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and BobsDen Cattery in the North Carolina foothills

 

 

 

Bengal Cat Standards

 

TopSpot Cattery presents a side by side comparison of the Bengal Cat Standard

 

 

 

The American Cat Fanciers Association “ACFA”

Bengal Cat Standard

 

General: The Bengal cat appears to walk from the wild into the show hall. Temperament is dependable, curious, intelligent, interactive and loving. Ancestral models, felis catus and prionailurus bengalensis, create patterns reminiscent of the wild as will as patterns completely new and unique to both models. The Bengal cat is athletic, sleek and muscular; medium to large in size, allowance made for smaller females. Characteristics in the appearance of the Bengal cat distinct from those found in other domestic cat breeds given special merit.

 

Description/History: The Bengal cat is unique in the cat fancy, it is the first documented cross between a nondomestic cat, the Asian leopard cat (Felis bengalensis), and the domestic cat (Felis catus). The first three-generations of this cross are foundation cats to the Bengal cat; technically foundation cats are not Bengal cats themselves.

The Bengal cat, at the fifth generation level (five generations from the Asian leopard cat and domestic cat hybrid), can be found in the show halls of the American Cat Fanciers' Association. These cats are championship cats and are in the same class as the other domestic cat breeds registered with ACFA. Earlier generation cats can be registered in ACFA but cannot be shown. The fourth generation and beyond are often referred to in the Bengal cat world as being studbook (SBT).

Cat enthusiasts have long been attracted to the look of the wild cat. Documents show hybridization in the 1800s but sterility of offspring limited these crosses. In 1983 Jean Sugden Mill began successfully breeding later generations. She began creating a truly domestic cat with the look of a small forest dwelling wild cat. Most of the Bengal cats of today trace their heritage to the Centerwall line that Jean Mill worked with in the 1980s. The Centerwall crosses were the result of scientific research on feline leukemia. Research showed the Asian leopard cat has a natural immunity to feline leukemia, a viral cancer. Today, this research continues, but with the goal of human applications.

The original idea was to create a cat that resembled a leopard with the temperament of a domestic cat. Genetically this cat is as a brown spotted tabby. This idea quickly expanded with the addition of the marble pattern and the albino series of colors: seal lynx, seal mink and seal sepia.

The brown spotted tabby is found in shades of brown in the background, from a gray-tawny tone to a vivid orange-gold. The spotting is to be distinct and clear (color range from brown to black) and is to be aligned horizontally or diagonally not vertically. The tail tip and the paw pads are black.

The brown marble tabby brings a new term to the cat fancy with the introduction of the marble. Marble describes the influence of the classic tabby gene (the bull's eye effect) and the horizontal pull of the nondomestic gene. The result is a marbling of the colors. There should be three or more colors involved in the marble pattern and some basic falling out of the centers. Again the flow should be horizontal with no bull's eye effect.

The albino series of colors gives a whitish to cream coloring of the background and contrasting spots or marbling. The spots can be gray or seal brown in tone and the background white to tarnished gold. The genes at work are from the domestic genes of the seal lynx (blue eyes) and the seal sepia (green to gold). These genes in combination give the coloring of the seal mink (aqua to green).

The conformation of the Bengal cat is to resemble the nondomestic ancestor. The Bengal cat weighs between 6-14 pounds, has a longer body than high, hindquarters higher than the shoulders, a modified wedge shaped head with "cotton ball" whisker pads, high contrast between pattern and background coloring, and a confident, interactive personality.

Bengal cat breeders focus on temperament inheritance. The Asian leopard cat has survived by avoiding humans. So combining that genetic shyness with a friendly domestic personality allows for gene selection toward cats that seek and want human contact. The genetic component of this is evident; combining selection with proper socialization creates excellent house cats.

Shorthair breeds tend to be more active than longhair, so owners should utilize vertical space as well as floor space for movement and entertainment. As a shorthair breed, Bengal cat owners enjoy their low maintenance coats and often find the hair to be less shedding, less allergy causing and glittery to the eye. Some Bengal cats enjoy the glitter gene that gives a metallic shine unique to the Bengal cat.

Bengal cats tend to follow their owners around (people are where the action is), get involved in what ever activity their humans are doing, play in water, play fetch, walk on leashes, sleep with owners, play with and thoroughly entertain their human companions. They are excellent with other breeds of cats, dogs, and other four and two legged inhabitants!

