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Seven Dogs That Look Like Lions

I am a software professional from India interested in dogs, technology, travel, and real estate.


A popular trend with dog owners is to find dogs that look like other animals. While some dog breeds naturally resemble other animals—like wolves and foxes—others are more catlike and resemble leopards, tigers, or even lions.

Some are groomed or dyed to look like other animals. Some naturally look like lions. As with any dog, these breeds each have their own characteristics and should be studied carefully before any purchase or adoption. An animal cannot be judged exclusively by its fur coat! If you are interested, read on to find out which specific breeds are suitable for your living conditions and their grooming needs.

Tibetan mastiffs in brown and black.

Tibetan mastiffs in brown and black.

1. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan mastiffs are ancient domesticated dogs. They are large, strong and powerful.

  • Their traditional purpose was to protect livestock and help with herding.
  • Tibetan mastiffs look like lions, which makes them one of the most sought-after pets in parts of Asia and Europe.
  • They are a trending fashion and status symbol in China, which makes their price high.

When considering adoption, some other factors must be considered, like temperament and grooming requirements:

  • Tibetan mastiffs are courageous, fearless, tempered, and intelligent dogs who are very loyal to their human families.
  • However, they are not very friendly toward other pets and strangers. Along with that they are stubborn, strong willed and dominant.
  • They need a lot of physical exercise and a daily walk. They are not well adapted to apartment living.
  • Basically, they are only recommended for firm and experience owners.
Tibetan Mastiff Dog (The Dog that look like a Lion)

Tibetan Mastiff Dog (The Dog that look like a Lion)

Physical Traits of Tibetan Mastiff Dogs

  • Weight: Male 45–73 kg., female 34–54 kg.
  • Height: Male 66–76 cm., female 61–71 cm.
  • Life span: 10-12 years
  • Origin: Tibet
Cow Chow Dog

Cow Chow Dog

2. Chow Chow

This is an aloof, reserved, bold, and proud-looking dog.

  • They originated in the arid steppes of northern China and Mongolia, though some people believe they came from the Siberian regions of Asia.
  • Chow dogs are also known as the Tang Quan, or the "Dog of the Tang Empire."
  • They are commonly the models for the stone guardians found in front of Buddhist temples and palaces.
  • Chows can be aloof or quite aggressive with strangers. They need to be trained at an early stage by an experienced owner.

Physical Traits of Chow Chow Dog

  • Weight: 20-25 kg.
  • Height: Male 48–56 cm., female 46–51 cm.
  • Life Span: 9-12 years
  • Origin: China
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Himalayan Guard Dog

Himalayan Guard Dog

3. Indigenous Mastiff (Himalayan Guard Dog)

Himalayan mastiffs are native Indian dogs from the Himalayan regions, and are thus also known as Himalayan guard dogs.

  • These dogs can be located in the Laddakh region of Himalaya.
  • They have an intimidating and aggressive look, but they are calm and lovable, and love to please their masters and his family.
  • Though they are friendly and gentle dogs, if something goes wrong they can be very ferocious. They are a courageous warriors, who are known to fight till death.
  • A full-grown male Himalayan mastiff is capable of taking down two wolves by himself.
  • They have long, dry, double-coated fur and available in black, black with tan, red, dark grey, or grey black.

Their long coat and broad muzzle gives them their lion-like look.

Indigenous Mastiff (Himalayan Mastiff)

Indigenous Mastiff (Himalayan Mastiff)

Physical Traits of Indigenous Mastiff Dog

  • Weight: Male 55-80 kg., female 45-65 kg.
  • Height: Male 74-95 cm., Female 71-80 cm.
  • Life Span: 9-11 years
  • Origin: India

4. Leonberger

Do you want a dog to intimate people and make you feel like you have a lion as a pet? But do you want that dog to be friendly and well-disciplined? Then the Leonberger is right choice for you.

  • This giant dog got his name from the city where it originated, Leonberger in Germany.
  • The Leonberger has a deep bark.
  • A well-socialized and trained Leonberger will make a good pet for families and usually behaves well with strangers and children.

Leonbergers need moderate exercise and expert grooming. A properly-trained Leonberger can be the best dog for family and livestock protection.

Physical Traits of Leonberger Dog

  • Weight: Male 58-72 kg., female 45–61 kg.
  • Height: Male 71-80 cm., female 65-75 cm.
  • Life span: 8-11 years
  • Origin: Germany
Brown Newfoundland.

Brown Newfoundland.

5. Newfoundland

Newfoundlands are a giant and gentle water dogs from Newfoundland, Canada.

  • This strong and big dog breed was created and groomed as a working dog, basically to use for pulling nets for fisherman and hauling wood from the forest.
  • They are good swimmers, strong and sturdy.
  • Newfies are obedient and responsive dogs.
  • Newfoundlands make good family pets and usually they are good with strangers and children.
Tan Newfoundland dog and lion.

Tan Newfoundland dog and lion.

Physical Traits Newfoundland dog

  • Weight: Male 60–70 kg., female 45–55 kg.
  • Height: Male 69–74 cm., female: 63–69 cm.
  • Life span: 8-10 years
  • Origin: Canada
Brown Nepali mountain dog.

