From small “teddy bear” breeds to gentle giants like the Chow Chow and the Alaskan Malamute, there are a lot of dogs that share a close resemblance with bears.
In spite of being descendants of wolves, all dog breeds don’t inherit their distinct physical traits of pointy ears, and bushy tails.
Some simply look like they are a distant cousin of the polar or grizzly bear! These breeds sport a luscious, sometimes shaggy, but always thick coat of fur and paws that appear strikingly similar to bears.
Others resemble miniature teddy bears and are as dainty as it gets.
So if you’re on the lookout for a dog that looks like a bear, here’s a lowdown on bear-like dogs ranging from small to large in size.
Smart, athletic, and gentle, Miniature Poodles make for fine family pets and thrive in most households.
A Miniature Poodle’s muscular, athletic build comes from its innate duck hunting skills and water retrieval abilities. Mini poodles can be anxious or skittish but are calmer when brought up in a comforting environment.
These easy-to-train dogs require plenty of care and grooming despite having low-shedding coats. However, there’s nothing that a good grooming session cannot fix.
Physical Characteristics: A round skull, long head, an extended muzzle, wide and closely set ears, and dark oval eyes.
This white dog that looks like a bear is tiny, fluffy, and known for its comical nature.
Bichon Frises are like little comedians who know how to bring a smile to your face! Although a little naughty, the breed is playful, fun to be around, and always up for indulging in playtime.
The happy-go-lucky Bichon Frise makes a sweet watchdog, although the canine tends to approach strangers with a friendly demeanor!
Physical Characteristics: Velvety, hypoallergenic white coat, expressive dark eyes, and round head.
A Cockapoo is a designer dog breed that comes from a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle.
Cockapoos are intelligent, social, and loving dogs that are a pleasure to have in a home. They’re easy to train and don’t shed heavily, meaning you won’t have to invest in lint rollers!
Cockapoos still need extensive grooming to keep their scruffy coats from matting and getting tangled.
Physical Characteristics: Straight to loose curls and bright-eyed.
Pomeranians originate from the ancient region of Pomerania, which includes parts of Poland and Germany.
The tiniest breeds belonging to the Spitz family, these dogs are known for their pointy snouts and ears.
Sweet, curious, cuddly, and lovers of luxury, Pomeranians enjoy extra comfort and pampering. They can be stubborn and prone to incessant barking but are easy to live with when trained.
Physical Characteristics: Plush double coat with a frill of fur extending to its head and shoulders.
Anyway look at this cute dog that looks like a polar bear pic.twitter.com/MitaZv7hSI
— M (@Hiqhsocks) December 14, 2018
The rather regal looking Chow Chow is best known for its mane-like ruff of fur that sits across its head and shoulders.
Chow Chows were originally referred to as Wolf Chows before being called Eurasiers (a unique breed with a European and East Asian lineage).
It’s no wonder that Chows Chows look noble and confident at first glance. They form strong bonds with their pet parents.
What The Fact! Chow Chows are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Besides appearing in China’s Han Dynasty artifacts dating 206 BC, historians believe that the Chow Chow was imprinted or engraved on artifacts from 150 BC.
Anna from Texas says that Chow Chows can be extremely friendly and kind when brought up well.
Referring to her adopted dog Hattie, she says “Just give them love and respect, teach them what their place and job is in your family and you will have pet that will do anything for you.”
Physical Characteristics: Luscious fur and kind eyes. A rough or smooth, medium to long double coat in red, black, cinnamon, blue, or cream.
Keeshonds were bred as watchdogs to assist fishermen on barges and small boats.
It’s how the dog acquired the moniker, Dutch Barge Dog. These highly intelligent and staunchly loyal dogs sport impressively fluffy fur.
The Keeshond is lovingly nicknamed the ‘people’s dog’ for its social and extremely loving personality.
They often find it hard to detach from their handlers/ pet parents. So it’s best to keep Keeshonds company and never leave them alone.
Physical Characteristics: Plush coat, perky ears, subtle spectacle markings around the eyes, and a bushy tail.
Intelligent and stubborn, Shibu Inu is a Japanese origin dog with a quirky and comical disposition.
The dog makes a good hunting companion, thanks to its confident personality and fox-like gait to match.
What the Fact! Shiba Inu is the beloved avatar of the highly sought-after digital currency Dogecoin.
But Shiba Inus could be a handful for first-time dog parents, as Abigail Corle, dog mom to three of these beauties points out. “They are a very stubborn breed! Shiba Inus are often known for their extremely high intelligence and huge personality,” she adds.
Although it all boils down to how you train your Shiba.
Corle says, “When teaching a Shiba, you must take an authoritative stance, not stern, and this will show the Shiba that you are taking the role of a pack leader.”
Apart from that, it’s good practice to brush a Shiba Inu often during shedding season to keep your home free from fur.
Physical Characteristics: Double-coated, dense fur, pointy ears, and a curled tail.
Akitas are a Japanese Spitz breed that donned the hat of guard and hunting dogs before they became domesticated pets.
Loyal while sometimes challenging to train, these dogs are protective by nature. They are also quite fussy and need ample space to roam.
The Akita dog breed was once known to protect Japanese royal families, and to this day, these dogs continue to be defensive about their owners.
Akitas sport bear-like, lush coats that provide extra insulation to them. They shed minimally — about twice a year.
Physical Characteristics: Triangular head, curvy tail, and thick double coat in brindle, sesame, red fawn, black, or pinto.
