40+ Pairs Of Besties That Show Us Even Animals Can Embrace Each Other’s Differences
Some things naturally go together, like ketchup and fries, sprinkles on ice cream, bread and butter, peanut butter and jelly, coffee and cream, and so on. But things don’t work as smoothly in the animal kingdom. When we think of animals in the wild, like in a jungle or the forest, there is a clear hierarchy and not a lot of free space for interaction between species. We can also see some pets that just don’t gel well together in urban landscapes, like the iconic cat-dog diabolic nemeses. However, like humans who mingle with unexpected crowds, animals also have a knack for finding friends in places no one would imagine they would! On that note, here are 40+ completely unexpected animal friendships.
1. A cat and a goat
This goat was hanging out in the barn and the yard all day alone. But one day, he formed an unexpected alliance with a cat! Eventually, the cat was adopted, and these two became roommates, and they couldn’t have been happier.
This feline friend isn’t stuck inside. No way! The farm is his kingdom, and he spends a good chunk of the day with the goat. They nap together, eat together, and play as only besties can. Simply adorable. We hope they stay friends for life.
2. An elephant and a dog
Moving on, we have another unlikely couple – an elephant and a dog! Well, when you think about it, these two are some of the most intelligent species on earth, and both are frequently seen enjoying humans interacting with them. So…
… on some level, their friendship makes sense. Both Bella, the black Labrador, and Bubbles, the African elephant, are rescues and are now living their best life together in South Carolina. They love to play in the water and cuddle.
3. A dog and a raccoon
Ok, we are seeing a common theme here, dogs can make friends with absolutely any species! In a way, they were bred for companionship, and their skills go beyond interactions with humans or, heaven forbid, cats. That being said, we found more evidence of their sociability.
Have you ever seen a raccoon and a dog hugging? Well, now you have. We didn’t get the backstory behind this one, so feel free to make up your own. We think this is Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy undercover.
4. A deer and a cat
Oh, ok, we spoke too soon! Here’s another cat making friends with a deer. This looks like something straight out of a Disney movie. We just expect them to break out into a song and dance. They fit so perfectly together.
Since we don’t have the backstory, here are two fundamental questions. First, does this duo have main character energy? Second, are they sidekicks to a Disney Princess? Deer me, this picture is purrfect, right? We had to – the pun was right there for the taking.
5. A cheetah and a dog
Ok, back to the basics. Dogs will befriend anyone and anything. Believe it or not, they will befriend cats, even if they are wild. Unlike entitled house cats, Cheetahs are often highly anxious, and zoos usually pair them with dogs.
Puppers help soothe their anxiety and keep them calm. Cheetahs are shy and nervous by nature, and spending time with a dog makes them more confident and improves their lives (relatable!). If that’s not a cute fact, we don’t know what is.
6. A cat and an owl
This pairing is highly unlikely! A bird and a cat being friends? Have you seen Tweety? Come on. But we are not talking about just any bird, no, no. An owl has befriended a kitten. It seems counter-intuitive based on what we thought we knew.
But these two predators are living their best lives together. While this pair defies all logic and biology textbooks, we must say they make an adorable pair. We need an update on these two. Did they stay friends when they grew up? We must know!
7. A cat and a bearded dragon
These two are unlikely friends because they are usually found in different environments – like a cage and a cat tree! Authentic proof that you can be friends with almost anyone, even if your bestie is covered in scales.
No matter your shape or size, love transcends every obstacle. It’s all about understanding each other on a deeper level. If these two were pals in a cartoon, what would you call them? We vote for Biggie Smalls and The Notorious B.I.G.
8. A dog and a fox
This might be odd, but in some parts of the world, domesticated foxes exist, and according to some newer studies, urban foxes might be self-domesticating and showing doglike behavior. Still, they are not everyone’s usual go-to pets, even though they are gorgeous.
This is what makes this duo special! Since these species share similar traits, do you think they will be friends furrever? Or maybe they come from an alternative universe where foxes and dogs are the delightful dynamic duos in every house.
9. A cat and a dog
Speaking of the main species of pets most people have, here’s another uncommon pairing. In many languages, the phrase “they fight like cats and dogs” means that the two people do not get along at all! Also, in Greek, “cats and dogs” means…
…” contrary to experience or belief.” This duo might be adorable, but it’s unique and highly unlikely. So unlikely most languages use it to express disbelief in a relationship working! But, the two of them don’t care and seem happy.