 

Head: Shape: Broad modified wedge with rounded contours. Longer than it is wide. Allowance to be made for jowls in adult males.  Size:  Slightly small in proportion to body, but not to be taken to extreme. Profile:  Gently curving forehead to bridge.  Bridge of nose extends above the eyes. The line is a very slight, to nearly straight concave curve. Special Merit: Overall look gives a distinct head from the domestic cat. Chin: Strong chin aligns with tip of nose in profile. Muzzle:  Full and broad, with large, prominent whisker pads and high, pronounced cheekbones. Nose: has a very slight concave curve. Nose Leather: Large and wide, slightly puffed.

 

Ears: Size:  Overall size medium. Height: Medium to medium-short, allowance to be made for larger appearing ears on kittens up to 12 months. Base: Wide in proportion to height. Tips: Rounded desirable. Placement:  Set as much on side as top of head, following the contour of the face in the frontal view, and tipping forward in the profile view.  Furnishings:  Light horizontal furnishings acceptable; but lynx tipping undesirable. 

 

Eyes: Shape:  Oval, almost round.  Size:  Large, but not bugged.  Placement:  Set wide apart, back into face, and on slight bias toward base of ear.  Color:  Eye color independent of coat color except in the lynx points. Special Merit: Richness and depth of color.

 

Neck: Size:  Thick and muscular, large in proportion to head.  Length:  Long, and in proportion to body

 

Body: Torso: Long and substantial, but not oriental or foreign.  Size:  Medium to large.  Boning:  Robust, never delicate.  Musculature:  Very muscular, especially in the males, one of the most distinguishing features. Consideration: Smaller size allowed in females.

 

Legs: Length:  Medium, slightly longer in the back than in the front.  Boning:  Large and substantial.  Never delicate.  Musculature:  Very muscular, like the body. 

 

Tail: Shape:  Thick, with rounded tip highly desired.  Size:  Medium large.  Length:  Medium.

 

Feet: Size:  Large.  Shape:  Round. Knuckles: prominent. Boning: Robust, Never delicate.

 

Musculature: Very muscular, especially in the males, one of the most distinguishing features. Allowance to be made for the generally slighter musculature of the females.

 

Coat:  Length:  Short to medium.  Allowance for slightly longer coat in kittens.  Texture:  Thick, luxurious, and unusually soft to the touch. Close lying. Glitter:  Comes from a domestic outcross into the first Bengal cats. It is a simple recessive giving a metallic look to the hair and a softer texture. While unique to the Bengal cat it is not required and should not be a considering factor

 

Contrast:  Contrast with ground color must be extreme, giving distinct pattern and sharp edges. The ground color has agouti banding, the uniformity of this banding gives clarity to the ground coloring. Pattern that lies deep on the hair shaft gives more contrast.

 

Patterns:  Spotted Pattern:  Random, horizontal or diagonal.  As little as possible like the mackerel or broken classic. Rosettes: Showing two distinct colors or shades are preferable to single spotting, but not required. Shape: Paw print, arrowhead, doughnut, semi circular, clustered, or odd shapes showing pattern distinct from domestic cats. Contrast with ground color should be extreme, giving distinct pattern and sharp edges. Strong, bold chin strap and mascara markings desirable. Necklaces can be broken or unbroken. Blotchy horizontal shoulder streaks desirable. Belly must be spotted. Virtually white underside and belly highly desired. Special Merit given to unique patterning that strikes the eye as being non-domestic.

 

Marbled Pattern:  Markings, while derived from the classic tabby gene, and the horizontal pull of the non-domestic giving a uniquely different pattern with as little "bulls-eye" similarity as possible. Pattern shall, instead, be random giving the impression of marble or the impression of chaining with a horizontal flow when the cat is stretched. Vertical striped mackerel influence is also undesirable. There should be little verticality to the pattern. Preference should be given to cats with three or more shades; i.e., ground color, markings, and dark outlining of those markings.  Contrast must be extreme, with distinct shapes and sharp edges. Strong, bold chin strap and mascara markings desirable. Necklaces can be broken or unbroken. Belly must be patterned. Virtually white underside and belly highly desired. Special Merit given to unique patterning that strikes the eye as being non-domestic.

 

Special Note: As the interplay of genes, domestic with non-domestic and the interplay of pattern flow coming from the mackerel, classic and non-domestic unique patterns are being created that will not easily be defined as marble or spotted. As the breeders select for these unique characteristics, it is recognized that further clarification will be necessitated in the standard. Until that time, select for uniqueness and non-domestic attributes.

