Despite counting wolves amongst their ancestors, the appearances of modern dog breeds can vary drastically. Indeed, you find that they come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, some of them are almost leonine in form, like the Tibetan Mastiff. Others are more fox-like, such as Shiba Inus.
Today, we list dogs that look like bears. Most of the canines that show up on this list are members of hulking, fluffy breeds. The color of their fur and size can result in striking resemblances to bears. In other words, you won’t just find dogs that can go toe to toe with a grizzly. There are also smaller pooches who look more akin to teddy bears!
Also, as always, we mention some of the lesser-known breeds to add to the knowledge of our fellow dog-lovers.
While visiting the Pyrenees Mountains — they run the gamut between France and Spain — you may catch of the eponymous Great Pyrenees canine. At first glance, you might mistake a Great Pyrenees for a polar bear! Their lush weatherproof all-white coats are responsible for that. Some also sport markings in different shades, including:
The reason behind the breeding of the Great Pyrenees was their use as herding dogs. In the wild, these humungous dogs would go up against wolves and bears to protect the flocks. But what may surprise you is how gentle these giants can be.
Heavier than a hundred pounds, these dogs are immensely loyal and protective towards their family members. Besides being family-friendly, they are also intelligent.
When a German canine enthusiast crossed a chow chow with Samoyed and wolfspitz lines, this massive creature was the result. Even its name hints at its Euro-Asian heritage. Eurasiers, thus, have the intelligence and the independent nature of their spitz parent. But since their genetic makeup also contains chow chow, the specimen are understandably huge.
Aside from being smart, Eurasiers can prove to be family pets. That’s because they possess an even temper and generally, remain calm. Even so, be prepared for their aloofness towards people they don’t know.
Euraisers can reach heights of up to 24 inches while amassing a weight between 40 and 70 pounds. Puppies of this breed are noticeably more bear-like.
Related: Dog Breeds That Look Like Bears (and Teddy Bears)
You may have come across the story of the three Maremma puppies hanging on to their tiny lives amongst the rubble of an Italian hotel. But even if you don’t know this breed, here’s your chance to do so. As sweet-natured as a border collie, the Maremma Sheepdog will win your heart immediately. If its temperament doesn’t do it, then their fluffiness will want you to cuddle these fur babies pronto.
The Maremma sheepdog is quite similar in appearance to the Great Pyrenees. Both aren’t just massive in size but also share similar natures. You’ll know each breed to behave in a noble and affectionate manner. Like its cousin, the Maremma can serve both as a flock guardian and a family pet.
Their ursine characteristics include their:
- Bear-like heads
- Black noses
- White, dense double coats
Maremma dog ears can also show markings that are ivory, pale orange, or light yellow.
Are you here to see more dogs that look like polar bears? Then Samoyeds will make your day! As puppies, they resemble polar bears to an even greater extent. But the adults are very cute too!
An ancient North Russian spitz breed, these all-white canines were reindeer herders at one time. Additionally, Samoyeds are also great at pulling sleds, which their forbears did for the nomadic, indigenous peoples there.
Do you aim to provide a home to a Samoyed? Then rest assured that their family-friendly demeanor will only make it easier for you to do so. Moreover, their angora-soft and warm, luxurious fur is great to snuggle up against. However, don’t forget to commit to a grooming routine for these very fluffy puppers.
Related: 10 Abnormally Large Dogs Around The World!
Aka vinegar or Savannah dogs are now sadly an endangered species. As you can observe, their appearance matches that of brown bears. You’ll find these canines in:
- The Amazon basin
- All over Central America
- Everywhere in South America
As adults, bush dog fur lightens up to a brownish-tan color with highlights. Combine the elusive coloring with their shy natures, and it could be hard to spot one in the wild. During puppyhood, its shade is darker. In both stages of life, the texture remains soft and long. Bush dogs are excellent enough swimmers to immerse themselves underwater!
Artifacts, as early as those from150 B.C., depict the chow chow breed. Thus, it is possible that they could be the world’s oldest canines. But how did they come to be? That’s an interesting story that involves the Chinese nobles of the Han and Tang Dynasties.
Noble origins soon forgotten, you could see chow chows on farms and hunting expeditions. They were ubiquitously present at court too. The reason behind their widespread use in China is how reliable a working dog the chow chow are. Whether it is guard duty, hauling, or hunting, they can do it.
The late 1800s saw the introduction of this breed outside of China. We have Queen Victoria to thank for that. Now, the whole world knows chow chow as loyal and caring companions. Occasionally, they will betray their aristocratic lineage by acting aloof towards strangers. But that is also already evident in how dignified and serious this breed is. Individuals can grow 20 inches tall and weigh 70 pounds.
Don’t attempt keeping one if you don’t know how to handle a stubborn and independent canine!
