The Bengal cat is a distinct, unique breed of spotted domestic cat derived from the ancestral crossing of a domestic cat such as an Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Burmese or Egyptian Mau with an Asian Leopard Cat. The name "Bengal" is derived from the Latin name of the Asian Leopard Cat, Feline Bengalensis. The domestic Bengal has inherited the exotic and stunningly wild spotted pattern from the Asian Leopard Cat, found in the wild all over central Asia. This beautiful breed of cat is very loving, affectionate and friendly whilst retaining the uniqueness of it's wild ancestors.
The main credit for this breed is given to Jean Sudgen of the USA. Jean Sudgen crossed a black shorthaired domestic cat with a female Asian Leopard Cat in 1963. Offspring were produced proving that a second generation was possible. Further experiments were interrupted due to a death in the family.
Later in 1975, Jean Sudgen, now Mrs. Jean Mill, acquired eight female hybrids from a geneticist called Dr. Willard Centerwall, who had been involved in a breeding program where Asian Leopard Cats were crossed with domestic cats as part of a study of feline Leukaemia. Jean Sudgen Mills began again to further the new breed. This was the beginning of the exciting and exotic Bengal cat breed. Finally in 1984, the domestic Bengal we know today became recognised by the International Cat Association.
The domestic Bengal (must be four generations or more from the Asian Leopard Cat) is a medium to a relatively large shorthaired exotic cat. Bengals vary in size with the male between fourteen to twenty pounds and females slightly smaller at ten to twelve pounds. Bengals are very muscular cats with long bodies, thus appearing larger. They are also sturdy and substantial in appearance.
Heads are wild looking and formidable. The face should have a feral expression with small rounded ears, intense facial markings, and pronounced whisker pads. Careful selection of breeding ensures that the Bengal remains loving and friendly with a superb temperament whilst retaining a strong physical resemblance to it's wild ancestor.
The Bengal can be very mischievous and boisterous. They are active cats always ready to play. They are also very vocal, intelligent, loving and people oriented cats, always eager for human companionship and approval. Bengal owners find that they are very "dog-like" in personality, following you from room to room and always greeting you with a loving welcome. The Bengal also mixes well with children and other animals. These beautiful, majestic cats will grace any home and be a loyal life companion.
Bengal cats are also unique in that these cats actually love and enjoy water. They will play for hours with a slightly running tap and will delight children and adults alike with its playful antics with water.
The Bengal has six official colours in the United Kingdom, the Brown (Black) Spotted, the Brown (Black) Marbled, the Blue-Eyed or AOC-Eyed (any other coloured) Snow Spotted Bengals, and the Blue-Eyed or AOC-Eyed (any other coloured) Snow Marble Bengals. There is much variation between divisions with the Brown Spotted Bengal as the most popular and closest to the Asian Leopard Cat in appearance. In the US, the Bengal colours are essentially the same but are termed differently.
Brown Spotted and Brown Marble Bengals can be found with large, expressive, alert, almond shaped green or gold eyes while the Snow Bengal is found with either blue or any other coloured eyes.
The Bengal Cat Club of Great Britain UK club playing an active part in the protection, future development and welfare of the Bengal.
The International Bengal Cat Society International club dedicated to the development, protection and general welfare of the Bengal.