Leopard is a term used to describe a spotted color pattern, particularly in the hair coat or skin of animals, but also used to describe spotting patterns in plants and fabrics. The term is derived from the black and gold spotted coat of the Leopard cat, but is used to describe many color combinations that result in spots scattered randomly across the skin or hair coat of other animals. Leopard may also be used to describe fabric designs that imitate the coat pattern of Leopards or other animals.
Examples of animals with coloring patterns termed Leopard include many great cats in the Panthera species, the Leopard frog, the "Leopard" spotting pattern in the Appaloosa and Knabstrup breeds of horses, the Leopard Seal, insects such as theGiant Leopard Moth, and fish species such as the Leopard darter and the Leopard shark. Examples of plants that use the term include the Leopard Lily, and the Leopard flower.
The leopard color pattern in horses is linked to the "Lp" or Leopard gene, which not only produces a spotted coat color but also causes mottling of the skin, a white sclera around the eye, and striped hooves. Horses with the Lp gene may be spotted all over, or may have concentrations of spots in various patterns.