9 Dogs That Look Like Bears
We just want to hug and squeeze and pet and love on these fluffy, puffy dogs that look like bears.
Every dog lover has their “type.” Whether you prefer big dogs or little dogs, short-nosed dogs or long-nosed dogs, curly-coated dogs, or dogs that look like wolves, there’s a breed—or a mutt—out there for you. And if you have a soft spot for dogs that look like bears, you’re in luck! There are plenty of furballs with dense, fluffy fur and a certain ursine appearance.
Be aware that bear-like dogs aren’t for every household. With a few exceptions (we’re looking at you, Pomeranians), these dogs look like bears partly because they’re big—in some cases, really big, unlike these puppies that look like teddy bears. So they might not be suited for apartment living or small yards. Most of them are major shedders and need regular brushing and grooming to keep their coats clean and healthy. And virtually all of them were bred for cold climates, so they don’t do well in hot weather and can’t be kept outside when temperatures are high, according to the American Kennel Club.
But if you think you’re ready for a bear-alicious fur baby, take a look at these dog breeds that look like bears. And remember, before you buy, check your local animal shelter or breed rescue group for a fluffy, bear-like dog in need of a loving home.
1. Great Pyrenees
These abundantly furry white dogs are gentle giants—unless one of their flock is threatened. Bred in the Pyrenees Mountains—the range that divides France from Spain, Great Pyrenees—or Pyrs to their fans—are moderately active dogs content with a nice walk and a cool place to chill out. Their coats are naturally dirt and tangle resistant but can do with a weekly brushing. They will have a shedding ‘blow-out” a couple of times a year, so get the vacuum cleaner ready. These smart, affectionate dogs are great with kids but aren’t ideal for apartments or hot climates. Oh, and they like to bark—a lot.
2. Chow Chow
Perhaps the beariest of dogs that look like bears, Chow Chows, in their rough-coated variety, are sturdy bundles of puff, with short noses, deep-set eyes, and a mane of hair around their face. Their double coats do a lot of shedding and need brushed a few times a week. Originally bred as hunters and guard dogs in China, Chows are thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds. Chows can be a bit aloof and wary. For a well-socialized adult Chow, be sure to introduce him as a pup to children, other dogs, and obedience training. These furballs require a moderate amount of exercise, with very little running, and can adapt to apartment living.
If you spot a bear that loves spending time in the water and has his tongue perpetually hanging out, he may not be a bear at all. He may be a Newfoundland Dog! Bred in Canada’s icy Newfoundland and Labrador province as a maritime working dog, these big boys were renowned for their fearlessness and life-saving abilities. Today’s Newfies are famous instead for their sweet dispositions and love of children. These great companion dogs may wind up outweighing their owners, though! Considered a giant breed, Newfies need room to spread out, a lot of human or animal company, moderate exercise, and owners who are tolerant of shedding and drool—lots of drool. Oh, and they appreciate a swimming pool, too. Fun fact: Newfoundlands are one of the best mountain dog breeds that love adventures!
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4. Caucasian shepherd dog
Also called Caucasian Ovcharka or Russian bear dog, the Caucasian shepherd dog was bred as a fierce and fearless guarder of flocks in the Caucasus Mountains, which divide Europe from Asia. While he’s probably no longer fending off bears or wolves, this powerful, giant breed is still uber-protective of his household—to the point that he can be aggressive with strangers and animals. Since male Caucasians can tip the scales at 220 pounds (!), early training and socialization are a must. Unlike these best dogs for first-time owners, his is not a breed for novices. His double coat sheds a lot and needs to be brushed several times a week.
Sweet, fun-loving Samoyeds were bred in Siberia and northernmost Asia to withstand some of the world’s coldest temperatures. Today, these “polar bear dogs” do just fine in an air-conditioned home during the summer months. Sammys love their human family members and do not do well left alone for long periods of time. Their trademark white, fluffy coat sheds pretty much all the time, so they need several brushings a week. But one look at that cute, “smiling” expression and you’ll forgive them the extra work.
Does any living thing look more like a stuffed animal than a Pomeranian puppy? Though they didn’t make our list of dogs that look like foxes, fluffy little Pom pups definitely have foxy personalities that don’t diminish as they mature. Generally lovable and friendly, Pomeranians love to play with a ball or squeaky toy in the house, but can’t stand long periods of exercise outdoors in hot weather. While they love children, their petite size—they weigh just three to seven pounds—means they may not be ideal for homes with rambunctious kids. And that luxuriously fluffy, double coat? It sheds a lot and needs to be brushed a few times a week.
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If you’re looking for a medium-sized bear dog breed that’s a loving companion and a loyal family dog, the Keeshond ticks all the boxes. These bundles of grey, black and cream-colored fur were bred as companion dogs for Dutch bargemen, and they take that role seriously to this day—Keeshonds are delighted to spend time with their people and don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time. They’ll adapt to apartment living, little kids, and other pets, and as long as you promise to adore them and shower them with cuddles, you’ll have a loving friend for life.
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Similar in size to the Keeshond, the Eurasier also shares some of his best qualities, including a bear-like appearance and a desire to be around his human family. Considered a purebred breed, Eurasiera weren’t developed until the 1960s and 70s, when a dog enthusiast in Germany crossbred a Chow Chow and a Wolfspitz. Today, Eurasiers are popular in Europe’s colder climates but are lesser-known in the United States. These friendly fluffballs have double coats like their near ancestors and will blow their undercoats a few times a year. Plan on frequent brushing and vacuuming! Check out these other German dog breeds that make great companions.
9. Tibetan Mastiff
Do you want girth? Do you want fluff? Do you want a big dog that looks like a bear? We recommend the Tibetan Mastiff, a bear-like dog originally bred as a watchdog in the high Himalayas, but whose now just as happy to serve as a playful, protective family companion. Tall and stocky, but not giants, Tibetan Mastiffs have a dense double coat and a feather duster tail but are surprisingly light shedders. Brushing them a few times a week will keep their fur clean—you’ll also want to check those furry paws against tracked-in dirt. Keep this puffy pal indoors during the hottest times of the day.