16 Dogs That Look Like Lions

Whether they’ve been bred to look like lions or simply groomed that way, check out 16 dogs that look like lions right here!

Photo via Unsplash

16 Dogs That Look Like Lions

1. Tibetan Mastiff

16 Dogs That Look Like Lions - Tibetan Mastiff, Photo via Great Tibet Tour

Photo via Great Tibet Tour

With their large, muscular, powerful bodies, dense lion-like mane, strong jaws and tight cat-like feet, it’s no wonder the Tibetan Mastiff is often referred to as “lion dog”!  Mellow yet protective, this breed makes an excellent guard dog and devoted family pet. 

2. Chow Chow

16 Dogs That Look Like Lions - Chow Chow

Photo via Unsplash

Muscular and deep-chested with a distinctive fluffy mane, the Chow Chow is one of the world’s oldest dog breeds. Powerful, stocky, and squarely built, adult Chows stand between 17-20 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 45-70 pounds. Cream and cinnamon-colored Chow Chows look especially lion-like in our opinion! 

3. Caucasian Shepherd

16 Dogs That Look Like Lions - Caucasian Shepherd/Russian Bear Dog, Photo via Russian Dog

Photo via Russian Dog

Fearless, bold, and fierce in the face of threats, the Caucasian Shepherd (or Russian Bear dog) is a large, powerful guardian dog breed, native to The Kavkaz (Caucasus) mountain range of Eastern Europe. While the breed has many lion-like qulities, it’s the male long-coated varieties in fawn, cream and tan that tend to look the most lion-like!

4. Bear Coat Shar Pei

Bear Coat SharPei Photo via SharPei-Lover/WikiMedia Commons

Photo by SharPeiLover, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Not to be mistaken with the Chow Chow, the Bear Coat Shar Pei is a lesser known sub-breed of the Shar Pei family. They’re easily distinguishable from other Shar Pei varieties by their long, soft fur and fluffy manes. Originally from China, Shar Peis make excellent guard dogs and are extremely protective and independent in nature, not unlike lions!

5. Pomeranian

16 Dogs That Look Like Lions - Pomeranian

Photo via Pexels

Cocky and compact, the Pomeranian is one of the world’s most popular toy dog breeds and is a miniaturized relation to the powerful spitz-type sled dogs of the Arctic. While Poms definitely aren’t lion-like in size, their thick fluffy frilled mane and feisty demeanor have earned them a spot on this list!

6. Keeshond


Photo via Pixabay

Keeshond (Keeshonden plural) are a medium sized, non-sporting spitz dog breed of Dutch origin. The AKC describes their temperament as “friendly, lively and outgoing”. Like the Pomeranian above, this breed has earned a spot on this list thanks to its thick and impressive lion-like mane!

7. Leonberger

16 Dogs That Look Like Lions - Leonberger, Photo via Glamourford

Photo via Glamourford

A large working dog breed of German origin, the Leonberger has earned their spot on this list as a result of their impressive size (males can weigh up to 170 pounds!), and distinctive lion-like mane.

Often referred to as Leos (cooincidence?!), this breed make excellent farm dogs and family pets. According to the AKC, they also respond extremely well to training and make excellent therapy dogs.

8. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees, Photo via Harvest Acres Great Pyrenees

Another large and powerful working dog breed with lion-like characteristics, the AKC describe Great Pyrenees as “mellow companions” and “vigilant guardians”. Also known as Le Grande Chien des Montagnes (the big dog of the mountains), it is believed that this breed originally comes from Central Asia or Siberia.

9. Pekingese

16 Dogs That Look Like Lions - Pekingese

Photo via Pexels

Originally bred to be close companions of Chinese royalty, it is thought that Pekingese were originally developed by devout Buddhist monks in the likeness of lions, with lion-like qualities as these played a central feature in teachings of Buddha. 

10. Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan Spaniel, Photo via Purina

Photo via Purina

According to the AKC, Tibetan Spaniels are thought to be at least 3000 years old and possibly predecess both the Pekingese and Lhasa Apso dog breeds.  Often referred to as “little lions”, Tibetan Spaniels traditionally lived in monsteries with Tibetan monks and priests as companion animals and watchdogs alongside their brawny cousins, the Tibetan Mastiff.

It’s easy to see how they earned their “little lion” title!

11. Maremma Sheepdog

Maremma Sheepdog, Photo via Dog Breeds List

Photo via Dog Breeds List

Another large livestock guardian with leonine qualities, the Maremma Sheepdog or Maremmano-Abruzzese is native to central Italy and the northern parts of southern Italy and is not dissimilar in appearance to the Great Pyrenees featured above, albeit a little smaller.

Honorable Mentions...

More like lionesses in appearance than lions, we feel the following 5 breeds also deserve a spot on this list as a result of their leonine qualities and characteristics (even though they don’t have manes!).

12. Boerboel

Boerboel dog breed, Photo via AKC

Photo via AKC

Boerboels are a broad blocky-headed breed of working dog with powerful jaws and thick muscles. Originally from South Africa, Boerboels are an extremely dominant and protective breed and also very confident – not unlike the king of the jungle! 

13. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback dog

Photo via Pixabay

Previously known as the African Lion Hound, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a medium-large hound dog breed from southern Africa originally bred to hunt large game. They’re strong, active and muscular, with incredible athletisism and endurance. Along with their stamina and athletic build, their tan/red coloring is also very similar to that of lions. 

14. Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherd dog

Photo via Pixabay

Another flock guarding working dog breed, the Anatolian Shepherd is known for its fierce independence and ability to take care of its flock. Adult males can weigh up to 150 pounds and stand between 27 and 29 inches at the shoulder. This breed is said to be stong, protective and territorial in nature, yet smart, responsive and adaptive.

15. Dogue de Bordeux

Dogue de Bordeux, French Mastiff dog breed

Photo via Unsplash

The Dogue de Bordeux is an ancient French mastiff-type guardian breed, described by the AKC as being powerful yet affectionate, loyal and courageous. Their large stocky build, size, and browny faun coloring has earned them a spot on this list – also, check out those paws!

16. English Mastiff

English Mastiff dog breed, photo via AKC

Photo via AKC

Originally used as big-game hunters, guardians, and war dogs, English Mastiffs are a courageous, powerful, and lovable breed that can weigh anywhere between 170 pounds (females) and 230 pounds (males). Together with their massive size and stocky build, we think that the fawn and off-white varieties could easily be mistaken for a female lion in the distance! What do you think?!

16 Dogs That Look Like Lions

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