What is the Difference Between a Leopard and a Cheetah?

by on February 6, 2013

in Londolozi Cubs

This is something that seems to cause quite a lot of confusion in the bush, so I thought I would show you guys the difference between a Cheetah and a Leopard! Once you know you will never be confused again!

Leopard, I'm sure looking at these photo's you can already spot some differences between them

Leopard, I’m sure looking at these photo’s you can already spot some differences between them

The slender cheetah. Also notice how the spots are different.

The slender cheetah. Also notice how the spots are different.

  • The leopard is built for strength so it is very solid and stocky, with shorter legs.
  • The cheetah being built for speed, so it is very slender with long legs.
  • The leopard is nocturnal, so it is more active at night.
  • The cheetah is diurnal, so  more active during the day.
  • The leopards spots are called rosettes, they are more of a cluster of black spots with a dark brown spot in the middle.
  • The cheetahs spots are a solid black dot.
Looking at their faces there is also a difference, the leopard has a stockier face

Looking at their faces there is also a difference, the leopard has a stockier face

The face of the cheetah has the unmistakeable tear marks on it

The face of the cheetah has the unmistakeable tear marks on it

  • The leopard had a much broader face.
  • The cheetah has a rounder face with tear marks running from the inside of the eye to the corners of the mouth.
  • The leopard has retractable claws (like your cat at home) which it puts put when it climbs up trees or catches its prey.
  • The cheetah is the only cat with non-retractable claws, meaning they are out all the time.

Here are some cool videos you can also watch to see the difference between the two:

Check out this cool iBook for your kids that features leopards – Junior Big Five Tracker  

Junior Big Five Tracker

Well I do hope this helped you see the difference between these two amazing African cats! If you enjoyed this blog read our other blog on Cheetah and what makes them run so fast.

Teacher Cinzia


63 comment on “What is the Difference Between a Leopard and a Cheetah?”

    vigneshwaran.p says:

    Thank you, I clearly unterstant

    vigneshwaran.p says:

    what is difference between jaguar ant cheetah

    Teacher Cinzia says:

    Keep checking the blog,you might find the answer soon.

    Haidar Al-Aabedi says:

    Thanks so much Cinzia for your valuable remarks. But I have only question “Why isn’t Cheetah of the same family as leopard, tiger, lion, and jaguar? What is the difference?


    Teacher Cinzia says:

    Hello Haidar, that is a very interesting question, I will look into that and get back to you.

    Nyoki says:

    Wow! I just learned something

    peter says:

    I like it

    asmita sheth says:

    wow!!!!!! I understood the difference very clearly.Thank you very much.

    Helena says:

    Very clear and practical comparison. I found this very helpful for my Asian, city-raised students. Thanks for sharing.

    yoyo says:

    I now know the difference thanks

    sheli says:

    lovely, thank you.

    Amitabh says:


    Leopards are most common predators on different parts of world and thus known with different names, also these animals have various sub-species. Below is a chart as per my understanding (hope The Teacher will check and rectify, if there is any error:

    Animal Types
    Lion Asiatic, African

    Tiger Royal Bengal Tiger, Siberian Tiger, South American Tiger etc

    Leopard Jaguar, Puma, Cougar, Black Panther, Persian Leopard, Indian Leopard, Snow Leopard etc

    Cheetah Only one type as far as I know

    Lion, Tiger and Leopard are from same family but Cheetah is from a different one (probably due the differences spotted above like claw, face cut etc)

    Wolf remains in group, also have different types

    Jackal remains in group, types- coyote etc

    Fox No much info, but different from Jackals

    Teacher Cinzia says:

    Amitabh, well done! This in fantastic research! If you have a look at this blog http://www.londolozi.com/cubsden/what-makes-cheetahs-different-to-other-big-cats/ it tells you the difference between Cheetah’s and the other big cats. Hope to hear from you again soon! :)

    ;) says:

    it is interesting enough…very impressive:):):):)

    bronchelos says:


    bronchelos says:

    thnks alot

    tawanda chimboora says:

    many thanks teacher. Do these cats ie leopards, jaguar cheeter etc prey on each other and which cat dominate the others

    Claire jones says:

    Thanks so much now I know the difference it’s the spots right

    Putta says:

    thanks so much.

    Angela says:

    Thankyou somuch my confusion is cleared

    shalini jain says:

    Thanks for the differences…..
    visual learning is surely helpful:))

    Ebere says:

    Thanks for this explicit info..my son asked.now am able to answer him clearly.

    Teacher Emma says:

    Hi Ebere, Im glad you found the blog useful. I hope you and your son are still enjoying our Cubs Den blogs, keep reading there are loads more to come!

    Raul Rivera says:

    Thank you, truly very helpful.

    Teacher Emma says:

    Its our pleasure! Glad you found it helpful.

    Boitumelo says:

    Thank you very much! Now I know the difference.

    kemi says:

    Thanks so much. I cam differentiate well between the two now. Watcing NAT GEO WILD. The only clarification left is the Jaguar.

    franklin says:

    the dif. are distinct but quite concealing.

    Richard says:

    Wow! thats preety cool i now know the difference and i apreciate Tr.

    Mpumi Tsotetsi says:

    Thank you very much, pictures are clear enough n lovely

    Vijay says:

    wow! that’s best way ever for me to understand this confusion between cheetah and leopard.

    Teacher Emma says:

    Im glad you enjoyed the post! Keep reading for more awesome blog topics.

    Nicole says:

    Great job!! I really like how well you make the comparisons.

    Teacher Emma says:

    Thank you so much Nicole, glad you enjoyed it!

    Yash says:

    Now everything is clear , thanx …

    Jamie says:

    Thanks, now I know! :)

    christopher gallus says:

    how lvly to know these differennces….now i can enjoy movies

    Rich Laburn says:

    Glad you found it useful. Please feel free to share the article and images.

    mr mark says:

    Thanks for differentiating it,I learnt a lot

    Teacher Emma says:

    Thank you for the comment, glad you found it helpful!

    Elias says:

    Wow….l clearly see the difference thanks!!!

    Teacher Emma says:

    Its our pleasure, glad you liked it! Keep reading and commenting for similar new posts! :)

    mabatho Gavu says:

    My 8yr son just explained the defference to me but your block helped me to conferm it. Thanks

    Teacher Emma says:

    Thats amazing! Your son knows his stuff :) Glad you found it useful! Teacher Emma.

    jessica says:

    Wow!! Its very interesting… I have reaaly reaaaly understood… Gives me the interest of knowing more about wild cats

    Jacob says:

    Very good explanation thanks!

    lynn says:

    very nice! and actually quite simple once you see the comparisons

    lokesh sharma says:

    thanks i have understand clearly.

    Gcinabantu Jele says:

    Well thank you! !!! I can now spot the difference

    Fodayukamara says:

    Thnx It’s clear now.

    Rocking Manu says:

    Its was very beautifully explained. I would give it 9.5/10 grade. Information was VERY clear!

    Duncan says:

    I am glad to have the informed about leopard and cheetah i be visiting your website regular.

    Teacher Emma says:

    Hello Duncan! Thank you for visiting our blog site, it means a lot to us. Im glad you are enjoying the blogs, keep reading :) Teacher Emma.

    Jane says:

    My son asked me the question. Thank you for the excellent information.

    Omkar Hosalli says:

    Good info thanx…

    george says:

    Thank you very much my confusion is also cleared.

    george mohlahlo says:

    Thank you so much

    Yas says:

    Wow thanks! I like to consider myself an animal expert but i could never tell the difference between cheetahs and leopards!Thank you soooo much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>