10. A cat and a dog
Contrary to belief, here’s another cat and dog duo. This one is even more adorable as the cat is the one doing the comforting. Usually, dogs are the ones working to calm somebody. But here we have a loyal feline friend.
He calms the dog down by curling up with him in his cone. A little kitten with a big heart! We don’t know about you, but we think this duo’s theme song is “With a Little Help From My Friends” Can you just imagine the music video?!
11. A dog and a duck
At this point, you know dogs are super friendly, so it should not come as a shock to anybody when they go to other species to find their best friend. Their desire to mingle is so strong this owner saw that this duck and doggo were inseparable.
And just look at how perfect they are! We love that there is no fence separating these two love birds (well, love animals, we should say). The way the dog is hugging the duck is making us swoon. It’s too much wholesomeness!
12. A dog and a bird
We have seen two predators mingle. Now we have two poor animals with slight disabilities who found the support they needed in each other. Herman is a flightless pigeon who found a soulmate in Lundy, a Chihuahua who can’t walk.
Their friendship warms our hearts and will provide all the love and support for them to lead happy and healthy lives. Also, can somebody just turn these two into comic book superheroes? Honestly, it is a story that writes itself.
13. Bird and dog
We don’t know who is more obsessed with who on this one. Golden Retrievers are absolutely adorable and iconic. We keep saying how social dogs are, but birds love affection and company just as much! Just look at the grins on their faces.
This is Bob the golden and one of his many bird siblings. Their house is full of life – and many other animals! But it looks to us like these two have something really special that you can only find once in a lifetime.
14. Deer and dog
We’ve seen some genuinely unusual pairings, and nothing about dogs could surprise us anymore. However, these two good boys are very special because they are made up of the hunter and the usually hunted. But the heart of a dog is easily won over.
Not only are these two boys special because of how unlikely a pairing they seem. They also match! Sure, the fawn has some fabulous polka dots, but these two look like they were made for each other. Don’t mistake the dog’s stance as defensive – they’re playing!
15. A baby elephant and an ostrich
Speaking of rare combos, imagine a very big animal that can run at most at the speed of 40 kilometers per hour. Now, imagine a relatively tall and slender (not to mention notoriously tough) animal that can peak at 96 kilometers per hour!
Well, that’s exactly what we have here! How did these two meet? Maybe the little elephant confused the sitting ostrich for a pillow, and the ostrich just went with it. We hope the elephant does not continue leaning on the bird when it grows to its full size!
16. A chimp and baby tigers
Can you imagine a chimpanzee raising big wild cats, tigers, lions, and even pumas? Sounds like a children’s movie plot, but it’s a true story. Anjana is the chimp who learned to raise big wild cats. Anjana has been hired as a helper.
She helps a zookeeper in South Carolina, USA. After the cubs were separated from their mother, the chimp took on the surrogate role. These tiger cubs are called Mitra and Shiva, and they are growing up at the TIGERS Institute.
17. A baby cheetah and a dog
We saw a puppy and a baby cheetah grow up together. We learned that these big cats are often paired with dogs who help ease their anxiety. This baby cheetah was paired with a puppy that seemed a bit older.
However, it seems like they are only months apart in the first picture, not years. In any case, this did not impact their friendship, and they grew up to be best buddies anyway. We wish them many happy years together!
18. A baby deer and a piglet
This one is heart-meltingly adorable and looks like something straight out of a Disney movie! It wouldn’t even take much to turn this into an animation. Literally, one of those cartoonish filters over the photo would do a fine job.
Just look at them! Even their little fur coats match. However, we couldn’t get the story behind this picture. We don’t know who blessed us with it by putting it online. All we can do is stare at the piglet’s smile and think happy thoughts.
19. A dog and a duck
Did you know that ducklings have an interesting imprinting habit? If their mom is not around, they will follow the first moving object they see after hatching. Preferably, the thing should make duck sounds but sometimes moving is enough for ducklings.
To make this picture even more precious (it’s hard, we know), we imagine that this little duck imprinted on the dog and now thinks he is their mom. It doesn’t seem like the pupper minds his new role at all.
20. A horse and a dog
This picture is simply stunning. It seems almost photoshopped, but it’s real. Friendships between horses and dogs are not actually uncommon, as strange as it may seem. Both are companion animals and generally get along well. They do look natural together.
