Seeing Double — 14 Look-Alike Dog Breeds (Can You Tell Them Apart?)

Have you ever mistaken a Whippet for an Italian Greyhound? Confused a Maltese for a Coton de Tulear? You're not alone! Here are 14 dog breeds that are often mistaken for one another and how to tell them apart.

Look-Alike Dog Breeds

Dog Breeds that look alike: English Springer Spaniel and Welsh Springer Spaniel

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography | Ron Wilbie, Animal Photography

English Springer Spaniel and Welsh Springer Spaniel

They’re the same, just different colors, right? Wrong. These two spaniel breeds are certainly both known for being avid hunters, but they were developed in different areas and for different purposes. The English Springer (on the left, above) is typically highly energetic and can be a bit of a clown, while the Welsh Springer has a reputation for being more calm and easygoing. The obvious difference, though, is in coat and color. The English Springer can be black and white, liver and white or tricolor, and his fur tends to be longer. The Welsh Springer’s red-and-white coat is shorter and easier to maintain, with a texture that sheds dirt easily.

Dog breeds that look alike: Whippet and Italian Greyhound

Julie Poole, Animal Photography | Anna Pozzi, Animal Photography

Whippet and Italian Greyhound

Twin sons of different mothers? Both of these dogs are sighthounds, and their paths have undoubtedly crossed over the centuries. The Italian Greyhound (right), or IG as he’s known for short, is a Toy breed described casually by some as a "Greyhound in miniature." He probably graced the lap of many a Renaissance lady. The Whippet, a member of the Hound Group, was known in Britain as “the poor man’s Greyhound,” and his speed and hunting ability made him a favorite of poachers. An obvious difference between the two is size: The IG typically stands no taller than 15 inches and weighs 8 to 18 pounds, while Whippets may be as tall as 22 inches and weigh 20 to 40 pounds. Both breeds come in many different colors and markings, but the Whippet can have a brindle coat while the IG cannot.

Dog breeds that look alike: Great Pyrenees and Kuvasz

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography | Ron Wilbie, Animal Photography

Great Pyrenees and Kuvasz

Both of these dogs are large, white, flock-guardian breeds. At first glance it can be difficult to tell them apart, but noticing subtle differences can help you look like a pro. The Kuvasz (bottom), a Hungarian breed, is white with no markings, while the Great Pyrenees, who hails from France, is white but may have gray, badger, reddish-brown or tan markings on his ears, head, face, tail or body. The Great Pyrenees is slightly larger and potentially taller, standing 25 to 32 inches and weighing 85 to 120 pounds. The Kuvasz usually weighs 70 to 115 pounds, is 26 to 30 inches tall and has a wavier coat than the GP.

Dog breeds that look alike: Coton de Tulear and Maltese

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography | Eva-Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

Maltese and Coton de Tulear

You might say that these two breeds are cousins: They are each members of the far-flung Bichon family of dogs, and each is small with a long white coat — but the resemblance largely ends there. The Coton de Tulear (left), a member of the Non-Sporting Group, is larger and sturdier, weighing 8 to 15 pounds. His coat has a cottonlike texture. The petite Maltese, who belongs to the Toy Group, weighs 4 to 6 pounds and has a silky coat.

Dog breeds that look alike: Miniature Pinscher and Manchester Terrier

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Miniature Pinscher and Manchester Terrier

Both of these breeds have a smooth coat that can be black with tan markings, but the Min Pin comes in other colors as well, including red or chocolate and tan. Another way you can tell them apart is by looking at the way the dog walks: Min Pins tend to have a distinctive high-stepping gait, while the Manchester is more likely to have a smoother gait without the “hackney” movement shown by the Min Pin. Min Pins are a Toy breed and weigh 7.5 to 11 pounds. Manchesters, which belong to the Terrier Group, are found in two sizes, Toy and Standard. The Toy Manchester weighs up to 12 pounds; the Standard typically weighs 13 to 22 pounds.

Dog breeds that look alike: Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky

Karin Newstrom, Animal Photography | Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky

These two spitz breeds, both members of the Working Group, bear a strong resemblance, but if you were to see them side by side, the difference in size would probably be obvious. An Alaskan Malamute (left) is 23 to 25 inches tall and weighs 75 to 100 pounds or more. The Siberian, on the other hand, is 20 to 23.5 inches tall and typically weighs 60 to 70 pounds. The eyes are a clue as well. Siberians can have blue, brown or odd (one of each color) eyes; Malamutes should never have blue eyes (according to the AKC breed standard). Their heads are different, too: The Siberian’s head is more narrow, giving him a foxy appearance. The Malamute’s head is larger and rounder, more like that of a bear or wolf. Finally, the Malamute’s tail typically waves upward while the Siberian’s hangs down.

Dog breeds that look alike: Shetland Sheepdog and Collie

Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography | Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Collie and Shetland Sheepdog

It’s not uncommon for people to refer to the Shetland Sheepdog (left) as a miniature Collie, but they are distinct breeds. Collies are larger, weighing 50 to 75 pounds and standing 22 to 26 inches tall. Shelties, as they’re nicknamed, weigh 20 to 25 pounds and stand 13 to 16 inches tall. A Collie has a long, lean muzzle; the Sheltie’s head is shorter and has a more blunt wedge shape. Both come in sable, tricolor or blue merle coats, but Collies can also be white with colored markings.

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