BENGAL CAT - Silver/Brown & Snow

By Dawn Loder

The Bengal Cat originates from a domestic cat (Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Burmese, or Egyptian Mau) and a Asian Leopard Cat (ALC).  During the 1960's researchers such as California's Jean Sugden (now Jean Mills) were studying cat related diseases such as leukaemia and other cancer related viruses.  It was noted that wild cat types such as the lion and tiger were immune to some of these diseases.  The wild Asian Leopard Cat was bred to the common house cat in an effort to study the immune defences of the wild cat family to these diseases.
In 1963 Jean Sugden (Mills) crossed a female ALC and a male black domestic cat, the results were a mixture of solid and spotted kittens.  One of the spotted female offspring was then mated back to the father and the resulting litter had spotted kittens.  This was the beginning of the Bengal, but didn't progress as Jean Sugden had become a widow. 
In the 1970's Jean Sugden acquired 8 female ALC/Domestic offspring from the University of California.  The cats were the result of a project to investigate the ALC's natural immunity to Feline Leukaemia.  It was from this moment on that the Bengal was established and the Bengal Breed was finally registered with the TICA (The International Cat Association) in 1983, with the first to be shown in 1985 in the New Breed/Colour Class.
The Bengal is a unique breed of cat in that it is the only spotted breed which is directly descended from a wild ancestor. This gorgeous ancestor is the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC). The domestic Bengal gets its name from the Asian Leopard Cat's scientific name (Felis bengalensis).  The goal in producing the Bengal is to recreate the look of its wild ancestor the ALC in a domestic cat.

THE ASIAN LEOPARD CAT (ALC)

Leopard cats are small wild cats found in southern and eastern Asia. All leopard cats are on the endangered species list . Leopard cats often get mistaken for being the same size as an Asian leopard this is not the case they are not big, and range from 5 lbs. to 15 lbs.  They do appear larger then a domestic cat due to the length of there body. They have a variable background colour depending on what subspecies and where they originate from, but typically it is a golden brown to tawny brown. The belly is typically a very stark white with spots (one of the hardest traits to carry over into the latter generations of Bengals).  The tail is normally spotted with the spots forming rings towards the tip. Rosettes are not found in all subspecies of leopard cats, many just have small solid spots. The leopard cat head is small compared to the rest of the body, with small rounded ears. The leopard cat is extremely shy and reclusive, not aggressive as many think, and are very shy round strangers, they would back off and hide instead of attacking.

The F refers to Foundation Generation which is the cross between ALC & Domestic.  The F number is used for quick reference.
F1  Is the first generation cross, meaning one parent is an ALC with 50% or higher wild blood
F2  Is the second generation there will be a grandparent who is an ALC -  Males are usually  sterile
F3   Is the third generation - Some males are fertile
F4  Is the last generation before a cat is recognised as a true Bengal - Both sexes are usually fertile

COLOURS & PATTERNS

Brown Spotted Bengal Also known as Leopard Spotted
Seal Sepia  Bengal  These are green or gold coloured eyed (AOC-E) Snow Bengals
Mink  Bengal As above but with a  very light brown coat        
Seal Lynx Bengal This is for all the blue eyed (BLU-E) Snow Bengals
Blue  Bengal Blue/Grey Markings on light grey, they do not replicate the ALC, so are classed at present as an unwanted gene
Black Bengal  These are black markings on a black background, some breeders call them "Pantherettes"
Silver Bengal  Silver background with black/brown spots (A silver Bengal is not a colour but caused by the inhibitor gene) More Information Click Here

 

Spotted    -    As the name suggests the coat is covered in spots.  They must be random, or horizontally aligned.  There must be spots on the torso, tummy and legs.  It is desirable to have rosettes (showing two distinct colours) a little like a donut one colour on the outside and an inner circle with a lighter colour.  Also desirable are spots shaped like arrowheads or paws.  None of these are essential in showing your cat/kitten.

Marble     -     Is as the name suggests.  Horizontal markings, swirls down the side of the cat.  The pattern should be random.  Vertical striping is undesirable.  Belly once again must be spotted

Bengals do not have fur but more of a pelt coat, this is a lovely soft coat that came from their wild ancestors.  At around seven weeks the kittens will begin to get what is called the fuzzies, this is something else that is past down from their ancestors providing them with a camouflage in the wild.  The fuzzies is when a kitten begins to grow longer guard hairs which disguise the spots from a front view, but the beautiful markings can still be seen from behind.

 

To View a list of Bengal Kittens Available       Click Here

To View a list of Bengal Stud Cats at Service     Click Here

To View a list of Bengal Cat Breeders  Click Here

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