Bengal Colors & Patterns

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE TOPIC- Click on any of the Bengals Illustrated issues

The Brown Spotted BengalFor the third year in a row, the Bengal cat is the world’s most popular feline breed, according to The International Cat Association — the largest feline genetic registry worldwide –

No matter the color or pattern, the Bengal cat is known for its wonderful outgoing personality. They are fearless and love to play! Their curious nature makes the Bengal the perfect pet for children and their adaptable nature makes them fit easily in to homes where resident pets already live.

There is a high degree of variance in color intensity within the Bengal breed. The ground color can range from a silvery-grey to a sandy buff color, and even a bright rufous tone in the brown spotted class.   The traditional brown colored Bengals have green or gold eyes and are never to have blue eyes.   The spotting, rosetting or marbling color can also range from very black to a light brown.  Some brown spotted Bengals even have a very clear golden background coloring.   No matter what the color/tone, the pattern on a Bengal cat should yield a high degree of contrast (unless the Bengal cat is a non-recognized black Bengal.  Then the pattern is not likely to have much contrast).  The traditional brown Bengal is the most popular breed color.

The Snow Bengal

Snow Bengals, or more accurately, Seal Lynx Points, Seal Minks, and Seal Sepias are creamy white, not pure white, with the contrasting color ranging from pewter to a rich nutmeg color. The eye color on the Lynx Point is blue.  Seal Minks and Seal Sepia’s can be green, copper or gold, depending on their genetic background. As per the TICA Bengal Breed Standard, eye color is independent of coat color, except in the lynx points.  Many of the lynx points are born pure white and they develop their pattern and coloring as they mature.  Typically, most seal minks and sepias are born with their pattern visible.

The Silver Bengal

The Silver Bengal is the most recent addition to the Bengal breed’s accepted colors. Silvers have pewter to jet black markings on a clear silver background. They too can be either spotted, rosetted or marbled and again, as with all Bengal cats, a high degree of contrast is most desirable. A silver Bengal should be free of tarnish (a yellowing or browning of the coat color or pattern). Tarnish can, and often does, diminish contrast.

The Marbled Bengal

 

Next is the marbled Bengal. Its coat is full of swirls, giving the appearance of a Boa snake’s pattern.  Because of the fluid body movements of the Bengal cat, this pattern gives a striking “wild” look. The Marbled Bengal can come in either the traditional brown colors, silver or snow coloring (and even in the unrecognized colors!). A tricolored pattern is preferred  to a pattern that only displays a single color.  The pattern should have no similarity to a bulls-eye and the more random the pattern, the better. Some marble patterns are so broken up it is hard to tell if they are a marble or a spotted Bengal. These patterns are often referred to as “Sparble.”

In all types of Bengals there is variance and uniformity. The body type should still be the same.  The Bengal cat is eligible for champion status with TICA (The International Cat Association) and rightfully so, because of the Bengals great beauty and magnificence!

The Blue Bengal

Occasionally an unrecognized coat color such as blue, chocolate, red, cinnamon, black, or torbie is produced in the Bengal breed, along with an occasional long haired kitten. Despite the fact that they are unrecognized by The International Cat Association, they still have the same wonderful Bengal purr-sonality as their standard colored counterparts and they make excellent pets.  In more recent years, many Bengal breeders have begun working with the blue and longhaired Bengal cat in hopes to see the traits recognized (independently of each other) by the breed standard.

Black Magic, Under the Spell of the Black Bengal

Additionally, there are also breeders seeking to advance the black Bengal cat.  Some breeders have labeled them as “pantherettes,” because of the fact that their patterns are visible in certain lighting as is the panther’s. A black Bengal (also known as a melanistic), should still display that wonderful Bengal type and the exceptional personality, although it is unable to meet the breed standard descriptor calling for a high degree of contrast.  While TICA does not recognize these colors for Championship Status there are a few of the smaller registries that are recognizing them in the showhall and for titles. There are some interesting theories associated with the the color black, in respect to patterns, contrast and even health.

 

Longhaired Bengals

Longhaired Bengals are produced because of recessive genes, therefore two shorthaired Bengal cats bred together can produce longhaired kittens if both parents carry the recessive. The lonhaired Bengal seems not to be prone to matting and they have an extremely silky coat. Breeders who are working to advance the trait lovingly refer to the longhairs as Cashmeres. While Cashmere is a “designer” term of sorts (as they have not been recognized as such by the registering bodies), it is still a Bengal cat. The longhaired Bengals have that same wonderful personality that the Bengal breed is famous for.

Bengal Kittens

Bengals can also have what is known as a “glitter.”  Glitter looks as though the Bengal was sprinkled with gold or crystal dust, shimmering in the sunlight. It is quite beautiful! This trait should not be mistaken for the typical sheen seen on a healthy coat. Glitter is different. There are actual flecs of gold seen on the hair shaft — on the snow Bengal, the glitter is crystal colored. Not all Bengal cats are glittered.

Spotted, marbled, traditional colored or unrecognized color, the most desired characteristic in any Bengal cat is that it looks like a leopard cat, but has the temperament of a pussy cat. Bengals are confident and curious. They are busy and ready to “help” in any situation. They love to play and are extremely intelligent. Bengals are easily leash trained, many can be trained to use the toilet and to follow simple commands. The Bengal cat is the perfect family pet!