Ragdoll Cats and Dogs

Do you have a Ragdoll cat?  Do you have a dog?  How do they get along? 

One of the questions I am asked quite frequently is whether or not Ragdoll cats get along with dogs. After all, we all know the stereotypes about cats and dogs hating each other. But is that true, or is it just what cartoons teach us, and can Ragdoll cats and dogs co-exist in a home? You bet they can. I was raised with German Shepherds and Ragdolls. My cousins were, too.

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Harlow and Huck Seal Point Ragdoll Cats with Carl Dog lying on cat beds on a dark red patterned love seat on a patio.

Do Ragdoll Cats Get along With Dogs?

There’s no guarantee that a Ragdoll cat will get along with dogs – it depends on the cat’s personality and the dog in question. Introducing pets slowly and with full supervision is essential to ensure you can separate them if any signs of aggression are shown.

Typically, Ragdolls are one of the better cat breeds to introduce to dogs. That’s because they are generally friendly cats, and they’re also a larger breed, which can help the cat feel like more of an equal to a dog.

Ragdoll cats are sometimes called ‘puppy cats’ due to their playful and warm nature, but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll do well with dogs. It’s not that you shouldn’t try. Still, you must carefully choose compatible dog breeds, ideally with a similar personality to your Ragdoll.

Do Ragdoll Cats Like Dogs?

Ragdoll cats can be a very loyal breed, and if they are successfully introduced into a home with dogs, they can like them the same way they like their owner. However, you shouldn’t be disappointed if the best reaction you get from a Ragdoll cat is tolerance – that is perfectly acceptable for a happy home!

Best Dog for a Ragdoll Cat

The best dog breeds for a Ragdoll cat aren’t very aggressive, are pretty playful, and ideally, not a bundle of constant energy, as that might be overbearing. Of course, Ragdolls are a playful breed, but that doesn’t mean they are constantly jumping and running around everywhere.

A canine capable of fun but also enjoys some quiet downtime that won’t be aggressive or territorial would make the best companion breed for your Ragdoll cat.

Some examples of the best breeds include:

  • Irish Wolfhound – very noble, gentle, and loyal
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – a quiet, smaller dog breed
  • Beagles – are bred as pack animals, so they are likelier to view a cat as a friend.
  • Golden Retriever – calm, sedate, and loving dogs
  • German Shepherds – loyal and typically calm around Ragdolls

These are some excellent examples but only some of the most popular choices. And again, you can’t assume that every Ragdoll cat will be an excellent companion with any dog from those four breeds. Each animal is an individual and has their own personality, anxieties, and vibe.

It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t need to worry about whether your cats and dogs are males or females. They’re different species, so there is no issue with different sexes mingling; the hormones or attitudes won’t make any difference in their relationship.

It is good to look at a dog’s ‘breed group’ as they often have similar traits. For example, the herding group likes to round up smaller animals, while hounds are known for chasing other animals. 

Again, not all hounds – the Irish Wolfhound usually has a more easygoing personality – but if you’re unsure of a specific breed, you can look at the traits of the group to see whether you think they’re a good fit for your Ragdoll. The sporting group and the toy group are considered suitable matches for Ragdolls.

Ragdoll Cats and Golden Retrievers

Golden retrievers are typically gentle and loyal dogs. Despite their large size, they can still make good companions for Ragdoll cats. They aren’t usually the type to get jealous of attention with a lap cat. While they enjoy playing games, they are also quite happy relaxing, especially as they enter adulthood. They’re gentle giants.

Ragdoll Cats and German Shepherds

German Shepherds are loyal, large, and energetic dogs, so many wonder whether they fit the Ragdoll breed. While they may not tick every box, they can get along just fine. German Shepherds are typically not aggressive if trained correctly.

If you read Floppycats regularly, you know my parents have two German Shepherds and two Ragdolls. I took some videos this past week to show how well they get along – other than Napa (the youngest of the 4) wanting to play…

How To Introduce Cats and Dogs

It would be best to introduce cats and dogs like you would introduce them to other new cats. As a quick summary:

  1. Introduce the new pet into a safe room in your closed-off home. Give the new pet 1-2 weeks to adjust to the smells of your home. Use a large playpen if you don’t have a suitable separate room.
  2. Swap the scents of the animals. With cats and dogs, this is easiest done with a blanket, left in their respective beds for a couple of days, and then swapped.
  3. Once the new pet has adjusted, allow them to interact with the existing pet through a barrier to remain safe.
  4. If that goes well, begin supervised time in the same room, gradually increasing their time together.
  5. If, at any stage, there are signs of aggression or anxiety, move back one step and wait a few days to try again.

You must remember that any pet coming into a home with existing pets needs time to feel secure in its surroundings. These pets are strangers at this stage and need to be able to get used to being around other animals.

This means bringing the new pet into a safe room in your home and letting it adjust while giving the resident pet the time to smell the newbie from opposite sides of a door.

Once they’ve had time to adjust (which you can aid with scent swapping – swapping blankets belonging to both pets between them), you can install a barrier and allow the pets to meet without getting to each other physically.

Once you can observe the cats and dogs interacting without any signs of aggression, you can start to allow them time in the same room. Always supervise them until you know they’re comfortable together. 

Try to distract your dog’s attention with toys if you notice them seeming unsure so they can get used to a positive experience while near the cat. Of course, you can do the same with the cat, too.

How To Get Cats and Dogs To Get Along

You can’t force cats and dogs to get along if they don’t. It would be the same as trying to force two people together with opposing personalities. It’s unfair on them; they shouldn’t feel uncomfortable with a pet they don’t get along with.

