9 Dog Breeds That Look Like Lions

Dogs That Look Like Lions

Everyone admires the majesty and character of lions, but since we can’t keep them as pets, many of us turn to the next best thing: dogs that bear a striking resemblance to these regal animals.

There are three key features that give some dogs a lion-like appearance: color, coat, and facial structure. For that authentic lion look, a dog must have a tan or golden coat, a long and mane-like fur that can be groomed to mirror a lion’s, and a distinct facial shape — ideally broader or flatter, as too sharp or elongated a canine face might not capture the essence of a lion.

This list includes nine dogs that embody these characteristics, making them the perfect lion look-alikes for those wanting a touch of the wild at home. Let’s meet these magnificent breeds.

Dogs That Look Like Lions

Meet the majestic breeds that bring the wild into your home, with dogs that perfectly mimic the noble appearance of lions.

1. Tibetan Mastiff

dogs that look like lions

Tibetan Mastiffs are ancient, domesticated breeds known for their large, strong, and powerful stature, traditionally used for protecting livestock and herding. Their resemblance to lions has made them highly desirable pets in parts of Asia and Europe, particularly in China, where they are seen as a fashion and status symbol, significantly elevating their price.

Those considering adopting a Tibetan Mastiff should be aware of their temperament and grooming needs. These dogs are courageous, fearless, intelligent, and exceedingly loyal to their families, but they tend to be aloof towards strangers and other pets, displaying a stubborn, strong-willed, and dominant nature.

They require ample physical exercise and daily walks and do not adapt well to apartment living. As such, Tibetan Mastiffs are best suited for firm and experienced owners who can meet their specific needs.

2. Chow Chow

lion dog

The Chow Chow is a dignified and proud-looking dog breed characterized by its aloof and reserved demeanor. Originating from the arid steppes of northern China and Mongolia, they are sometimes believed to have roots in the Siberian regions of Asia.

Known for their voluminous coats that can resemble a mane when groomed properly, Chow Chows are remarkably clean dogs, making them easy to housebreak with minimal odor.

Despite their lion-like appearance, they are affectionate and cuddly with their owners but can be aloof or even aggressive towards strangers. Early training by an experienced owner is essential to manage their temperament effectively.

3. Newfoundland

dog that looks like a lion

Newfoundlands, known as gentle giants, are water dogs with large, shaggy frames reminiscent of lions. Originally bred for pulling fishing nets in Canada, they often sport black or dark brown coats, although beige varieties can enhance their lion-like appearance.

Their thick coats can be expertly groomed to resemble a majestic mane, giving them an authentic lion-like allure. Despite their imposing size, Newfoundlands are obedient and responsive, making them excellent family pets known for their friendly demeanor towards strangers and children.

4. Pekingese

dog breed looks like lion

Pekingese dogs, originating from China, boast fabulous coats perfect for a lion cut, coupled with their diminutive size and smushy faces, creating an adorable resemblance to tiny lions. Popular for their coats, size, and personality, Pekingese are favored among owners for the classic lion cut, a popular grooming choice.

As toy dog breeds, their grooming needs are significant, requiring daily brushing, frequent hair trimming around their foot pads, and grooming sessions every two months to keep them looking their best.

5. Pomeranian

what dog looks like a lion

The Pomeranian, cherished worldwide for its versatility and endearing nature, boasts a luscious coat. These small dogs with big personalities make excellent lion-like companions for several reasons.

Firstly, their availability in the perfect tan color resembles that of lions. Secondly, their small size often gives them a feline-like appearance compared to larger breeds. Lastly, their abundant fur can be expertly groomed into mane-like styles, making them perfect candidates for a lion cut or other creative styles.

Pomeranians, cherished as companion dogs, possess highly extroverted personalities but may not be ideal for children due to their tendency to bark excessively. Despite their small stature, they exhibit remarkable energy and can display aggression towards large dogs when provoked.

6. Chinese Crested

chinese lion dog

Chinese Crested Dogs, another Chinese breed, are known for their lion-like mane and tufted tail. Varieties can range from hairless to thickly coated, both featuring a mane and long hair on their tails and feet.

For the ultimate lion-like appearance, opt for a Chinese Crested Dog with an apricot-colored coat. With a simple shave and scissor cut, these dogs can effortlessly resemble lions.

As companion dogs, they quickly form strong bonds with their owners and prefer their company indoors. While agile and athletic, they aren’t keen on outdoor play like other breeds and are prone to separation anxiety, requiring companionship to thrive.

7. Leonberger

dog and lion

The Leonberger, originating from Germany, derives its name from the city of Leonberg. With a deep bark and tan coat, they resemble lions, especially in tan color. Their mane-like hair adds to their lion-like appearance.

Their double coat fur requires extra care, necessitating brushing every 2-3 days and a bath every two weeks to maintain their coat’s health and cleanliness.

Despite their sociable nature, proper training is crucial due to their intelligence and dominant spirit. With moderate exercise, well-socialized Leonbergers make excellent family pets and protectors.

8. Löwchen

lion dog breed

Named “little lion dog” in German, Löwchens embodies courage and gentleness, boasting a regal mane and a fiercely protective nature. Originating from northern Europe, they were favored pets of nobility, known for their loyalty and agility.

Smart, fun-loving, and compact in size, they adapt well to apartment living and city environments. Their hypoallergenic, low-shedding coat and tolerance to various climates make them an ideal choice for those seeking a lion-like companion that’s easy to manage.

9. Bankhar Dog

mastiff that looks like a lion

The Bankhar dog, with its shaggy mane and large size, can easily resemble a lion. The Bankhar dog, originating from the Mongolian steppes, is renowned for its guarding instincts and athleticism.

Found mainly in Asia, these rare dogs boast a courageous spirit and tireless energy despite their enormous stature.

With coats ranging from black to red, some are even believed to possess a unique ability to see into the spirit world, earning them the moniker “Mongolian four-eyed dogs.”


Dogs that resemble lions with their majestic lion’s mane-like fur are not limited to just large breeds like Newfoundland dogs; even tiny dog breeds with thick fur can achieve a lion-like appearance with the right grooming techniques, such as the lion clip or lion fell.

Whether big or small, these lion-like dog breeds exude an aura reminiscent of the noble big cats, making them a captivating addition to any family, offering both regal elegance and loyal companionship.

Mahvash Kazmi
Mahvash Kazmi, with a rich academic background in English Literature and Journalism, is not just a master of words but also a passionate advocate for the voiceless. Her vast experience, from teaching to insightful content creation, is underpinned by a profound love for animals and an unwavering commitment to conservation. An ardent animal lover, she often finds solace in nature's tales and the gentle purrs of her beloved Persian cat, Gracie. Her dedication to the environment and the written word combine to create truly compelling writing. With a heart that beats for the wild and the written word, she crafts compelling stories on animal issues, urging readers to coalesce for a cause.

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