Close to black bears in looks, the Ovcharka also has another name. This Russian dog hails from mountainous regions and carries the honorific, Caucasian Shepherd Dog. The ursine traits they display include:
- Enormous bearish heads
- Huge paws
- Thick, black fur
Should you require a super tough canine, then the Ovcharka is a good choice. Fortunately, even big as they are, they possess lovely temperaments. But don’t make them stay home with other pets. Ovcharkas are best homed on their own.
Variants include the Dagestan, Circassian Mountain, Astrakhan, and Circassian Sheep dogs. The Ovcharka is related to many other different breeds, such as:
- Armenian Gampr dog
- Turkish Kars Dog
- Georgian Shepherd
Long before their adoption as the Dutch Patriots’ Party in the 18th century, the Keeshond were taken on board early Dutch vessels. There, they would serve as both companions and guards. Hence, the beloved epithet of people’s dog. But back to the Party, its leader’s canine companion went by Kees. Many dog enthusiasts think that’s where this breed got its name from.
You’d be as nonplussed to find the Keeshond on our list as you would to see the Pomeranian there. But both of them resemble teddy bears a lot. That’s why we put the Keeshond on this one.
Your Keeshond won’t need a lot of space since they only get as tall as 18 inches. Think of a 45-pound ball of energy and intelligence and that’s what these canines are! Other than that, Keeshond are also friendly and easy to train. Don’t know how to recognize one? The spectacles marking them around the eyes are a very unique and noticeable characteristic.
Dog psychologists consider poodles to the second most intelligent canines. But just as we can underestimate how smart some prettier looking people might be, we let the poodle fool us with its looks!
When it comes to bear-like appeance, that’s due to a curly mantle and a cute button nose. Poodles are available in a range of styles and sizes. You will find poodles with different colored fur too, such as:
However, spend some time with a poodle. They will show you smart they really are! They are also affectionate canines who love to express their feelings to their humans. Adorable as they are, poodles do require much training before they can live with you.
If we were to list one pooch that looks like a bear, many of us will choose Newfoundlands as our ursine breed of choice. After all, these giants can be as heavy as 150 pounds and grow 28 inches tall. But their appearance belies how sweet and gentle they really are! In fact, they are so patient and kind with children, that they can play nanny to your kids.
Look at a newfie’s feet and you will find them to be webbed. That’s becuase originally they would accompany Canadian fishermen. As nautical companions in the icy North Atlantic, their duties would involve making heroic rescues. More often, though, newfies would serve as deckhands, pull fish carts to the markets, and haul nets.
The most prominent example of a Newfie would be the one that went with Lewis and Clark on their trek. Called Seaman, this canine took the epic trek along with its masters. It served them bravely and loyally. Once, Seaman even saved their lives when it confronted a charging buffalo. It is no wonder that its likeness is a part of ten different monuments!
This fun-sized pooch might not resemble a bear in size. However, its long and fine fur does make it look like a teddy bear. The Yorkshire Terrier has malleable fur that you can style into different looks.
For dog-lovers who enjoy playing host to active and curious breeds, this terrier is an ideal choice. Enjoy playing along with your curious canine companion — they sure can keep up! Although adorable, the Yorkshire Terrier can be stubborn too. So, they will need training to prevent that from happening.
Finally, you can even get small, almost toy-sized, teacup Yorkies as pets. But we’d caution you against the many health problems related to this trait.
Akitas are now synonymous for unending and undying loyalty thanks to Hachiko. After they passed away, this canine remained at the Shibuya train station for nine years waiting for its owner! Their loyalty is one of the reasons that makes them beloved pets all around the world.
Besides that, Akitas are also important in Japanese culture. They are taken to be symbols of happiness and long life. It all has to do with their noble origins. Back then, only Japanese nobility could have an Akita. The canines went on hunts, snagging bears, deer, and boars for their aristocratic masters.
Courageous as heck, independent, this primitive dog breed can be stubborn. They will demand your affection and often become protective of you. Therefore, get into socialization and training to domesticate.
Finally, Akitas are massive, i.e., one can weigh as much as 130 pounds and grow 28 inches tall. So, don’t get one if you live in cramped quarters. It won’t be fair to the pooch.
Bouvier des Flandres
This canine breed’s name literally means, cow herder of Flanders. But don’t let its bulk scare you away. Behind that robust body and ursine-thick and curly mantle hides the heart of a teddy bear! Just look at that beautiful little face for proof.
Bouviers are also faithful and kind. If you have the space to house their massiveness, then do get one for the family. However, all that thick and curly hair would require brushing and grooming. Daily brushing is the only way you can prevent knotting. Also, it will keep their fur from becoming parasite-ridden.
The town of Leonberg is part of the Baden-Württemburg state in Germany. It is the birthplace of the eponymous canine breed. Their primary purpose was to serve as companions to royalty in the 19th century. Tsar Alexandar II and Napoleon III both had one in their homes.
But a life full of luxury isn’t the only kind that Leonberger dogs are great at. They also make excellent working dogs to farmers and at the docks. Their impressive bulk made them good at pulling carts too. A Leonberger can be as tall as 32 inches and weigh 170 pounds.