The most important thing is to follow the introduction steps and take the process slowly. 

Don’t rush things; otherwise, you could damage your chances of a harmonious household.

Reader Submissions:

10 month old seal bi-color Ragdoll, Nicky, hanging out with tan and black 5 yr. old German Shepherd, Rowdy. German Shepherd is lying on a striped blue dog bed and cat is lying on a hardwood floor
This is my 10-month-old seal bi-color Ragdoll, Nicky, hanging out with my 5 yr. old German Shepherd, Rowdy. Owned by Joan Frost
little red haired girl and grown man walking Jewel and Mulsanne - a ragdoll cat and large black dog. The cat is in a pet stroller.
C&C walking Jewel and Mulsanne – submitted by Karen
ragdoll cat and large black dog, Mulsanne and Jewel being walked on a leash by a lady in a red shirt and blue jeans on a sidewalk
Mulsanne and Jewel walking – submitted by Karen

I’m anxious to hear about your experiences with Ragdoll cats and dogs.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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11 Comments

  1. Patti Johnson says:

    SUPER pawesome post, Jenny honey! I would lurve to have both multiple cats and dogs again but our tiny apartment is the big show stopper. I do so miss having mulitple furry companions (at one point we had three kitties and three doggies when we lived in Tonganoxie and rehoming them to move to this tiny apartment was truly heartbreaking). However, I truly do believe that kitties and puppies raised together have the best bet of forming great bonds. It can be tough for older animals to adjust but some do very well…all a matter of temperament and how well there previous experiences are with other animals, etc… 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  2. Wow! German Sheppards & Ragdolls- match made in heaven it seems! I didn’t choose my breeds of animals they chose me! & I find it rather amusing the my RagdollX “Sphinx” & my German Sheppard X Corgi “Koda” get along so well! I also find it amusing that those breeds are mentioned together quite regularly! Amazing! My two play like dogs would- I got Sphinx from a friend & Koda from the RSPCA a few months later, Koda is older than Sphinx but I’ve had Sphinx longer- they love each other! Sphinx wasn’t keen on Koda for about a week- no they can’t be separated Sphinx will quite often (given the chance of an open door) follow me & Koda on a walk and doesn’t mind crashing parties of neighbours (following me there) & will even jump in the car for a car trip!!! Koda & Sphinx will play and play together like puppies (they are both still young) and I think they keep each other company when I’m at work. I love my pair!

  3. I have two golden retrievers and an adopted ragdoll. They get along pretty well. Sometimes the goldies try to rough house her, but she holds her own. There’s been a couple of times where I’ve caught the cat cuddled up with the dogs, but they move when I try to take a photo (they don’t want to admit their friends.) Ironically, the reason the ragdoll was put up for adoption originally was because she can’t tolerate other cats, even her own litter mates. But she’s fine with two 80 lb dogs. Go figure.

  4. Hi – I have a male ragdoll turning 4 years old. Two years ago we got a golden retriever puppy. I have to say that I thought the cat would adjust, but it’s been 2 years and he hates the dog, and spends most of his time hiding. The dog is extremely friendly and gentle (he’s a golden after all) but of course wants to play and thinks it’s the best game on earth to spot the cat and go tearing after the cat to chase and play. The cat, instead of learning to stand up and give the dog a good swipe across the nose, just runs which only makes the dog even more excited. I feel so bad for the cat we are about to give him away to my parents so he can enjoy a quiet house to himself. My girls are 9 and 7 and love the cat, but the cat has taken to occasionally and out of the blue biting and scratching the girls and other adults (including me) while they are petting him or just after they stop petting him. The cat attacked my 9 year old in the face while she was sleeping (terrifying for her) and scratched her face leaving a scar. He is adorable and sweet most of the time, but the combination of never settling with the dog, and the aggression, means unfortunately he has to move…

    1. That’s so sad:(..I have 2 mini australian shepherds a boy and a girl.I Also have a ragdoll kitten.The boy and ragdoll l adore each other,but the girl dog is afraid of the ragdoll. Sometimes it’s so funny:-))

  5. I have a young male Ragdoll (fixed), now just over two years old with a very old giant breed female Newfoundland dog at 11 years old. They take care of each other; he adores her and sometimes she enjoys him. Other times, they annoy each other, much like any siblings in the same house. Jewel, the older Newfie was trained well at the start with little kitty Mulsanne, that he was to be cherished and protected/part of the family or ‘pack’, and she does that. But sometimes he jumps all over her and she’ll growl/bark at him because he deserves it. Many times she moves away from trouble, the cat who is into mischief knocking things off shelves/counters. They do fine together and the kitty was in a protective large crate/kitty condo when he was tiny for couple months but now has free run of the house, as does the dog. I have no worries about these two together. Not sure about other dog breeds however. Newfies are very smart and mellow and kind souls. It would be bad if the kitty were 120 lbs and the dog was 12 lbs.

  6. Sarah still says:

    Hi, I have a 12 year old Bichion Frese called Tia, and Sophie who is a 18 mth ragdoll
    When Sophie was a wee kitten Tia would cuddle her and clean her, now Sophie is bigger and heavier than Tia and Sophie does the cuddling, they both sleep together at the bottom of my bed,Sophie always wakes me in the morning and is very persistent
    And she keeps Tia young love them both x

    1. so sweet! thanks for the photos of Sophie. Shes’s a doll.

  7. The cats won’t let us have a dog. We tried! It wasn’t good.

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