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Tibetan mastiff dog

Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Dogs can be many things: A loyal companion. A calming presence. An adorable cuddle buddy. A ratchet twerker

But a dog cannot be a lion, not matter how hard they try. Because a dog is a dog and not a lion, just as a lion is a lion and not a dog. Something that one zoo in China has learned the hard way. 

The Henan Zoo in the People's Park of Luohe has come under fire after seemingly trying to pass off a Tibetan mastiff, a large dog with fluffy mane-like hair around its neck like the one picture, as an African lion. 

Another thing dogs are not: Good actors, apparently.

Sharon Liu, who was visiting the zoo with her 6-year-old, noticed that the lion was not a lion when she heard it bark. "To use a dog to impersonate a lion is definitely an insult to tourists," she protested.

Liu Suya, the zoo's chief, responded by claiming, "The African lions will be back. They went to another zoo to breed." The zoo further claims that the dog is a zoo employee's pet and was only temporarily held in the cage for safety reasons.

An excuse that may have held some weight if it weren't for the fact that elsewhere in the same zoo:

A cage advertising leopards actually contained a white fox.

A cage advertising snakes actually contained coypu rats.

A cage advertising wolves actually contained another dog.

So really, the story is: Chinese Zoo Tries to Disguise "Zoo" as Zoo, Fails.