Are Dogs Better Than Cats? 10 Reasons Why They Might Be


In many people’s opinion, dogs are better than cats. Dogs are more trainable, use the bathroom outside, can protect you, and promote a more active lifestyle. Having a dog has many benefits that make it better than having a cat.

And it is possible to think one is better than the other but still love both. Let’s explore some reasons why dogs may be better than cats. (Not to worry, cat lovers! There are also a lot of reasons why cats can be better than dogs.)

  • 01 of 10

    No Litter Boxes!

    White and pink litter box near wooden baseboard
    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

    It’s probably fair to say that even cat lovers don’t love litter boxes. No matter how well you keep up with them, there always seems to be a lingering odor. Plus, litter often tracks all over the house. It’s practically impossible to find a good place to put the litter box in a small house. Scooping the stuff is stinky and dusty.

    Dogs don’t need litter boxes. They can be house-trained and most can stick to a schedule. They can use the yard or do their business during walks around the neighborhood. You only have to pick up the poop, not the urine the way you have to do with litter boxes. And as for the poop, you can simply use poop bags on walks and a poop-scooper in the yard. Cleaning up poop may not be fun, but many think it’s the lesser of two necessary evils.

    Best of all, the poop and pee happen outdoors, not inside your home!

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  • 02 of 10

    Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

    There’s only so much play you can do with your cat. Many cats love to play with string toys and they’ll bat their little cat ball toys around, but it’s almost like they’re humoring you. They can play on their own, not just with people.

    Dogs absolutely love to play, and it’s often interactive play that they want, especially with you. You can play fetch with a ball or a disc. You can enjoy an exciting game of tug-of-war. You can play chase in the yard. If your dog gets along well with other dogs, you can even set up a doggie “playdate” with another pup. Just make sure both dogs are healthy and will get along.

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  • 03 of 10

    Dogs Adapt Better to Change

    Picsea / Unsplash

    Cats are usually sensitive to their environments and dislike change. Many dogs tend to accept change more easily, especially when their owners act like it’s no big deal. Of course, there are plenty of anxious and fearful dogs out there, but as a species, they’re often calmer in the face of significant alterations to their lifestyles.

    When it comes to introducing new people, pets, or items to your home or moving to a new house, cats generally need more time to adapt. They don’t automatically trust that all is well. They want proof first. Most dogs take their cues from their owners. If you’re cool and calm when that new baby comes in your door, chances are that your dog will be, too. Of course, some might not be quite as accepting of strangers.

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  • 04 of 10

    More Control Means Less Destruction

    The Spruce / Kristie Lee

    Try to control a cat and you might hear the tiny sound of kitty laughter. Most cats will go where they want to go, jump where they want to jump, scratch where they want to scratch, and mark whatever they think needs marking. Then there are those hairballs, which are most easily found when you’re barefoot in the middle of the night.

    Yes, dogs can cause a whole lot of destruction, but you can usually crate train a dog and keep him and your home safe and secure while you’re away. Most crate-trained dogs consider their crates to be their own special places. Try putting a cat in a crate or behind a closed door and you’ll have one unhappy kitty.

    Corrective training and a stern voice can have a lot of power over a dog. Try this with the average cat and you’ll be lucky if he glances in your direction while continuing to do whatever he was doing.

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  • 05 of 10

    Training Dogs is Easier

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

    Okay, cats can technically be trained, but even cat lovers admit that it’s not usually as easy as training a dog. Even food-motivated cats will soon tire of training sessions and walk away. Or, they’ll just smack the food out of your hand and eat it anyway. In general, cats train us humans better than we could ever train them.

    On the other hand, most dogs actually enjoy training. It seems to give them a sense of purpose. It’s a job, and most dogs love to work. Plus, many dogs are highly motivated by food and attention. They’ll gladly sit, stay, shake, lie down, and roll over in exchange for a delicious reward.

    Dogs seem to display a sense of pride when they’ve done a good job. In fact, dogs sometimes misbehave when they’re bored. They need more exercise and mental stimulation. Training helps provide the latter.

