If you have a dog and are thinking of getting a Maine Coon cat or if you have a Maine Coon cat and want to buy a dog, you might be wondering whether they’ll get on with each other or not?
There is nothing worse than getting a new pet and bonding with it only to realize that it doesn’t get on with your existing pet. You’re then faced with the utterly awful realization that you might have to part company with the newest addition to your family.
There are so many variables to consider before this question can be answered. Having owned Maine Coons for many years, having spoken to many owners who have owned Maine Coons and dogs and having thoroughly researched the subject, I hope I can help to answer the question,
“Are Maine Coons good with dogs?”
A Maine Coon cat is best with a dog if both are introduced at a young age. Socializing puppies and kittens is much easier than trying to introduce mature cats and dogs to each other. Bear in mind that some dog breeds have a high prey instinct so might not be good with cats.
What Breed Of Dog Do You Have?
The breed of dog is a major factor relating to whether a dog will get along with a cat or not. Even getting a dog that is typically known for being great with other pets (including cats) is no guarantee that it will get along with your Maine Coon. All you can do here is stack the cards as much in your favor as possible.
So, let’s have a look at some dog breeds that will give you the best chance of a friendly, long-term relationship between it and a Maine Coon cat.
Note that there are plenty of websites out there offering their own unique perspective on which breeds of dog are best with cats and many of them differ.
I’ve carried out quite a bit of research and I’m only including data from authoritative sites, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Dog Breeds That Should Get on Well with a Maine Coon Cat
Basset Hound – The Basset hound is typically a friendly, relaxed breed of dog that is also known for having lots of patience.
Beagle – The Beagle is another friendly breed that is well known for being a companion dog and not aggressive.
Collie – Although it’s not always the case, dogs that are good with children are usually good with other pets, including cats. This is definitely the case with the Collie.
French Bulldog – The French Bulldog is fast becoming the most popular dog breed on the planet. The Frenchie makes a great companion dog and is equally good with both children and pets. For more information about this breed, take a look over here (opens in a new window).
Retrievers – Both the Labrador and Golden retrievers are usually a very gentle breed of dog, which makes them a good choice for a family with a cat.
Pug – The little Pug can make an ideal choice for a canine friend for your feline. They may be small but they have a big personality.
With the above in mind, don’t be despondent if your favorite breed isn’t in this list. Each dog is an individual. Just because most dogs share a particular personality trait, doesn’t mean yours will. Arguably, training is just as important as the breed but more on that later.
Dog Breeds That Might Not Be the Best Choice for a Maine Coon Cat
Huskies – Despite this breed being adorable to look at they do not usually make a good companion for your Maine Coon due to their natural hunting instincts. People have reported that a Husky has lived for years in harmony with a cat only to suddenly decide to attack it one day.
Shih Tzu – Although the Shih Tzu may actually be smaller than your Maine Coon, they can be quite possessive little things and sometimes don’t like it when something else takes the center of attention. The same can be said of many Terriers.
Hounds – The sheer size of these beasts may be enough in itself to ensure the two don’t ever get along. They are naturally hunting dogs so you may struggle to ever persuade them to be anything other than this. By the way, below is a picture of my son with a Deerhound – they are big dogs!.
Whippet – The Whippet likes to chase small creatures and unfortunately, that includes the cat. Its speed (up to 35 mph) means it’s more of a match than most nimble felines. The same actually applies to the Greyhound.
Again, when anyone (including me) gives you this kind of information you need to put it all into context. Although there are naturally some breeds that will be easier to merge into a pet-family than others, don’t write any off and don’t listen to these websites that seem so convincing. Chat with other owners and kennel clubs.
The Importance of Early Socialization Training with Dogs
I know this is an article primarily about the Maine Coon (and perhaps cats in general) but whether a cat and a dog can get on within a household does rely primarily on the larger of the two.
Not always, but the vast majority of the time, if the dog isn’t up for the partnership, then it’s a non-starter. So, what can we do to give ourselves the best chance? Well, ideally start when the dog is a puppy.
As soon as you get a puppy, the general advice (which most people, unfortunately, don’t follow) is to have some training.
It is easier to do this when they are young as many develop a stubbornness which makes training harder when they’re more mature.
Part of this training must include socialization. This basically means ensuring your puppy has a lot of contact with several different people (including children of all ages) and as many different types of animals as possible – this includes cats!
If this socialization step is missed then it can be very difficult to re-train the dog at a later age and in some cases, not possible at all.
By doing this, you’re letting your dog know that having other animals around is perfectly normal and this will give your dog the very best chance of accommodating a cat during its life.
How Do You Introduce a Cat and a Dog?
Very slowly. There are no certainties that things are going to work out how you would like but one sure-fire way to almost guarantee failure is to just throw them together and let them get along with it.
This subject is an article in itself but in summary:
- Have a safe-area for your Maine Coon, somewhere that the dog will not be able to access. If you’re introducing your cat into a home that already has a dog then consider a cat diffuser, which should help reduce the effect of all the doggy smells present in the house and help to keep anxiety levels down in the cat. Here’s a pheromone diffuser that many owners find works well with their cats.
- Try to ensure you have some high places around the house that your Maine Coon cat can access if it feels the need. Being high will help them feel safe if they feel the need.
- When they are first in the confines of your house, ensure they are kept separate for a few days to let them get used to the different smells and sounds.
- For the first introduction, you must ensure that the dog does not chase the cat. If it does, you may have lost the battle before it starts and your Maine Coon may never feel safe in the presence of the dog. So, keep the dog on a lead and behind a stair gate. Keep these introductions short for the first few attempts.
- The dog should be kept on the lead when you decide it is time to remove the stairgate and again, short bursts are best. Repeat this until you feel confident.
- When you feel the time is right, you can remove the lead but you must always be observing the interactions during this time. Remember, the cat must always have an escape route.
- Be patient, it’s not unusual for this process to take six months.
If you’d like more information about this process, check out this article at the Blue Cross.
So, hopefully, you now know that yes, Maine Coon cats can be good with dogs. However, as you’ve learned – there are many variables involved and each animal is an individual with their own personality traits.
The most important thing is to ensure that the puppy has been socialized at an early age and when the introduction happens, you’re patient and don’t expect things to just click overnight.
Finally, if you’d like to know more about the Maine Coon then check out this great guide where you’ll find out just everything you need to know about this amazing breed (opens in a new window).
If you’d like to see some of the products that I personally recommend for your Maine Coon to keep them happy and safe, then check out the link here.