However, this pair does not get along as well if the dog isn’t properly trained and is slightly aggressive. Horses are naturally distrustful and fearful, and they can perceive an untrained dog as a predator. Polite dogs have no problems!
21. A goat and a sheep
This might not seem like a crazy pairing on the surface because they are both herd animals. If you happen to be a herder, what’s the difference? Potato, potato, tomato, tomato, right? Well, apparently not so much. These animals…
… usually need to be with their own kind to be this truly happy, which makes this pair extra special because they look perfectly content together against all odds! Apparently, these species can’t even be raised together. But look at them!
22. A cat and a mouse
Ah, cats. You either love them or not. It’s rare to find someone who does not have strong feelings about this species. There are so many sayings and superstitions involving cats interacting with others. We already mentioned one, and here’s another.
In English, the idiom “play cat-and-mouse” means to toy with or torture something before hurting it. However, this cat and this mouse (well, rat) are defying all odds and are actually besties. This is even rarer than the goat-sheep duo!
23. A fox and a dog
We’ve seen one dog and fox couple here. We did not know their story, so we speculated about the compatibility of the two species. However, this time we know the story. This fox is a rescue and the bulldog…
… is the happily adopted brother! We are happy this fox is rescued and gets a lovely home where they can be the little spoon to a happy bulldog. We wish them many hikes together and thank them for the adorable pics!
24. A horse and a kitten
We already talked about how cats interacting with certain animals is notoriously a bad combination. However, this time we bring you something new. Did you know cats and horses share a special bond? Yeah! Unlike dogs who horses see as…
… predators in the wild, cats don’t trigger horses. So a cat does not need the training to approach a horse. Second, both species are driven by fear and distrust towards the unknown. However, cats are curious, which draws them to horses.
25. A wolf and a bear
This feels counter-intuitive, but wolves and bears have historically coexisted for a long, long time. This best friend duo was captured by a wildlife photographer who followed them over the course of ten days in 2013. The friendship they captured is magical.
The dynamic duo went everywhere together. They hunted as a team and shared their spoils like true partners. For the ten days that the fascinated photographer followed them, they never separated once. We vote for a movie about these two!
26. A shepherd dog and an owl
Here’s a similar story to the beloved wild wolf and the bear. This time the German photographer Tanja Brandt captured an incredible friendship between Ingo the owl and Napoleon the Manolis Belgian shepherd who goes by the nickname Poldi.
Photographer Tanja Brandt captured their special friendship on Instagram and her website. She said that Poldi was just one year old and the smallest puppy out of his seven siblings. Ingo instantly became his protector, and the rest is history.
27. A turtle and a cat
It is not uncommon in the animal kingdom that when an animal stumbles upon a helpless baby of another species, they adopt it. It’s how Rome was founded, according to the legend! Most species in the animal kingdom have empathy.
This is what happened to this adorable pair. This little turtle was raised by cats, and would never imagine they could be predators! And who are we to tell them otherwise? Does this cat look like an ultimate protector, or what? Yep, we think so too.
28. A horse and a dog
We already talked about friendships between horses and dogs and how dogs need to be trained, so they don’t appear like threats to the horses. And one of the best species to train in the world is the Australian Shepherd!
Look at them enjoying their time together! Look how gentle the doggie is when touching the horse. Beautiful. An added bonus is their matching colors. Moral of the story: if you have a horse, Australian Shephards are dogs for you.
29. A cat and a dog
We’ve seen a couple of cats and dogs and talked about how special this bond is. Although they are both the top two go-to pets in the world, they do not get along very well all the time. This pair…
…like each other so much they like to cuddle and sleep together as well as play! They are quite photogenic and truly look like models. These two explore the neighborhood together and go on quite the suburban adventures. Love that for them!
30. A cat and a fox
We’ve seen two foxes and a dog duos. Here is a fox and a cat duo! This one is less likely than the dog and fox duo because foxes can be seen as predators by cats. Unfortunately, foxes are even known to attack them.
This makes a lot of cat-owners weary of the foxes. However, wild urban foxes and cats pass each other at night and ignore each other. So this adorable duo is very special and unusual. Just goes to show friendship rises above differences!
