The "savage" warrior with an animal companion is a staple of pulp fantasy/swords & sorcery. However, if you wanted to play a warrior with a tiger for an animal companion, you're looking at a 7th level Druid or 14th level Ranger according to the SRD.
Is there another way to represent this classic fantasy archetype using another class, feats, spells, magic items or some use of the Handle Animal skill? I'd like to play this character starting from 1st level, if possible, or at least not require a minimum of 7 levels.
Also, Druids don't seem like a good fit for this barbarian-type, although maybe re-skinning the semi-celtic flavor of the SRD Druid as something more tropical could work.
I'm open to any combination of the above + creative uses of in-game fiction as well (ie whistling for his tiger friend == casting summon animal, etc).