The first cat fancy registry to recognize the Bengal breed, The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes two basic patterns (spotted and marbled) and diverse colors (brown, seal lynx point, mink, sepia) for Championship competition. The blue, silver and solid black color, are accepted in the New Breed and Color class for evaluational competition and several breeders are working intensively to have these colors accepted for showing.    The spots of all colors and the patterns vary in color, size, rosetting and intensity. The most important feature of both patterns is that the markings should be very distinct and sharp appearing with strong contrast with the background color .The Asian Leopard Cat,the Bengal's ancestor , is considered a brown spotted tabby in the cat fancy and ranges somewhat in color.


PATTERNS


      The spotted tabby (leopard spotted/rosetted) Bengals should have random markings or horizontal alingment of the spots with no stripes or bars.  This pattern has solid dark spots on a lighter ground color and the contrast must be extreme .The size of the individual spots can differ among Bengals, but larger spots with abundant acreage between the marks are the ideal.  Some Bengals exhibit a rosetted pattern and the rosettes are formed by a part-circle of spots around a distinctly redder center. This rosettes appear as two or three-toned shapes, such as arrowhead, clustered, doughnut or half-doughnut and paw print and are preferable to single spots, but not requered. The belly must be spotted.

 

 

 

 

 

      The classic tabby gene creates the marbled Bengal and represents a change of pattern from single spots/rosettes to marbleized. This impressive pattern shall, instead, be randon giving the impression of marble and preferably has a horizontal flow . Preference is given to the more horizontally flowing and the vertically striped mackerel influence is undesirable. This pattern shows three or more shades, there is background color , markings and dark outlining of those markings. Also , contrast must be extreme , with distinct shapes , sharp edges and belly must be spotted. The "marbled" pattern occures in all colors , such as brown,lynx, sepia and mink .

 

 

COLORS


Brown Tabby


       The brown tabby Bengals are the most common color and the most preferred by the people and breeders. Really they look like "mini leopards " and have dark markings on a lighter background color. All variations are allowed ,ranging from gray or tawny to sorrel to golden, bright orange and to a rich mahogony. However, a high degree of rufinism yielding a yellow , buff, tan, golden or orange ground color is preferred. The markings may be virtually black, brown,tan or various shades of chocolate or cinnamom. Light spectacles encircling the eyes and a virtually white ground color on the whisker pads, chin, chest, belly and inner legs is very desirable.Rims of the eyes, lips and nose should be outlined with black . The center of nose should be brick red and paw pads and tail tip must be black.

 

Seal Lynx Point, Sepia and Mink Spotted Tabby Bengals


The "Snow Bengals" are referred by breeders as " Snow Leopard " and come in three genetically different colors:
Seal Lynk Point - Shows a very light background color ranging from ivory to cream with the pattern varying in color from dark seal brown,dark grey, light brown, tan or buff. There should be little difference between the color of body markings and color of ears, legs and tails. The tail tip must be dark seal brown and these cats have beautiful blue eyes.
Seal Sepia Tabby - Shows a cream or light tan background color with pattern clearly visible.The pattern may be very dark bitter chocolate and there should be very little or no difference between the color of body markings and point color.Tail tip should be bitter chocolate color (dark seal sepia) and these cats have yellow/green to green eyes color.
Seal Mink Tabby - The seal mink color is a combination of one each of the pointed Siamese and the Burmese sepia genes. Shows a ivory or cream background color with slightly warmer brown pattern. The tail tip should be chocolate color (dark mink) and these cats have blue-green or aqua colored eyes.


Photo credit : Laryce Vidal / Bel Air Bengals - CA / USA

 

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS

       "Glitter," the high shine is found usually on a clear, nonticked coat that has been discovered and developed in the Bengal. This magnificent characteristic is a very good and desirable addition to the breed. Some bloodline have this characteristic and is observed when the hair tip reflects light, making the cat look as if it was covered with splendid golden specks throughout the hair.


 

       "Fuzzy uglies" is referred when a beautifully clear kitten at three weeks old may begin to acquire a ticked kitten coat at four to five weeks old. This coat begins to clear again to higher contrast at about 12 weeks and is again breathtaking by 6 months. When the kitten is out of this stage, the Bengal gets brighter and clear color and we see spectacular markings and sharp contrast in the coat. This stage can vary from cat to cat and it can take up to a year for the real color to come into a Bengal cat coat. Below you can see the same Bengal in two different ages.

 

Bungalow Badaue of Thunder as a baby and as a young cat.

 

 

 


 

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