 

Colors:  Spotted or Marbled Patterns;  Brown Tabby, Seal Lynx Point Tabby, Seal Sepia Tabby, Seal Mink Tabby, Silver Tabby, Seal Silver Lynx Point Tabby, Seal Sepia Silver Tabby, Seal Mink Silver Tabby

 

Brown Tabby:  All variations are allowed; however, a high degree of rufinism, yielding a yellow, buff, tan, golden, or orange ground color is preferred.  Markings may be virtually black, brown, tan, or various shades of brown.  Light spectacles encircling the eyes and a virtual white ground color on the whisker pads, chin, chest, belly and inner legs [in contrast to the ground color of the flank and back] is desirable.  *Rims of eyes, lips, and nose should be outlined with black, and center of nose should be brick red.  Paw pads and tail tip must be black.  Eye color: Gold to Green.

 

*DO NOT PENALIZE:  Cats with a T shirt white, patterned with markings underside (showing it is not the white spotting factor) if the center of the nose is not brick red and if the paw pads are other than black.

 

Silver Tabby: The ground color should be cold, light silver, with black markings.  Tarnish coloring is undesirable.  The rims of the eyes, nose and lips should be outlined in black. The center of the nose leather should be brick red outlined in black. Paw pads are to be black. Tail tip must be black. Belly must be patterned. Eye color the same as the brown tabby, green to gold, green preferred.

 

In general the seal silver coloring is colder than the non-silver seal coloring.

 

Seal Lynx Point Tabby:  Ground color should be ivory to cream with pattern clearly visible.  Pattern can vary in color from dark seal brown, light brown, tan, or buff, with the light spectacles, whisker pads, and chin.  There should be little difference between color of body markings and point color.  Paw pads and tail tip must be dark seal brown.  Eye color:  Blue with richness in color. Allowance should be made for incomplete markings in kittens.

 

Seal Silver Lynx Point Tabby:  Body ranging from ivory to pale warm beige. Tabby pattern to be brown to brownish black, distinctly separate from the ground color.  Paw pads and eye color the same as seal lynx point tabby.

 

Seal Mink Tabby:  Ground color should be ivory, cream, or light tan with pattern clearly visible. Pattern may be various shades of seal mink to a dark seal mink. Ivory cream spectacles encircling the eyes, and ivory cream whisker pads and chin are desirable.  There should be very little or no difference between the color of body markings and point color.  Paw pads must be dark brown with rosy undertones allowed.  Tail tip must be dark seal brown.  Eye color: Aqua [blue-green] to Green, the more richness and depth of color the better. 

 

Seal Mink Silver Tabby:  Body ranging from ivory to light tan.  Tabby pattern to be light medium brown to brown.  Eye color, paw pads and nose leather the same as the seal mink tabby.

 

Seal Sepia Tabby: Ground color should be ivory, cream, or light tan with pattern clearly visible. Seal Sepia Tabby Pattern may be various shades of seal sepia to dark seal sepia. Ivory cream spectacles encircling the eyes, and ivory cream whisker pads and chin are desirable.  There should be very little or no difference between the color of body markings and point color.  Paw pads must be dark brown with rosy undertones allowed.  Tail tip must be dark seal brown.  Eye color:  Gold to Green, the more richness and depth of color the better. 

 

Seal Sepia Silver Tabby:  Body ranging from ivory to tan. Tabby pattern brown.  Eye color, paw pads and nose leather the same as the seal sepia tabby.

 

Temperament:  Temperament must be unchallenging.  Any sign of definite challenge shall disqualify.  Cat may exhibit fear, seek to flee, or generally complain aloud, but may not threaten to harm.  Bengals should be confident, alert, curious, and friendly cats.

 

NOTE: Bengals must be registered to enter a show hall.

 

PENALIZE:  Spots on body running together vertically, forming a mackerel tabby pattern, circular bulls-eye pattern on marbles, substantially darker point color [as compared to color of body markings] on Lynx Points, Seal Sepia or Seal Mink. Any distinct locket on the neck, chest, abdomen or any other area not provided for in the standard. Do not penalize for mousey undercoat.

 

WITHHOLD:  Belly not patterned. Paw pads not consistent with their color group description, or paw pads not all of the same color (Exception: Cats with a T shirt white, patterned with markings underside (showing it is not the white spotting factor) if the center of the nose is not brick red and if the paw pads are other than black.)

 

HEAD

 

Shape

7

Chin, Muzzle, Nose

8

Ears

6

Eyes

5

Neck

4

Total Head

30

BODY

 

Torso

5

Tail

5

Boning

6

Musculature

6

Legs, Feet

8

Total Body

30

COAT

 

Texture

5

Total Coat

5

COLOR

10

PATTERN

15

CONTRAST

10

 

The International Cat Association "TICA"

Bengal Cat Standard

 

General Description:  Loved by those who appreciate its inquisitive and loving nature, the Bengal is a medium to large cat renowned for its richly colored, highly contrasted coat of vivid spots or distinctive marbling.

