American Cat Fanciers Association        

Bengal Breeders' Directory




  Bengal Breed Standard



Welcome to the Bengal cat spot! American Cat Fanciers' Association set up this site to give a glimpse into the Bengal cat breed. Take a moment to discover some of the characteristics of the Bengal cat, the unique ancestry of the breed, the popularity, and the overall question, "What is it like to live with a Bengal cat?"

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!

When selecting your Bengal cat be sure to ask the breeder if they breed for temperament and if they guarantee their kittens. As with any breed selection, one should ask for written contracts and ask questions of the breeder choosing from a one that makes you feel comfortable and informed. You are bringing a companion into your home, and much care and attention should be taken when doing so.



Janice Becker

(763) 577-1636

Plymouth, MN

Diana Jagiella
Cattery: Bengal Buddies
(309) 453-1118
Web Page
Crown Point, IN







Breed Chair
Janice Becker

Plymouth, MN