There’s no denying that Pandas are just some of the cutest and most adorable animals we’ve ever known. As much as we want to bring one home, this species is protected and basically unsuitable for domestication.
However, a popular pet shop in the province of Sichuan caused a certain undying craze– the panda dogs. Using only certain dyes and intricate grooming, the said shop can turn any breed into a panda replica, and many frowns upon this fad.
There’s no need for those tedious processes, however. Luckily, some dog breeds naturally bear some of the hallmarks of a real panda, although not all of them would exactly look like one.
1. Chow Chow
Fluff-wise, the Chow Chow deserves the top spot in this list! This dog was first discovered in Northern China while Pandas are native to the central part of the country. Chow Chows are immensely cuddly, not to mention how flocculent his cheeks are.
For the most part, Chow Chows look very much like bears, especially if they come in fawn or red. To make him appear more like a panda, all there is to be done is to dye all his legs, a portion of his back, ears, and eye rims. We don’t suggest that you do that, however, as dyes can be really toxic for your dog.
Chow Chows naturally have squishy, square faces and the bushy mane makes them appear even more adorable. This breed is usually docile and calm, but it takes one experienced owner to fully keep him from biting other people.
2. Tibetan Mastiff
While pandas are endemic to China, the Tibetan Mastiff is hailed to be a native of Tibet. This dog is massive as he’s a descendant of the great Roman war dog and the size aspect is shared by several other Mastiffs like the Cane Corso and the English Mastiff.
Now, the Tibetan Mastiff may not exhibit the common black and white pattern of the panda, but his face really exudes a reflection similar to that of bears. If you don’t know it yet, pandas fall in the classification of bears after having such a long debate about it.
To add, the thick, fluffy coat of the Tibetan Mastiff, especially the abundance of fur around his neck makes him a great panda dog. Due to his size, this dog would do better with experienced owners. Despite his potential aggression, what sets him apart from the real panda is the fact that he’s a domestic pet.
3. Bichon Frise
We know pandas for their round faces too. As with dogs such as the Bichon Frise, you only have to take him to a professional groomer and have his coat trimmed into a perfect fur-ball!
The main emphasis shows on the head. A Bichon Frise may sport the same round feature similar to a panda. Due to this breed’s natural white color, he’s one step closer to becoming a panda dog compared to other types of dogs.
There’s no need to dye him though. His black eyes and nose are enough to resemble the facial features of the Chinese national animal.
The Maltese Poodle mix or Maltipoo is another panda dog you may consider getting. With his wider gene pool, you can certainly expect a variety of looks and temperaments from him.
It’s not uncommon though to end up having a white Maltipoo. His curly coat can grow fast and that can be groomed into something round which is similar to that of the Panda. The real difference between these two animals is their size.
Maltipoos are compact dogs that you can carry anywhere. This hypoallergenic dog is well-mannered and brilliant in his own ways. For a more panda-looking version of him, go after black and white Maltipoos. They’re rare, but they’re not impossible to find.
5. Karelian Bear Dog
Since a panda is well-known for its bi-colored coat, you should definitely check out the Karelian Bear Dog as he exhibits the same hues. He’s not very close to looking like a panda bear features-wise, but he certainly got the looks of a typical black bear.
Such a dog is fearless and free-spirited. Oftentimes, you’ll see him exude a courageous aura which is no surprise as he was once a hunter for big games. The coat, although not that prominent, feels fluffy and soft when touched– a true delight for owners who are the cuddly type.
Upon getting this dog, immediately establish with him the fact that you can be trusted. He can be prone to separation anxiety, therefore, attention, as well as an active lifestyle, must be given reasonably.
6. French Bulldog
Most panda dogs feature wooly coats, black and white colors, and bear-looking faces. The French Bulldog, on the other hand, may only exhibit a black and white coat color.
This is an excellent choice if you’re heavily into French Bulldogs and at the same time, have an obsession with pandas. It’s no big deal if this pooch doesn’t have the thickest coat out there as he remains a big fan of love and cuddles.
As this little canine is active and playful, it’s truly beneficial if you schedule regular playtime activities to boost him physically and mentally.
7. Siberian Husky
Now, this one can also be a bit of a stretch, but traditionally, Siberian Huskies show off a black and white coat. Some others would manifest other varieties natural to the breed though.
The black and white color of the Husky makes the breed qualify for a spot on this list. After all, it’s almost impossible for any panda dog to truly indicate all the features present in the said wild animal.
Huskies are popular worldwide and though they may not have the same coat texture like that of a panda, they remain great for cuddling. These dogs are super smart, hardworking, and large.
8. Old English Sheepdog
Speaking of furry coats, the Old English Sheepdog also has such a type. Most dogs of this breed come in black and white hair hence why they can be compared closely to a real-life panda bear.
Since the dog’s hair can grow longer, an owner can just opt to have his pooch get groomed and trimmed, especially around the head to make it look round and fluffier.
Whether or not you do it though, the Old English Sheepdog remains adorable in his own way. This sociable dog needs regular exercise like running, playing, and walking. Also, he can adapt to just about any kind of environment as long as his basic needs are met.
9. Landseer Dog
Another hefty breed to consider is the Landseer dog. He’s no match with the panda’s size, of course, but it’s his natural black and white coat color that really challenges the panda.
Landseer dogs are not the most common but their sweet and easy-going disposition will make you regret not knowing them earlier. In most cases, the breed looks the same as the Newfoundland, but Europe finds them as two distinct breeds.
Just like his brother, the Landseer dog is hardworking, bright, and great with kids. His patience is endless and that’s what makes him a great family dog.
10. Spanish Water Dog
Spanish Water Dogs won’t always be considered panda dogs, especially because they feature curly hair that seems to have a different texture. Coat color-wise though, some dogs of this breed can have the well-known black and white color of the panda.
Now, Spanish Water Dogs and Portuguese Water Dogs might confuse you. To help you have a clearer distinction between the two, Porties can feature curly or wavy hair while the Spanish pooches only come in coiled coats.
Just like his kin brother, the Spanish Water Dog is skillful when it comes to retrieving games held in the water. He’s aloof toward strangers but utterly affectionate toward family members. Socialization really makes a big impact in his upbringing.
11. Border Collie
Another panda dog breed may not feature a bear face but rather the coat color. Border Collies are just some of the smartest dogs there are, so you’re definitely in for a lot of pleasantries should you go for an amazingly obedient dog of this type.
There are a plethora of coat shades that he may come in but the most remarkable would be his black and white combination. Black may sometimes cover a portion of his eyes as if he’s got a peculiar mask which is quite the same as a panda.
Meanwhile, the coat may not be as similar as we’d want. As a pet, the Border Collie can be easily trained for agility sports and sheep herding trials.
12. Japanese Chin
The last spot on this list belongs to the Japanese Chin. The breed is often described to have a distinct oriental look with equal coat markings on the face.
One of the accepted colors by the American Kennel Club (AKC) is the black and white combination. If you are looking for a panda dog that comes in a minute size, then this would be it.
Admittingly, the Japanese Chin seems to be far from looking like a panda, but he’s undeniable just as cuddly, cute, and interesting. This pooch is bred to be wonderful companions. And, despite the size, he can be very independent as he is intelligent.