10 Dogs That Look Like Cats (Will Make You Look Twice)

Shiba inu puppy and cat playing on hardwood floor
© iStock.com/iness_ikebana

Written by Kristen Holder

Updated: November 9, 2023

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The world seems divided into cat and dog lovers, but what if you could have the best of both worlds? We’ll review 10 dogs that look so much like cats that it will make you look twice!

1. Hmong Bobtail Dog

The Hmong bobtail dog lives between 15 and 20 years.

The Hmong bobtail dog lives between 15 and 20 years.

©Stephanie See, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

Hmong bobtails look most like cats when puppies, but they grow to about a foot and a half tall as adults. They can weigh up to 55 pounds. Standard colors include white, yellow, brindle, black, gray, and brown.

The Hmong Bobtail dog is a guard dog and herder. It originated in northern Vietnam as a dog commonly kept by the Hmong people of the region. They live between 15 and 20 years and handle temperature extremes well. Ironically, they shouldn’t be kept with cats as they tend to see them as prey and chase them.

2. Basenji

The basenji does not bark, and they groom themselves like cats.

The basenji do not bark, and they groom themselves like cats.

©Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock.com

The basenji is an African breed famous for behaving like cats, and since they’re a smaller breed, they often do well with cat people looking for a dog. They have big triangular cat-like ears that stick straight up.

They grow up to a foot and a half tall and weigh up to 24 pounds. The basenji do not bark. Basenjis groom themselves by licking like cats so that they won’t require much time at the groomers.

3. Australian Kelpie

Australian kelpies have the face of a cat especially when they're puppies.

Australian kelpies have the face of a cat, especially when they’re puppies.

©Eliska_vys/Shutterstock.com

Some solid-colored Australian kelpies have the face of a cat. This is even more true when they’re a puppy. Black, red, and chocolate dogs have the most cat-like appearance. Most kelpies are under 2 feet tall and weigh up to 40 pounds, though it’s not unheard of for one of these dogs to weigh up to 60 pounds.

Australian kelpies are active herders and do best in a house where they’ll get tons of daily exercise. They’re good with kids and super intelligent, though they’re prone to misbehaving if they’re understimulated.

4. Korean Jindo

The Korean Jindo looks like a cat.

The Korean jindo looks like a cat.

©melinda krieger/iStock via Getty Images

Young Korean jindos look similar to cats. Their perky little ears and inquisitive looks can seem feline in passing. These dogs tend to be just under a foot and a half tall while weighing up to 50 pounds.

Korean jindos don’t do well with other animals but make great family house dogs if exercised regularly. They follow their owners around the house and aren’t known for destroying things in their environment.

5. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus have small ears that are reminiscent of cats.

Shiba Inus have small ears that are reminiscent of cats.

©iStock.com/iness_ikebana

The Japanese Shiba Inu is a cute dog with small ears that stand up and a mouth that looks like it’s smiling when open. Cream-colored dogs are especially reminiscent of a feline; the more colorful varieties look like foxes. In Japan, the Shiba Inu is the most popular pet dog breed.

They’re good house dogs because they tolerate a less vigorous exercise schedule. They make good apartment dogs if they’re taken on a walk daily. However, they can be destructive when left alone, so they should be crated alone or at night.

Shiba Inus are a foot to a foot and a half tall. They weigh around 20 pounds when fully grown. They have a life expectancy of thirteen to sixteen years on average.

6. Akita

Akitas have feline heads though they're big dogs that do not tolerate other animals well.

Akitas have feline heads, though big dogs do not tolerate other animals well.

©Jagodka/Shutterstock.com

Akitas have round cat faces with perky ears. Any color variety has a feline head. These dogs are huge, weighing up to 130 pounds and standing over 2 feet tall. They live up to 14 years.

These dogs are known for being quiet but do not tolerate other animals. They’re protective and have to be trained well from a young age to ensure the safety of those around them.

7. Japanese Chin

Japanese Chins look like Persian felines, and they act like lap cats.

Japanese Chins look like Persian felines, and they act like lap cats.

©MementoImage/iStock via Getty Images

The face of a Japanese Chin is akin to that of a Persian cat. They have smooshed faces with high noses and long flowing hair on their ears that frame their faces.

They’re the size of cats as well. They stand between 8 and 11 inches tall and weigh less than 11 pounds. They’re quiet dogs that love to act like lap cats. They’ll snuggle the entire day away if given the chance.

8. Mexican Hairless Dog

Xoloitzcuintli, or the Mexican hairless dog, looks like a sphynx cat.

Xoloitzcuintli

, or the Mexican hairless dog, looks like a sphynx cat.

©Dan_Manila/Shutterstock.com

Mexican hairless dogs, known as Xoloitzquintli or Xolos, look much like sphynx cats. They also tend to sit in the cat loaf style. This breed comes in toy, miniature, and standard sizes; they live up to 18 years of age.

Xolos need a lot of exercise when they’re younger to keep them from being naughty. However, as they age, they become docile dogs that are great around the house. They need training that starts as puppies and continues throughout their life to keep them well-adjusted.

9. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The little Pembroke Welsh corgi has the swaying belly of a cat.

The little Pembroke

Welsh corgi

has the swaying belly of a cat.

©Natalia Fedosova/Shutterstock.com

Pembroke Welsh corgis have cat ears and little bodies with bellies that sway as they walk in a very cat-like manner. From head to toe, their look is reminiscent of felines. They’re also little dogs that stand at most a foot tall and usually weigh less than 30 pounds.

These corgis make great house pets as they’re loving but not needy. They give off big dog energy even though they’re small. They are barkers who respond well to training, though they aren’t quick enough to accompany their owners on a bike ride.

10. English Toy Terrier

An English toy terrier weighs no more than 12 pounds as an adult.

An English toy terrier weighs no more than 12 pounds as an adult.

©Lil Shepherd/Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

The English toy terrier, also known as the Manchester terrier, is a dog with large ears that looks like a sphynx because of its short hair. While there are bigger Manchester terriers, they aren’t as cat-like because their ears are floppier and their shoulders appear broader. The all-black dogs look more feline than the black and tan variety.

English toy terriers are no more than a foot tall and weigh up to 12 pounds. They have lived a long time, with some being 17. They’re active and will only settle to snuggle if worn out by lots of walking or fetch.

They’re easy to train, but negative reinforcement damages their mental health while not teaching them anything. Using positive reinforcement based on rewards is the way to go with these terriers.

Dogs That Look Like Cats
1Hmong Bobtail
2Basenji
3Australian Kelpie
4Korean Jindo
5Shiba Inu
6Akita
7Japanese Chin
8Mexican Hairless Dog
9Pembroke Welsh Corgi
10English Toy Terrier

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About the Author

Kristen Holder is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics related to history, travel, pets, and obscure scientific issues. Kristen has been writing professionally for 3 years, and she holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of California, Riverside, which she obtained in 2009. After living in California, Washington, and Arizona, she is now a permanent resident of Iowa. Kristen loves to dote on her 3 cats, and she spends her free time coming up with adventures that allow her to explore her new home.

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