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Dogs That Look Like Lions (With Pictures)

It has been said that after some time, dogs begin to resemble their owners (or maybe it’s the other way around).

At any rate, some dogs naturally resemble other types of animals such as monkeys and lions.

Yes, there are actually dog breeds that look like lions.

Whether it’s their size, facial expression, fur or other characteristics, when you look at certain dog breeds, you’re simply reminded of a lion.

If you have a thing for lions, the next best thing would be to have a lion pooch as a pet!

Nine Dog Breeds That Resemble Lions

Here are nine of the top contender breeds for the lion dog category.

Chow Chow

chow chow dog

Oh, there’s no mistaking the marked resemblance of a Chow Chow to a lion.

Why, one look and you can tell they’re practically twins!

When it comes to character, Chows and lions have a lot in common, as well.

Originally from Mongolia and northern China, the Chow Chow comes from an ancient warrior dog breed belonging to the Tang Empire.

Their compact, muscular bodies, thick lion-like mane and aggressive nature put them at the top of the list of dogs that resemble lions.

When trained as pets, however, they can be loving, calm pups.

They’re easy to house train, like to keep themselves clean and don’t have that doggy smell that’s so common among other breeds.

Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff comes from a long line of ancient Asian canines and was at one time used to guard livestock belonging to the Tibetan Royal Family.

This breed not only looks like a lion with its muscular physique and mane-like ruff, it acts like one, too, as evidenced by its fierce countenance and focused stare.

At one point, as the story goes, a Chinese zoo was actually exhibiting a Tibetan Mastiff as a real lion for weeks before being found out.

A mature Tibetan Mastiff can stand well over two feet tall and weigh as much as 150 pounds.

Like lions, these canines are fearless, strong-willed, dominant creatures.

As pets, they’re extremely loyal to their human family but not so tolerant of strangers or other animals in the household.

They’re high-maintenance dogs that need a firm hand to keep them under control and lots of daily exercise.


lowchen dog breed
Jappitoo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Despite its small size, the Lowchen’s proud bearing, mane-like fur and bravery have earned it a spot on the lion dog list.

In fact, Lowchen literally means “little lion” in German.

Lowchen is a popular European breed known for its outgoing nature and flowing, low-shedding fur that’s generally styled in a lion-like fashion, i.e. closely-clipped in the rear to highlight its plumed tail.

The Lowchen was originally bred for companionship and that’s the role it plays best.

It’s cute, friendly and highly adaptable.

This playful pup enjoys roughhousing and will get along with any member of your household, including other pets.

It thrives in the company of people, although it can be aloof with strangers, and doesn’t do well when left on its own.

On the negative side, the Lowchen tends to bark a lot, so if you live in an apartment with close neighbors, that may become an issue unless you can train your Lowchen to bark quietly.


Leonberger dog breed

What do you get when you mix a Saint Bernard, a Great Pyrenees and a Newfoundland together?

Why the massive Leonberger – of course!

This royal-looking dog is said to resemble the lion on the Leonberger, Germany, coat of arms.

Hence, its name – the Leonberger.

Despite its large size (fully grown, this dog can weigh as much as 150 pounds), the Leonberger is a fairly gentle and affectionate dog.

Its size, lion-like features and deep bark make it a good candidate for a watchdog.

Once socialized, Leonbergers make great family pets.

They’re good with children and generally tolerate strangers.

Strangely enough, like lions, only the adult male Leonberger develops a lion-like mane.


Newfoundland dog breed

The Newfoundland is a giant canine breed coming from the Canadian province of Newfoundland.

His size, strength, intelligence and voluminous mane are the aspects that cause him to resemble a lion.

Unlike a lion, however, Newfoundlands are gentle and patient, particularly around children, which has earned them the nickname of “nanny dog.”

Newfoundlands were originally bred as working dogs, helping to pull nets and haul wood for local fishermen.

