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Can Big Cats Breed With Each Other? List Included!

A liger photo neck and head, with curled ears and a serious face, and a dark green natural background.

Curious about big cats and their breeding habits? You’re not alone! Many people are interested in the mating rituals and offspring of big cats and wonder if they can mix species to make a different kind of big cat.

Although big cats from different species can mate and produce offspring, it is rare for this to happen in the wild. If you’re interested in getting a big cat that is the product of interbreeding, then you’ll need to work with a professional animal breeder.

Would you like to learn more about big cats that can interbreed? If so, read on! We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular breeds and what you can expect if you’re considering getting one.

Which Big Cats Can Breed With Each Other?

As mentioned, some big cats can interbreed with each other.

For example, lions and tigers can interbreed and produce offspring known as ligers or tigons. Other big cats that can also interbreed to produce hybrid offspring are:

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  • leopards
  • jaguars
  • servals
  • caracals
  • pumas

To find out more about how big cats behave in the wild, this article here explains tree-climbing amongst different big cats.

So why don’t these hybrids occur more in the wild?

Well, it’s generally because big cats have different preferred habitats and ranges over other areas. When their ranges overlap, the hybrids usually don’t survive because they can’t compete with either parent species for resources. The hybrids are generally weaker and less adapted to the environment than purebred cats.

Nevertheless, animal breeders have produced a wide variety of big cat hybrids due to careful genetic selection and cross-breeding techniques.

General Criteria for Cross-Breeding

Cross-breeding big cats is more complex than just throwing two different cats together and letting nature take its course.

To ensure the health and vitality of these incredible creatures, you must carefully regulate cross-breeding big cats.

It can only be done when an experienced breeder brings together two closely related species with distinct colors and patterns. Moreover, both males and females must be healthy and free from diseases or genetic disorders.

The process is delicate and requires a thorough understanding of the big cats’ anatomy and behavior to ensure it’s done correctly.

When successful, cross-breeding serves as a great way to maintain genetic diversity among rare cat species populations while fostering appropriate numbers of kittens every season. In short, cross-breeding is an essential step in preserving the lives of big cats around the world.

A well-executed breeding program can help stabilize numbers and promote a more uniform coloration within certain species — creating healthier habitats.

NOTE: It’s important to remember that large cats are sensitive creatures that require careful attention during their upbringing, and cross-breeding should not be taken lightly.

List of Interbred Big Cats

Now that you know more about the process and criteria for cross-breeding, here’s a list of some of the most popular interbred big cats:


A liger is a hybrid animal produced by mating a male lion and a female tiger.

A liger that isn't quite full grown, with tan and light orange fur with light stripes.
Ligers are a crossbreed of lion and tiger

In most cases, the ligers that survive to adulthood are incredibly large due to the extensive combination of genes from both parents.

In general, in their natural habitats, ligers can grow significantly more than lions or tigers.


A tigon is a hybrid animal made from cross-breeding a male tiger and a female lion.

Tigon cubs share the distinct characteristics of both parents and are often larger than either species at birth, featuring a beautiful striped pattern on their fur and long tails like tigers.

Even though they usually have characteristics from both animals, adult tigons typically weigh less than either parent, making them smaller and more gentle than either one on their own.

These big cat hybrids can also interbreed with each other, resulting in the following hybrids:

  • Li-Tigon: Male lion and female tigon
  • Li-Liger: Male lion and female liger
  • Ti-Liger: Male tiger and female liger
  • Ti-Tigon: Male tiger and female tigon
  • Ti-Ligon: Male tiger and female ligon

The popular liger and tigon are just some of the big cat interbreeds. Other big cats can also create hybrids because they share close genetic ties:

  • jaguars
  • pumas
  • leopards
  • servals
  • caracals

Here are some that we know of:

  • Jagulep: Male jaguar and female leopard
  • Tigard: Male tiger and female leopard
  • Lijagulep: Male lion and female jagulep
  • Leopon: Male leopard and female lion
  • Pumapard: Male puma and female leopard
  • Servical: Male serval and female caracal
  • Caraval: Male caracal and female serval
  • Liard: Male lion and female leopard

What To Expect When Cross-Breeding Big Cats

Of course, cross-breeding big cats can pose some challenges, and knowing what you can expect from the experience is essential. Here are some things to keep in mind:

You’ll Need a Lot of Space

This is the most obvious thing on the list, but it’s worth repeating. If you’re thinking about cross-breeding big cats, you’ll need to have enough space to accommodate two or more adult cats and any offspring they produce.

Depending on the size of the cats involved, this could mean anything from a large room in your house to an entire backyard or even a farm!

Be Prepared for Some Surprises

No matter how much research you do or how carefully you plan, there are always going to be some surprises when dealing with living creatures.

This is especially true when those creatures are young and have yet to reach their full size or maturity level. With big cats, this could mean anything from an unexpected litter of kittens to behavioral issues later down the road.

A mother and 2 kittens all cross bred big cats.
Crossbred offspring can have a variety of different looks

The Offspring May Not Be What You Expect

When two different species are involved, it’s impossible to predict precisely what the offspring will look like or how they will behave.

In some cases, the offspring may take after one parent more than the other; in other cases, they may be a completely new creature altogether!

This is one of the most exciting parts of cross-breeding big cats — you never quite know what you’ll get.

It’s Important To Do Your Research

Before crossing any two big cat species, it’s crucial that you do your research beforehand. Not all big cat species can successfully interbreed — and even those that can sometimes produce offspring with health issues or deformities.

It’s essential to consult with experts and veterinarians before proceeding so that you know what you’re getting yourself into and can make an informed decision.

Be Prepared for Potential Health Problems

As with any breeding project, there is always a risk of health problems among the offspring.

This is why it’s essential to consult with experts beforehand and ensure that you take all necessary precautions. Some health problems may be minor and easily treatable; others may be more serious and require lifelong care.

Final Thoughts

Cross-breeding big cats is an enriching and exciting experience.

It’s a chance to witness new species being born in nature and admire Mother Nature’s beauty at its finest.

A cross breed big cat, that is tan and light orange with light leopard-like spots.
Crossbreeding big cats can be a rewarding experience

As we’ve seen, when two closely related species are brought together, there is always a potential for problems. But with careful planning and regulation by an experienced breeder, cross-breeding big cats can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved.

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