Some of us just love bears. But adopting one has its challenges. And you probably shouldn’t be doing it. (Unless it happens by mistake like with this Chinese family bringing home and raising a bear instead of Tibetian Tibetan mastiff).
But there’s at least a considerable chance that your puppy will resemble a bear if you are opt-in for one of the breeds of dogs that look like bears we are covering in this list. Whether you prefer a smaller or a giant pet – I most likely have a great “bear” option for you.
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How closely related are dogs and bears?
Bears and dogs are close relatives. They’re also part of the’ dog-like carnivores’ called Caniformia. The members of the Caniformia suborder include dogs, bears, seals, otters, weasels, etc. It makes bears and dogs cousins.
And to go even deeper into the relationship between dog and bear…
There were once even different species of bear-dogs (now extinct). For example, one called Amphicyon, which shared the characteristics of bears (heavy-bodied) and dogs (relatively long legs and prolong noses).
But they were neither bears (the Ursidae family) nor dogs (the Canidae family). These were not explicitly in the biological families of bears or dogs, but these were not included in the Caniformia.
Why are bears afraid of dogs?
It has long been usual practice to actively ban bears from places where humans meet regularly, such as campgrounds and garbage dumps.
So over the years, humans were teaching dogs to scare bears away by barking at them and chasing them. This is an easy way of preventing conflicts between humans and bears.
So, bears are inherently afraid of dogs, and being pursued by them also changes the behavior of bears.
They are much more likely to avoid the area after they have been attacked by a dog. And in a way, it’s imprinted on their DNA to be scared of dogs.
Why do dogs that look like bears exist?
Since both belong to the Carnivora clade of mammals, it’s not shocking that some kinds and breeds of dogs that look like bears and the other way around.
But the seals, raccoons, weasels, skunks, and otters also belong to this group. So the combinations in looks that you can find in both genus are very robust.
Giant bear dog breed
The Tibetan mastiff
Both dogs of the mastiff type, including the Tibetan mastiff, appear to be huge dogs with fearsome faces. While they seem to be slow, gentle, and very affectionate, just like Newfoundland.
The first thing that will strike you when you see one of them is their sheer size.
Not just tall but also large, weighing up to around 100-160 lbs on average or more than 250 lbs in some cases.
Which is heavier than most humans! Their broad heads are what give them their distinctive bear-like appearance, and behind their ears, they have a thick mane of fur that almost looks like a leonine.
Their coats are very thick and heavy, so grooming a Tibetan mastiff thoroughly from top to toe may easily take the whole day.
And as mentioned in the intro of this article, this particular breed was mistaken as a bear by a clueless Chinese family. They raised a full-sized bear believing it was a Tibetan mastiff.
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Large bear dog breed
The Newfoundland dog
The Newfoundland dog is one of the giant breeds that often makes people pause for a second look. In essence, these shaggy dogs are usually lovely and relaxed, always appearing to move almost in slow motion.
Those can be as heavy as 130–150 lbs on average. They can be in a wide variety of colors, including black, brown, and white, the most common being black.
They’re also super cuddly and really caring and not at all scary.
Little dogs that look like bears
Pomeranians can be described as optimistic, curious, and enjoying attention. And they certainly look like mini bears (or teddy bears if you want) if you’re doing the grooming right.
Regardless of their larger-than-life personalities, you’re going to need to set some house rules, so they don’t think they’re going to run the home.
And they may be the most stubborn with potty training and constant barking.
Such little pups are the ideal company to go on an adventure, enjoy spending their days trailing you, and genuinely appreciate new experiences.
Puppies that look like a bear
Both grown-ups and puppy Caucasian Shepherds are very much like bears. It is as much their heavy and incredibly soft coats as their rounded noses.
In fact, the Caucasian Shepherd is one of the tallest dogs in the world, because it can reach up to 2.3 ft in height at the knees and can weigh up to 220 lbs.
This dog breed was bred to protect the sheep in the large haciendas of the former Soviet Union, from which their name derives. Also known as the Caucasian Ovcharka or the Caucasian Mastiff, they are powerful and calm dogs.
Dogs that look like polar bears
The Samoyed has a stunning white, fuzzy coat that could look very much like a polka-dotted polar bear. Such dogs are good-natured and love to be the focus of attention. And they blend into a family of any size. In fact, they are a very intelligent breed, making training an absolute pleasure.
Samoyed’s can be a handful, despite being caring and intelligent. It is a working race, and it needs everyday rituals or activities to keep their minds occupied. Otherwise, they can get bored quickly and bring some distraction to your house.
Chubby dogs that look like bears
The Chow Chow is a big, fluffy dog breed that can stand 19–22 inches tall, and is most distinctive for having a blue tongue!
They have large heads with side necks that contribute to their massive, bear-like look, along with their slightly grumpy faces!
The Chow Chow Coat is one of the thickest, densest coats you’ll find on any breed, too, and you might lose your entire hand in their fur just by trying to figure out where it all ends!
Dogs that look like teddy bears
Eurasier is related to the Chow Chow, and maybe that’s why they share the characteristics of the bear. Such dogs are calm, curious, and gentle, but they can have trouble trusting strangers.
Their dense hair, tiny ears, and round eyes make them look like teddy bears. Take a look below if you need evidence and note the distinct blue marks on the tongue.
Fluffy bear dogs
A small breed, the Bichon Frise rarely reaches more than 9–12 inches tall, so there’s nothing grizzly about it. A boy who can be groomed in whatever kind of teddy bear you want them to be.
This breed has a long, fluffy and curly coat for this reason. When their fur is well-groomed, they also have a rounded and chubby teddy-bear look that I find adorable. In particular, the puppies look like their bear parents, but they still have an eye on adulthood.
Cute dogs that look like teddy bears
Known for their long and soft hair, the Yorkshire Terrier is another breed that looks like a teddy bear. Their fur can be stylized to achieve various looks (bear included). It is mainly the case when they are puppies, and the’ bear cut’ is ordered to the groomers.
This breed is very friendly and curious, and those pups love to play and explore.
Teacup dogs that look like bears
As its name suggests, Pomsky is the result of the mating of a Siberian husky with a Pomeranian. Pomskies tend to differ in size depending on how much of each breed they have.
So if we’re talking about dominant Pomeranian teacup genes, you’re going to get a pupa up to 10 inches tall. With the right grooming, you’ll get yourself a mini bear in various colors, including white, silver, black, and more.
Japanese bear dogs
Kai Ken, Japanese ninja dog
Kai Ken (sometimes also called ninjas’ dog) is known to be a very unusual breed, even in Japan.
This was once bred for hunting game in the mountains of Japan. Medium in size, they weigh between 25-55 pounds.
These have a thick coat that comes in a range of colors, including black and red. Kai Ken is extremely smart, learning much faster than other native Japanese dog breeds. And they do look like very slender and beautiful bears.
Asian bear dogs
So-called Asian Bear Dog was developed as a combination of the conventional old-world Tibetan Mastiff and the American Akita. The Asian Bear Dog has the features of both breeds as you would expect.
They are going to shed once per year as a Tibetan mastiff, for instance. This breed was created to get a super healthy dog, both physically, and mentally. And it’s also turned out to be big and heavy, just like a real bear.
Dogs similar to panda bears
The last one is a real surprise. This is not really a whole new exotic breed. But rather a traditional dog (mostly Chow Chow or smaller versions of Bichon Frise) that has been dyed and groomed to look like a panda.
Those were a big craze and China a few years back. And even though it might be not very ethical to dye your pet, you have to admit these panda dogs still look very adorable and cute.
Thanks for the blog graphics: Canva.com