31. A cat and two baby kangaroos
The animal instinct to protect babies of any species is strong. These kangaroo babies were adopted by a pet cat who seems so adorably proud of its adoptive kids. Just look at them below. Don’t they look loved and protected?
By the way, did you know baby kangaroos are called “a joey?” They also need to be tucked in safely in the pouch for over two months after they are born. This is why these two are wrapped in a blanket.
32. A cow and a cat
As we’ve seen, cats will surprise us with who they befriend! And if properly trained, they can melt the hearts of the most distrustful species. Some cats can be very aggressive, but we know cows have a soothing presence for most species.
Just look at the beauty in this photo. The cat is living its best life cuddling with its buddy! Bessie and Fluffy (as we designated them) might seem like an odd pairing, but apparently, they are inseparable and even sleep next to each other.
33. Two doggies
We’ve had a few pairs here that are not as unusual, as they are absolutely adorable. This is one of these pairs. Two dogs hanging out is not crazy by any means, but these two are so cute that we had to include them!
Yes, we had to share this with the world. Apparently, they met at Doggy Daycare and hit it off immediately. It reminds us of two kids making friends at the park and never wanting to separate. Who doesn’t find that adorable?
34. A cat and a turtle
It’s no secret cats absolutely adore the heat. If you Google this, you will find endless threats of cats sitting on warm laptops, radiators. You name a toasty thing, and they are probably pictured on it! However, have you ever seen…
… a cat chilling in a terrarium? Cats will do anything for the warmth, even make friends with the local turtle living in the tank! We have to say the turtle seems more excited to have a visitor than the cat is to be visiting.
35. A dog and a fox, again
This friendship was captured by the Norwegian Torgier Berge, who went on a walk with his German Shepherd named Tinni. They found an abandoned baby fox on their walk, and Tinni’s instincts to protect kicked in. Berit Helberg, who is…
… co-authoring a book on their friendship said for today.com that “he (fox) was a puppy, so he sought help and company, and food.” Since then, the fox regularly joined their walks in the woods, and his name is Sniffer.
36. A dog and a kitten
Animal instinct to protect babies is strong, as we can see on this list. These encounters lead to beautiful pictures and adorable friendships in the long term. Although cats and dogs don’t traditionally get along, this kitten found the safest shelter…
… in the warm and big paws of this Golden Retriever. Like our forest baby fox before, this poor little kitten was abandoned, and the Retriever took its protector role seriously. They both seem so adorably comfortable in each other’s arms.
37. Two cows and a dog
Unlike dog and horse friendships, cows can actually be a threat to dogs. Cows can act on instinct and kick a dog without realizing how badly this can hurt the poor pup. However, we do not think this will happen here.
Not to these three! These two cows and this doggie seem to be having the time of their life. No kicking and harm possible in this friend group. No way, no how. These three are BFFs (best friends for life). Such cuties.
38. A calf and a dog
Well, by now, we know that almost all conventional wisdom about animal interaction does not matter when it’s about animal babies and not fully grown ones. This calf is a rescue that lives in The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, California, USA.
It’s a non-profit animal sanctuary that hosts animals like this calf whose name is John Lewis Thunderheart! He is three months old in the picture and plays with his best friend Sky, the Australian Shepherd. He likes bananas, cookies, and peaches!
39. A dog and a piglet
Manni, the piglet, was also abandoned somewhere in rural Ehringhausen, Germany, according to LA times’ blog from 2009. But luckily, he was quickly adopted by the Dahlhaus family, who bottle-fed him until he was safe. Through the family, he found true friendship.
He was introduced to his new best friend, Candy, the Russell terrier. According to their owners, they play together every day. It is absolutely these rescued animals found an adorable mixed family who loves and appreciates them! And blesses us with this content.
40. A dog and a raccoon
We have seen the love that can spring up between a dog and a raccoon, but this photo is pure bliss. We’re not even sure we’ve ever seen a wedding photo with this much love. Raccoons have a reputation as “trash pandas” and can be aggressive.
But no one could deny the adoration in this photo! This is a dynamic duo that met by chance when the raccoon started hanging around the yard. We’re not sure if they have already, but the owner should frame this photo and put it over the mantle!
41. Hiker duo
Here we have a hiker duo. Who knew there was a pair out there bringing Homeward Bound to life? These two travel all over the US together with their humans who share their adventures on Instagram. Their names are Samson, the Golden Retriever…
… and Cleo, the Scottish fold. Their adorable adventures get them millions of views on Instagram, and understandably so. Just take a moment to appreciate them. The confidence Samson moves with and the semi-scared look of Cleo! Premium content.