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  • 06 of 10

    Dogs Can Protect You

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

    It’s not in a cat’s nature to defend you or your home. Cats are more likely to run and hide when faced with trouble. On the other hand, most dogs will instinctively protect their owners and their territory. They’ll bark or growl to alert you to the presence of strangers, and many will even scare off intruders. Dogs can sense our fear and they’ll respond if they think we feel threatened.

    A large dog with a loud bark may seem like the better watchdog, but small dogs are sometimes even more alert when it comes to detecting outside noises. The little ones may not be able to physically fight off intruders, but they’ll certainly alert you about the danger. And many would-be intruders will avoid contact with any dog for fear of being bitten, no matter what the pup’s size. No offense, kitties, but protection is not your specialty.

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  • 07 of 10

    Dogs Have Greater Potential

    Heather Paul / Getty Images

    When’s the last time you saw a cat in a vest working hard to help people? It’s true that cats have an important place in animal-assisted therapy, but they’re generally not as well-suited to other types of work the way dogs are. Dogs have been helping people just about as long as they’ve been on earth. They were working on farms as herders and drovers hundreds of years ago.

    Today, many dogs still work on farms, and they serve even more noble purposes. They act as service dogs, guiding the blind, assisting the handicapped, helping the police and military, participating in search-and-rescue efforts, and comforting the sick. Some dogs can even detect seizures and sniff out cancer. That’s some way to earn one’s keep!

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  • 08 of 10

    Dogs Promote an Active Lifestyle

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

    Cats tend to stay home and do their own thing, or they go out and do their own thing. Some people have been known to walk their cats through the neighborhood on harnesses, but that’s not the norm.

    Just like humans, dogs need plenty of exercise. The great thing is that we can make them part of our own exercise routines. Most dogs love to go on walks. Many enjoy running with their humans. Some can even be trained to run alongside a bike.

    Many dogs make wonderful hiking companions. Also, dogs can participate in dog sports like agility, flyball, disc, and diving. Dog sports are great for fulfilling a dog’s need for mental and physical exercise.

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  • 09 of 10

    Dogs Come in More Shapes and Sizes

    Alvin Nee / Unsplash

    There are different breeds of cats, but many of them don’t vary a whole lot in shape and size. Sure, you have your giant Maine Coon and your uniquely-coated Devon Rex, but most house cats are mixed breeds, sometimes called “moggies.” They come in many beautiful coats and colors, but the differences between cats are subtle compared to the differences between dogs.

    It’s hard to believe that a tiny little Yorkie is the same species as the huge Great Dane. If you decide to get a dog, you’ll have plenty of choices available. Do you want a giant dog, a small dog breed, or something in between? Would you like a herding dog with endless energy or a cuddly lapdog? Perhaps a well-balanced mixed breed is your preference. Mutts are not to be overlooked! There are even some low-allergen dogs for the mildly allergic. There’s a type of dog for just about any household.

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  • 10 of 10

    Human’s Best Friend

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

    The term “man’s best friend” exists for a good reason. Dogs have been domesticated for at least 30,000 years or more. Dogs have been the faithful companions and loyal helpers of the human race throughout history. The bond between humans and dogs is unmistakable.

    Cats seem to know that they were once worshiped as gods. Perhaps they resent the fact those days have ended. They may still be holding it against us.

    I think it’s fair to say that a dog’s human is the center of his universe. A cat is the center of its own universe. We humans are merely orbiting servants (willing servants, of course).

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    Comparing dogs and cats is like comparing apples to oranges. Each species has its pros and cons, and both are special in their own ways. This age-old battle of dog people versus cat people doesn’t really need to continue.

    Can’t we all just get along? Cats and dogs can learn to live happily together. Why choose? Just get both

The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Breitenbuecher, Christina et al. Protein Expression And Genetic Variability Of Canine Can F 1 In Golden And Labrador Retriever Service Dogs. Canine Genetics And Epidemiology, vol 3, no. 1, 2016. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, doi:10.1186/s40575-016-0031-3
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