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The Bengal Cat Breed
Portions of this page are courtesy of  Wikipedia (the free encyclopedia), please review the Copyright page for further information.

The Bengal cat is a relatively new breed of domestic house cat ( Felis silvestris catus ) developed to have a gentle and friendly temperament, while exhibiting the markings (such as spots, rosettes, and a light/white belly), and body structure reminiscent of the wild Asian Leopard cat , Prionailurus bengalensis.  Put another way, a Bengal cat has a desirable 'wild' appearance, with a gentle domestic cat temperament.

Bengals are medium sized cats - a male may weigh as much as 20 lb (9 kg), and a female commonly weighs 7 to 12 lb (4 to 6 kg).  Male cats are generally larger than females.  They are a great size for sitting on your lap while you're watching TV or playing games or whatever it is you choose to do to relax.   Bengals are known for being lap cats, they love a cuddle and will purr with delight when they get what they want.

Asian Leopard CatBengal cats are a hybrid breed developed over several generations through a program of selectively crossbreeding domestic cats, possessing desired features, with Asian Leopard Cats (ALC) and ALC hybrids.  The principle of hybrid vigor dictates that hybrid cats are often healthier and larger than either parent.  The first three generation males are almost always infertile, though there have been the occasional, but rare F3 studs capable of reproduction. The early generation females are typically fertile, and responsible for continuing the genetic contributions of the ALC to the next generation.

The first three generations of these hybrid offspring are properly referred to as the "filial" generations.  A Bengal cat with an ALC parent is called an F1 Bengal, short for first filial.  An F1 then bred with a domestic male yields an F2, or second filial.  Kittens from an F2 female and another domestic cat are then termed F3.  Kittens from a subsequent F3 mating with a domestic are F4s.  The F4 and later generations are considered domestic cats and correctly designated as Stud Book Tradition (SBT) Bengals, and can be shown and registered.  Any SBT bengal is at least four generations from the ALC.  Filial cats (F1-F3) are also termed 'foundation cats' and are typically reserved for breeding purposes, or the specialty pet home environment.

A Bengal cat purchased as a pet is usually an SBT.   Although some breeders occasionally offer filial (F1-F3) cats for sale, they are not for the average pet owner as early generation cats can be more aloof in temperament and not as easily housebroken.   The ALC in its natural setting is a solitary, small, shy and reclusive cat not known for interacting with humans.   The purpose of crossbreeding them with domestic cats was to obtain a wild-appearing cat with a desirable friendly personality and gentle temperament.

Domestic BengalThe modern SBT bengal gene pool contains genes sourced from many varieties of domestic cats - mainly Egyptian Maus , American Shorthair , Abyssinian , Ocicat , and domestic short haired cats .   It is commonly accepted that the breed was developed by Jean Mill of California in the 1970's, although bengal breeders exist throughout the world today.   Many breeders today are working to develop specific characteristics in the breed, often by backcrossing foundation cats with particularly vivid markings.   The Asian Leopard Cat is comprised of several subspecies, and consequently, they can have considerable variations in their appearance.

Bengal cats are very high-energy, intelligent, and curious, and so are particularly interactive with their human house mates, wanting to be in the middle of whatever the human is engaged in, and often following the human around the house as household chores are performed.  As their activity and play requirements are high, this is not a cat best left to its own devices for long periods of time, as they can be quite mischievous and destructive when bored.  If an owner is likely to spend much of the day away from the cat, having another high-energy feline companion to occupy your Bengal is an excellent idea.  Bengals tend to vocalize to communicate with their humans, and are quite capable of jealousy and spitefulness if they feel that another feline is getting more attention, or if they are being ignored.  The other side of this coin is that they are also extremely affectionate towards and playful with their humans.

paw bulletColors and Patterns

Bengals are bred in a variety of colors and patterns.   The most common and accepted are:
  • Brown Spotted Tabby - Eyes: Green, depth of color varies.
  • Brown Marbled Tabby - Eyes: Green, depth of color varies.
The Brown Tabby Bengals have dark spots on a lighter ground color ranging from gray or tawny to sorrel to golden, very rufused (bright orange) and to a rich mahogany.   Note: The Asian Leopard Cat is considered a "brown spotted tabby" in the cat fancy and ranges somewhat in color.
  • Seal Lynx Spotted Tabby - Eyes: Blue.
  • Seal Lynx Marbled Tabby - Eyes: Blue.
  • Seal Sepia Spotted Tabby - Eyes: Gold or Green/Gold.
  • Seal Sepia Marbled Tabby - Eyes: Gold or Green/Gold.
Sepia Tabby, (also referred to as "Snow" Tabbies) have ivory backgrounds with contrasting spots.  Extreme contrast between the markings and the ground color is desirable in every color.
  • Seal Mink Spotted Tabby - Eyes: Green or Aqua.
  • Seal Mink Marbled Tabby - Eyes: Green or Aqua.
Mink Tabbies (also referred to as "Snow" Tabbies) have ivory backgrounds with contrasting spots.  The seal mink (aqua or green-eyed) spotted is a combination of one each of the above pointed Siamese and the Burmese sepia genes.  Extreme contrast between the markings and the ground color is desirable in every color.
  • Silver Spotted Tabby ( Eyes: Green )
  • Silver Marbled Tabby ( Eyes: Green )
Silver Tabbies are relatively new to the "Bengal World".  Silver Tabbies have silver backgrounds with contrasting spots.  Extreme contrast between the markings and the ground color is desirable in every color.animated star
There are other types of colors of Bengals "out-there" being bred.  To us, these Bengals lose some of the "wild appearance" that the Bengal Breed strives for.  Color and Markings are a big part of the breed, if not the biggest.  To us these colors have a bit more of a domestic appearance.  Therefore, we choose NOT to breed the following colors: Black (Melanistic),  Blue, and Torbie.
 
Bengal Silver Marbled Kitten

paw bulletOther Coat Characteristics:
  • "Glitter": The high shine (usually on a clear, non ticked coat) that has been discovered and developed in the Bengal is a welcome addition to the breed.
  • "Rosettes": The dark outlining of coat markings (both in the spotted and marbled) that are around a third rich color, are found in many Asian Leopard Cats and other wild cat species.  Rosettes showing two distinct colors or shades, such as paw print shaped, arrowhead shaped, doughnut or half-doughnut shaped or clustered are preferred to single spotting but not required.
  • "Marbled": The Marbled Tabby gene creates the marbled Bengal and represents a change of pattern from spotted to swirled or marbleized.  This dramatic pattern is comprised of swirls of brown spotted colors flowing in a horizontal fashion instead of traditional spots.  Preference is given to the more horizontal, flowing and "ocelot-like" patterns.  The "marbled" pattern can also occur in lynx, sepia, mink, and silver color/patterns.
  • "Fuzzy Uglies": Some Bengal kittens go through what is referred to as the "fuzzy uglies" stage.  A beautifully clear kitten at three weeks old may begin to acquire a "ticked" kitten coat at four to five weeks old.  This coat begins to clear again to higher contrast at about 12 weeks and is again breathtaking by 6 months.
paw bulletOfficial Bengal Breed Standard:

Please visit www.tica.org to read the official "Breed Standard" as set forth by TICA (The International Cat Association).
Asian Leopard Cat
The Asian Leopard Cat (ALC)

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Leopard Cat Foundation












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