Pandas are one of the cutest animals in the world. These slow, silly, roly-poly bears are loved all over and especially in their native China. Whilst you can’t actually adopt a panda bear (they’re a protected species and let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be that fair on them) there is a next best thing: dogs that look like pandas!
That’s right! There are some amazing dogs that really resemble panda bears. They tend to be very fluffy dog breeds that can be black and white or red and are just as cute as those famous bigger bears.
Before adopting a panda dog, or any dog really, it’s important you do some research so you know whether they would be a good fit for your family. Some of the pups on this list are large breeds and really need an experienced owner.
Others, thanks to their panda-like coats, need regular grooming so their fur doesn’t get matted. You need to make sure you have the time to care for your adorable pup as much as they need.
Breeds Not Dye – What We Mean by Panda Dogs
In this article, we’re going to look at dog breeds that naturally look like pandas. We’re aware of a craze in China and other countries of pet shops offering to dye a dog’s coat to make them look like a panda.
According to PETA Asia, “unnatural beauty procedures that don’t benefit (a dog’s) personal health and well-being should never be performed”. Some breeds need regular grooming to keep their coats matt-free and healthy. We agree with PETA that dogs are beautiful just the way they are and that humans shouldn’t be dying their coats for their own entertainment.
What Makes A Dog Look Like A Panda?
Of course, we’re not touching on dyes or non-recommended breed-specific haircuts. But there are a couple of things that make many dogs look even more like a panda.
- Coat Texture. When most of us think of pandas we think of bamboo and lots of fur. Whilst we don’t recommend feeding your dog bamboo, there are lots of breeds that are just as fluffy as a panda. Most of them will have a thick double coat that may be curly or very dense.
- Coat Color. Pandas are iconically black and white. But they can also be red! On our list there is a mixture of both beautiful colors.
- Size. Pandas are big animals. In fact, they’re bigger than any dog breed. Many panda dogs are naturally big breeds because it makes them look even more bear-like.
- Features. Pandas are round and cuddly (at least, we imagine them to be cuddly – they’re probably actually very dangerous). Their features are the total opposite of dogs that look like rats. They need to have round faces and large features. It’s especially cute if they have big, black eyes too.
8 Dogs That Look Like Pandas
We know how great it would be to have your very own panda. But please don’t get one of these breeds unless you’re sure you can manage them and they’d be a good addition to your family. After all, experience and lifestyle are much more important than what a dog looks like.
Chow Chows are probably the most famous panda dog. They were also the pups used most in the panda dog craze.
These amazing dogs originated in Ancient China and are one of the best guard dogs around. They’re not a particularly cuddly dog breed and they’re actually a bit aloof although they are extremely loyal to those they love. They’re independent and are happy spending their days wanding around and guarding property. They don’t really like other canine company.
Chow Chows are incredibly fluffy and really look like bears. They have thick, double coats that can be in a range of colors, including black and red. As you might imagine from all that fur, these panda dogs need a lot of grooming. You should brush them at least twice weekly and wash them every month. Puppies can often get a matted coat around the neck, so pay particular attention to this area.
These pups need a moderate amount of exercise. A good walk a day, as well as time playing with toys in the yard, should be enough. Because of their very thick coat, keep these dogs out of hot weather and always make sure they have plenty of water. Like real pandas, these pups prefer cooler climates.
The completely delightful Maltipoo is a designer dog breed. Its parent dog breeds are the Maltese and the Miniature Poodle. Although nowhere near the size of a panda bear, these amazing pups really do look like miniature bears. Panda cubs maybe?
The Maltese Poodle is popular amongst dog lovers. They have a fun-loving nature and are very affectionate. Maltipoos are one of the most adaptable dog breeds there are. They make good pets for people living in apartments as well as houses and can fit in with children or the elderly. Thanks to their Poodle genetics, they also have a hypoallergenic coat, which means they’re a good choice for those that suffer from mild allergies.
They can have a tightly curled coat or a wavier one. They can also be many colors – including black and white. They need to be brushed a couple of times a week to stop their coat from matting.
As will all pups, this panda dog breed needs to be socialized from puppyhood. Slowly introduce them to new sights, sounds, and smells so that they don’t become an anxious adult pooch.
There is no denying that the Tibetan Mastiff is an imposing dog. They can grow to weigh 120 pounds! These big, intimidating dogs are incredible guard dogs. They were first bred to guard monasteries and palaces in the mountains of Tibet, so they’re used to a life of solitude.
