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It looks like a tiger! (sorry, it's a random question)

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Well based on its name an origin, there may be some reasons why:

  • Growl in "Growlithe" is a gruff noise made by dogs
  • From its biology: "It will fiercely bark at, bite, and chase away any perceived threat, including those who suddenly approach its Trainer" - common puppy/dog habits
  • May be based off of the Japanese Dog statue shisa
  • It's body style resembles a puppy
  • Also, it's a Gen I Pokemon, so a lot of Pokemon in this generation were just classified as common species; *Other Pokemon like "Lillipup" are also puppy Pokemon species, and their natural natures are fairly similar

Hope I helped! :)

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image
It also looks like a puppy.
[source][2]

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It also evolves into a Pokemon that explicitly has the word 'canine' in its name. Tigers are not canine.
An image ain't a source.
An article with a thousand words is a source. An image is worth a thousand words, so an image is also a source.