The main difference that a Bengal cat boasts is its leopard color. This is a unique pattern on red hair, inherited from the wild ancestor of Prionailurus bengalensis. None of the elite breeds have such a thing anymore – only Bengal cats have it. It would seem that the definition of “leopard” greatly narrows the variety of coloring and drawing of the animal’s fur coat, but this is not so. Despite the recognizable-characteristic spotting and despite the fact that the breed itself is very young, the breeders brought out a dozen original Bengal colors, not only brown, but also very light and even black colors. True, not all of them are recognized by international feline federations so far.
The history of the formation of the Bengal breed
Apart from the wild Asian leopard cats ALC, there was also a whole list of breeds – Abyssinian, American domestic shorthair, Egyptian Mau, Persians, Exotics, Ocicets, Burmese, among the origins of the formation of Bengals. Only those that contain relevant documented selection information are listed. In fact, genes of other types of feline can also be implicated.
It is not surprising that the multi-red and multi-breed mix led to the impressive metamorphoses that occurred with the original base color and pattern of the Brown Tabby hybrid. There is little left of the classical initial requirement for phenotypes. The most stable was the desire for black cushions on the feet and the end of the tail of the same color. Due to the altered regulation of the agouti complex, bengals in different lines showed a huge spread in the amount of eumelanin. This gave different individuals a wide range of manifestations of colors.
What genes “work” in the range of colors of the breed
The base pigment in bengals remains black, but the coat colors themselves are visually perceived in a whole palette of reddish-reddish-golden hues. The Hot Sorrel color of the main subspecies of Brown Tabby is common. But they didn’t receive recognition in chocolate and cinnamon colors and their variations – this is the most incomprehensible place in standardization, since there are no documented recommendations for registration (or denial of registration) of these colors in any document. That is, the carrier animals themselves participated in the breeding, crosses were recorded, but the colors of the black series that gave birth to them remained unrecognized. The main argument: they wanted to keep the color of the wild cat ALC, in which there are more rufisms (red shades).
On the genes of snow and blue bengals
A series of silver colors luckier. Although it is difficult to find out from which particular breed or breed the inhibitor gene got to Bengal cats, experts admit that bengals that are silvery mainly against the background of wool are very effective.
A wide variety of coat colors of this breed was introduced by the recessive gene of continuous color C. In the colors of bengals, there are all combinations of this gene (albinos from the series should be excluded). This is what the genes that came from selection are responsible for:
– C – uniform cover color completely over the body;
– cb – the “Burmese” gene, which introduced minor highlights throughout the body;
– cs – “Siamese” gives coloration only to the protruding parts of the body.
All colors containing the C series are called Snow Bengals. Snow bengals are divided into subgroups. Read a separate article about them, we will only say here that there are analogues of the Burmese, Tonkin, Siamese link samples.
Responsible for the emergence of a rare yet blue subspecies is also known as recessive. It is carried by any representative of the breed, and from mating a cat and a cat without a hint of the blue of the coat, though very infrequently, smoky or bluish-colored kittens are born. Here with definitions, although the color is officially recognized by several federations, not everything is clear either. Often the “blue cats” include diluted coloristic forms of brown traditional shades.
On the white color in the color of bengals
The sign of the “white tummy”, desired by breeders and inherent in wild cats, is difficult to inherit from Bengals. In the leopard Asian cat ALC, the areas occupied by light hair cannot be called white. The abdomen, the lower part of the tail, the inner surfaces of the legs are warm cream or beige with a mandatory, albeit dim, spotty pattern. The breed is probably not white, but the “presence effect” of such, for example, in the form of light “glasses” around the eyes, on the chin, as well as in the groin and chest. Bengals have practically no white zones.
Experts suggest that white is inherited as recessive, like other features of the breed’s colors. It was found that when crossing a cat and a cat with almost white bellies, offspring rarely inherit the trait.
This means that its transmission is more complicated – it is controlled by several genes. White color develops insidiously – it seems to be present from 5 months to a year and a half, and then dyed to beige. Professionals even know the term Whited Bengal (Bleached Bengal), which is awarded to representatives of the breed, to some extent retaining a white tummy after two years of life.