They’re aloof around strangers and other dogs they don’t know and they can be very territorial. Although not good around unknown people, they can be surprisingly affectionate with their families.
The American Kennel Club accepts 8 coat colors for the Tibetan Mastiff. Two of them are red/ gold and black. They also allow white markings, which make these dogs look even more like panda bears!
These big dogs have a very thick double coat. Surprisingly, it doesn’t need that much grooming. The odd brush will remove any tangles and they will blow their coats when the seasons change. If you want to enter into a show ring with your Tibetan Mastiff, they must not be trimmed.
The Bichon Frise is the ultimate, mini panda bear dog. Like some other fluffy dog breeds, their coat is purely white (which isn’t very panda-like) but their faces really do resemble a panda! They’re often trimmed to have a particularly round face, mixed with large dark eyes and a cute little nose to top off the panda look.
Bichon Frises are very charming dogs that are cute, playful, and intelligent. They’re considered to be relatively easy to train and are the perfect dog for first time pet owners. They’re adaptable and get on well with other dogs and children.
These alert little dogs make great watchdogs but not necessarily for the right reasons. They’ll announce when someone is approaching but usually because they think it’s an exciting new friend. They need a moderate amount of exercise and will love to chase after toys in a fenced-in yard.
French Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They also often top the list of cute breeds. These cheerful, charming, and charismatic dogs are eager to please and easy to train.
They’re very versatile little dogs and make perfect pets for people living in apartments and cities. They don’t need a lot of exercise. A quick run around the dog park, a walk around the block, or some time chasing after their favorite toy will keep them entertained.
Another reason these strong and muscular dogs are so popular amongst dog owners is because of their minimal grooming needs. These pups have short, sleek coats that don’t shed much. One quick brush a week will keep the shedding under control. Whilst that doesn’t sound very fluffy and panda-like, these pups are often black and white.
They also have very round and cute features which make them look like miniature (not as hairy) little pandas.
Karelian Bear Dog
Karelian Bear Dogs are not a very well-known breed, but they are one that looks like a panda. This Finnish dog is a ferocious hunter. They have an incredible sense of smell and direction which makes them a number one choice for big-game hunting. They’re capable of tracking, pinning, and killing large animals.
This medium-sized spitz dog looks a little more like a Border Collie than other, more famous spitz breeds. According to the AKC breed standard, these pups can only have a black coat with white markings. Which is very like a panda!
These dogs that look like pandas are very active. They love to swim, run, go on long walks, and play with humans they trust. They can be wary of children and tend to prefer the company of older people. They will also benefit from a large yard to play in.
Even though they have a thick double coat, weekly brushing will be enough. You should also check their ears for wax build-up which could cause an infection.
Newfoundlands are powerful, muscular dogs and amazing family pets. Although they might look a little intimidating to those who aren’t familiar with the breed, they’re actually very affectionate and loving. They get on really well with children. In fact, many dog owners call them ‘nanny dogs’ because they’re so loyal to their little humans. They also love canine company and are happy to please their owners.
Even though they’re loving and eager to please, they’re not a good choice for inexperienced owners. They’re so big that their size can be a bit of an issue.
The most common colors for these majestic pooches are black and black and white, which makes them look a lot like panda dogs! During the shedding season (when it gets colder and warmer) you can expect to brush your Newfoundland daily.
They need a lot of exercise and love outdoor activities. Especially if they involve water. These pups were bred to help fishermen and work as lifeguards, so water is in their blood. They’ll also like hiking and running. Be sure to keep them cool in warm weather, these dogs definitely prefer the cold!
That might sound a little generic but there are so many mixed-breed dogs that look like pandas too. Many Bichon Frise mixes, for example, look a lot like cute little panda bears. Especially when mixed with a pup that can have a black or partially black coat.
Many Chow Chow mixes can also look like bigger pandas. This is particularly true when the dog inherits the Chow Chow's fluffy coat mixed with a black and white dog.
The other great thing about adopting a mixed breed is that you’re more likely to find them in a shelter. Not only will this cost you less money than buying a purebred pup, but you’ll also be giving a cute pooch a happy home.
Conclusion – Panda Pups
There are many different dog breeds that look like the beloved panda.
Some are small and others are very big. Whilst it’s fun (and cute) to come up with a list of dogs that look like pandas, it’s important that they naturally look like them.
Avoid places that offer to dye or cut your pup’s coat into a specific panda style. Dogs are beautiful just as they are (whether they naturally look like a bear or not), we don’t need to make them look like pandas!
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!