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Bengal History

In 1963, Jean Mill crossed the domestic cat with the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC), a spotted five to twelve pound wild cat from Asia. This was the first effort to use hybrid offspring to create a breed of domestic cat. The goal was to creat a cat with the loving nature of a sweet tabby and the exotic look like the Leopards, Ocelots and Jaguars. The first Bengal Cat was registered with the International Cat Association  in 1983. The name Bengal comes from the scientific name of the ALC, Prionailurus bengalensis. Bengals were accepted as a new breed in TICA in 1986, Bengals gained championship status in 1991. They are now one of the most popular breeds in TICA.

Asian Leopard Cat
The first three generations, from the original pairing of an Asian leopard hybrid to a domestic, until the birthing of the fourth generation, are considered to be the “foundation" cats (generations are technically referred to as F1, F2, F3, F4, etc.). While these F1-F3 cats are considered by their breeders to be safe and suitable as pets, they are not allowed into competition. By the fourth generation, only Bengal to Bengal pairings are allowed, and the cat is then considered to be a pure breed. The Asian leopard is itself is a solitary cat and it's wilder traits are bred out so that the final outcome is a house and people friendly feline companion.

Bengal Colors and Patterns

Bengals come in a variety of colors including the traditional brown. You can find silvers, snows, charcoals, melanistics, blues, and chocolates. Snows come in seal lynx point (SLP), seal sepia, and seal mink. Coats can be glittered and non glittered. Bengals also come in a variety of patterns. Spotted, rosetted, marbled, and sparbled. Bengals usually have a short coat but you can also find long coated Bengals. Here are some examples of Bengal coat color and pattern:

Brown Rosetted

SLP Rosetted

Silver Rosetted

Seal Sepia Spotted

Brown Marble

Bengal Type

The meaning of type is still being defined in the Bengal breed. We can look to TICA's Bengal standard to form an idea of what type is. We are still left to interpret the wording.

TICA GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The goal of the Bengal breeding program is to create a domestic cat which has physical features distinctive to the small forest-dwelling wildcats, and with the loving, dependable temperament of the domestic cat. Keeping this goal in mind, judges shall give special merit to those characteristics in the appearance of the Bengal which are distinct from those found in other domestic cat breeds. A Bengal cat is an athletic animal, alert to its surroundings; a friendly, curious, confident cat with strength, agility, balance and grace. It is a medium to large cat which exhibits a very muscular and solid build. Its wide nose with prominent whisker pads and large oval, almost round eyes in a slightly small head enhance the wild appearance and expressive nocturnal look. Its very slight, to nearly straight, concave profile and relatively short ears with wide base and rounded tips add to the Bengal’s distinctive and unique appearance. The short, dense coat has a uniquely soft and silky feel. The coat may be glittered or not glittered, with neither type to be given preference. A thick, low-set, medium-length tail adds balance to the cat.

TICA: Head Shape: Broad modified wedge with rounded contours. Longer than it is wide. Slightly small in proportion to body, but not to be taken to extreme. The skull behind the ears makes a gentle curve and flows into the neck. Allowance to be made for jowls in adult males. Overall look of the head should be as distinct from the domestic cat as possible.

TICA: Ears: Medium to small, relatively short, with wide base and rounded tops. Set as much on side as top of head, following the contour of the face in the frontal view, and pointing forward in the profile view. Light horizontal furnishings acceptable; but lynx tipping undesirable.

TICA: Eyes: Oval, almost round. Large, but not bugged. Set wide apart, back into face, and on slight bias toward base of ear. Eye color independent of coat color except in the lynx points. The more richness and depth of color the better

TICA: Chin: Strong chin, aligns with tip of nose in profile

TICA: Profile: Curve of the forehead should flow into the bridge of the nose with no break. Bridge of nose extends above the eyes; the line of the bridge extends to the nose tip, making a very slight, to nearly straight, concave curve.



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