Brown Nepali mountain dog.

6. Nepali Mountain Dog

Nepali mountain dogs are ancestors of Tibetan mastiffs.

  • They are native to Nepal, but are also found in some part of India, Pakistan, and Bhutan.
  • They are very friendly, intelligent and make excellent guard dogs.
  • Are also known as Himalayan sheep dog or pahari kukur.
  • Like their ancestor, the Tibetan mastiff, they also need a lot of outdoor exercise.
  • They are also dominant and territorial dogs and not suitable for apartment living.
  • Though they are known as herding dogs, they also used as working or companion dogs.
Nepali (Himalayan) Mountain Dog - Look Like a lion

Nepali (Himalayan) Mountain Dog - Look Like a lion

Physical Traits of Nepali mountain dog

  • Weight: Male 38–60 kg., female 32–50 kg.
  • Height: Male 65–75 cm., female 60–70 cm.
  • Life span: 10-12 years
  • Origin: Nepal
Bangar mastiff.

Bangar mastiff.

7. Bangar Mastiff

  • This breed originated in an Indian town called Tehri Garhwal. They got their name from the part of town—Bangar—where they were developed.
  • They are also known as the Bangara mastiff.
  • This breed was developed by a retired Indian army officer named W.V. Soman.
  • They are descended from native Bhotia dogs. Bhoti dogs were used by local people for herding yak, sheep and to protect the villagers from ferocious wild animals.
  • Bangar mastiffs are very friendly, alert, courageous and loyal to their owner and family.
  • They have very similar muzzles to Tibetan mastiffs, but they are less hairy and smaller in size.
  • They are well-suited to apartment living and usually friendly towards other pets and guests.
Bangar mastiff next to a lion.

Bangar mastiff next to a lion.

Physical Traits of Bangar Mastiff

  • Weight: Male 40–45 kg., female 35–40 kg.
  • Height: Male 56–79 cm., female: 51–70 kg.
  • Life span: 9-12 years
  • Origin: India

Physical Traits Comparison

Comparing the different dogs by physical attributes and national origins.


Tibetan Mastiff

Males: 45-73 kg.; Females: 34-54 kg.

Males: 66-76 cm.; Females: 61-71 cm.

10-12 years

Chow Chow

Average: 20-25 kg.

Males: 48-56 cm.; Females: 46-51 cm.

9-12 years

Indigenous Mastiff

Males: 55-80 kg.; Females: 45-65 kg.

Males: 74-95 cm.; Females: 71-80 cm.

9-11 years


Males: 58-72 kg.; Females: 45-61 kg.

Males: 71-80 cm.; Females: 65-75 cm.

8-10 years


Males: 60-70 kg.; Females: 45-55 kg.

Males: 69-74 cm.; Females: 63-69 cm.

8-10 years

Nepali Mountain Dog

Males: 38-60 kg.; Females: 32-50 kg.

Males: 65-75 cm.; Females: 60-70 cm.

10-12 years

Bangar Mastiff

Males: 40-45 kg.; Females: 35-40 kg.

Males: 56-79 cm.; Females: 51-70 cm.

9-12 years

© 2015 Aaradhya


William Miller on May 20, 2020:


ILuvAllDaDoges on January 28, 2020:


Beat me to it,by like a year lol. I was going to say that the Pekingese is the true ‘lion dog’. Though the Chow-Chow comes close second.

Lion on January 17, 2020:

Dogs and lions can be friends!

Sebastian on October 31, 2019:

I have just contempt for the person who has posted this picture of the shaved Leonburger. He doesn't deserve to be categorized as s dog lover or dog expert.

lisa grove on September 17, 2019:

i have a 7 month teibatain mastiff and he looks like a lion

Laila on December 31, 2018:

Please never spread photos of a shaved Leonberger like that! It is very bad for their health & wellbeing to shave them just for humans wish to resemble a lion!

Pet “Helpful” I think not on December 30, 2018:

As a Leonberger owner I find the images you have chosen for my breed disgusting. First image, the dog is shaved from the neck back, Leonbergers should never be shaved. The next two images are downright dangerous- to depict a child sitting or laying on any dog regardless of its size is downright irresponsible. With Dog inflicted injuries to children at an all time high people are being advised on healthy dog/child interactions yet you have chosen to promote an act which is the most likely to hurt the dog and cause it to react in a negative way. The editor of this piece urgently needs educated on responsibility or replaced with someone who will consider the repercussions of their articles.

Doug on February 20, 2018:

This is a grave insult. Everyone knows the Pekingese is the original lion dog

lrdl3535 on March 21, 2016:

Interesting comparison and a good article as well.

Aaradhya (author) on March 21, 2016:

Thanks Dr.Mark!

Aaradhya (author) on November 17, 2015:

Thanks Linnea!

Lin from USA on November 17, 2015:

I love the Tibetan Mastiff and Chow Chow, real looking lions if you ask me! What a great list!

Aaradhya (author) on November 17, 2015:

Thanks Dr. Mark, I am happy if you can use those Images.

Or let me know, also I can provide many other similar pictures.

Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 17, 2015:

Great list. I like your photos of the Tibetan Mastiff. A real lion!

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