Comprehensive seminar notes on the Bengal Breed from the TICA perspective, including history and detailed notes
on what TICA judges look for in Bengal show cats. Click Here. Also see published Bengal breed
standards by other Cat Associations.
Are Bengal Cats Hypoallergenic?
It is not uncommon to hear that Bengal cats are hypoallergenic, that is, that persons with cat allergies do not react to
Bengals... True? Find out here.
The Bengal breed of domestic cat was developed by the breeding of the wild
Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) with short-haired domestic cats. ALCs are nocturnal loners, so they don't travel
in a pride or pack. Noted to be shy they have never been recorded as being kept as pets
successfully in the US. Asian Leopard Cats are found naturally in Islands of Malaysia and
Thailand extending to the mainland of Asia.
ALCs live near streams and for this reason they
hunt near water, have no fear of water and are known to defecate in it. The first few generations of Bengal
(ALC + domestic cat) is often hard to litter box train and they can have a wild temperament.
Due to the wildness of the early generations, Cat Associations such as TICA will not register kittens that
aren't at least 4 generations domestic. Our cats at Boulder Bengals are somewhere
around 10 generations domestic, go home box trained and sweet!
The ALC is
relatively small, approximately 16 pounds. The ALCs in the southern climates have the darkest
coat colors and their clear unticked coats display sharp contrast of spots. Unpreferred
for breeding are the ticked variety found in the cooler northern and mainland areas such
as the Amur Leopard Cat. As for spots, some have rosetting, some have solid one color spots.
Some spots are round, some are arrowhead in shape. The estrous cycle is annual in the cooler
climates usually giving birth near the month of May. Litters average one to four cubs.
The Asian Leopard Cat has many varieties considered nearly extinct and endangered.
Conformation - Bengal Breed Standards
Conformation regards a Bengal cat that is of the correct "type". The Bengal cat fits the
standard closely especially as regards to body structure, including head, ear set, eye set,
tail set, straigtness of legs, width of chest, length of neck, etc. When showing a pedigree animal, points
are assigned for each of his features and how the conform to breed standards. For Bengal breed standards
published by various cat associations, click here.
What is F1...? F2...? F3....?
"Filial" designates the generation, or the sequence of generations following the parental generation. Filial, in
Bengalese, indicates the hybrid generations, 1-3, or Filial 1-3. Specifically referred to as: F1, F2, and F3. TICA recognizes the fourth generation (F4) Bengal as a
"Stud Book Traditional" or an acceptable, pedigree animal qualified to show for championship. F1 and F2 (and some F3) cats can have trouble box training and may not have the
gentle temperament needed to be properly socialized as a pet. F1-F3 cannot be shown for championship. Kitten survival rate in early generations is low,
and male kittens are usually sterile.
Boulder Bengal kittens are several generations (at least 10) domestic, are box trained
and are sweet pets. Good animal breeders test their lines for heart and other problems with the goal of
breeding out health and personality issues as generations progress.
TICA registration numbers start with "SBT". The following depicts
filial chart from wild ALC to domestic SBT:
F1: ALC mates with a domestic short-hair SBT -- first gen Bengal 50% ALC blood, males are sterile, not all kittens survive F2: F1 mates with an SBT (grandparent is wild ALC) some fertile males F3: F2 mates with an SBT (great-grandparent is wild ALC) males likely fertile F4/SBT: F3 mates with SBT 8-12% ALC blood, fertile kittens
Other Breeds Emerging from Bengals
Breeders are developing new lines of Toygers, Cheetohs, Savannahs, etc. from Bengals. More...
Fuzzies or Fuzzy Uglies
Found in Bengal kittens only. Around the age of 4 1/2 weeks to 7 weeks old Bengal kittens begin to have longer hairs protruding
from their coat. Many consider it a stage of being the "fuzzy uglies" (I can't use the word "ugly" when referring to kittens) where the Bengal is
about to begin a great transformation.
The kitten loses contrast and its coat takes on a dull appearance.
The undercoat becomes more prominent in the weeks to come as the fuzzy fur falls out, and eventually becomes a sleek and glossy pelt with the spots or rosettes
developing with deeper contrasting colors.
Bengals are the only domestic breed of cat with this recessive gene, established by the Gogees
breeding program. All the kittens produced at Boulder Bengals
have been glittered.
What this means is that the very tips of their fur is gold, and when they sit in a sun beam, their faces and pelts twinkle with glitter.
This quality is not required for show cats, but glittered coats are beautiful and of course, desirable.
Spots on a Bengal cat that are less horizontal and essentially vertically aligned and are touching each other. Spots chained
together create a stripe effect. This is known as "mackereling". Also referred to as "rib bars" or "rib stripes". Mackereling
is acceptable and common on Bengal kittens sold as pets. Heavy mackereling should not fair well in a show ring, however after horizontal striping on the legs,
tail and head crown (that is not excessive) is reasonably tolerated by judges. There are many Bengal cats
that are championed while having some degree of striping. Mackereling is found anywhere on the torso, where as rib stripes are found on the torso behind the front legs.
Rib Bars or Rib Stripes
Usually found on the torso behind the front legs, they are spots on a Bengal cat which are vertically aligned and are touching
each other. These spots chained together create what looks like a stripe. This is also known as "mackeraling". Rib Bars are acceptable
in pet Bengal cats, but can lose points in a championship show.
Spotted (not marbled) Bengals usually develop symmetrical spot patterns (rather than random). However spots can either be solid dark against the
base coat color, in the shape of arrowheads, or rosettes. Rosettes are usually "C" shaped, with a dark outer ring and lighter color inside the circle.
Tri-colored rosettes mean the cat's base coat is very light, the rings of the rosette are very dark, and the center of the rings are a medium color.
Two of our queens, Diva and Sparkle with beautiful rosettes:
Essentially any other forground (spot) color other than black. If the spots are not black you would refer to the cat as a sorrel.
Depending on the breeder some consider sorrel to be a coat deep orange in ground color or a more intense tawney color. As an aside
the deeper orange is usually found on the facial region and flank of the torso.
Bengals referred to as "ticked" are by no means undesirable. A ticked Bengal cat displays a lack of contrast in spots due to
multi-colored hair shafts. Giving a salt & pepper or faded appearance as opposed to clearlly defined rosettes or spots.
To many Bengal enthusiasts, ticking is not desirable
unlike in an ocicat where ticking is good. The ticking gene was introduced on the domestic side by the Egyptian Mau when the
Bengal standard allowed outcrossing to expand the gene pool. Bengal cats in foundation programs must now only use SBT
Egyptian Maus, no other breeds.