King cheetah are exactly like regular cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) except for mutations in their fur patterns. The king cheetah is not a unique species or sub-species of cheetah. Back in 1927, they were designated as Acinonyx rex (king cheetah) – a new species. Later in 1939, this proposal was removed because of a lack of data to support them as a new species. You also sometimes hear them called Cooper’s cheetah, and it was once believed that they were a cross between a cheetah and a hyaena.
Rather than small black dots all over their bodies, they have large, dark splotches in irregular patterns. They also have three distinct black stripes going down their backs in vertical lines. This fur pattern come from a recessive allele that must be passed down from both parents in order for the same traits to manifest in their cubs. In other words, the mutation doesn’t just appear out of nowhere; it’s genetic. And it can skip a generation.
King Cheetahs are incredibly rare but they cannot be tracked in the same way as other rare animals because they are not a separate species.