 

Originally developed from crosses between the domestic cats and the Asian Leopard Cat, the Bengal is the only domestic cat that can have rosettes like the markings on Leopards, Jaguars and Ocelots. Today's domestic Bengal cat comes only from breeding Bengals to other Bengals and requires no specialized care. Since their beginnings in 1986, the Bengal's regal beauty and alluring charm have quickly made it one of the most popular breeds.

 

Employing scientific insights and a cooperative spirit, Bengal breeders continue to develop these stunning cats with careful selection for temperament, health and beauty. Bengals participate in TICA shows throughout the world and have a devoted following of happy pet owners who couldn't imagine sharing their lives with anything other than these feline beauties.

 

History

Throughout history there are indications of a profound human fascination with the large and small wild felines that inhabit the jungles and forest of the world. In 1963, Jean S. Mill crossed the domestic cat with the Asian Leopard Cat, a spotted five to twelve pound shy wild cat species from Asia. This was the first effort to use hybrid offspring to create a breed of domestic cat with the loving nature of a favored fireside tabby and the striking look associated with Leopards, Ocelots and Jaguars.

 

The modern Bengal breed traces to cats bred by Mrs. Mill beginning in the early 1980's. The breed's name is a reference to the scientific name of the Asian Leopard Cat, Prionailurus bengalensis. The hybrid crosses are registered as Foundation (F1, F2 & F3) Bengals that are not eligible for show and only the females are used for breeding.

 

Accepted as a new breed in TICA in 1986, Bengals gained championship status in 1991. They are now one of the most frequently exhibited breeds in TICA. An enthusiastic group of breeders around the world have successfully fulfilled the goal of creating a docile, civilized house cat that wears the richly patterned coat of the jungle cats and has some of the arresting features that have inspired and aroused humanity for centuries.

 

Personality

While you can train a Bengal to have "good manners", they are an active, inquisitive cat that loves to be up high. If you don't like a cat to leave the floor, a Bengal is probably not the right cat for you. Bengals are busy by nature. They are very affectionate and can be a "lap cat" whenever THEY want to be, but in general their idea of fun is playing, chasing, climbing and investigating. When a Bengal is in full play mode, it's rather like trying to hold on to running water! They'll often save the cuddle time for when they want to sleep. Many Bengals enjoy water and may join you in brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Some Bengals are vocal while others are more quiet and selective about using their voice.

 

Bengals will also, in general, ALWAYS want to be where you are. After all, that's where the action is! And Bengals are all about "The Action". When given the choice of a static toy, and one that does wild, unpredictable things, Bengals will always choose the "wild" one! For individuals or families who enjoy rambunctious, funny, beautiful and dynamic feline companionship, consider the Bengal.

 

Traits

The Bengal is most noted for it luxurious short, soft coat which may appear in either the spotted or marble pattern. Some Bengal's coats feature something called glitter which imparts an iridescent sheen to each hair. The spotted pattern is most associated with the "leopard look" as the coat features clearly discernible spots and rosettes. The Bengal's spots can be large or small and often include rosettes, like the spots of Jaguars and Leopards, which are two- toned spots. Bengals may also be marbled, which is a derivative of the classic or "bull's eye" pattern found in many breeds of cats but with an especially dramatic appearance in Bengals. The marbled Bengal has a swirling pattern that appears as random swirls or thick diagonal and horizontal lines flowing across the coat of the cat.

 

The most popular color of the Bengal is the brown/black tabby, a lackluster description for coats that can be anywhere from a cool grey to vibrant shades of golden, bronze, copper or mahogany with spots or marbling ranging from rich browns to intense black. Bengals also come in a range of colors associated with a form of albinism, called "snow" by breeders, that indicates Siamese and Burmese ancestry. In these colors the coat appears ivory, cream or light tan with spots or marbling that may range from light brown to dark chocolate and the eye color is blue to aqua. Silver Bengals have grey to nearly white backgrounds with dark grey to black patterns. Also distinctive about the Bengal's coloring is that they may have nearly white undersides and facial markings that still show the tabby pattern.

 

Bengals are medium to large cats, from 6-15 pounds, with males generally being larger than females. A healthy Bengal is well muscled and has an appearance that depicts its athleticism. Bengals are balanced cats and none of its physical features should appear exaggerated or especially pronounced.

 

Bengals are generally confident, curious and devoted companions. They get along well with other pets when properly introduced and enjoy being part of a family. Each Bengal is an individual and those interested should find out as much as they can about this wonderful breed before adding one to their family.

