Are you into dogs and lions? Get the best of both worlds without actually bringing the exotic animal home as there have been dog breeds that were developed and selectively bred to resemble the king of the jungle.
Some naturally look lion-ish while others are specially groomed to look like one. Generally, they magnificently possess features known from a lion like the prominent bushy mane, coat quality, and color, as well as the stature.
Get to know all 13 lion-like dogs and learn along the way their varying personalities!
Table of Contents
1. Chow Chow
The Chow Chow breed is indisputably the most well-known dog that resembles the lion. This fluffy canine hails from China and is a particularly unique pet due to his blue-black tongue. His native name is “Songshi-Quan” which means “puffy lion dog”.
His exterior won’t make anyone hesitate in associating him with the brave lion. His dense fur, the red or fawn one most especially, comes close to the bushy mane of a male lion.
Although he’s got quite a heavy-looking coat, this Chinese breed likes to stay incredibly clean. They are easy to house-break and mostly free from dog odor.
Personality-wise, the dog exhibits serious and dignified manners, much like the lion, and demands that these be reciprocated. He can be intense in showing his devotion toward his family, but this shifts when met by a stranger.
2. Tibetan Mastiff
Another splendid lion-like specimen is no other than the Tibetan Mastiff. His heavy, plushy coat that gets denser around his face adds great semblance to an adult male lion.
A dog of this kind made news around 2013 when a zoo in China placed a Tibetan Mastiff in an enclosure and put on a false front as if it’s the real deal, according to National Geographic.
No doubt, when he gets attached to his owners, the dog will display an immeasurable love and dedication to protect them. He’s not the most approachable for strangers due to his territorial and protective instinct.
When he gets aggressive, an image of a lion can be seen from his expression. Historically, the dog was bred as a livestock guardian and has had several encounters with dangerous predators.
The Löwchen breed is a European dog whose name literally means “little lion.” If you have never heard of this dog breed then you are missing out. Apparently, they’re one of the rarest in the world with only 65 examples of breed registered, despite being around since the 16th century.
What makes this dog bear the physical hallmarks of the lion is his cut. His long and wavy hair can be freely presented in a lion cut depending on the owner’s preference. This is done by shaving the rear, a portion of the back and front legs’ coat, and at least 1/3 or 1/2 of the tail.
The overall result of the hair clipping is a Löwchen that looks like a mini-lion. During the cold, the shaved areas need to grow back to give more insulation against the climate.
Despite being such a small breed, don’t think of him as fragile. Behind his coat is a robust and well-built body that can last 20 minutes of exercise daily.
Another small dog that takes a spot in this article is the Pomeranian. If we are talking about bushy lion manes, he has this exuded so abundantly it mostly billows around his adorable cheeky face.
Despite the fact that the Pomeranian’s size is far from the same when compared to a lion as he’s only around seven pounds, his personality and usefulness as an alert dog make up for it. He’s not just about beauty at all but also practicality.
At home, the Pom-Pom can be a bit loud with his incessant barking so training is a must if you value a serene home environment. Nevertheless, witness a lionhearted small canine that’s not daunted when it comes to forming relationships with kids and other people.
The Leonberger is a sizable German dog that came about by cross-breeding the Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees, and Newfoundland. His appearance is deemed to perfectly complement his task which is being a watchdog due to his lion-like features.
Despite the intimidating and somewhat ferocious sculpture, the dog is often labeled the “gentle lion”. Ideally, the breed is sweet in disposition and is far from aggressive and hot-headed as opposed to the wild pride leader.
As a companion dog, his first priority is to safeguard the wellness of his owners. He’s known to make impressively sound decisions and judgments and deals with situations in the best way he can.
Next up is a Dutch breed called Keeshond or Keeshonden in plural form. Putting aside his coat colors that aren’t naturally available in either red or fawn, the looks are what make him appear like a tiny white lion.
Keeshonden are light and compact as they only weigh 15 pounds, perfect for travel and adventure. The first thing you’d notice would be his coat quality that is as fluffy as a lion’s mane. It bursts in an outside manner making them appear even bigger.
If this non-sporting spitz breed gains your attention, know that he’s friendly, outgoing, and energetic. He may not be close to the lion’s level when it comes to endurance, size, and sturdiness, but some wouldn’t mind these at all as long as he resembles the other animal.
