Are Bears and Dogs Related? Here’s The 10 Dogs That Look Like Bears!
OK, we know that our domestic dogs are descended from wild wolves but there are some breeds that really do look like they have bears in their ancestry! With full, fluffy coats, wide open faces and even muscular bodies, these breeds bare an uncanny resemblance to the bear, from grizzly to super-cute teddy…and everything in-between.
And it is not just the bear like looks of these dog breeds that capture our hearts, it is also the physical and personality traits that make us wish there really was such a thing as a bear-dog breed. From the strong and noble large hunting breeds to the pom-pom puff balls of toy dogs, it is so tempting to say yes to the question – are bears and dogs related? And while we know they’re not, what’s not to love about a dog that has the loveable appeal of a big, soft bear!
So, if a bear-dog is something you dream about, then we take a look at 10 of the best breeds of dogs that look like bears.
One of the world’s oldest breeds – they date back to the Han Chinese dynasty and 150BC – the noble Chow Chow has to be the ultimate dog breed if you are looking for a large, super-fluffy teddy bear. Yet, despite their regal start, this breed is also an adept farm and hunting dog, with a level of loyalty that makes them a good companion. As well as their bear-like qualities, what also sets the solemn-looking Chow Chow apart is their distinct blue tongue, which develops by the time the pup is six months old.
Standing up to 20 inches tall and weighing in at around 65-70 pounds as an adult, the Chow Chow has a serious, even aloof personality, especially towards strangers, but as a family dog they are loyal, loving and also fastidiously clean. However, they can be stubborn so they need training and socializing from an early age. And their calm, serene personality, coupled with their stunningly thick and soft coat, makes the Chow Chow the ideal teddy bear-dog for cuddles.
The face of the gorgeous Eurasier has a startling resemblance to a bear, and with their even temperament and medium to large dog size, they can make wonderful family pets. A cross between the Chow Chow and the Samoyed, the Eurasier was created by German dog breeder Julius Wipfel in the 1950s so are a relatively new on the bear-dog breed scene. Smart and calm like the Chow Chow, the Eurasier even has touches of the blue tongue to show its heritage. And its coat, well, is really something else. Thick, soft and luxuriant, this is a teddy bear dog to cuddle into and as a pet, he will like all the attention. However, he can be aloof with strangers, so consistent socialization from an early age will enable the Eurasier to become more trusting and relaxed in company. But as a family pet, this is a bear dog that is both loyal and loving…as well as large teddy bear cute.
At just seven inches tall and weighing in between three and seven pounds as a full-grown adult, the pocket-sized Pomeranian is a small teddy bear reincarnated into a toy dog’s body.
But despite its diminutive size, boy does the Pomeranian pack in the fluff-ball cuteness! Named after Pomerania, which is now part of western Germany and Poland, these toy teddy bear dogs were originally bred from much larger sled dogs and eventually found their niche as cute and loveable companion dogs. And all that cuteness has certainly not been lost on some notable dog owners, including Queen Victoria, Mozart, and Marie Antoinette. Despite their tiny size, the Pomeranian is surprisingly sturdy, healthy and feisty. They are generally friendly little dogs that are happy with all the attention being such a small dog that looks like a bear brings and with their vocal abilities, make good little watch dog-bears too!
If you like large substantial dogs, that have that the temperament of a soft teddy bear – as well as the looks – then the Tibetan Mastiff could well be the bear-dog breed for you. Even as a pup, the giant bear paws are a dead giveaway to how big this breed will be but although their size may make them look a little intimidating, the reality is, this is one of the gentlest, adorable dogs you could meet. And with their large, droopy eyes and soft teddy fur, you could lose your heart to the gorgeous Tibetan Mastiff. Growing up to 29 inches tall, Tibetan Mastiffs have a solid, round body and a luxurious thick coat and a snout that gives them a look of a brown bear. Believed to be the originator of the mastiff breed, this ancient dog was bred to guard the nomadic herdsmen as they traveled across the Tibetan plains with their livestock. This loyalty continues in the breed today, and although calm and affectionate, can still act the guard over their special humans. This has to be one of the ultimate dog breeds that look like bears.
