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Are Dogs and Bears Related? 9 Things You Need To Know

Are Dogs And Bears Related

Some dogs look like fluffy teddy bears. 

And they share similar traits too. 

Now, that brings you to the question:

Are dogs even related to bears?

If so…

Can they possibly breed? 

Time for an amazing science lesson.

Keep reading to find out: 

  • 7 cool similarities between dogs and bears.
  • Top 9 cutest teddy bear dog breeds (#5 looks like a real bear).
  • 9 awesome things you need to know about dogs and bears (#7 is impressive).
  • And this is just the beginning…

Are dogs and bears related?

Dogs and bears aren’t related. Though, they share the same ancestors from 60 million years ago. Moreover, both animals belong to the Caniformia group. This means they mostly eat meat to survive. But despite this similarity, dogs are in the Canidae family. Meanwhile, bears belong to the Ursidae.

Do bears share DNA with dogs?

Bears don’t share DNA with dogs. 

Despite having the same ancestors…

The two animals still evolved into separate species. 

That’s why bears are in the Ursidae family. Not in Canidae like dogs. 

And to be specific, bears only have 74 chromosomes. While dogs have 78. 

That’s how genetically different they are.

Dogs relationship with bears – 9 things you need to know

#1: They both belong to the Caniformia order

If there’s 1 thing dogs and bears share in biology… 

It’s the fact that they belong to the same animal order. 

Specifically, it’s the Caniformia group. 

(Not to be confused with California.) 

And what you’re about to read next may sound boring. 

But bear with me as it’s necessary to mention.

You see, the animals of the Caniformia group share traits such as:

  • Teeth.
  • Claws.
  • Bones.

Moreover, they tend to be omnivorous too. This means they’ll eat both meat and plants.

Just like what bears and dogs do.

That said, there are 9 active families in this order. 

To name a few, they’re the:

  • Ursidae.
  • Ailuridae.
  • Canidae.
  • Mephitidae.
  • Procyonidae.

And from this list…

#1 and #3 are where bears and dogs belong, respectively.

So even though they’re far from each other… 

At least they’re related when it comes to their animal groups.

It’s just like being classmates with someone in college.

You both have the same subjects. But you might have a different course.

That’s how dogs and bears are related.

#2: Bears and dogs eat other food aside from meat

As you’ve read in #1… 

Bears and dogs share the same diet. 

That’s because they’re omnivores.

So expect them to eat other food, such as: 

  • Fish.
  • Birds.
  • Plants.
  • Insects.
  • Lizards.
  • Worms.
  • Fruits or berries.

But they won’t always go after these 7 meals. 

After all, bears and dogs still prefer meat. 

“So when would they eat fish or insects?” 

They’ll only do so when they have no choice.

Thus, these wild Fidos will take what they can get. 

And if you look at the ancestors of dogs… 

Wolves would do the same thing.

When there’s nothing else to eat, these Fidos might chew on grass to survive. 

Just like some modern dogs today.

#3: They share the same ancestors 

34 million years ago…

There was a species called: Miacidae.

Though they’re extinct today…

Many experts believe in 1 idea: 

Bears and wolves came from that ancient species. 

Now, studies describe Miacids as having:

  • Long bodies.
  • Slender figures.
  • Civet-like appearance.

And if you picture how they look…

They’re quite similar to many carnivores we know today.

Like dogs and bears. 

So it makes sense that these 2 Fidos share the same ancestors.

Though, both animals still have different DNAs. 

After all, these Fidos evolved in separate times. 

Fun fact: Bears are the youngest of the carnivore families. And that’s based on experts.

So while your local pooch looks like the younger sibling of bears…

Grizzlies are actually the baby compared to dogs.

#4:Both animals like digging

Bears And Dogs Like Digging

Okay, enough science for now. 

Let’s talk about their shared behaviors. 

That said… 

Dogs and bears like digging. And for the same reasons too. 

Specifically, both these animals dig when they:

  • Make a den.
  • Want to bury their food. 

Moreover, based on research

Grizzly bears are more likely to dig. Especially when they’re pregnant.

And in another study, dogs also do the same thing. 

That’s because it’s part of their maternal instincts.

#5: Dogs and bears hunt the same way

Both dogs and bears are active in the daytime. 

But do you know what’s more interesting? 

It’s their similar hunting styles. 

You see, some animals tend to play with their food…

Like fox canines for example.

But in the case of dogs and bears…

These furry pals often kill in 1 blow. It’s almost like they don’t want to cause more pain. 

That aside…

Let me just say how smart bears can be. 

According to a news journal, many experts believe:

Bears are one of the smartest land animals. Especially in North America.

How so?

They have the largest brains among mammals. With that, they could even compete with monkeys.

Meanwhile, professionals say: 

Dogs are as smart as a 2-year-old child.