 

CATEGORIES: All.

 

DIVISION: Tabby, Silver/Smoke

 

COLORS:

Brown Tabby, Seal Sepia Tabby, Seal Mink Tabby, Seal Lynx Point, Black Silver Tabby, Seal Silver Sepia Tabby, Seal Silver Mink Tabby, Seal Silver Lynx Point, Spotted or Marbled Patterns ONLY

 

PERMISSIBLE OUTCROSSES: None

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Chin:

Strong chin, aligns with tip of nose in profile.

 

Muzzle:

Full and broad, with large, prominent whisker pads and high, pronounced cheekbones. Slight muzzle break at the whisker pads.

 

Nose:

Large and wide; slightly puffed nose leather.

 

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.

 

Neck:

Long, substantial, muscular; in proportion to the head and body.

 

BODY:

Torso:

Long and substantial, not oriental or foreign. Medium to large (but not quite as large as the largest domestic breed).

 

Legs:

Medium length, slightly longer in the back than in the front.

 

Feet:

Large, round, with prominent knuckles.

 

Tail:

Medium length, thick, tapered at end with rounded tip.

 

Boning:

Sturdy, firm; never delicate.

 

Musculature:

Very muscular, especially in the males, one of the most distinguishing features.

 

COAT/COLOR/PATTERN:

Length:

Short to medium. Allowance for slightly longer coat in kittens.

 

Texture:

Dense and luxurious, closelying, unusually soft and silky to the touch.

 

Patterns: Spotted or marbled.

 

Spotted:

Spots shall be random, or aligned horizontally. 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. Contrast with ground color must be extreme, giving distinct pattern and sharp edges. Strong, bold chin strap and mascara markings desirable. Virtually white undersides and belly desirable. Blotchy horizontal shoulder streaks, spotted legs and spotted or rosetted tail are desirable. Belly must be spotted.

 

Marbled: See TICA Uniform Color Description (74.1.1.2.1).

 

Colors:

Brown Tabby: All variations of brown are allowed. Markings various shades of brown to black. Light spectacles encircling the eyes and a virtually white ground color on the whisker pads, chin, chest, belly and inner legs is desirable.

 

Seal Sepia Tabby, Seal Mink Tabby, and Seal Lynx Point Tabby: Pattern can be various shades of brown. There should be very little or no difference between the color of the body (pattern) markings and point color.

 

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.

 

ALLOWANCES

Smaller size, in balanced proportion, of females. Slightly longer coat in kittens. Jowls in adult males. Eyes slightly almond shaped. Mousy undercoat. Paw pads not consistent with color group description.

 

PENALIZE

Spots on body running together vertically forming a mackerel tabby pattern on spotted cats; circular bulls-eye pattern on marbled cats; substantially darker point color (as compared to color of body markings) in Seal Sepia, Seal Mink, or Seal Lynx Point cats. Any distinct locket on the neck, chest, abdomen or any other area.

 

WITHHOLD ALL AWARDS (WW)

Belly not patterned. Temperament must be unchallenging; any sign of definite challenge shall disqualify. The cat may exhibit fear, seek to flee, or generally complain aloud but may not threaten to harm.

 

In accordance with Show Rules, ARTICLE SIXTEEN, the following shall be considered mandatory disqualifications: a cat that bites (216.9), a cat showing evidence of intent to deceive (216.10), adult whole male cats not having two descended testicles (216.11), cats with all or part of the tail missing , except as authorized by a board approved standard (216.12.1), cats with more than five toes on each front foot and four toes on each back foot, unless proved the result of an injury or as authorized by a board approved standard (216.12.2), visible or invisible tail faults if Board approved standard requires disqualification (216.12.4), crossed eyes if Board approved standard requires disqualification (216.12.5), total blindness (216.12.6), markedly smaller size, not in keeping with the breed (216.12.9), and depression of the sternum or unusually small diameter of the rib cage itself (216.12.11.1).

 

See Show Rules, ARTICLE SIXTEEN for more comprehensive rules governing penalties and disqualifications.

 

BENGAL (BG)

 

HEAD

 

Shape

6

Ears

6

Eyes

5

Chin

3

Muzzle

4

Nose

2

Profile

6

Neck

3

Total Head

35

BODY

 

Torso

5

Legs

4

Feet

4

Tail

5

Boning

6

Musculature

6

Total Body

30

COAT COLOR PATTERN

 

Texture

10

Pattern

15

Color

10

Total Coat Color Pattern

35

 

Revised Bengal Breed Standard, 05/01/2008