Jaguar vs Cheetah: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: March 8, 2023
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Jaguars and cheetahs are two of the fastest, deadliest cats in their respective areas of the world. Interestingly, these two mammals look quite similar to one another; they’re both large, spotted felines. However, jaguars live in South America and cheetahs live in Africa, and they’re definitely unique creatures. What would happen if we pitted these swift, capable killers against each other in a jaguar vs cheetah match?

We don’t have to cross oceans to come up with this answer. Using the information available to us, we can predict how this fight would play out in real life. Discover which of these cats is superior.

Comparing a Jaguar and a Cheetah

Jaguar vs cheetah
Jaguars and cheetahs might look similar, but they have numerous differences.


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SizeWeight: 120 – 300lbs
Length: 3.5ft- 5.5ft
Height: 2ft-2.5ft at the shoulder
Weight: 80lbs – 140lbs
Length 3.5ft – 5ft
Height: 2ft-3ft
Speed and Movement Type50 mph
– Galloping run  
70 mph  
– Galloping run with long strides
Bite Power and Teeth1,500 PSI bite power
-30 teeth
– 2-inch fangs
400-500PSI bite power  
– 30 teeth
– 1-inch fangs
Senses– Strong sense of smell
– Powerful vision at nighttime, several times better than humans’ vision.
– Great sense of hearing
– Great night vision
–  Excellent sense of smell that helps them find prey
– Wonderful hearing that picks up on many frequencies
Defenses– Superior speed to everything in its range
– Can comfortably rest in trees to make up for lack of pack mentality
– Able to climb trees to avoid predators
– Capable swimmer    
– Speed  
Offensive Capabilities– Strong, sharp, short claws
– Powerful bite and long teeth    
– Speed to chase enemies
– Leverages bite and weight to bring down and strangle large prey
-Sharp dewclaw inflicts extra damage during attacks
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predator that can set up attacks from trees  Ambush other creatures by spotting and running them down.

The Key Factors in a Fight Between a Jaguar and a Cheetah

Types of Big Cats - cheetah
A cheetah vs jaguar fight would ultimately come down to physical features like speed and attacking instincts.

©Elana Erasmus/

In a battle between such powerful felines, what determines the winner? We have come up with a list of six of the most important elements that impact the outcome of the fight. From physical characteristics to the intangible fighting instincts exhibited by each, we’ll examine these key factors and discover which creature has the true advantage in a fight.

Physical Features of a Jaguar and a Cheetah

Close up angry leopard portrait
Cheetahs are smaller, lighter, and faster than jaguars.


Defenses, power, and speed are all physical traits that have a profound and measurable impact on a fight between two creatures. Take a look at the five dimensions of physicality between the jaguar and cheetah and see which has the most advantages over the other in a fight.

Jaguar vs Cheetah: Size

The jaguar can weigh up to 300lbs, grow 5.5 ft long, and stand up to 2.5ft at the shoulder. That’s a very large cat with the largest jaguar on record weighing 328 lbs! Cheetahs are smaller, weighing up to 140lbs, standing 2-3ft long, and growing up to 5ft in length.

Jaguars are larger than cheetahs and get the size advantage.

Jaguar vs Cheetah: Speed and Movement

Cheetahs and jaguars are both renowned for their speed, and each is the fastest on their respective continents. Jaguars can hit a blazing speed of 50mph, but cheetahs are an absolute blur, running at 70mph or more to take down their prey.

Cheetahs are faster than jaguars and get the advantage for speed.

Jaguar vs Cheetah: Bite Power and Teeth

Both of these felines use their bites to take down prey. Jaguars have a ruthlessly powerful bite force at 1,500PSI, and their longest teeth measure 2 inches in length.

Cheetahs have smaller teeth because they are built around breathing and maintaining high running speeds rather than brute force. They can only bite at around 400-500PSI and their teeth are about an inch long.

Jaguars are better at biting than cheetahs.

