With their loud roars and wavy manes, lions are among the largest members of the feline family and respected as the king among animals.
Now comes the fun part. By some trick of nature, there are many canines who resemble these felines. Doesn’t the idea of having a large, fluffy, lion-like pet dog sound fascinating to you? If you’re looking for a loyal as well as royal dog for a pet, then you’re in luck. There are several dog breeds that look like lions and we’re sure you will enjoy getting to know the ones we’re going to talk about today. Let’s get started!
Considered one of the oldest guard dog breeds, Tibetan Mastiffs hail from the mountains of Tibet, where these large canines initially watched over the livestock of the nomads. Their thick fur coat, which gives them a lion-like appearance, helps them combat the harsh temperatures of their homeland. Tibetan Mastiffs have a history of working as watchdogs, which has helped them evolve into an incredibly intelligent and loyal species, qualities which make them an ideal pet. And while they’re independent and often act aloof with strangers, once you bond with them, they will grow to love and protect you just like family. As lovable as they sound, there’s a big (literally) factor you need to consider before bringing a Tibetan Mastiff home: their massive size as they mature. An adult Tibetan Mastiff can grow as tall as 26 inches and as heavy as 150 pounds (70 kilograms) and if space is a constraint they may not be a good fit. But if that’s not a problem a Tibetan Mastiff is a true gentle giant, and you cannot go wrong in your choice.
Often lovingly addressed as “Newfies”, Newfoundland is another giant working dog breed that originated from their namesake Canadian island. In terms of their height and weight, these dogs are just as large as the Tibetan Mastiffs (the males can be larger at times). While their fur is generally fluffy, and water-resistant, it also takes a lot of grooming to keep them in good shape, as they’re heavy shedders. It is also this thick fur, coupled with their enormous size, that lends them a fierce, leonine resemblance.
As daunting as the Newfoundland might appear, from inside, they’re real softies. They’re extremely friendly, get along with humans easily, and are playful and affectionate. Known for their fondness for children, these floofs can be an ideal pet in large families.
Hailing from China, Chow Chows are the closest a dog breed could get to resembling a lion. Their thick, short fur matches the coloration of a lion’s mane (the cinnamon ones). That, coupled with their lion-like ears, makes them true lion lookalikes of the canine world. They might appear cuddly on the outside but have a reserved and distant persona. Don’t hold this against them, though; they have a strong-willed and independent spirit, which is why their expression of affection might not match that of other dog breeds. While doing your bidding happily wouldn’t be their idea of fun, when they’ve grown affectionate towards you, you’ll certainly know it! Chow Chows are also couch potatoes, unlike most dogs. This breed enjoys napping more than playing around with their owners and are also counted among the laziest dog breeds in the world.
Named after the German city of Leonberg, Leonberger is the largest dog breed on our list today. With an average height of 31 inches and weight of 170 pounds (77 kilograms), they’re the closest to lions in size. The long, mane-like hair that surrounds these furred creatures’ heads and neck only adds to their leonine appearance. Leonbergers are intelligent dogs with a strong temperament and a dominant spirit. While they’re sociable and can get along well with other animals , the right training is crucial. Training a Leonberger is slightly challenging and you must be willing to invest in enough time and effort to ensure you have a well-behaved dog. This would include training and socializing them early and engaging them in outdoor activities at least twice a day, preferably with an extra hour of exercise. Their double coat fur also needs extra care. You need to brush their coat every 2-3 days and give them a bath once every fortnight.
Curious about what Löwchen means? Their name, pronounced ‘lerv-chun’ means “little lion dog” in German. If you ask us, that’s a big testimony to this breed’s resemblance to lions! Courageous yet gentle and blessed with a lustrous mane, Löwchens can be surprisingly brave and fiercely protective of their owners. Known to have originated in northern Europe, Löwchens have a history of being the pets of the nobility, which is why they’re both loyal as well as royal. As pets, they’re smart, agile, and fun-loving, and small in size; all the qualities one might look for in an ideal pet. Another advantage of their size and personality is their ability to adjust to small apartments and city life. They’re also sufficiently tolerant of both hot and cold temperatures, hypoallergenic, and shed very little. So, if you’re looking for a lion-like canine friend who’s also easy to manage, Löwchens are undoubtedly your best choice.
When you first take a look at a Pekingese, you might find no similarities between these little dogs and lions at all. However, upon a closer look, you might find them to be a cross between a monkey and a lion. While their face is strikingly similar to that of monkeys, the flowing mane around their neck gives them a leonine touch. Now, you must be wondering how that happened?. There’s a Chinese legend that tells the story of a lion and a marmoset monkey. The lion fell in love with the monkey but couldn’t be together due to the lion’s enormous size. The lion wanted to shrink in size and appealed to the Buddha with this wish. The Buddha granted that wish, the lion and monkey lived happily ever after, and the result was a Pekingese. Considered a toy dog breed, the Pekingese were formerly only kept in the royal families of China. These pampered pets might appear small, but their grooming needs surpass the other dogs on our list significantly. You’ll need to brush their fur daily, trim the hair around their feet pads frequently, and book them a grooming session every second month.
Chinese Crested Dog
Chinese Crested Dogs are another Chinese dog breed with a lion-like mane and tufted tail. These dogs can both be hairless or covered with thick hair, depending on the variety. But both kinds harbor a similar mane and long hair on their tails and feet.
Chinese Crested dogs are a companion dog breed; they grow attached to their owners very easily and prefer to be around them at all times. While they’re agile and athletic, going out to play is not their idea of fun like other breeds; they’d rather stay inside with you. This breed is also vulnerable to separation anxiety, which is why they shouldn’t be left alone for a long period of time.
Last but not least, Pomeranians have rightfully earned a place on this list of leonine dog breeds. Be it their orangish-golden fur coat or the grace and elegance they carry themselves with, these little furballs are no less than the big cats. Pomeranians are companion dogs that have highly extroverted personalities. While they get along very well with adults, their temperament is not that suited for children, mostly due to their tendency to bark extensively. Despite their tiny size, these little ones have a surprising level of energy and can even take on dogs much larger than themselves when fueled with aggression.