Some species look so similar that most people wouldn’t be able to tell that they are not the same animal. This can happen across so many different types of animals from dogs and coyotes to even different cat species. These animals have very long lineages in most situations and may even originate from different parts of the world, giving them their specific features and evolutionary differences.

The lynx and bobcat are two cats that can be very difficult to tell apart—unless you know what to look for. Below, we’ll look at some of the main differences between these two cats.


Visual Differences

Lynx vs Bobcat - Visual Differences
Image Credit: Left – Zdeněk Macháček, Unsplash | Right – Don Mammoser, Shutterstock

At a Glance

  • Origin: Canada, Europe, Asia, Spain
  • Size: 32–47 inches long
  • Lifespan: 7–15 years
  • Domesticated: No
  • Origin: North America
  • Size: 32–37 inches long
  • Lifespan: 5–15 years
  • Domesticated: No


Lynx Overview

Erurasian Lynx
Image Credit: Lubomir Novak, Shutterstock

Characteristics & Appearance

This wild cat breed can be characterized by its tufted ears and bobbed tail. They usually weigh around 18 to 60 pounds and can get up to 80 pounds in weight. They have much more of a wild appearance than the bobcat with characteristics quite different from a house cat. They have black around the tips of their ears with long fur on either side. Their paws are big, and they have long legs to romp around in snowy environments. With a lot of fur covering their paw pads, it acts as a protective “shoe” when hunting in winter-like conditions.

Lynxes have long coats as well to be safe from harsh weather and can be spotted as having thick, solid, generally gray fur. Much of their features are to keep their species safe in colder climates and promote easy hunting.


Lynxes are not domesticated animals and cannot be kept as regular house cats. They are similar in nature to any wild cat, where they will not seek out humans to attack and will generally steer clear of them unless they are in poor health.


Bobcat Overview

Florida bobcat
Image Credit: William Falla, Shutterstock

Characteristics & Appearance

Bobcats are another species in the wild cat category that have similarities to your everyday house cat. These animals are medium-sized cats that have long ears with pointed tips to assist in hearing their prey scurry around. Their name comes from their characteristic bobbed tails. Bobcats have a much more domesticated house cat appearance with average-sized paws in relation to the size of their bodies, and softer facial features.

They have long tufts of fur that protrude from their face, giving them a fluffy-like appearance. A bobcat’s diet consists of smaller rodents and animals like birds and mice, while also hunting rabbits when possible. They can even win a fight against larger animals like deer, with their ability to pounce up to 3 meters in height. Unlike the lynx, bobcats don’t have paws and coats suitable for the snow. They have smaller paws without much furry coverage, which is unnecessary for the general types of climates they live in. Their coat can resemble that of a house cat with more patterns, spots, and stripes. The color of their coat can vary between brown and gray.


Much like other wild cats, the bobcat is a wild animal. They live in various conditions in North America and have a much more cat-like appearance. Bobcats can be much more aggressive than other wild cats and are known to be great, fierce competitors in the food chain. They are known for their agility and quality hunting abilities.


What Are the Differences Between Lynxes & Bobcats?

Both lynxes and bobcats are similar in size and appearance, and this is due to their shared genetics. They are actually from the same genus, meaning they are different species under the same umbrella of wild cats. For example, the lynx has four different species originating from four different areas of the world including Eurasia, Spain, and Canada. You will see the bobcat in North America as the most common wild cat populating the area. While the other four species of lynx can live in varied weather conditions and climates, the bobcat prefers forested areas in North America—the only continent where you will find both species.

Other than living conditions and genetics, the lynx and bobcat’s differences can be spotted with the naked eye with a few key characteristic differences. This includes the size of their paws, color of fur, and facial features. Lynxes have longer, thicker fur and bigger paws to get them through the harsh winter snow. Bobcats have longer, bobbed tails and shorter coats. Another key difference can be seen in the color and patterns in their coat. Lynxes generally have solid color fur and bobcats can be seen with spots and stripes.

The diet of the two cats is similar in that they both hunt rabbits and hares, but the bobcat can be known to be more aggressive and versatile in what they eat. You won’t ever catch a lynx hunting larger prey, while the bobcat doesn’t mind using its hunting expertise to chase down a deer with an aggressive nature.



While the bobcat and lynx are similar in size, there are some stark differences between the two. Bobcats have smaller paws, shorter legs, and less fur overall, plus, their characteristically bobbed tails. It’s rare to spot either of these cats out in the wild but knowing these key differences will help you recognize each one of you are lucky enough to spot them.

Of course, these are wild, potentially dangerous animals, and while they will do their best to stay away from humans if you do come across one, we recommend you do the same!

Featured Image Credit: Top – Glen Hooper, Unsplash | Bottom – Pixabay, Pexels