Do Bengals get along with Dogs?

Bengals are very social animals.  That belief that cats would prefer to live a solitary life if they had the choice is not true for the Bengal cat.  Bengals need social interaction.  They need to have a family - a family to rule over, of course.  But when the human members of the family are away doing their human activities outside of the house, Bengals need to have some other furry family members at home with them.  If you ever hear a story of a Bengal being destructive, investigate a little.  You are bound to discover that the Bengal lived in a home with no other pets. 

Some people meet the Bengal's need for social interaction by getting two cats, but if you'd rather have a cat and a dog or if you already have a dog, a second cat may not be necessary because most Bengals love dogs.  As long as the dog is cat-friendly and will play with the cats, then dogs make excellent companions for Bengals.  Bengals are often described as having a dog-like personality, which is true.  Like dogs, Bengals enjoy being with you.  They want to be an interactive member of the family unit.  They want to play with you.  Many can be trained to play fetch and go on walks.  So it is no wonder that they get along with dogs so well. 

It is the Bengal's higher intelligence that creates this need for social and physical activity. Their minds are stimulated by the daily interaction with the dog.  They have great fun playing with the dog, but they also have to try to figure this dog out - which provides stimulation for the mind.  The cat will, without a doubt, hold the higher position in the social hierarchy than the dog, but the cat must figure out how to communicate this to a species that uses different body language cues.  The dog, in most cases, is just thrilled to have another member of its pack.  Being pack animals - more is better. 

If you have a Bengal with a very dominant personality, a dog companion maybe better for your cat than a cat companion.  Strongly alpha cats can be hard on other cats, bullying them and making them walk on eggshells.  But because a dog is a different species, it is not seen as competition for territory; therefore, a cat who bullies because it wants to control the territory is not likely to pick on a dog.  However, it is likely to still play with the dog and get the physical and social energy release by interacting with a dog.

Because Bengals are typically great companions for dogs, it doesn't mean you should skip the Safe Room step when bringing a new kitten home.  An utterly confident kitten may struggle with change, so moving into a new home can still be stressful.  It is unreasonable to expect the kitten who owned the room at its breeder's home to walk out of the carrier and own the room at your house.  Sometimes this happens, but it should not be the expectation.  You want to allow your kitten to adapt to the change of environment before introducing it to your dog. Because cats are such scent driven animals, it is important to do scent swapping before you introduce them. 

Often it helps if your kitten has grown up with dogs.  If you know you are going to want your Bengal kitten to buddy up with your dog, look around for a local breeder who raises their kittens with dogs.  If the kitten grows up believing that dogs are fun, the fear factor will be a bit smaller.  The kitten is likely to still react to your dog upon first meeting it because your dog will smell different from their previous dog buddy, but the transition should be a bit smoother. At Quality Bengal kittens, we have Chinook-the-Socializer whose job it is to hang out and play with the kittens.  He makes sure that all of our kittens leave here having had positive interactions with a dog.

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