Even so, they possess a gentle, friendly, and serene nature. Hence, you could keep one as a family pet. What’s more, these dogs also have keen intelligence that lets them separate friend from foe. So, they can act as guarddogs, as well.
You might think twice before you bring this bearish dog home. But that’s only until you spot the doleful look in those big, bright eyes. A St. Bernard is docile enough to play with children. That is one of the thing making it a suitable breed for young families.
Both long-haired and short-haired Bernards bear a close resemblance to bears. They can amass up to 265 pounds and grow tall enough to reach 35 inches. Get one only if you can provide them with ample spaced living quarters.
Simply put, that funky S should come out as sh when you name a member of this canine breed. However, you can also call them Yugoslavian Shepherd Dogs. Natives of the Sar Mountains — same funky S — take their sheep-guarding duties much seriously.
They will extend their protection to their family members — or you. In other words, a Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog will always have you back. They are both loyal and protective but those traits can easily transcend into the stubborn territory. Train them well and their even-tempered quality will come out more often than the others.
The Cockapoo is affectionate enough that it will stick with you all day long. They make great companion dogs because of the unconditional love they show to their owners. Another quality that turns them into perfect candidates as family pets is they don’t know how to hold a grudge.
Bring a Cockapoo home and you will have a creature driven by its nature to please you. Train with them and you will grow even closer. This is also an intelligent breed, so first-time owners shouldn’t face many teething troubles.
All these pets ask of you is that you love them back — and groom them often. Cockapoos are bear-like non-drooling dogs who won’t shed or bark much.
Essentially, a Golden Retriever, the Slovensky Cuvac is just white and much larger! You could mistake them for a classically white polar bear. The reason behind the color of their coat is to help owners distinguish their pet from other wild animals at night. In short, the Cuvacs acted as guardians for their Slovakian owners at nighttime.
However, they don’t just look ursine. They also have the fearlessness to match. Know that your Cuvac will fight off any unwanted attention — even of the bear variety. A Cuvac’s coat is fluffy and insulates them from Slovakian winters. In other words, it is thick enough to require daily grooming.
A beautiful, bear-like, high-spirited dog. The Spanish Mastiff was originally developed to follow the nomadic shepherds and guard their flock. Today, it keeps the Merino livestock under its protection.
You won’t have to look far beyond its bulky frame and bear-like demeanor to see why we have it on our list. Furthermore, its brown-colored coat seals the deal.
Most of the time, you will find your Mastiff to be calm and gentle. But should they feel you need protection, they will defend you as long as they can. Even so, these amazing dogs make adorable pets if you extend a bit of patience and trust their way.
The name might give you the hint of this bear-like canine’s origins. Yes, it hails from Turkey. But the Anatolian Mastiff also has another name, the Kangal Shepherd. In short, you’re looking at premier shepherds that have been keeping the flocks safe for thousands of years.
Powerful and confident, the dark-coloured hue and a meaty facial structure make the Anatolian look positively grizzly-like. In addition to those, these massive beasts can weigh more than 150 pounds — almost as heavy as a small bear cub.
Keeping an Anatolian Mastiff as a pet means it will have your back even if an actual grizzly shows up! They would also go up against wolves, lions, and jackals while conducting their shepherding duties.
Estrela Mountain Dog
Another livestock guardian that produces a stellar performance, the Estela Mountain Dog is easily one of the best. They are loyal, brave, and highly dependable creatures. If they count you in their pack, they will extend that same single-minded protection towards you too. They would still want to have their own way, though. So, give them socialization training and they will be fit to live with kids.
Look at the dark brown coat of an Estrela dog. It feels like a combination of the fur of a brown and grizzly bear. Tack on 130 pounds to their frames. Now, the comparison to a bear doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Does it?
Do only some pure breeds look like bears? Will I find a mongrel dog that is ursine?
It isn’t just the pedigree canines that can resemble bears. Cross and mix different breeds and you could have a dog that looks even more bear-like. The factors that usually produce this look include a doleful expression, bear-shaped head, and big, fluffy coat.
Are bears and dogs related?
Not directly, at least, no. They form two different species that have risen after evolving from separate families. More specifically, a dog is a member of the Canidae family. As are coyotes foxes, and dingoes. Bears, meanwhile, are from the Ursidae family.
They may look like bears or lions — or any other wild animal. But the fact is, these pooches are still pets. Like most dogs, these breeds only look frighteningly impressive. Inside all the fluffiness is a heart of gold. So, sure, bring a majestic canine like that into your life. Enjoy the pleasure their bear-like appearance brings to you. Savor how it can equally terrify strangers and intruders. But give them the affection they deserve in their forever home.
Lastly, you will find many of the incredible breeds — and mixes — that we mentioned above in local shelters and rescues. Regardless of whether they look like teddies (Pomeranians and Keeshonds) or a grizzly replica (Anatolian Mastiff), their unique personalities will keep you entertained.