They’re excellent swimmers, capable of handling strong waves and currents, and are quick on their feet on land.

Their gentile disposition makes them a favorite choice for family pets or canine companions.



If you can picture a miniature-sized, fluffy-maned lion with a feisty personality, you’ve got the Pomeranian.

A native of the Pomeranian region of Northern Europe, this tiny pup originally descended from large sled dogs, but was bred down to size by Queen Victoria of England for exhibition at dog shows.

Pomeranians may be small, but they’re no pushovers!

Their bold, spunky personality more than compensates for their petite size.

The Pomeranian sports a puffy fur coat around its neck and chest which resembles the mane of a lion.

This fur comes in a wide range of colors to include red, orange, brown and black.

Pomeranians are smart, curious, playful creatures that love the spotlight.

They’re also not afraid to enter the fray, spouting off with their yappy bark when strangers or other dogs come around.

In addition to Queen Victoria, Pomeranians were the favorite of many historical characters, to include Sir Isaac Newton, Martin Luther, Mozart and Michelangelo.

They make good therapy dogs and can be trained to assist the hearing impaired.

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamute

One look at the Alaskan Malamute and you know why it’s on the lion dog list.

This regal-looking canine radiates beauty and authority, two traits readily found in lions.

A thick, luxuriant coat and similar coat colors are additional aspects the Malamute and lion share, giving them a powerful, regal look.

The Alaskan Malamute is a strong-willed, independent canine that needs a strong hand to keep him in line.

With early training, he can be reined in to be an obedient, loyal dog.

Originally, this breed served as hunting dogs, tracking down seals, polar bears and other game for the Mahlemut people living off the northwest coast of Alaska.

They were also used as sled dogs to help haul heavy loads.

Today, Malamutes make loyal, sociable family pets and companions.

They have lots of energy and love to explore, so they must be safely confined when left alone to keep them from roaming off.

They’re friendly toward people but can be aggressive toward other animals.


Shar-Pei dog breed

This handsomely wrinkled pup sports a stout face and a proud stance that strikingly resembles that of a lion.

Its short, sandpaper-textured fur (Shar-Pei literally translates as “sand skin” in Mandarin) comes in a variety of hues ranging from blacks and blues to brown, orange and red.

The Chinese Shar-Pei was bred to be a working dog, performing such tasks as herding, hunting and guarding livestock.

Qualities like intelligence, loyalty and a desire to protect the family make this dog an excellent guardian.

Shar-Peis also have a calm and affectionate nature, making them an attractive choice for a companion dog.

They have a natural distrust of strangers and may act aggressively toward other animals.

Through proper training, they can learn socialization skills that enable them to get along well with other pets.

Obedience training can also help curb this dog’s stubborn streak and shape his behavior and character.

Fortunately, Shar-Peis have a strong desire to please, making them quite trainable.


Pekingese dog breed

Once upon a time, as the Chinese legend goes, a mighty lion fell madly in love with a marmoset monkey.

The lion implored the Buddha to shrink his body to the size of his love so they could be together.

The Buddha granted the lion’s request and the Pekingese was born!

The Pekingese is often called the “little lion dog” due to the abundance of fur hanging liberally from its head, somewhat similar to the mane of a lion.

This pup has a history of being a luxury dog in China, and the way it carries itself gives the impression the dog is well aware of its royal heritage.

As a pet, the Pekingese is highly devoted to its human family, and thrives on human companionship.

They’re quite protective of their owners and will bark when strangers come around to warn them of possible danger.

The Pekingese is easy to care for and requires only minimal exercise to stay healthy.

Its small size makes it suitable for apartment living or living in other small environments.

A good amount of time in your lap or arms will keep your Pekingese perfectly happy.

Final Word

If your passion is the king of the jungle, no other pup but a lion dog will do.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of lion dogs to choose from in all shapes and sizes.

By carefully researching your options, you can find just the right lion pup for you.

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