10 Dogs That Look Like Lions (Really!)

dogs that look like lions

When we think of a lion, we imagine majestic creatures with golden manes, and an intimidating, royal presence. Now, imagine having a miniature lion as a pet.

Sounds enticing, right? Surprisingly, there are several dogs that look like lions, and we’re here to show you them all – both big and small.

With their similar mane-like fur and regal demeanor, these dog breeds are sure to captivate the hearts of canine and feline lovers alike.

10 Dogs That Look Like Lions

1. The Mountain Guardian – Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff, an ancient breed, is known for its colossal size and lion-like mane. Originating from the harsh climates of the Tibetan mountains, these lion dogs are natural protectors with a thick coat of fur, mirroring the mane of a lion, which gives them a pretty intimidating appearance.

Beneath the fierce facade associated with mastiff breeds, Tibetan Mastiffs are intelligent and loyal, making them excellent family pets. Their independent nature and aloofness with strangers may require some patience, but once they bond with you, their affection is unparalleled.

However, potential owners should consider their living arrangements as these gentle giants can grow up to 150 pounds!

2. The Gentle Giant – Newfoundland


The Newfoundland breed, lovingly known as “Newfies,” echoes the lion’s size and grace. Their fluffy, water-resistant fur and extraordinary stature confer a lion-like aura.

Despite their imposing appearance, Newfoundlands are gentle at heart. These black and white dogs are known for their friendliness, affinity for children, and playful nature.

But their thick fur requires regular grooming, making them a challenging breed for those allergic to heavy shedding.

3. The Chinese Lion – Chow Chow

chow chow

Chow Chows, a Chinese breed, closely resemble big cats with their dense, short fur and unique ear formation. While they may seem like the perfect cuddly companion, they are known for their independent and reserved nature.

If you want a guard dog, these big fluffy dogs are good choice but they do need strict training.

Chow Chows are not the most active dogs, preferring a more relaxed lifestyle – a bit like lions during the day in the Savanna.

Their distinctive personality might not be for everyone, but once they form a bond with their owner, their loyalty is unmatched.

There are some fun facts about the Chow Chow. One of my favorites is that, according to Chinese legend, these dogs have blue tongues because they were allowed to lick up all the bits of blue sky that fell when the stars were put in their place!

4. The Gentle Lion – Leonberger

leonberger lion dog

The Leonberger, hailing from the German city of Leonberg, is one of the largest lion-like dogs, closely mirroring a lion’s size. Their long, mane-like hair adds to their regal appearance.

Leonbergers are intelligent and dominant, making early training essential. Their grooming demands and exercise needs can be challenging and they’re not the best choice for newbie pup parents.

However, with lots of socialization and training, they can be an excellent addition to your family.

5. The Miniature Lion – Löwchen

löwchen dog

The Löwchen, translating to “little lion dog” in German, is a small breed with a bold spirit. Despite their size, they are known for their bravery and fierce loyalty towards their owners.

This breed is hypoallergenic and adapts well to different living arrangements and climates, making them an ideal pet for urban dwellers.

Their coats can be lots of different colors including blue, cream, gold, and red. Many of these pups sport a lion clip (where the hair on their necks is left longer) which helps their fluffy coat to look even more lion-like!

With their royal lineage, Löwchens are truly little lions in their own right but make great companion dogs.

6. The Royal Monkey – Pekingese


The Pekingese, a toy dog breed, may not resemble a lion at first glance. But their unique facial structure and flowing mane give them a distinctive lion-like appearance.

These pooches can also be lots of different colors and some have longer coats than others.

These dogs were once exclusive to Chinese royalty, and their grooming needs are a testament to their royal lineage. They shed seasonally and need at least one hour of brushing every week to keep their coats healthy and tangle-free.

Despite their small size, they have a big personality, making them a unique addition to any family.

7. The Hairless Lion – Chinese Crested Dog

chinese crested dog

The Chinese Crested Dog, with its lion-like mane and tufted tail, is another breed that shares notable similarities with lions.

These dogs are known for their companionable nature and prefer to be around their owners at all times. Although many think of these skinny dogs as being hairless, there is actually a coated variety too.

Despite their active nature, Chinese Crested Dogs enjoy indoor activities more than outdoor adventures. Potential owners should note that this breed can be prone to separation anxiety.

8. The Pocket-Sized Lion – Pomeranian


Pomeranians, with their golden fur and elegant demeanor, are the perfect miniature versions of lions. Despite their small size, these dogs have a vibrant personality and can be quite protective, making them an excellent choice for families.

Pomeranians require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy, and their grooming needs are quite high. They are also strong-willed and require consistent training from a young age.

But with the right amount of love and attention, they can make an excellent addition to any home.

As well as lions, these dogs also look a lot like foxes!

9. The Wrinkled Lion – Shar Pei

shar pei lion dog

The Shar Pei, a Chinese breed, has a unique, wrinkled appearance with a lion-like mane. These beautiful yellow dogs can be dominant and independent, making early socialization and training crucial for potential owners.

Despite their independent nature, Shar Peis are incredibly loyal and devoted to their families. They are also highly intelligent and require mental stimulation in order to stay happy and healthy. Puzzle toys can work really well for Shar Peis.

With their unique look and strong-willed personalities, these dogs are sure to make an impression on any family.

10. The Resilient Lion – Rhodesian Ridgeback

rhodesian ridgeback

Last but not least, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, also known as the African Lion Dog, stands out with a distinct ridge of hair along its back.

These pretty dogs were initially bred to hunt lions, which speaks volumes about their courage and resilience. Their athletic build and courageous nature make them a great addition to any active family.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their independent nature and need a strong, patient leader to guide them. They are also very loyal and devoted to their families, and can form strong bonds with their humans.

These dogs require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy, making them an excellent choice for active families. With their courageous nature and unique appearance, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is sure to make an impact on any household.


These dogs that look like lions not only share their physical characteristics but also embody the regal essence of these majestic felines.

From the majestic Tibetan Mastiff with its thick hair to the resilient Rhodesian Ridgeback and its bravery, each of these breeds brings a unique charm, making them the perfect companions for those seeking a touch of the wild at home.