Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: August 12, 2020
Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears

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All dogs are beautiful creatures, even if some are a little cuter than others. Whether their fur is curly, long, braided or non-existent, the range of looks is mesmerizing. While there is an old joke that many dogs start to look like their owners, if we look at other species in the animal kingdom, we often see uncanny resemblances. With their pointed ears and wild expression, some dog breeds look like wolves. With a dense mane and fierce snout, others might bring to mind a lion.

In this AnimalWised article, we're going to show you 20 dog breeds that look like bears. Some are small and cute like teddy bears. Others are big and brawny which might be closer to a grizzly bear. Either way, take a look and see if you agree.

You may also be interested in: 10 Dog Breeds That Look Like Lions
  1. Breeds of dog that look like bears
  2. Bichon Frise
  3. Poodle
  4. Yorkshire Terrier
  5. Chow Chow
  6. Keeshond
  7. Eurasier
  8. Tibetan Mastiff
  9. St. Bernard
  10. Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  11. Akita Inu
  12. Alaskan Malamute
  13. Shiba Inu
  14. Alaskan Klee Kai
  15. Bouvier des Flandres
  16. Caucasian Shepherd
  17. Newfoundland
  18. Dog breeds that look like polar bears
  19. Samoyed
  20. American Eskimo
  21. Great Pyrenees
  22. Maremma Sheepdog
  23. Mongrel dogs which look like bears
See more >>

Breeds of dog that look like bears

All dogs are precious, regardless of their breed. However, due to their physical appearance, some of them are particularly cute. This might bring us back to our childhood and remind us of snuggling up with our favorite teddy bear or plush toy. Dogs which look like teddy bears are those with a fluffy, lush and velvety coat which mimics their feel and appearance.

Other dogs look more like real-life bears, especially as many of the dogs on our list are not always little. Whether resembling a grizzly bear, our favorite childhood toy or anything in between, the following dogs are known for looking like bears:

  1. Bichon Frise
  2. Poodle
  3. Yorkshire Terrier
  4. Chow Chow
  5. Keeshond
  6. Eurasier
  7. Tibetan Mastiff
  8. St. Bernard
  9. Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  10. Akita Inu
  11. Alaskan Malamute
  12. Shiba Inu
  13. Alaskan Klee Kai
  14. Bouvier des Flandres
  15. Caucasian Shepherd
  16. Newfoundland
  17. Dog breeds that look like polar bears
  18. Samoyed
  19. American Eskimo
  20. Great Pyrenees
  21. Maremma Sheepdog

If you are looking at this list of dog breeds because you want to adopt a dog which looks like a teddy bear, then please bear in mind that you need to adopt a dog which suits your lifestyle. Many of these breeds have coats which require a lot of maintenance to stay clean and hygienic. They may require more bathing than other dogs and shedding is a key concern, especially for the house proud. Entanglements, dead hair, excessive dirtiness and more are just some of the negative factors, but spread of disease is another.

Also, you should never adopt a dog solely because of their appearance. You need to ensure you are able to meet the responsibility of canine stewardship and also know that pedigree breeds are not always the best choice. This is not to mention the fact that adopting a sheltered animal helps find homes for dogs which are otherwise neglected.

Now that you have taken some time to consider dog ownership (or if you simply want to look at cute pictures of dogs that look like bears), you can keep reading for the most bear-like dog breeds in the world.

1. Bichon Frise

With their origin in France, the Bichon Frise is blessed with a long, soft, downy and curly coat. The puppies in particular resemble their bear counterparts, but they maintain this look on into adulthood. If their coat is well groomed and maintained, they often have a rounded and chubby look which we find adorable.

One of the smallest breeds that look like teddy bears, the Bichon Frise rarely measures larger than 30 cm tall. They are often confused with their curly cousin the Poodle. While we also love Poodles, the Bichon Frise is noted for its particularly playful and sociable character. They are very intelligent, loving and companionable dogs with nothing grizzly about them.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 1. Bichon Frise

2. Poodle

Did you know that the Poodle is considered the second most intelligent dog. That is, according to dog psychologist Stanley Coren. We may tend to underestimate the intelligence of people who look very attractive, surely the same happens with Poodles. Their curly fur and cute button nose make them look like a bear. However, spend any length of time with them and you will see just how clever they are. This isn't to mention how adorable and affectionate they are with humans. If you want to adopt one into your home, they need a lot of time and training to ensure they have a healthy and happy life with you.

Poodles exist in a range of sizes and styles. Some are quite large, others relatively small. They can be in white, fawn, brown, black or more, but they all have a curly mantle which, when freshly brushed, makes them look like a bear.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 2. Poodle

3. Yorkshire Terrier

Many of the dogs on our list are relatively huge. It is not as common to find little dogs that look like bears. Known for their long and fine fur, the Yorkshire Terrier is an exception as they are one of the smallest breeds which resemble teddy bears. Their fur can be stylized and is often preened into different looks. This is particularly so when they are puppies and are given the ‘puppy cut’ at the groomers.

