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18 Photos That Prove Bears Are Basically Just Big Puppies

Brace yourself for some unbearably adorable photos.

The average human's fear of bears is understandable: They're huge, they're hungry, and they've got claws that could make confetti out of you.

But as of late, there's a growing body of evidence suggesting that these seemingly-fearsome beasts aren't so scary after all. In fact, there's ample proof that bears are little more than giant puppies in need of love and patience from humans who are, more often than not, too terrified to even give them a chance. So, it's time to shed some light on the cuddlier side of these beautiful behemoths—here are some of the most adorable photos of bears ever.

These bear cubs who solemnly swear they're up to no good.

bear cubs playing together adorable photos of bears

The only thing cuter than one bear cub? Two wild brown bears, who are enjoying an adorably playful moment. Can't you just imagine them fitting right in with a litter of puppies?

This brown bear getting friendly at the zoo.

brown bear waving at the zoo adorable photos of bears

Just like their canine counterparts, bears are relatively easy to train, which might explain why this brown bear was so eager to show off his well-practiced wave. Or maybe he's just always had a knack for making his guests feel welcome. Either way, he's just the most lovable.

This grizzly bear giving his owner a peck.

grizzlybear kissing his owner adorable photos of bears

Bart 2 might look like your average bear, but he's actually a serious actor. Bear trainer Doug Seus has trained Bart 2 (Bart 1 died of cancer in 2000) for years. He's even acted alongside A-listers like Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, and Eddie Murphy. Thespian status aside, in this video, Bart 2's playful antics look just like those of a dog infatuated with its owner.

This brown bear looking for its next meal.

brown bear looking through trash bin adorable photos of bears

Hey, a meal is a meal. Similar to our canine pals, brown bears aren't above dumpster-diving.

This baby bear who's feeling just a bit peckish.

baby bear eating grapes adorable photos of bears

Much like dogs, bears will befriend just about anyone who needs help finishing their snacks. This particular pup—er, bear—is gaga for grapes!

This polar bear cub giving her human owner a smooch.

man and polar bear adorable photos of bears

From a young age, Agee the polar bear has been incredibly close to her human owner, Mark Dumas. They swim, play, and cuddle together—often causing Agee to purr loudly by her owner's side.

This man and his pet bear enjoying a light breakfast together.

a man and his pet bear eating breakfast adorable photos of bears

For more than two decades, Russian couple Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko have looked after their pet bear, Stepan. Yes, you read that right: This oversized pile of floof is their pet. The couple and Stepan do everything together, from eating breakfast and lounging on the couch to enjoying brisk walks outside.

This panda bear enjoying a snack with its human pal.

panda bear eating bamboo adorable photos of bears

Throughout China, there are dozens of research centers and sanctuaries dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of endangered panda bears. Many even offer visitors a chance to get up close and personal with these beloved bears, who like human affection nearly as much as they like their snacks.

This bear cub who just wants some cuddles.

baby bear cuddling with woman adorable photos of bears

Purring isn't just for cats—other animals like bears, gorillas, raccoons, and rabbits also have the ability to let out a few purrs when they're truly content. Exhibit A: this video of a tiny bear cub who can't stop purring. It is the definition of adorable.

This baby bear who's skeptical of an apple.

baby bear playing with apply adorable photos of bears

After finding baby Tahoe orphaned, the staff at the Bear League in California cared for her until she was ready to be released into the wild. In this cute video, Tahoe playfully prances around a room full of stuffed animals and other toys. But she's dubious of an apple, because just like a pup, she knows evil could lurk anywhere.

This polar bear cub sleeping with her favorite stuffed animal.

polar bear cub sleeping with stuffed animal adorable photos of bears

Zookeepers in Columbus, Ohio, raised Nora the polar bear from a very young age, providing her with all of the love (and toys) that she desired. Based on her interactions with the humans who rescued her at only six days old, it's clear just how much she loves them—and just how grateful she is to be rescued.

This wild bear cub who just wanted to give this golfer a hug.

bear cub tries to give golfer a hug adorable photos of bears

In this truly adorable viral video, a wild bear cub desperately tries to get a golfer's attention. In fact, for a split second, it appears as though the sociable cub was actually attempting to give the golfer a hug. If that's not a classic dog move, what is?

This grizzly bear who loves belly rubs.

grizzly bear getting belly rub adorable photos of bears

Just like almost every domesticated dog in the world, bears love nothing more than to be pet by their favorite human—and this video is proof of their particular affinity for tummy rubs.

These bears who enjoy going on hikes with their owner.

bears hike with their owner adorable photos of bears

Former biologist Joel Rosenthal is living out his dream on Point of View Farm in West Virginia, regularly hiking and exploring the wilderness behind his farm with his five rescued black bears.

For the past 10 years, Rosenthal has been busy rescuing wild bears who would not have survived without his help. Now, he has grown so close to his bears (as is evident in this video) that he can hike with them, hand-feed them, and even sleep next to them in their enclosures. They are basically just his big, cuddly pups!

This bear who's got an itch.

bear dancing in zoo adorable photos of bears

As it turns out, bears are great dancers—or, in reality, they're forced to strike hilarious poses in order to scratch those itches they can't reach normally. And really, who hasn't seen a dog do the same?

This brown bear sitting like a good boy.

brown bear sitting like a good boy adorable photos of bears

Similar to your canine pal, bears are highly intelligent creatures and often appear to be communicating with humans. That might be why this brown bear, photographed in a zoo, seems to be staring right into your soul. (It's okay though—he's probably just trying to get you to bring him a snack.)

This grizzly bear holding hands with his buddy.

grizzly bear holding hands with man adorable photos of bears

Contrary to popular belief, bears are not overtly violent creatures. In fact, according to the Get Bear Smart Society, bears are actually just shy. Most bear attacks involving humans only occur when people get too close to bears or their cubs, causing the animals to feel threatened. However, in this adorable image, it's pretty clear that this close proximity is just fine with this guy and his ursine pal.

This bear busting out the brass.

russian bear shows off tricks adorable photos of bears
Meanwhile in Russia/YouTube

Trainers around the world have taken the time to train bears to be kind and loving around humans. As bear trainer Doug Seus told USA Today, when their intelligence and personality are nurtured patiently by humans, bears can perform a variety of tasks (as seen in this video). Really, they put the tricks your dog can do to shame. And for more aww-inspiring bear content, check out these 30 Hilarious Bear Puns That Are Un-Bear-ably Funny.

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Ashley Moor
Ashley hails from Dayton, Ohio, and has more than six years of experience in print and digital media. Read more
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