A member of the Spitz family, the Samoyed originates from Russia and carries a pristine white coat, perfect for cold weather.
This dog breed requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to match its energy levels.
Samoyeds are known to shed heavily seasonally, so expect to see several tufts of fur lying around the house.
These playful, loving domestic dogs were once bred to pull sleds during excursions across Siberian regions.
Physical Characteristics: Dense double coat, square build, and a plume-like tail.
They are known for their long mane, a characteristic distinct to the four kinds of Sennenhund-type Swiss Mountain Dogs. These dogs hail from Switzerland where they were bred to herd cattle, serve as watchdogs, or haul carts.
But they’re cute as a button, as poodle breeder Melody Salinger points out.
“I’d say most like a teddy bear is the Bernese Mountain Dog. He looks like a bear and is big and cuddly, too,” she explains. We couldn’t agree more!
Obedient, calm, and friendly, Bernese Mountain Dogs make lovely companions. These dogs learn to remain calm and indulge in gentle play after proper training.
Physical Characteristics: Medium length fur, silky double coat, and muscular.
The Great Pyrenees is a large yet gentle dog that was originally bred to fend off predators that would venture close to sheep. The dog gets its name from the Pyrenees Mountains that weave through France and Spain.
Unlike their mighty appearance, Great Pyrenees dogs are calm and affectionate.
However, they’re not the easiest breed of dogs to train and happen to be quite headstrong.
Physical Characteristics: Long, coarse wavy or straight double-coated fur, muscular physique, and a plush undercoat.
Stubborn yet sociable and patient, Tibetan Mastiffs make for sweet family pets. These large dogs started off as livestock guards when European travelers in Tibet added the suffix ‘Mastiff’ to their name.
Tibetan Mastiffs are a common sight in the Himalayan Mountains where they were once bred to herd sheep and keep predators at bay.
They can be fiercely protective yet aloof at the same time.
Marian Hubbard, proud parent to Tibetan Mastiff Elmer says, “Yes, they can be very solemn, very cool. Aloof and dignified with guests, almost pompous at times.”
Physical Characteristics: Coarse and long hair, heavy undercoat, and broad muzzle.
St. Bernards were originally bred to carry out rescue missions at the Italian-Swiss border for the Great St. Bernard Hospice by Bernard de Menthon.
Alpine bandits targeting unsuspecting pilgrims, combined with the treacherous weather often put travelers’ at risk. It was a recurring danger Menthon wanted to end with the help of his highly trained dogs.
The dogs that were trained to protect traveling pilgrims continued to do so for decades after.
Till today, St. Bernards are synonymous with loyalty, protection, and dignity.
Physical Characteristics: Short or long fluffy mane, floppy ears, and mask-like markings around the eyes.
The Leonberger carries similar ancestral physical traits to the St. Bernard and Great Pyrenees. These dogs get their name from the city of Leonberg in Germany.
Although intimidating by appearance, these dogs are naturally cuddly, graceful, and friendly.
Their sheer strength, vigilance, and protective instincts make them ideal guard dogs and companions for adventure enthusiasts.
But you must train a Leonberger when it’s young to encourage socialization and build a responsive attitude towards commands.
Physical Characteristics: Waterproof medium to long coat, triangular ears, a bushy tail, and a lion-like mane.
The Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest dog breeds known to us and were formerly bred to haul sleds and serve as guard dogs. These dogs thrive in open areas and often get restless in confined spaces.
What the Fact! The Alaskan Malamute was one of the four pure-bred canines to be imprinted on AKC Centennial Stamps, issued in 1984 by the U.S. Postal Service.
Playful, friendly, and loving, Alaskan Malamutes are a joy to be around and easy to train.
Alaskan Malamutes are highly energetic and need plenty of exercise and playtime.
They tend to shed excessively throughout the year, so expect to see a lot of fur lying around your home.
Physical Characteristics: Wedge-shaped head, dense coat, erect ears, and a curled tail.
This is one of the dogs that looks like a bear. Originally from the north-eastern Spanish community of Aragón, Pyrenean Mastiffs were bred as livestock guardians to fend off predators such as wolves and bears.
The intelligent, loyal, and noble dog is also called Mastín del Pirineo. They make for loving, good-natured house pets, and reliable, strong guard dogs.
Pyrenean Mastiff dogs have elongated faces, but they’re cheery dogs with a shaggy mane of fur akin to a bear.
Physical Characteristics: Thick double coat, droopy face, and muscular body.
Caucasian Shepherds are extremely shaggy dogs that resemble bears. They can appear as tall as bears and measure up to 30 inches when they stand! These dogs can weigh as much as 170 pounds and make for perfect guard dogs.
Originally from northern China and Mongolia, black Chow Chows are the closest kind of black dog that looks like a bear.
A fluffy tail and lush coat make Samoyeds similar to a bear’s physical appearance.
A dog that looks like a polar bear at first glance is the Great Pyrenees dog! Its poufy coat is immaculately white and similar to that of a polar bear.
Now that you know what are the dogs that look like big bears, you’ll know what to expect when it comes to training and caring for one. These dogs are fuzzballs who do well in loving homes or environments where they can be themselves.
If you get one, give them the best home possible.
A digital marketing expert by profession, Andrews is a gifted writer and animal lover at heart. A self-confessed "pawrent", Andrews is well-versed in all things dogs. He uses his years of experience of raising puppies into show-quality dogs to help guide first-time pet parents. He believes in spreading the joy that comes with being a dog dad and advocates more families to adopt pets.