They are a very active and curious breed. They love to explore and play, but this can also lend itself to a predisposition toward stubbornness. It is common for them to be found in very small and toy sizes. However, be aware that teacup dogs should not be encouraged due to related health problems, so be careful of breeders who offer this type of Yorkie.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 3. Yorkshire Terrier

4. Chow Chow

The Chow Chow's appearance is most well known for their blue tongue. However, this distinctive feature can often distract from the fact they look so bear like. We dare anyone to not let their heart melt when they look at a Chow Chow puppy. Their fur is soft, long and very cozy. Add to this their small ears and short muzzle and you have a living breathing teddy bear on your hands.

In general, they are a very peaceful dog. They are loyal, peaceful and calm. Although they are peaceful, when it comes to play they tend to channel all their energy and can suddenly become very active. We may think of them as only being a reddish brown color (like many teddies), but they also can have a black, charcoal or white coat. The latter one makes them look somewhat like a mild mannered polar bear. However, if you see a Chow Chow which has the markings of a panda bear, be wary of cruelty. This is an unnecessary practice of dying black spots on a Chow Chow which has become particularly popular in China.

Chow Chow dogs are also one of the breeds which most look like lions.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 4. Chow Chow

5. Keeshond

The Keeshond is a dog which derives from the Chow Chow, the Samoyed, the Pomeranian and the Elkhound, so it is not surprising that is bears certain similarities with these breeds. So much so that the Keeshound looks like a Chow Chow with silver tones. Their softness of fur means they also resemble a soft toy as much as they do a dog.

Their legs are short and they do not normally grow larger than 55 cm in height. They are sociable, playful and fairly active.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 5. Keeshond

6. Eurasier

Another dog related to the Chow Chow (and sharing the bear qualities of these breeds) is the Eurasier. They are a calm, curious and friendly dog, but they may have difficulty trusting strangers.

Their thick coat, small ears and round eyes make them look just like a teddy bear. Take a look below if you need any evidence and notice the distinct blue markings on the tongue.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 6. Eurasier

7. Tibetan Mastiff

Definitely not a small breed, the Tibetan Mastiff is big, adorable and generally an awesome pet. Although at first look they might look intimidating, the truth is they are one of the most tender dogs you could meet. They are evidence that big is not only beautiful, but that it can also mean affectionate, loyal and loving.

Their rounded body, great thick coat and snout make them look quite like the brown bears you might find in Russia or the Americas. The Tibetan Mastiff usually reaches around 60 to 76 cm in height, however there is no stipulated limit to their size. Despite their appearance, they are very calm dogs, but will be protective over those they consider family.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 7. Tibetan Mastiff

8. St. Bernard

Another giant dog with a docile demeanor is the St. Bernard. They transmit their tenderness with the doleful look of their big bright eyes. This dog loves to play with children, being considered one of the most suitable breeds for young families.

St Bernards are divided into both long hair and short hair. However, the truth is that both types have facial features which make them closely resemble a bear.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 8. St. Bernard

9. Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Is there anything more tender than a Corgi? This is one of the little dogs that look like bears is known for their cuteness. With short legs and an elongated body, you won't find many bears in the wild with this body shape. However, one look at their faces and you could imagine this dog easily snuggled up with other teddy bears on a bed spread. The Cardigan has a longer pelt than the Pembroke making it even more teddy bear like. However, they both look like enough like small bears to deserve their place on this list.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 9. Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi

10. Akita Inu

This breed originated in Japan over 3000 years ago and is considered one of the oldest breeds in the world. The Akita Inu is an extremely proud and somewhat vain dog. They need their coat to be well maintained. They are loyal and brave dogs, but can be reserved with strangers.

They have a thick and durable coat. Combined with their small ears and rounded face, the Akita Inu closely resembles many bear species. Their expression can sometimes look a little sad, but it is most often tender and adorable.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 10. Akita Inu

11. Alaskan Malamute

As their name suggests, this dog originates in Alaska. They too are one of the world's oldest dog breeds. Similar to a husky, yet even larger, we could happily describe the look of this dog breed as somewhere between a wolf and a bear. Their abundant coat, rounded snout and small ears make it look like a cuddly teddy bear, while their penetrating look and mixture of colors give it a strong resemblance to the wolf.

The Alaskan Malamute is affectionate, social, docile, faithful, protective and an excellent companion. They do require a lot of mental stimulation to remain happy dogs, not to mention taking good care of that thick coat.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 11. Alaskan Malamute

12. Shiba Inu

Another Japanese dog which looks like a bear (Inu in Japanese simply means ‘dog’), one of this breed's greatest charms is their caramel colored fur. This feature, along with a curled tail, small ears, rounded snout and cheerful expression, give us quite the impression of a teddy bear.

