Fun Animal Facts

Why Do Seals Look Like Dogs? This Is The Reason Why!

by Rob Byron

Seals are often compared to dogs because of their various similarities. When people start to observe these similarities, they begin to call seals as dog mermaids, sea puppies, or dogs of the sea. Seals are just as cute as dogs, and the nicknames people gave to them are exact! However, do you have any idea why seals look like dogs? Here is the answer:

Why do seals look like dogs? The reason why seals look like dogs is that seals are members of Carnivora, which is a group of carnivorous mammals that includes dogs. Specifically, seals are caniform (doglike) carnivorans. Seals and dogs have similar ancestory and shared genes.

However, there are other things you can learn about seals and dogs. I have lots of information about them that I have researched. We will look at the various similarities of dogs and seals and answer questions related to our topic. If you are ready, let us proceed.

First, let me answer if seals are related to dogs. Yes, you already know the answer because of what I told you before. But let us dig deeper and tell you the reason why seals are related to dogs. 

Are Seals Related To Dogs?

In the past few years, different memes and videos have proposed that our cute dogs might have a marine counterpart, which is the seals. Yes, dogs and seals have similar looks. But aside from that, there is a piece of big evidence that these two cute species are related to each other. 

There was a video last 2015 made where a seal randomly approached the dog on the beach without hurting the dog. This video is another convincing evidence that the two cute species share some sort of common ground. Check the reaction of the dog and seal in the video below.

People that claim that seals are dog mermaids, water puppies, or dogs of the sea are not wrong, but they are also not that right. 

Dogs and seals belong to the same suborder called Caniforma (doglike) under the order of Carnivora. According to Imogene Cancellare, a wildlife biologist, “dogs and seals are not in the same family, however, and are not closely related. The family that compromises seals, Pinnipedia, split from other caniforms around 50 million years ago.”

So it means that dogs and seals have a history, which is why they look the same. However, even though seals split from other caniforms around 50 million years ago, they still have the resemblance of the dogs. 

4 Similarities Of Seals And Dogs

Dogs and seals are related, but not a hundred percent. Why? Because seals used to be caniforms around 50 million years ago, but they split up. However, even though seals split up, they still have some similarities with dogs, which we will talk about right now! 

Below are some of the similarities between seals and dogs. 

Loud Bark

The first similarity seals and dogs have is their loud and noisy bark. 

When the doorbell or telephone rings or if the thunder rolls, we don’t know how the seal would react to his environment when one of these things happen. We all know that dogs will bark very hard when they hear these sounds. But we all also do know that seals have quite loud bark like dogs do. 

Furry Faces

Another similarity seals and dogs have is their furry faces and bodies. 

Both dog and seal are covered in fur that makes them soft, cute, and cuddly to touch. However, not all seals have the same thickness of fur. In the arctic region, you will find many harp seals whose thick coat makes them look like a dog in disguise. 

Aside from their furry bodies and faces, both dogs and seals also possess whiskers. Their whiskers help them to detect changes in the world around them. Whiskers will help them notice if there are some changes in weather, heat, wind, etc.

Both Seals And Dogs Are Social Animals

We all love dogs because of their ability to understand us. Yes, dogs are very social animals, and if you try talking to them, they will answer you, but you will not understand since you are not a dog. 

Aside from humans, dogs also love to socialize with their fellow canines. Dogs can also socialize with other pets like cats if they were raised with them while they were young.

The other similarity dogs and seals have is that both of them are social animals. They love to socialize with their fellow species or with other species. As you can see in the video above, the seal and dog seem like they are very close friends even if it is just their first time seeing each other. 

Seals are social animals. They do various things every day with their fellow seals. Seals sleep, eat, and sunbathe together. This is the same with our four-legged friends on the land. Even though there are no other dogs or pets around, dogs will always be happy to cuddle and enjoy a human friend’s company.

Like dogs, seals also have social structures. Seals are smart enough to come up and recognize hierarchies. Dogs are also known for similar social structures, with one dog that has the role of alpha. Seals and dogs know who is below and at the top of the hierarchy. Both of them respect their leader at the top of the hierarchy. 

Seals And Dogs Are Both Smart

The other similarity seals and dogs both have is intelligence. Seals and dogs are both intelligent species! 

Seals are intelligent, curious, and have good coordination. That is why seals can effortlessly learn tricks in captivity. They are highly curious and instinctively protective over their fellow species or family. There was a case reported some years ago about a seal that rescues a drowning dog. 

Dogs are intelligent too. Dogs can understand up to 250 words, interpret human emotions, and can also effortlessly learn tricks as seals do. They are also overprotective, which is why they are good security guards of our houses. There are also some videos recorded of a dog saving other dogs, animals, or humans. 

It is quite obvious why people often say that dogs and seals are the same. They have many similarities, and they are the same caniforms 50 million years ago. The only difference they have is that dogs are not adept swimmers like seals do. 

Do Seals Like To Be Petted Like Dogs?

Some domesticated seals will enjoy being pet. On the other hand, wild seals don’t enjoy being petted because wild seals are more hostile than domesticated seals. Docile seals are the only ones that enjoy being petted and human companionship. 

Seals that are raised in captivity that are surrounded by people learn to trust humans more. I tried to pet a seal when I was in my third grade on our field trip. Wild seals will just run away or attack you if you try to approach them to touch them. If you want to see seals and touch them, you should go to a zoo. 

Another question related to this question is: do seals like to be a pet? What is the answer? Here:

It depends again. If it is a wild seal that is raised in the wild, then it is a big no. If it is a seal that is raised around humans, then it is a yes since they have no choice. If you try to catch a wild seal to bring it to your house, it will either fight or flight. 

You better hope that the seal will fly because if they choose to fight, you are a dead human. Seals can break your bones if it decides to fight you. However, even though seals are raised around humans, it does not mean they will  be a hundred percent not dangerous. Seals are still wild animals, and their wild instincts are flowing inside their blood. 

Domesticated seals can still act aggressively if they or their young ones are threatened. The better way to do it if you want to see a real-life seal is to go to a zoo or to a country where seals are abundant and watch them from a distance. Never try to approach a wild seal because you might lose your limb when you go home back to your country. 

Are Seals Friendly?

Again, the answer to this question is: it depends. If we are talking about being friendly towards humans, I think yes and no. Yes if they are domesticated, and no if they live in the wild ever since they were born. 

Seals are very intelligent creatures, and as mammals, they love to socialize. They can be friendly towards other seals, species, and humans. However, keep in mind that seals are still wild animals. So it means they can still become aggressive and injure you.

Final Thoughts

The reason why seals look like dogs is that both of them belong in caniform carnivorans. However, that was 50 million years ago. That is why they are not that closely related. But even though that is the case, we still consider seals as dogs of the sea because of their similarities.


Rob Byron
Learning about and helping all kinds of animals has been in my blood as long as I can remember. I've been part of many different animal associations over the years so I decided to create this animal info blog with my family who are all involved with animal rescue in some capacity. Also, Because Animals Matter!
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