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Raikou = tiger, Entei = lion, Suicune = cheetah
If I remember correctly the official guide called them dogs. So So it is rather idiotic to call someone an idiot just because they call them a dog.
suicune barely looks like a cat though imo.
They each are a mixture of Cat and dog. So they are called the Legendary Beasts because it sounds better than Legendary CatDogs
That's because it's not a cat it's a mixture of deer, dragon, horse, etc.... though it's mostly deer the crystal on its head are its antlers the spots and thin body type are to give it a more deer-like appearance though one could also argue that's suppose to give it a more scale-like appearance. Suicune is specifically based on the Kirin, also known as the chinese unicorn in some cases.
Raikou is based on the Rajiu which unlike the other mythical beasts actually has single animal forms, but it has a lot of different animals its been in legends. In this case they used the tiger form of the Raiju as basis for it.
Entei is based on the shishi also known as the lion-dog, a guardian type beast. Having traits of both lions and dogs and its own entire movie based around it being a guardian no less .
None in this trio are based off a single animal, they are all based off mythical beasts that either take the form of many animals or who's form was a combination of animals. This is why there is so much debate.
The guide is the only grounds the group has to call it dog with Entei being able to bark, Raikou's completely lack of dog features gives credence to cats, and Suicune that doesn't fit in any of those. This is why the media when it refers to this trio either calls all three by names or calls them animals/creatures aka beasts. Since they aren't any one animal the most accurate term for them is beasts/animals/creatures. Of course since that included every animal under the sun Legendary Cats/Dogs/Geribils/etc... can all be right to.
I've got a quote that embodies you perfectly, but it's seventy-three posts long, has a few massive flowcharts, and lots of Xion-KMA to Me
What the heck are these things you are talking about? Suicine? Does it hate life as much as Garfield hates Mondays?
Been watching too much Cartoon Hangover...
I personally agree with Bulbapedia on this case. Entei is a Guardian Lion which is why it looks more stocky than actual lions and its face is more flat. Raikou is a Raiju which is a shapeshifting lightning spirit that can turn into predatory animals in this case a tiger. Suicune is a Qilin, it is very deer like aswell as being mixed with tiger like aspects. (in this case, deer face and horns and body shape with tiger limbs)
If for some reason somebody doesn't buy this then what I see is
Suicune is /clearly/ not a cheetah since it has a canine snout and not many feline features comparatively. It has been argued that "cheetahs have dog-like builds" but what's stopping suicune from being a dog then why would it be a cheetah with a dog face instead of a dog with a dog face.
It doesn't have spots so it wouldn't be a cheetah, nor does it have rosettes so it wouldn't be a leopard, doesn't have rosettes and spots so it wouldn't be a jaguar and clearly the diamonds aren't random large splodges so it wouldn't be a clouded leopard.
So yeah Guardian Lion, Raiju, Qilin what do you think?