With their powerful bodies and golden manes, it’s no wonder these two pet dogs are often mistaken for lions.
But owners Shaun Kingsnorth and Katrina Springs say their Tibetan mastiffs – two-year-old male Bear and one-year-old female Amira – are gentle giants who squeeze on the sofa “like lapdogs”.
Bear already weighs 11st 8lb but could hit 15st. On all fours, he is the same height as the couple’s youngest son Ryan, six. And up on his back legs, he matches Shaun at 6ft.
What do you think of Bear and Amira? Let us know in the comments
Shaun, 42, took Bear on at six months after his previous owner had to give him up due to his size. After posting online about Bear, a Romanian rescue centre got in touch about Amira.
They say the pair are adored by passers-by – who often stop them for photos.
No one has ever called the police in fear, thinking they actually are big cats. But builder Shaun, of Corby, Northants, said: “We’ve had people double-take and think we’re out walking lions. The vet once said, ‘I’ve never seen dogs like that, are you sure they don’t belong in the zoo?’ They are a bit of a handful – but just gentle giants.”
Shaun and Burger King server Katrina, 40, saw an ad for Bear in 2019.
Shaun said: “I just fell in love when I saw him. We knew it would be a challenge because of his size. But he’s the gentlest dog.”
Get the biggest news delivered to your inbox. Sign up for the Mirror’s free newsletters
Six months later, the charity in Romania contacted them about Amira and they could not resist helping, so they flew her to the UK. And they say their children Kyle, 19, Bradley, 16, Shakira, 14 and Ryan “absolutely love them”.
Amira now weighs 9st 4lb and they will reach full size aged five.
Shaun – who feeds them beef, chicken and steak as well as a dry food mix – said: “Sometimes I feel they actually are lions. They take up the sofa or bed by themselves. Even if we’re sat on them, they’ll hop up and try and sit on your lap.
Katrina added: “They’re a big part of the family – I couldn’t imagine not having them.”.