When it comes to canines, we have created a vast selection of breeds that have changed tremendously over time. Some of them don’t even look like they would be part of the same species anymore. Some dogs look like foxes, bears, wolves, and even movielike creatures—such as Sasquatch or Chewbacca. They come in every hairstyle from long, medium, short, and even hairless. They have flat faces, long faces, and all in faces in between.
We have scooped up a solid top 10 selection of dogs that look like fearsome, resilient lions. Each of these breeds shares a noticeable resemblance, no matter how big or small. Let’s check it out.
Lowchen is a German word that quite literally translates to “little lion”. They have been a popular breed in Europe for over 500 years. Not only do they share their name with the ruler of the pride lands, but they also share their courageousness.
When grooming takes place, they get a hair-do called a “lion clip”. Groomers shave their hindquarters, leaving a plume of fur on the tail, and a full mane.
They aren’t quite as finicky or fragile as other small breeds, which make them an excellent fit for many family lifestyles. Living an average of 15 years, this sassy breed will rule the roost with lionhearted loving kindness.
Fun Fact: They were in many paintings as a symbol of courage in the 1500s.
2. Chow Chow
Chow Chow’s originate in China, where they have the name “Songshi-Quan”, translating to “puffy-lion dog”. It’s well known these guys resemble the King of the Jungle. They have an impressively plush radius of thick fur billowing around their faces.
This breed is dignified and serious, expecting respect to the utmost, and willing to give it in return. They are ferociously loving with family members, but not gregarious with strangers. They are super protective and apprehensive of those outside of their social circle.
They are serious and poised like a lion with their furrowed brows and hanging jowls. They have an average lifespan of 11-13 years.
Fun Fact: All Chow Chows are born with pink tongues that turn bluish-black as adults.
3. Tibetan Mastiff
This beautiful specimen is a giant breed of dog that is powerful and strong-willed. They have a heavy coat of fluffy hair, making them look very lion-like, indeed.
While you wouldn’t want to be a stranger face to face with one of these, being a family member is another story. They are exceptional with their own families, with children, and with other dogs.
They may seem like cuddly teddy bears, but this dog has a mind of its own. They have a hard time obeying, and who could blame them? They’re bigger than most humans. They live up to 14 years, which is quite a long time for a dog of this size.
Fun Fact: Tibetan people believe souls of monks or nuns who were not reincarnated live inside of these Mastiffs.
These tiny dogs have a willful way about them. They are a favorite, compared to many faces in the wild kingdom such as bears, foxes, and—of course—lions. They are a toy breed, growing to roughly seven pounds.
They are bold and courageous small dogs, not paying any mind to their size. They have been a favorite amongst the population for years, ranking number 23 on the AKC popularity list. Playful and full of energy, these petite watchdogs will melt your heart with their colorful personalities and vocal tendencies.
They won’t leave you lonely for quite some time either, as they have long lifespans ranging between 12-16 years. They may be little, but they are large at heart.
Fun Fact: Wolfgang Mozart owned a Pomeranian.
This big ball of fluff resembles a lion with its dense hair and somber facial expression. These terrific animals are as sweet as they look. While a few others on this list are touchy with strangers, they are an exception. They love all people and have a tenderness for children.
They are insanely intelligent, perfect watchdogs, and they get along very well with other dogs and cats. Newfies do shed quite heavily, so they require regular grooming. They also drool a lot. So if you don’t mind that, they’re close to perfect.
Newfies live 10-12 years. Even though they are cute as a button, they are a giant breed that can do some pretty destructive chewing.
Fun Fact: They are known to save people from drowning.
Here is another dog on the list that originated from Germany, only this time it’s a giant breed. A nickname for this breed is “Gentle Lion”. They have a gentle, sweet disposition that counteracts their daunting size. They have full coats that require regular maintenance.
They are known for being very wise and sound in judgment, gauging situations well. While they are sophisticated and reposed, they are built to be watchdogs.
From their personality to their appearance, these dogs were once companion animals for royalty. Their charm can certainly measure up to their intended purpose. Living roughly 9-10 years, they devote their existence to safeguard the happiness and wellbeing of their owners.
Fun Fact: They have webbed feet, making them excellent at swimming.
7. Caucasian Shepherd
This fierce, colossal canine has an extremely thick coat. Their poofs of fur put them in the lion-like category. They aren’t too far off, as these dogs can weigh a whopping 220 pounds as adults. That’s an unbelievable size.
This dog may look like a fluffy, lovable baby that wants to snuggle. They can be. The reality is, only experienced owners with a lot of room and a good deal of land should consider this breed. Not only are they massive and hard to discipline, but also notoriously aloof and aggressive.
They live 10-12 years, which is a recipe for disaster if you don’t know what you are doing. They require adequate training. The jury is still out on whether even that would tame this strong-willed beast.
Fun Fact: They bred in Russia to protect livestock and ward off large predators such as wolves and bears.
8. Golden Retriever
This popular dog is like a lion, but with a look that screams friendliness. They are a very similar color, both goldenly sun-kissed. While these dogs don’t share the same protruding mane as others on the list, the visual similarities are still there.
Goldens are fun-loving, fantastic companion animals. They are one of the most popular breeds today, known for their emotional intuition and optimal trainability.
Their versatility and adaptability make them highly sought after. Living between 10-12 years, these dogs brighten the faces and minds of everyone they encounter.
Fun Fact: President Ford had a Golden Retriever named Liberty, which led to their popularity in the USA.
9. Gaddi Kutta
A rare breed from the Himalayas, this black beauty is often confused with the Tibetan Mastiff. Gaddi Kuttas have a black mane like a lion, but are not quite as big as their Mastiff cousins; however, they share quite a few physical and temperament characteristics.
They also are not for the faint of heart, being highly territorial and aggressive. Even though they aren’t the friendliest to outsiders, they are relatively loving to their masters. However, they don’t feel the need to pay much attention to your commands if they don’t agree.
They are great herders who do their jobs amazingly well. They live 10-12 years on average, so you wouldn’t have to worry about protecting your property if these brutes are around.
Fun Fact: It’s known as the Mahidant Mastiff or “Indian Panther Hound”.
These Chinese dogs have a lion-style appearance, but with a lot of wrinkles. These dogs are cute as a button with rolls for days, especially as puppies. Don’t let their adorable looks fool you. They can be quite a handful.
Shar-Peis are known to be bossy, dominant, and even hostile. They are particularly bad with strangers and don’t play well with others. On the upside, they are swift, intelligent, and quick to catch on.
While they may not be aces in dealing with the unfamiliar, they are very loving and loyal to their families. With proper socialization, they can be fantastic family companions, living 9-11 years.
Fun Fact: Their loose skin was to evade attackers, so they would get a mouthful of fur rather than damage to internal organs.
That’s Enough Lion Around
That sums up our list of lion-like hounds for now. As you can see, not only do they share lots of physical characteristics, most of their personalities are on par as well. This group of canines deserves recognition for matching the charm of these big cats paw to paw.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.