Bengal History

The Asian Leopard Cat:

On average, the Asian Leopard cat is as large as a domestic cat, but there are considerable regional differences. In Indonesia, the average body size is 18 inches and the tail is another 8 inches; whereas, in the Amur region it reaches a body size of 24 inches with a 16 inch tail. Its shoulder height is 16 inches and it weighs 10-15 lbs, similar to a domestic cat. The fur is also quite variable; it is yellow in the southern populations, and silvery-grey in the northern regions. The chest and the lower part of the head are white. The Asian Leopard cat has black markings, either spots or rosettes, depending upon the subspecies. The Asian Leopard cat is usually a solitary animal except during the mating season and in captivity if handled by humans.

A couple of interesting facts for you:

The male Asian Leopard cat rears his cubs along with the mother. There aren't many male animals that will rear their own young.

If you leave any water down low the Leopard cat will use it as a toilet! This is a natural instinct that the wild Leopard cat does in running waters or rivers to mask its smell from predators.


Bengals have been hybridized from the small, shy, forest dwelling Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) or precisely Felis Bengalensis. These cats are mainly found in SE Asia. The idea was to create a domestic that retained the appearance of its feral ancestor while developing a sweet natured pet. This was partially done to discourage the slaughter of the timid cat. Their pelt was admired and in demand for making into clothing accessories. The fur was used for ladies' fashion articles. If people could own a wild looking but domestic cat with a stunning pelt they may be less apt to trap the ALC and wear their pelts. The recent CITES treaty now protects these wonderful felines from such a fate.

Years later in 1961, Jean Mill of Arizona had acquired an ALC that bred with a domestic shorthair tomcat. One female survived which was then bred back to the father. Through misfortune with the early breeding program, it was abandoned until 1980 when she married Bob Mill and moved to California. When looking for new ALC's she was directed to Dr. Willard Centerwall at Loma Linda University who was doing leukemia research on ALC's and F1 kittens. The ALC seemed to have somewhat of a natural immunity to this dreaded disease. Once he obtained blood samples for research he was happy to place the kittens he had. A few years later Ms. Mill instigated the assistance of a stud she found in Delhi. Millwood Tory of Delhi developed into the king of all studs for Bengals today. Thus the new breed began.

MYTH- A Bengal may revert back to it roots and be dangerous.

TRUTH-the ALC was never a dangerous feline. It had to be shy and aloof to avoid humans.

Appearance - colours and patterns:

Bengal Cats resemble a spotted African leopard but do not grow larger than any other household cat. The overall appearance of a Bengal consists of a pelt-like coat, contrasting dark spots amidst a lighter background colour, uniquely striking head markings or crown, small wide-set ears, black lipstick, eye liner and paw pads.

Sometimes, the dark spots will open up and shine through with a variation of colour. These are called rosettes and can be seen on some breeds of feral cats. This rarity is a bonus on a bengal and can be very expensive. Another rare find is glitter - the end of the hairs are tipped in gold, which glistens in the sun. The body is long and sleek with higher hind legs. The eyes are round or almond highlighted with gold, green or blue. Variations in colour exist in Bengals: brown, snow, silver are themain colours with new ones being evaluated and patterns consist of spotted and marbled.


Bengals are quite a new breed that have soared to high demand in the last few years. People are recognizing the unique desirable differences compared to a common domestic. Gone are the days when you only see your cat when it wants food or attention. Bengal Cats want to be part of the family at all times and are very loyal pets. Their intelligence and ability to reason are uncanny. They can figure out what would be almost impossible tasks for a normal cat and are often described as having dog like behaviour - following you from room to room, or playing fetch. The athletic abilities of these cats are a sight to behold. Bengals also love to play in water - this is inherent as the Asian Leopard Cat hunted for food in the water.

Breeding for the Bengal from Foundation Cat:

Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) x pedigreed domestic shorthair = F1-1st generation babies with 50% wild blood/males are sterile/generally won't fit into the normal household

F1 x domestic or backcrossed to parent or SBT Bengal=F2

F2 - 2nd generation 25% wild blood/less shy/males are sterile

F2 x domestic or backcrossed to parent or SBT Bengal=F3 

F3-3rd generation 15-18% wild blood/more outgoing and loving/sterility in males diminish

F3 x domestic or backcrossed to parent or SBT Bengal=F4

F4-1st generation SBT (Stud Book Tradition Bengal) 10-12% wild blood/outgoing, loving pets

From this point forward, SBT means only Bengal to Bengal breeding to retain its origin and purpose. 

Bengal Breed Standard

With so many backyard and inferior quality breeders around, we have listed the TICA BREED STANDARDS to help you identify a good pedigree bengal 

If you are looking for a TRUE BENGAL, below are the characteristics you should be looking for according to TICA SHOW STANDARDS.


HEAD ...... Shape ...6     Ears ...6   Eyes ...5   Chin ...3   Muzzle ... 4   Nose ...2   Profile ... 6  Neck ...3

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

Marbled: See TICA Uniform Color Description (

BODY ...30 points    Torso .... 5   Legs ... 4  Feet ... 4

Nose: Large and wide; slightly puffed nose leather.

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.

Tail ... 5    Boning .... 6    Musculature ... 6

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.

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

COAT/COLOR/PATTERN . . . 35 points     Texture ... 10 Pattern ... 15  

Color ... 10

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



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.


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

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.

Musculature: Very muscular, especially in the males, one of the most distinguishing features. COAT/COLOR/PATTERN:

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.

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

Eyes: Oval, almost round. Large, but not bugged. Set wide apart, back into

Revised 05//01/08

Bengal Breed Standard, 05/01/2008

Revised 05//01/08

Bengal Breed Standard, 05/01/2008


desirable. Virtually white undersides and belly desirable. Blotchy horizontal shoulder streaks, spotted legs and spotted or rosetted tail are desirable. Belly must be spotted.

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.


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.

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


Brown Tabby: All variations of brown

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

Feet: Large, round, with prominent knuckles.

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

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

Boning: Sturdy, firm; never delicate.

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

Texture: Dense and luxurious, close- lying, unusually soft and silky to the touch.

Patterns: Spotted or marbled.


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