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Jaguar, Leopard or Panther - What’s the Difference?

2. Anatomy

Height and Length

The jaguar has significantly shorter legs than the leopard. But in terms of shoulder height, both are similar at around 28 to 31 inches (70-80 cm) tall. That's because the jaguar has a larger, bulkier body.

But they differ in their length. The head-torso length is:

  • Jaguar: 35 to 77 inches (90-196 cm)
  • Leopard: 44 to 72 inches (112-185 cm)

Jaguar Anatomy

Jaguar Jaguar - Photo: Martin Mecnarowksi/Shutterstock


Leopard Anatomy

Leopard Leopard - Photo: Maggy Meyer/Shutterstock


The jaguar has a massive build and is significantly larger and heavier than the leopard. The heaviest known male jaguar weighed 348 lbs (158 kg).

  • Jaguar: 132 to 220 lbs (60-100 kg)
  • Leopard: 81 to 198 lbs (37-90 kg)

Head Shape

The jaguar has a broader, squarer, noticeably more rounded head than the leopard.

Jaguar Head

The jaguar has a much wider forehead and a wider jaw.

Jaguar Jaguar - Photo: Foto: nwdph/Shutterstock


Leopard Head

The leopard’s head is thinner and more elegant.

Leopard Leopard - Photo: gudkovandrey/


Of all big cats, the jaguar has the shortest tail:

  • Jaguar: 18 to 30 inches (45-75 cm)
  • Leopard: 26 to 40 inches (66-102 cm)


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