7. Caucasian Shepherd
If we think about a dog that is as fierce as the lion, the Caucasian Shepherd won’t disappoint you. He is notorious for being stubborn, hard to discipline, aloof, and oftentimes aggressive.
A firm and experienced owner is needed so he does not grow up becoming a liability and a threat to your neighbors and passersby. Although it’s nice to have a pet that’s capable of protecting you, an extremely aggressive one can be uncontrollable.
Now, what makes this dog lion-like is his poofy fur that spreads abundantly throughout his body. It gets thicker around the neck, chest, and tail, making him more deserving of a spot in this list.
The size can’t be ignored too. With a whopping 220 pounds weight, the Caucasian Shepherd is one of the closest to get near the scale of an average lion.
Another lion look-alike is the Newfoundland that reaches 150 pounds in weight. This big ball of fur falls under the category of working dogs that have copious long hair all over them.
He’s the total opposite of a lion when it comes to personality. He loves to be friendly around people and is more than happy to receive unlimited pets. While lions have high prey drive, the Newfoundland, on the other hand, won’t chase other small dogs or pets like cats as long as he’s socialized.
Beware about bringing one to your home, however, since he sheds heavily on a regular basis. Constant grooming can remedy this, but there has to be commitment along the way.
One more thing, much like the lion, the Newfoundland breed is insanely intelligent and strong when it comes to protecting loved ones.
9. Great Pyrenees
Take a look at another lion look-alike that is as hardworking as a lion that goes on the hunt each day- the Great Pyrenees. If the lion is hailed as the king of the jungle, the Great Pyrenees breed has the title “the big dog of the mountains.
It’s no surprise considering how fluffy his coat is. He also carries a mane around his head and neck and the quality is the same with his tail. This big dog stands sturdy in his four robust legs while watching his surroundings with his inquisitive eyes.
At home, this canine acts like a mellow companion, but when his duty calls, he turns into a vigilant guard dog. He’s more suitable with behaved kids, a true affectionate, trustworthy, and devoted family companion.
Let’s hear about a Chinese legend that attempts to explain the origin of the Pekingese dog. According to it, a lion fell in love with a monkey and he asked Buddha to get him to shrink in size so they could be together.
When it was granted, the Pekingese breed became the fruit of their union. It’s true that legends are not at all accurate, but from the looks of the breed, the Pekingese indeed has a combination of a lion and a monkeys’ face.
Should we talk about this little dog’s appearance, he likes to waddle his long coat as he walks. It shows dignity and confidence which are a few of the characteristics a lion may show.
Have a lion-looking dog companion that would stick with you forever by picking the adorable Pekingese breed.
11. Himalayan Guard Dog
The Himalayan Guard Dog goes by several names which are Himalayan Sheepdog, Gaddi Kutta, Botia, and Bangara. He’s undoubtedly similar to a lion due to his long flowy fur and is close in appearance to the Tibetan Mastiff breed.
The breed is hostile by nature making training challenging to impossible, but they are still capable of getting domesticated. When drills are successful, this black sheepdog would tirelessly guard whatever he’s tasked to protect.
As herders of sheep and other livestock, the Himalayan Guard Dog certainly has encountered countless dangerous animals nearby. He’s a great match in looks and strength and it’s a plus if there are a lot of them in the field to successfully defeat a lion.
The Shar-Pei breed sometimes looks close to a Chow Chow but upon closer observation in his facial features, distinctions will clearly show. The dog originally comes from China and his common coat colors include red and fawn.
Like the lion, the Shar-Pei dog has a velvety coat although he’ll exhibit a few wrinkles here and there. His face is exceptionally large and notable, especially the muzzle.
He’s great for families that are after dogs that are devoted, reserved, loving, and independent. He may need early socialization to reduce his aggression levels.
13. Golden Retriever
Who would forget about our third most popular dog breed in America? The Golden Retriever is usually known for its golden long coat that gets wavy around his neck, partly on the chest, and feathery in the tail.
Several online shops sell faux lion mane fur for owners who want to accessorize their dogs and make them appear like more adorable lions. Put this around a Golden Retriever’s neck and you’ll agree he well earns a place here.
Golden Retrievers are known for their gentler expression, beautiful inside and out, obedient, charming in every way, and loyal. He’s high on tolerance level, hardworking, and approachable all of which counteracts the qualities of the animal he bears semblance to which is the lion.