits, cats, and squirrels. However, a Husky dog may get along with a cat when he’s raised with the cat during his puppyhood.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are energetic, intelligent, affectionate, and humorous. They are very much affectionate and friendly toward family members. However, their behavior toward kids, other dogs, and strangers may vary. If you adopt a small animal like a cat or rabbit, this dog breed is not for you. They may not be aggressive toward your cat, but they are likely to chase and scare the cat. However, it is possible to train a Miniature Schnauzer not to chase a cat. To do that, you will need to give so much time and effort to training.

So, these are the worst dog breeds for cats. If you own a cat or planning to own the one, avoid getting the above-listed dog breeds with your cat. Because of high prey drive, these breeds are dangerous for cats.

Related Questions

Are Mini Australian Shepherds Good With Cats?

Mini and Toy Aussies have the same temperament as their regular sized cousin so YES they do get along with cats for the most part. The most part means that an overwhelming percentage will get a long with cats, but there are no guarantees with the cat getting along with the Aussie.

But with Toy and Mini Aussies being smaller the cat will usually see them as less threatening working out better for the both of them. Our Toy Aussies get along great with our barn cats and they actually do play with each other.

Are Australian Shepherds Good With Other Pets?

Yes Australian Shepherds are good with most other pets. The main issue you are going to run into is their herding mentality where they like to herd up a group of animals. Whether that group be hamsters, kittens, ducks, chickens, etc. they will try to herd them up.

But that isn’t a bad thing they can help you get your chickens back in the pen or maybe you have sheep which they will love to work. This is your chance to get them trained and doing what they love.

Do Australian Shepherds Get Along With Other Dogs?

Yes Australian Shepherds get along with most other dogs. The main issue is can the other dog keep up with your Aussie since they have basically an unlimited amount of energy and like to challenge themselves along with other dogs. So your other dog may get annoyed with the Aussie.

Overall Australian Shepherds will get to know their limits with other dogs over time as you will see. They are very smart and adapt more quickly then most breeds to almost any environment.

Are Australian Shepherds Good With Kids?

Yes Australian Shepherds are great with kids. But if you have a group of kids at say a birthday party running around watch your Aussie as he or she will be likely to try to herd them up.

Although it is hilarious to watch for the most part just be careful of tripping. They may bark but are mostly harmless as long as they don’t get mauled by the kids.

Final Thoughts

Australian Shepherds are an amazing all around breed as you can see from owners who gave their opinions. They just aren’t aggressive like some other breeds and don’t really hunt things they just like to heard things up and be active.

With them needing exercise as long as they get that they won’t take their energy out on the cat which will be best for the two of them at least in the beginning.

Our Aussies do play and run around with your cats outdoors. Most people don’t have that option so make sure the cat has a safe place to escape and get some rest when needed. As the cat is highly unlikely to keep up with your Aussies energy level at all times.

If the cat does swipe at the Aussie they should be okay and the Aussie will get to know those boundaries overtime. If you already have an Australian Shepherd take them around cats at a neighbors or family members house before making the commitment to get your own cat.


Tab Winner

Hello my name is Tab Winner. My wife and I have been around Australian shepherds for 20+ years and we definitely love them. We currently have a pair of Toy Aussies one is a Tri-color and the other is a blue merle that are both 10 and 11 years old.

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