And with their intelligence level…

It makes bears and dogs great hunters in the wild.

Check out also: Are Foxes More Cat Or Dog? 7 Things You Need To Know 

#6: Some dogs are trained to keep bears away 

Did you know that some dogs can scare bears? 

Well, it won’t always work…

But some of these Fidos are that fearless. Though, they might need to work in groups to drive bears away.

And I’m talking about the Karelian Bear Dog. 

Now, as per AKC

These Fidos are amazing working dogs. 

And their role isn’t just to scare bears away… 

It’s also to protect them, according to National Geographic.

But why is a big bear afraid of the tiny Karelians? 

As it turns out, coyote packs tend to steal cubs. That’s why bears have a natural fear of canines. 

Just watch how this brave pooch chases after a Grizzly:

Now that’s a fearless Fido.

Trivia: There’s a real bear dog 

Since the topic is about Karelians…

Did you know that there’s a real bear dog? And no, I’m not talking about a hybrid pooch. 

In fact, science says it’s another animal. Their actual name is Amphicyon. 

So why are they called bear dogs?

Well, they look a lot like pups and bears. 

And with that, scientists concluded: 

Amphicyons are most likely the cousins of bears and dogs. 

#7: They have the same physical features 

As I mentioned in #3…

These Fidos have the same ancestors. 

And thanks to that, bears and dogs have similar looks.

But to be specific, I’m talking about their:

  • Thick fur.
  • Long snouts.
  • Nonretractile claws.

Fun fact: Bears and dogs have a great sense of smell.

But in this case, the former is better than the latter. 

For clarity, here’s what experts say: 

A black bear’s nose works 7 times better than a Bloodhound. 

Now, that’s crazy impressive. 

After all, Bloodhounds are known for their excellent sense of smell

Who knew that another animal could surpass that? 

Check out also: 13 Fun Facts About A Dog’s Sense Of Smell 

#8: Bears can also bark 

Dogs aren’t the only ones who bark.

The truth is, bears can do it too.

Now, to a dog… 

Their woofs have a lot of meanings. 

But in the case of bears, they bark only for 2 reasons.

And it’s when they’re angry or defensive.

So their barks aren’t the same as a Fido’s spoiled demand barking

“What should I do if a bear barks at me?” 

In that case, here are 3 tips from experts.

#1: First, try not to panic 

Stand your ground and put your hands above your head.

Slowly, wave your arms to show that you’re a human. Not prey.

If the bear stands, it means they’re just curious. 

So don’t run out of fear. Doing so will only invite them to chase you. 

#2: Don’t make any loud or sudden noises. 

Bears can be sensitive to noise. 

Thus, sudden sounds might cause them to attack.

And for the most common tip of all: 

#3: Make yourself look bigger. As much as possible. 

If there’s anything you can climb on, do that. It should intimidate the bear.

Now, if there’s any food around… 

Don’t let the poor hungry bear take it. Bring it with you as you climb to higher ground.

As much as you want to help the bear… 

Giving them food might only encourage them to come back.

And that could lead to more unwanted encounters.

#9: There are dogs who look a lot like bears

Some people believe that dogs are related to bears…

Because some Fidos look a lot like these teddies.

But the truth is, they’re just similar in appearance. 

In the end, they’re still not directly related to each other. 

That said…

You might be curious about those dogs. 

For that, take a look at breeds like:

  • Samoyeds.
  • Keeshonds.
  • Leonbergers.
  • Pomeranians.
  • Chow Chows.
  • Newfoundlands.
  • Tibetan Mastiffs.
  • Karelian Bear Dogs.
  • Caucasian Shepherds.

And out of these 9 Fidos…

Chow Chows nail the teddy bear look the best.

Can a dog breed with a bear?

A dog can’t breed with a bear. That’s due to their genetic differences. 

As I explained early on in this article… 

Dogs have 78 chromosomes. Meanwhile, bears only have 74. 

With this, they’re simply incompatible. 

But let’s say the 2 animals managed to mate.

What would happen next? 

The answer is: nothing. 

Due to their incompatible genes…

The male’s sperm can’t fertilize the female’s egg at all. 

And even if some sort of miracle happens…

Let’s say the female animal does get pregnant.

The results would most likely be abnormal. 

Or their babies would die at birth. 

Either way, the hybrid won’t survive at all. 

Reading tip:  Can Dogs And Foxes Breed? 7 Things You Need To Know 

What are the closest relatives to bears?

The closest relatives to bears are seals, wolves, and raccoons. 

And what’s more interesting about this…

Is the fact that these animals fall into different groups, like:

  • Canids.
  • Pinnipeds.
  • Musteloides.

Though they’re all somewhat different…

They all belong to the Caniformia group. The same order I mentioned in fact #1.