The age-old, famous rivalry between dogs and cats is portrayed by society in so many different ways. So the question is, why do dogs chase cats anyway?

The answer to this question essentially lies in a dog’s DNA. Chasing cats is instinctual for dogs. With that being said, not every breed of dog is hardwired to do so. However, here are the kinds of dogs that are likely to chase cats.

Hunting and Working Breeds

The instinct to chase cats is truly born within hunting and working breeds. Dogs who fit into the hunting dog category include Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Bloodhounds, Dachshunds and Terriers. Working breeds of dogs include Great Pyrenees, Dobermanns, Akitas and Caucasian Shepherds.

Prey Drive

A prey drive is an instinct that domestic dogs inherited from their wolf ancestors. This innate drive was a necessary thing to have in the wild in order for a wolf to survive. In the wild, a mother wolf hunts in order to feed her pups, and the pack hunts for survival. This hunting instinct is how the pack’s longevity is ensured. It is this prey drive that drives a lone wolf to hunt any animal that is smaller than it is.

In addition to movement, smell is another factor that is a part of a dog’s prey drive. For example, herding dogs chase the flocks they are protecting. This is all controlled by this prey drive instinct. However, if a dog grows up being around cats, they may play chase them, but aren’t likely to be aggressive as they are used to their smell.

Helping Them Get Along

Here is what you need to do to help a dog and cat get along. Begin by introducing them. It does help if one or both of them are young. Let’s say you already have a cat. Have your puppy stay inside his crate, and bring your cat into the room where he is. What you could do is sit with your cat in your lap in front of the dog’s crate, so the two will feel more comfortable with each other.

After the two have become acquainted, you can put them both in one room uncrated together. However you should be in the room with them. It is a good idea to be in a room where your cat has an escape route. Trimming your cat’s nails beforehand is recommended so that he she decides to swat at the dog. If the cat’s claws are too sharp, the dog will think twice about becoming friends. Having a little patience and introducing them gently may help the two become lifelong friends.