Cheetah or Leopard print? Read all about the different spotted patterns.

August 06, 2018

Different animal print patters, leopard, cheetah and jaguar.

The prints of the so called ‘big cats’ are a favourite for fashion designers. The spotted pattern is used for items ranging from leggings to swimsuits and jackets to miniskirts.

For the untrained eye all of these prints may look the same, but there is a distinct (and easy to spot, sorry for the pun) difference between all of these patterns.
We are happy to explain this all to you!


A leopard in a tree and a close-up of leopard print
The Leopard or Panther -
Panthera pardus - lives on the African and Asian continent. The pattern consists of small, densely packed rosettes. These rosettes are made of a dark circle with a warm brown colored center, on a light brown base. 

The main difference between Leopard and Jaguar print is that the rosettes of the Jaguar can have a black dot in the center. So let's read more about the jaguar:


The jaguar in it's green habitat and an example of the jaguar print
Even though the Jaguar - Panthera onca - looks a lot like the leopard, the jaguar is the largest cat living only on the American continent. Main difference between the Leopard is it’s slightly more muscular build. And ofcourse the different print. Like the leopard the pattern on it’s fur consists of rosettes, a dark circle with a brown center, on a sandy coloured base. But unlike the leopard, the jaguars rosettes can have an extra dark brown spot in the centre of the rosette, something the leopard never has.


The cheetah in the wild and a close-up of cheetah fur
Being the fastest land animal, the cheetah - Acinonyx jubatus - lives mostly on the Southern part of the African continent, and in a few places in Iran.
The cheetahs distinct spotted pattern is created by more than 2000 solid black dots on a tan coloured base. This makes it easy to differentiate the cheetah from all the other prints, if the dots are solid it’s a cheetah print.

Snow Leopard

The elusive snow leopard and a close up of it's fur pattern
The mythical Snow Leopard - Panthera uncia - is a very special (and close to impossible) cat to see in the wild. The snow leopard lives high up in the mountains of Central and South Asia. Adapted to the colder climate this big cat has much thicker fur and a bushy tail. It’s fur is more muted in colour compared to the leopard and is white-ish to gray with a white belly. It has black spots on the head and neck with larger rosettes on the back and flanks.

Black Panther / Black Jaguar

Black panther and black jaguar
The black panther and black jaguar are not a separate species, but a kind of albino version of the big cat. Instead of turning white, the fur is black, which is called melanistic.
The spotted pattern still slightly shines through.

Ps. Just in case you are wondering, a tiger has stripes, so it’s not part of our list of spotted big cats.

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