With a maximum length of 1.50 m (5 ft), Percrocuta was much bigger than its modern relatives, but smaller than a female lion. Like the Spotted Hyena, Percrocuta had a robust skull and powerful jaws. Similar to modern hyenids, its hind legs were shorter than the front legs, resulting in a characteristic sloping back.
Percrocuta was introduced as a genus of Percrocutidae in 1938. Percrocuta's relation to the Hyaenidae family was debated until 1985, when Percrocuta, Dinocrocuta, Belbus, and Allohyaena were accepted as the four genera of Percrocutidae.
P. abessalomi is known only from a skull, two mandibles, and two teeth. These fossils were all collected from the Belomechetskaja, Georgia area and date from the sixth mammal neogene (MN) zone. This species is the best known of the Percrocutidae family. P. miocenica is known from only a few mandibles, found in Yugoslavia and Turkey. These fossils also date from 6 MN.