We really up the cute bear factor with the Keeshond. A Dutch breed, this small/medium-sized fluffball was originally bred as a guard dog and companion on the early Dutch trading vessels and were named after the leader of the Dutch Patriot Party, Kees de Gyselaer. More of a teddy than a full-on grizzly, the Keeshond grows to up to 18 inches tall with short legs and are friendly and very energetic. Their sharp intelligence makes the Keeshond a joy to train and they will be loved by all the family. The breed originates from other bear breeds, including the Chow Chow, the Samoyed and the Pomeranian and shares their soft, dense, fluffy coat which comes in a stunning silver tone. Look closely and the Keeshond also has ‘spectacle’ like markings around their eyes, that gives them a cute and unique look.
We couldn’t have a list of bear-dog breeds without the adorable Newfoundland – large, solid, with a ridiculously long and gorgeous coat and a bear-like face to die for. These are super-large dogs – they can weigh up to 150 pounds and grow to around 28 inches tall at the shoulder. But they are as soft and gentle as they are large bear-size and make awesome family pets as they are known to also be patient and kind, acting as a ‘nanny dog’ to watch over the kids. The Newfoundland can be described as a water bear, as they are phenomenal swimmers, bread as working dogs for Canadian fishermen. Earning their keep as ‘deckhands’ they were often in and out of the water and have developed webbing on their feet. But despite their sheer physicality, these are also big, daft bears that are willing to play and will give as much love as is lavished back on to them. If you have always wanted a large, cuddly, gentle swimming bear, go for a Newfoundland!
Originating in Japan almost 3,000 years ago, the Akita has a presence that is both dignified and proud and with their large round head, have more than a nod to the look of a bear. In Japan, the Akita symbolizes happiness and long life and were bred to hunt deer, boar and yes, even bears. These are substantial bear-dogs, weighing up to 130 pounds and standing 28 inches to the shoulder, and are strong and muscular which can make them a little intimidating – this isn’t a teddy bear but a full-on bear in the wild! But with training and socializing, the Akita make wonderful pets, with a loyalty and love of affection that is off the scale. With their thick coat, they do need regular grooming, which they love (and expect) and although there is a sadness to their face thanks to their downturned eyes, this is a surprisingly soft and gentle pooch when you get to know him.
The Alaskan Malamute gives the best of both worlds with a look of a wolf-bear hybrid! Originating from Alaska and similar to a husky, the Malamute is a large dog which still has a look of the wild about it, which just adds to the appeal. And despite its wild bear/wolf vibe, the malamute is actually an affectionate, social and faithful pet and makes a truly wonderful and loyal companion. The Malamute has a stunning coat that has abundant soft, thick fur in colors that will blend against the ice and tundra it was bred to work as a sled dog. Add in the dark gleaming brown eyes that Malamutes have, and you have a strikingly handsome animal on your hands. The malamute is a working dog and is happy with routine and need a lot of mental stimulation, but the effort is worth it when at the end of a long day, you have your very own bear-wolf curled up asleep at your feet.
Elegant and tall, this Italian sheepdog has a woolly white coat that would look more at home in snowy arctic climes, giving them more than a whiff of polar bear about them. The Maremma also has an arctic fox look to its face and were bred to herd in the Abruzzo region of Italy. As well as the thick, white coat, the body shape of the Maremma really does make it look like a mini polar bear, but its character is so different to the tundra-dwelling predator. They are patient and remarkably kind, with a loyalty that makes them really protective of their special humans, but they can make wonderful family pets. They are also bold and courageous and are pretty tall, with their long legs, they average around 28 inches in height. Their face is simply beautiful, with a wide snout and shiny black eyes and nose standing out against that gorgeously soft white fur.
We finish on another small dog that looks like a bear and one that can melt the hardest of hearts – the ever- popular Yorkshire Terrier. Renowned for their long and fine fur, Yorkies can come in many small sizes, even teacup although these very tiny animals can have health problems due to their breeding and minute size. Normal-sized Yorkshire Terriers are around seven pounds in weight and measure seven to eight inches in height. Typically black and tan with white flashes, the Yorkshire terrier has the cure stand-up fuzzy ears, black button nose and round cute face that makes them look like they have just fallen out of the teddy bear toy cupboard. But unlike some other toy breeds, they are very active and curious, with a tendency for mischievousness as they play and also known for a very stubborn streak. But with boundaries and plenty of love and attention, the Yorkie will be your very own living and breathing teddy bear!