Are Seals Related To Dogs?

Seals are commonly referred to as the ocean’s dog because they resemble a man’s best friend. They are charming, have almost similar physical features and can bark.

But are seals related to dogs? Well, these two animals have no close relations regarding the science of classification, describing, and naming organisms. Scientists use various levels of classifications in the field of taxonomy, and the closest relationship between the two animals is that they are members of the same order, Carnivora.

The order contains all carnivorous mammals. Though these animals are not closely related, they share several genes, and their families are predicted to have split around 50 million years ago.

Similarities Between Dogs And Seals

Though the animals are not closely related, there are some common similarities between them. Some of these similarities are:

Furry Faces And Bodies

The bodies of dogs and seals are covered in fur. You are likely to experience the same feel of softness on your furry friend’s fur when you touch a seal.

However, because seals live in different water bodies, their fur coats vary in thickness. Seals in the arctic region, which is colder, have thicker coats.

Aside from the fur on their bodies, a common noticeable similarity is the presence of whiskers. The whiskers help sense and create awareness of the surrounding environment.

Social Behaviors

Not all animals, domestic or wild, are social. Dogs are exceptional as we consider them among the most social creatures on earth. Your furry friend can interact well with other dogs or pets, such as cats. Dogs also have better interaction with humans, especially their owners.

Like dogs, seals are social, as they love interacting with other species. A day in the life of a seal consists of them sleeping, and sunbathing together, showing they are not solitary creatures. Although most seal habitats lack different species, the few recorded interactions with other species show that they do well in a diverse environment.


Both dogs and seals are intelligent species, as they show a high level of curiosity and coordination. The animals can easily learn tricks and interpret emotions. Since the animals are social creatures, observing them, you notice that they systematically develop and recognize hierarchy. They usually respect the animal at the top of the hierarchy.

Loud Bark

The first noticeable similarity between dogs and seals is their loud, noisy bark. They use these sounds as a means of communication and interaction.

In seals, the barks primarily come from males as a sequence for territorial defense or mating. Other sounds that seals can produce include roars and growls.

Can I Pet A Seal Like My Dog?

While most domesticated animals like to be petted, you might wonder if you can pet a seal the next time you go to the zoo. Docile seals can learn to trust humans, and one can easily pet them without experiencing aggression. Nevertheless, they can show a little aggression if their young one is threatened.

On the other hand, wild seals are dangerous, and taming them is almost impossible. They can fight and even break bones when approached by humans.

Final Thoughts

Despite their broad separations scientifically, we can unofficially name sea lions as “sea dogs.” There are several close similarities between the two, especially when domesticated. As a result, most researchers call them distant cousins.

This may tempt you to treat a seal as you would your furry friend. Do not. No matter how lovely a seal may seem, it is not advisable to try and interact with it unless under supervision in a zoo. Wild seals can be dangerously aggressive when you invade their personal space.

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