The Shiba Inu doe snot normally grow larger than 40 cm in height, so it is a good playful size. They are also very alert and intelligent, requiring a lot of exercise to prevent behavioral problems.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 12. Shiba Inu

13. Alaskan Klee Kai

A relatively new breed, the Alaskan Klee Kai physically resembles the Siberian Husky particularly in its snout and colored markings. Their coat is very delicate and almost looks like it has been painted on, giving the puppy a distinctive teddy bear look.

The main differences between the Klee Kai and the Husky are to do with size and behavior. They are much smaller and are better adapted to living with humans. Although one of the small dogs that look like bears, they are very energetic, intelligent and curious.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 13. Alaskan Klee Kai

14. Bouvier des Flandres

Literally translated to the ‘cow herder of Flanders’, this breed is a big teddy bear. They have a robust body, thick and curly mantle of hair and a beautiful little face. Additionally, they are faithful, kind, courageous and affectionate dogs.

Having such thick and curly hair, they need brushing and grooming more than other breeds. This means brushing it daily to avoid knots and check to see if any dirt or parasites are trying to make home in the fur.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 14. Bouvier des Flandres

15. Caucasian Shepherd

Both adult and puppy Caucasian Shepherds very much resemble teddy bears. This is as much to their bulky, thick and extremely soft coat as it is their rounded face, broad snout and tender expression. Additionally, the Caucasian Shepherd is one of the world's largest dogs as it can reach up to 70 cm in height at the withers and can weigh up to 90 kg.

This breed of dog was bred to protect sheep in the large haciendas of the former Soviet Union, from where their name is derived. Sometimes known as the Caucasian Mastiff, they are strong, calm and docile dogs.

As we said, their fur is thick and very dense, but has a trait almost unique to this breed in that it does not grow evenly over the body. It is longer at the neck and tail than on other areas of the body.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 15. Caucasian Shepherd

16. Newfoundland

We couldn't miss the Newfoundland off our list of dogs which look like bears. Known as a gentle giant, they are enormous but incredibly loving. The Newfoundland is a dog capable of melting even the coldest of hearts thanks to its sweetness of both demeanor and expression. They are patient, kind and very affectionate toward humans and other animals. While not overly playful, they are a big teddy bear willing to reciprocate love to anyone who gives them the opportunity.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 16. Newfoundland

Dog breeds that look like polar bears

Most of the dogs so far on this list look like teddy bears, with some resembling more specific bear species which live and breathe. Now is the turn of those with a distinctive white coat and features resembling that of the polar bear. These breeds not only need the grooming given to other breeds thanks to their thick fur, but need extra care as their brilliant white hair can get dirty more easily.

17. Samoyed

Of Russian origin, the Samoyed is another ancient breed of dog which has managed to make it through centuries. In general, dogs of this breed have thick white hair which is quite long and very dense. This is because they need to be protected from the harsh winter climates of their origin. It is, however, possible to see example of black Samoyeds.

The Samoyed can reach up to 60 cm in height and is a dog which loves to be the center of attention. They are energetic, active and playful. They need space to go out and have fun, also requiring a significant amount of exercise. They are sociable, loving and affectionate little bears.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 17. Samoyed

18. American Eskimo

The American Eskimo breed is from the same family as the Pomeranian. This means they fall under the German Spitz type of breed. The biggest difference, however, is their size. With an average height of 38 to 51 cm, the American Eskimo is a medium sized dog. Did we mention they also look like a polar bear? Well, they do.

Owners of this breed will note their friendliness and intelligence. They like to please others and get along particularly well with children.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 18. American Eskimo

19. Great Pyrenees

Also known as the Pyrenian Mountain dog, the Great Pyrenees was used for cattle driving like the Caucasian Shepherd. Weighing in at 36 to 54 kg, they are much smaller, but just as effective and intelligent.

Their blanket of soft white fur, small face with dark eyes and lips make them closely resemble a polar bear. They are very affectionate, safe around kids and the perfect companion to a human with an outdoors lifestyle.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 19. Great Pyrenees

20. Maremma Sheepdog

The Maremma Sheepdog originates in Italy, but you would be forgiven in thinking they come from the North Pole. Their wide snout, robust and rounded body give them the shape of a polar bear, but their thick white fur and black eyes mean they could easily be mistaken for one from afar. Their coat is so thick, they are perhaps the dog breed which most resembles a bear.

Maremmas were also created to herd animals. They are patient, kind, courageous and, understandably protective canines. We'd certainly be happier to come home and find one of these in our house than an actual polar bear.

Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears - 20. Maremma Sheepdog

Mongrel dogs which look like bears

As we indicated earlier in this article, it is not only pedigree dogs which can resemble bears. The crosses and mixes of many of these breeds may bear as much if not more of a likeness to wild mammals such as the bear. Mixed breed or mongrel dogs can also have big fluffy coats, doleful expressions and head shapes like bears.

If you live with a dog which looks like a bear or have any particular pictures which could easily mistake them for this creature, please share them with us in the comments below. If you know of any other bear like dog breeds we have missed, please share these with us as well.

If you want to read similar articles to Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category.

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Breeds of Dog That Look Like Bears