42. Two horses and a dog
Two horses and a dog sounds like a sitcom. Maybe a modern twist on Two and a Half Men plus Bojack the Horseman, but both child-friendly? We are in for it. Now it’s up to Netflix to make it happen.
Obviously, preferably in cartoon form for maximum adorableness. Well, for practical and ethical reasons as well. Anyway, look at those three sharing little boops and kisses. As you know, it’s hard for horses to trust dogs which makes this extra adorable.
43. Owl and a dog
We can’t put this duo into words better than one Redditor did in their post about them – Life is a hoot! Of course, life is a hoot when you are an owl who is best friends with a dog.
The long-eared owl is called Shrek, and the greyhound dog is called Torque. The dynamic duo lives in the United Kingdom, and they met at the animal center where Shrek was taken from his mother for his own protection. Here they are cuddling on the sofa.
These two are as fierce as they are adorable! Look at those poses, the intense looks. They are both ready to fight anyone who comes at their bestie. Since we’re inventing a bunch of TV show ideas, let’s make these two into superheroes.
Right? Or maybe it would be a show about all the shenanigans they get into when the humans aren’t around. Yeah, that sounds more fitting. Imagine the trouble they start together at 3 am! We’re sure they’re also sweet and amazing pets, of course.
45. Another deer and a dog:
It looks like Bambi has hired a new bodyguard. If anyone is equipped to protect this baby deer, it would be this sizeable canine. This pup looks equal parts menacing and incredibly gentle. The deer could not have picked a better companion.
In addition to being the perfect protector, this doggo will undoubtedly be fiercely loyal. Perhaps Disney should have given Bambi a canine companion in the film. We would happily watch a movie of these two unlikely mates going on fun adventures together.
46. A cat and a horse:
Sometimes, we have to go the extra mile for our friends. Take this cat for example. He wants to give his horse pal a big smooch so he has gone to great efforts to scale the side of the fence.
The horse is probably greatly impressed by his friend’s mammoth effort. It must have taken a considerable amount of upper body strength for the determined feline to hoist himself all the way to the top. That is one strong kitty!
47. A flock of birds and a dog:
Have you ever been in the middle of a meditation session when, suddenly, your arms are laden with birds? No? Well, this adorable doggo has, and he does not look too pleased about it. The birds, on the other hand, are having a grand ole time.
As unimpressed as the dog might be about having his meditation session interrupted, he is being very good about not disturbing his fowl friends. He is holding impossibly still. We just hope that he doesn’t have to scratch his nose.
48. A Horse and a dog:
In any relationship, there is an agreement that must be decided on before the relationship can continue. This agreement is very important and will determine the success of the relationship. The agreement is: who is the big spoon and who is the little spoon?
Usually, the larger party is the big spoon. However, that is not always the case. Just look at this horse and his dog buddy. The sleepy pup looks very content to be the big spoon. Hey, whatever works for them!
49. A rattlesnake and a dog:
Most of us would turn and run the other way if we came across a rattlesnake. However, this friendly guy knows that snakes are just misunderstood. All they need are some kisses to cheer them up and this dog is happy to oblige.
In all seriousness, snake bites can be lethal for dogs. In some areas, rattlesnakes are notorious for striking at dogs who unwittingly come into their path. However, the snake in this photo looks more afraid of the dog! Oh, how the tables have turned.
50. A calf and a dog:
Friends who bask in the sun together stay together. Isn’t that how the saying goes? This calf and his furry friend look quite at peace cuddling in the sun—who wouldn’t? We, too, would love to relax in the sun with no worries.
It is pretty easy to be this relaxed when you don’t have any bills to pay, someone feeds you regularly, and your most strenuous activity is a walk at the end of the day. We would love to be a dog in our next life.
51. A dog and a duck
And lastly, we leave you with another duck and dog duo. These two were spotted napping in Paris, France. Later, Reddit users compared notes and realized the pair had been spotted multiple times sleeping in similar positions around the town.
This happened years ago. If anyone has information on their current whereabouts, let us know because we are invested. Anyway, that’s our list of unusual buddies. We hope you enjoyed the curated collection as much as we enjoyed making it.