Mountain Lion or Dog Track?

One of our local trackers, Kim Cabrera, said that “almost once a week, someone will send a photo of a track that is allegedly a mountain lion. However, 99% of those turn out to be dog tracks.”

She prepared a video below to walk you through how to tell which is which. 

For more on how to tell the difference between the two tracks, check out her website here.


  • Thank you Kim and Kym, that was one of the most useful things I have seen on the internet in a while. It is stuff like this that redeems the internet from being a vomitorium of the intellect.

  • Yep! Kim’s videos and her skill at tracking are awesome! Thanks for posting, Kym!

  • Some of the clearest mountain lion tracks I’ve come across…

  • As someone who spends time in areas where mountain lions would be, I so appreciate this lesson. I have scared myself, out the woods, & back to the car, more than once, because of tracks I coukd not identify. Now I have a much better idea. It was eady to understand, and very informative. Thank you so much for taking the time.

  • Loved the explanations! Kim does a great job explaining!!!

    How many years have you been “tracking”?

  • Thanks Kim, for the informative video and thanks Kym, for bringing it to us!

  • Kim
    My first clue as to whether it is a cat track or a dog track is the dog track has an obvious hole in the middle of the foot, a cat track is filled in the middle and more of a pad. And, of course the dog has toenails.

    Thanks for the video. I’d bet that you don’t ever have a problem identifying a track at first glance.

  • Thank you so much Kim and Kym!!! It makes my day to learn something new!!! Thank you again!!!

  • Excellent video! Thank you!

  • Lost Croat Outburst

    Just loved it! I always only looked for claw marks for a dog, none for the cat. Now, a whole new world of observation is mine. The explanation on cat vs. canine hunting strategies and their claws is classic. Explains why the most dog-like cats, cheetahs, are the only felines with non-retractable claws.

  • Thanks everyone! Glad you liked it! DaveH – those are beautiful tracks! Ernie, that’s another good clue. Thanks, Spinnerholm!

  • Aha. What a useful and fascinating explanation. Can’t wait to spot my next real mountain lion track. I’ll go back in the woods much better informed for this. Hope to see and learn more… thank you!

  • Hi! Thanks for the video! It’s really helpful. Pretty sure I spotted mountain lion tracks near my house a few days ago. Here’s a pic. 🙂

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