The history of the Bengal breed.
Jane Mill and a Bengal cat In the early 1960s at the University of California (USA), a study was conducted of the immunity of representatives of the cat family. Among the wards were both large cats – lions, tigers, leopards, and their small brothers, including Felis bengalensis. Little Asian leopards lived together with other domestic cats, resulting in kittens born from female Felis bengalensis and a black shorthair cat. Then one of the daughters was tied up with her father and got lovely spotted babies.
Research continued, and in the course of it continued numerous breeding of Felis bengalensis with American domestic cats. Jane Mill took part in these experiments, who decided to create a new breed of cats and in the 1970s took 8 females – first-generation hybrids. Initially, she added two cats to this group: a spotted one from a Los Angeles shelter and a domestic cat with orange eyes and juicy brown rosettes from the Delhi Zoo. Further, in an attempt to achieve maximum effect in the development of Bengal cats, the first hybrids mated with representatives of other breeds. In addition to the American Shorthair, there were Abyssinian, Burmese, Siamese (old type), Egyptian Mau and, possibly, the wild South American cat Margay.
Although modern standards clearly stipulate the proportions and appearance of a thoroughbred bengal, as close as possible to the natural type, yet such a mosaic from the ancestors left its mark and caused insignificant differences in the breed representatives originating from different nurseries, even within the United States.
In addition, in addition to the first Jane Mill hybrids, breeders acquired other animals, including wild Asian leopards born at the zoo. And these initial types, in turn, were slightly different both in size and in appearance.
In 1983, TICA began to officially register litters of Bengal cats, and in 1985 the first bengals appeared at American shows in the new breed class and made an indelible impression on everyone with their external savagery.
In 1991, the standard of Bengal domestic cats was officially approved for the first time. In the future, the breed was recognized by almost all well-known felinological organizations of the New and Old Worlds.
Many breeders on all continents are engaged in Bengal. The most famous nurseries are in the USA and Canada. The very first and famous nursery Millwood was founded, of course, by Jane Mill. Many of her followers, in Russia too, began to work with the breed, acquiring the first animals from her. It is impossible to list all who successfully work with these cats, I only note that in addition to North American breeders, good results were achieved in England, Germany, Sweden, South Africa and other countries.