Jaguar vs Cheetah: Senses

Cheetahs are ambush predators that use their keen senses to find enemies. They have amazing vision, hearing, and smell, all of which are used to find enemies and snuff them out. Jaguars are similar in that they have great night vision, a strong sense of smell, and a great sense of hearing.

Jaguars and cheetahs get a tie for senses.

Jaguar vs Cheetah: Physical Defenses

The cheetah only has one type of physical defense: running away. This creature is built for speed, and it can use it to great effect to run down prey or run away from predators. Jaguars are also very fast, but their ability to climb trees and swim in water makes them even more elusive than the cheetah.

Jaguars have more defenses than cheetahs, and they have an obvious advantage.

Combat Skills of a Jaguar and a Cheetah

guyana jaguar
Jaguars use their 2-inch teeth and ambushing skills to attack prey.

©Pedro Helder Pinheiro/

Jaguars are ambush predators that stalk their prey before running them down and attacking with a powerful bite to the throat or other vital areas. They also use their sharp claws to inflict extra damage on their prey. They can even sit in low tree branches to set up an ambush!

Cheetahs stalk their prey and then chase them down with their superior speed. Once they clamp on their enemy’s throat, they drop to the ground, dragging their prey along with them. Their dewclaw can inflict extra damage, but their claws are not as sharp as a jaguar’s.

Jaguars and cheetahs use very similar means to attack other creatures, so they get a tie in combat skills.

What Are Key Differences Between a Jaguar and a Cheetah?

Although they look alike, jaguars and cheetahs are from different parts of the world.

©Millie Bond – Copyright A-Z Animals

Jaguars live in Central and South America while cheetahs live in Africa. Jaguars are larger and stronger than cheetahs, and they have longer fangs than cheetahs. However, cheetahs are far quicker than a jaguar.

Both animals have unique spot patterns on their fur, but jaguars can also appear as a completely black morph that is commonly called a black panther. These differences make it easier to identify each creature in the wild and help us determine which has a better chance of winning a fight.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Jaguar and a Cheetah?

Amazing Rainforest Animal: Jaguar
A jaguar would win a fight against the cheetah.


A jaguar would beat a cheetah in a fight. Cheetahs are faster than jaguars, but that’s the only advantage they would have in a one-on-one fight. Either way, both animals would have to clash with each other to kill, and jaguars have the size, weight, and power to kill a cheetah.

Both creatures have such attuned senses that they would be aware of the other’s presence, so there would be no ambush, just a straight-up fight to the death. The cheetah might even land the first blow, but in the tumbling snarling action that would follow, the jaguar would use its power, long teeth, and claws to kill the cheetah.

However, a cheetah could kill a jaguar if it managed to rush in from behind and bite the jaguar’s neck for a quick victory. Yet, they often suffocate their prey, and a jaguar has enough instincts to ruthlessly claw the other cat. Even if the cheetah somehow suffocated the jaguar, it would walk away torn to ribbons. Also, jaguars are hard to sneak up on, and a regular fight would end with the larger, tougher cat winning.  

What Animal Could Defeat a Jaguar?

The jaws of a crocodile are vastly stronger than those of a jaguar.

©Audrey Snider-Bell/

Jaguars may be able to perform impressively well against the lightning-fast speed of the cheetah, but there are many animals that would be a much greater challenge for these cats. Crocodiles are one such creature. Boasting a bite force of up to 3,700 psi on jaws with up to 60 4-inch teeth, these reptiles are more than capable of dealing deadly amounts of damage to any creature that dares to duel with them.

In a confrontation with a jaguar, the crocodile would be at a significant disadvantage when it comes to factors like flexibility, speed, and versatility, as the big cats are well suited to climb trees, giving them a chance to attack from the air or find a brief respite from the crocodile’s attacks. Ultimately the crocodile’s thick scaly skin would be too thick for the jaguar to deal significant amounts of damage without getting in range of the reptile’s vicious jaws. Despite their best efforts, there is no way a jaguar could beat a crocodile in a fight.

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Strongest cats - Jaguar
Rose-shaped markings are characteristic of jaguars. These spots are called rosettes.

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as managed service providers, animals, and retail distribution. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 . When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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