The Art of Bengals

Bengals are Beautiful Inside and Out

 

Bengals are truly a gorgeous breed of cat. Not only do they have amazing personalities, but they have the look of a wild “leopard”.  Bengals come in many different colors and two different patterns.

Colors

Bengal cats are a truly unique breed, there are different colors, sades, as well as patterns. Within each litter you can have a rainbow of Bengal kittens, depending on the genetics of the parents.  We take great pride in the genetics of our Bengals and each one of our  cats is color tested, so we know all possible color combinations. 

There are only three breed-accepted colors:  BROWN, SILVER, and three SNOW colors. It can be overwhelming when trying to decide on which color or pattern you prefer. We are here to answer any questions you may have. We hope these visuals will help you to get a good picture of all possibilities. 

 

 

 Bengal Cat Patterns 101

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jungletrax Prestige photo by Kathrin Schier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But don’t let the 2 coat categories fool you: there are unique varieties of each type of pattern and a myriad of Bengal cat colors out there, which we’ll get to in a moment.

 

1. The Spotted Coat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The brown spotted tabby is the most popular, but all colors and patterns are beautiful.

A spotted coat Bengal cat is the most popular style of coat. Odds are, if you’ve seen a Bengal cat or are learning about what a Bengal cat even is, you’ve seen this cat in spotted form.

 

 

 

 

 

The coat is covered in random, diagonally or horizontally aligned spots on the torso, tummy and legs. Large dark spots on a light ground color is usually preferred.

 

 

 Single-Spotted

Single-Spotted means the spots are monochrome. It’s just solid spots splattered in droplets on a contrasting background, similar to those of wild cat like Cheetahs or non-hybrid spotted cats (Ocicat, Egyptian Mau, Spotted Shorthair or Australian Mist).

 

Single-spotted Bengals are allowed to compete in cat shows but they are not preferred. Some breeders think they should be ineligible for competition.

 

The most popular spotted coat for a Bengal cat is the “Rosetted Bengal“. Spots are called rosettes when the spots are two-toned contrasting colors distinct from the background color. The Bengal cat is the only domestic cat with rosetted spots!

 

Rosettes in Bengals only started appearing in the early 2000s when some breeders bred shadow spots to shadow spots. The rosette quickly developed.

 

When you see the evolution of the breed over the years, it is amazing to realize the progress that has been made by some breeders with rosetting in just a few decades.

 

The 3 most important types of rosettes are:

  • Arrow-head

  • Paw-print

  • Donut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bengal cat breed standard calls for spots to be horizontally aligned instead of the classic tabby’s vertically aligned spots. The arrow-shaped spots on a cat’s coat give them a particularly fluid horizontal appearance and create a unique illusory motion.

 

2. The Marbled Coat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The marbled coat pattern is derived from blotched tabby stripes that swirl. The ideal marble Bengal cat has a horizontally flowing, random, asymmetrical pattern made up of swirls of two or more colors.

The marble Bengal cat has four official types—reduced horizontal flow, horizontal flow, chaos pattern, and sheet marble patterns.

 

 

Bengal Cat Colors 

 

There are about 6 Bengal cat colors, divided into standard and non-standard by The International Cat Association (TICA).

 

The standard Bengal colors are:

Non-recognized colors are:

The Brown Bengal cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The traditional brown colored Bengals have green or gold eyes.

 

The ground color can range from a gray-tawny tone to a vivid orange-gold with black markings. 

Now, with a brown Bengal, you can find these characteristics:

  • Brown to jet black markings

  • A black tip tail

  • Red nose

  • Brown, copper, gold, green or hazel eyes

  • A white belly is preferred

 

The Snow Bengal cat

Bengals also come in a range of cream, ivory colors associated with a form of albinism that comes from Siamese and Burmese cats ancestry.

 

 They are not pure white Bengal cats.

In fact, the snow Bengal cat comes in 3 genetically different colors (and names):

  • Seal Lynx

  • Seal Mink

  • Seal Sepia

 

 

 

A Snow Seal Lynx Bengal (Cs, Cs color genes) has:

  • A very light white cream color

  • Dark or light seal markings

  • Dark seal brown tail tip

  • Blue eyes. Always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Snow Seal Mink Bengal (Cb,Cs color genes) has:

  • Ivory, cream, light tan color

  • Various shades of seal mink to dark seal mink markings

  • Dark seal brown tail tip

  • Blue-green or aqua eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Snow Seal Sepia Bengal (Cb, Cb color genes) has:

  • Ivory, cream, light tan color

  • Various shades of seal sepia to dark seal sepia markings

  • Dark seal brown tail tip

  • Green or gold eyes

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Silver (I, i or I,I inhibitor genes) is more a lack of color. This gene inhibits any warm colors and gives an almost white base coat contrasted with striking dark markings.

The silver color was added to TICA championship in 2004 for the Bengal breed.

Silver Bengal cats come in different shades with backgrounds varying from white to a very dark steel color.

Silvers can also be found in any other color combination: Silver Snow, Silver Charcoal, Blue Silver, etc…

A silver Bengal also has:

  • As little tarnish (yellow/rusty brown) in the coat as possible

  • Dark gray to jet black markings

  • A black tip tail

  • A brick red nose

  • Green or golden eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A charcoal Bengal (Apb, a or Apb,Apb agouti genes) is darker than the traditional recognized Bengal colors. The black smoky charcoal color was particularly seen in early generation F1 and F2 Bengals.

 

The charcoal trait is inherited independently of color and can be seen in each color class: browns, silvers, snows (lynx charcoal, mink charcoal, sepia charcoal) and even in blues.

 

Charcoals can also have a darker face “mask” and thick dorsal stripe, commonly referred to as the “Zorro cape and mask”. It is important to note that some charcoals do not present with a mask or a cape, often times in the snow colors they will have a mask but no cape. 

 

Charcoal browns and charcoal silvers can be so dark they are almost solid. Solid black bengals are called “melanistics” and solid silvers are called “silver smoke”.

 

The Blue Bengal cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The blue color (d,d dilute genes) is very rare but some breeders are working hard to try and promote the blue Bengal to championship status.

 

Blue Bengal cats have a powder blue/grey coat with some cream tones. The spotted or marbled pattern is a dark blue or metal grey color.

 

As it is a recessive gene, both parents must carry for blue in order to produce a blue Bengal cat.

Blue Bengals also have:

  • A steely blue ground color

  • Peachy undertones

  • Blue markings that will never turn black

  • A dark gray tail tip

  • Gold, green or hazel eyes

    The Black (Melanistic) Bengal cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solid black Bengals (a,a agouti genes) have black patterns on a black ground color that remind us of the melanistic color variant of leopards and jaguars: the black panther.

 

The colors of the background and the pattern are the same on a melanistic Bengal. Their patterns are called “ghost markings” or “ghost spots” because they are barely visible. But you can still see the pattern in daylight like you would on a black panther.

 

As for the spots, they can be faint dark brown to black and can sometimes only be seen in natural sunlight.

A smoke Bengal is the silver variation of a melanistic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Laurent Jaccard

                            As a Bengal Cat owner of ten years, Laurent writes about his favorite cat breed to share his                                          passion with other owners and enthusiasts. Laurent is a Webmaster and Designer by profession,                                  photographer and animal lover.

 

Stephanie Jarman

Hickory, NC

Phone: 828-468-7831

Email: mountolympusbengals@gmail.com

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