11 Types of Lions (With Photos)

If we talked about the food chain, this animal would be on the top of the list. Lions are known for their dominance, strength, and speed. Many predators do not stand a chance with lions. 

However, to some of you who still do not know, there is no lion; there are many types of a lion. If you see a lion, you can refer to it as a lion, but they are more than that because there are many types of lions in the world. 

Some lions have still been wandering in our world today. But unfortunately, there are also a lot of types of lions that have gone extinct. If you want to know more, keep reading.

Katanga Lion

The first type of lion is the Katanga lion. This type of lion is also called the Southwest or Panthera leo bleyenberghi. In terms of weight, these lions can reach up to twenty-eight kilograms. 

You can also easily recognize this Katanga lion because of its sand-colored mane. You might notice the outer part of this Katanga lion’s mane as a mixture of light brown and coffee-colored. This type of lion has a very thick and dark-colored mane. 

You can see the mane immediately because they are very dark. This is one of the physical characteristics that can tell them apart from the other types of a lion.

Katanga Lion

East African Lion

The second type of lion is the East African lion. This type of lion is commonly known as the East African lion or the Panthera leo nubica. If we talk about its body weight, its weight can reach up to one hundred fifty kilos to two hundred kilos. 

Its bodyweight lies between the average body weights of lions. You can tell apart the male East African lion because they have a rich mane and a darker mane. Their mane is rich and dark, which makes them different from other species of lions.

East African Lion

Congo Lion

The third type of lion is the Congo lion. You can also call this lion the Central African lion. These lion species were scattered into the African continent. 

They are mainly in Uganda and the Republic of the Congo. This type of lion can reach between two meters and fifty centimeters or eighty centimeters in size. This Congo lion can weigh somewhere between one hundred fifty kilos and one hundred ninety kilos in terms of weight. 

You can easily recognize the male Congo lion. They have more of those dark characteristics, mane. In terms of the color of their fur, they can be between dark brown and sand.

Congo Lion

West African Lion

The fourth type of lion is the West African lion. This type of lion is also known as the Panthera leo senegalensis. These lions are called the lion of West Africa. 

One thing you should know about West African Lions is they are together in packs. They go together in packs and go up to three meters, which includes the lions’ tails. This type of lion is also on the verge of extinction. 

The reason for their risk of extinction is primarily because of poaching and also the city of expansion. The city expansion can cause a decrease in the prey that is available to the lions.

West African Lion

Asiatic Lion

The fifth type of lion is the Asiatic lion. This Asiatic lion is also known as the Panthera leo persica. You can find this lion today in zoos and some other parts of the world, but this lion is native to India. 

Today, you can enjoy them when you visit zoos, and you can see them in some parts of the world. In terms of size, this Asiatic lion is smaller than the other types of lions. They also have a lighter coat. In male lions, they have a reddish color in their mane. 

The bad news is that these types of lions are on the verge of extinction. Experts are worried that they will get endangered soon. 

This is primarily because of the lessening of their habitat. They also have some rivalry with their inhabitants.

Asiatic Lion

Transvaal Lion

The sixth type of lion is the Transvaal lion. This Transvaal Lion is also known as the Panthera leo krugeri. This type of lion is from South Africa. 

This lion type is known to be the sister lion of the Katanga type of lion. This type of lion is also known to come from the southern part of Africa. The male Transvaal lion can grow up to two meters. In length, they can also be fifty centimeters. 

The color for this type of lion is sometimes the typical sand color. However, you can also see some Transvaal lions with white fur on them.

Transvaal Lion

Barbary Lion

The seventh type of lion is the Barbary lion. This type of lion is also called the North African lion. This species has been known to be extinct since the year 1942. 

But you can see some specimens of this Barbary lion in the zoo. This type of lion can live both in the African jungles and still survive in the Savannah. 

Though, in captivity, some lions are said to be descendants of this Barbary lion. The record also says that this lion type is considered to be one of the largest lion types.

Barbary Lion

Black Lion

The eighth type of lion is the Black lion. This type of lion is called the Black Lion or the Cape lion. They are also known as the Panthera leo melanchaitus. 

This is a type of lion that has already gone extinct. This type of lion was declared extinct in the year 1980. When the species was still alive, they resided in the southwest of South Africa. 

There was not much data recorded with this species, but these lions weigh between one hundred fifty and two hundred fifty kilos in terms of weight. These lions also love alone. This is different if you compare it to some common lion packs that we have today. 

The males of this Black lion also have a black mane. The human attacks caused during the English colonization have led to the disappearance of the Black lions.

Black Lion

Primitive Cave Lion

The ninth type of lion is the Primitive Cave lion. The Primitive Cave lion or the Panthera leo fossilis is another type of lion that has already been extinct. There is also not much data that has been gathered for this lion type, but it is said that this species can reach up to 2.50 meters long. 

They have resided in Europe. The extinct fossils of this species can be a part of the oldest fossils in the entire world.

Eurasian Cave Lion

The tenth type of lion is the Eurasian Cave lion. This is called the Panthera leo spelaea, and they are referred to as the Eurasian cave lion. You can find this species in the Iberian Peninsula, Alaska, and England. 

The Eurasian Cave lion populated the earth during the Pleistocene. This was two-point sixty million years ago. This is also an extinct type of lion. 

Today, you can find these lions in cave paintings and fossils from thirty years ago. But if we talk about the physical appearance of the Eurasian cave lion, they are very similar to the lions’ appearance nowadays. 

They are 2.5 and three meters long. In terms of weight, they can also be two hundred kilos.

American Lion

The eleventh type of lion is the American lion. This type of lion is also known as the Panthera leo atrox. You can find this species all over North America. 

It was recorded that this American lion was listed to be the largest lion species in history. They measured in length as almost four meters. They also have a weight that goes between three hundred fifty and four hundred kilos.

The extinction of this lion species occurs in the Quaternary during the megafauna extinction. If we refer to the cave paintings about this American lion, this lion has no mane or very few ones.


In summary, lions are at the top of our food chain. They are strong, dominant, and fast. Lions are not just limited to one type. 

Lions have a lot of types. Some species are still alive today, and some are already extinct. So it is crucial to maintain the healthy lions that are still with us today.


Image credits – Canva, Photo by Craig Pattenaude on Unsplash

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more