How Closely Related Are Dogs and Bears? You may have heard that some dogs are called bears or they look like small bears. At first sight, this can be extremely obvious.
There are even dog owners who will groom their dogs to get a similar look. How closely related are dogs and bears is an interesting question. We will discuss the matter below and give you the best answers possible.
Are these two animals related?
The simplest answer we can give you is no. Bears and dogs do not come from the same species and they are actually 2 completely separate and different species. Despite the similarities (we will cover these below) they come from different families. How closely related are dogs and bears is now answered for most of you. But, if you want to know details, continue reading.
Dogs come from the Canidae family, while bears come from the Ursidae family. Other members from the same family as dogs include coyotes, foxes, and dingoes. On the others side, we can see that members of the Ursidae family are bears, pandas, polar bears, and several other, similar species.
In addition, the differences are much bigger. These two animals don’t have the same number of chromosomes and they cannot be bred.
However, there are a few similarities.
First of all, dogs and bears are both carnivores. They prefer meat. These days dogs are not completely meat-focused, but they need a protein-rich diet. Meat is rich in protein so you can get a better idea. The same situation refers to bears. But, there is one, more interesting link between these two animals.
This refers to Facultative Subgroup. What this means is that bears and dogs will prefer meat and this will make the main part of their diet. But, they will also eat other types of foods such as fruits, berries and so much more.
Basically, they will adapt to the environment and eat anything that can provide needed nutrients. Once again, they prefer meat and will look for it as the first option.
Carnivora order covers all animals that eat meat. Here we can see two main groups. The first one is cats. These are felines and here we have lions, tigers even domestic cats. Yes, they are members of the same family as lions and you can see countless similarities.
The second group is Caniformia and here we have dogs and bears. This is probably the main reason why there are so many similarities between the two species and why some people believe they have the same ancestor. In reality, they are just members of the same group.
Dogs and bears do have the same ancestor
Yes, both and even a few more animals come from the same ancestor. This is the Miacidae family and it lived 42 million years ago. These were small animals that lived on the trees and they may look like monkeys today.
Although they were small, they had a very long tail. Despite all of that, it was believed that the Miacidae family was superior and it is responsible for the Carnivora order.
Thanks to a fossil that was discovered way back, scientists were able to find and test the DNA. What they discovered was very interesting.
Yes, dogs and bears really have the same ancestor. Furthermore, lions and tigers come from the same ancestor as well. Of course, through evolution, all of these species changed a lot and today they are completely unique without many similarities between each other.
Why do dogs look like bears?
This question may sound strange but we still need to answer why some people believe dogs and bears are closely related.
At the end of a day, it comes to visual appearance. Both animals have a similar shape, some even have identical colors and have thick fur. They are fast, strong, and have sharp teeth which is another, major similarity.
Then we have the diet and adaptation to the environment we have covered above. Last but not least, bears and animals have claws that are always extended and they cannot retract them like cats.
Big nose and large teeth are similar as well. Of course, these are just similarities and not identical characteristics. So the next time when you see a dog or a bear, keep these points in mind. Now you know why some people believe these two are the same species or come from the same family.
Dog breeds that look like bears the most
Of course, not all dogs look like bears. But, there are a few breeds that look very much. Here are a few examples so you can choose the ideal breed if you want to have a dog that looks like a bear, at reasonable levels.
- Chow Chow
Chow Chow was originally bred in China and they have thick fur and shape that makes them look like bears. These may reach up to 70 pounds as adults. They can withstand very low temperatures and are very appealing dogs these days.
Newfoundland comes with black, grey, or brown fur that is thick. Add the shape of the head and the overall appearances and you can see a lot of similarities to a bear. An interesting fact is that puppies of this breed look extremely like small bears which makes them very appealing to a specific type of dog owners.
- Great Pyrenese
Great Pyrenese can reach 120 pounds (male) and they have long and thick white fur. These are mountain dogs so they do need a lot of hair to withstand low temperatures. These look like polar bears.
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How closely related are dogs and bears is an interesting question that you may want to know the answer to, if you are a dog owner or just for fun. In general, these two species do have the same ancestor and have a few similarities, but they are not members of the same family and they are not closely related. These are two very different animals.
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