Difficulties in creating a Bengal breed
Since not only different species of the feline family were used to obtain the first hybrids, but even different subfamilies, the genotypes of which are somewhat different from each other, the first difficulties arose for the experimenters. Hybrids were assigned different numbers – from F0 in the base generation to F4, respectively, in the fourth generation from crosses between hybrids of previous grades (from F1 to F3) with domestic cats. That is, modern bengals, according to various sources, flow from 7% to 15% of wild blood. The difficulty was that F1 male hybrids (50% or more of wild blood) were sterile. Offspring could only be obtained from females. The F2 generation had the same problem. Only the third generation of hybrid cats was partially capable of reproduction. And only bengals from F4 and higher became full-fledged manufacturers. Such a feature, of course, hindered selection. But still, it was a great success. After all, spontaneous or targeted hybridization between feline species has happened before. However, the descendants of some of these crosses were sterile, regardless of gender.
For tens of thousands of years, evolution has bred the genotypes of different cats. Which sometimes makes it impossible to get kittens. But even if they are obtained, for example, in a lion with a tigress, then the matter does not go further for the above reason. Although in many cases this could save endangered species. In principle, the creation of a Bengal breed is also a positive experience of this kind.
But there was another problem. To create the same type of livestock of animals that stably transmit their characters by inheritance, appropriate producers are needed – the so-called prepotent animals with a well-fixed homogeneous genotype. Without going into the intricacies of genetics, we give an elementary example. If you tie a Persian, and preferably an exotic cat of the old classical type with a dense domestic short-haired cat, you can sometimes get something similar to the British with a lax approach. However, tie these brothers and sisters together, and you will get anything you want. Further, with unsystematic mating between the descendants of distant generations, the type of kittens would be more and more simplified towards the usual initial domestic cat.
Something would happen to Bengal cats (given the small percentage of wild blood from distant-generation hybrids) if the breeders limited themselves to the 8 producers that Jane Mill started with. Even with careful selection of pairs. Therefore, it was necessary to include in the work of other animals Felis bengalensis. They could be purchased either at the zoo or in places of natural habitat. But to take out any wild animal from a foreign country is not so simple. There are environmental laws and restrictions on veterinary services. The solution could be the purchase of animals in zoos or research centers. However, let’s say, in 1995, as the zoologist Pomela Knoles wrote – a big enthusiast and lover of these animals, in the US zoos there were only 27 representatives of the species of interest and some in the hands of private owners. And, say, in the St. Petersburg zoo there are only 2 of them – a cat and a cat. This beautiful graceful couple may bring kittens. But our Far Eastern cat is painted more modestly than its southern relatives, because even in the white snow even the most stupid game will immediately notice a hunter in a golden yellow painted fur coat.
In general, there is the problem of acquiring wild-type origin producers. In addition, it is necessary to create certain conditions for such cats. The reason is in the natural freedom of love and inherent in the predator (albeit friendly) habits.
There was a third obstacle to the recognition of the new breed. The charters of many felinological organizations prohibited the display of cats with wild blood, regardless of how long it was in their pedigree. But the exceptional merits of bengals, their exotic beauty, have also broken this barrier. Only the restriction on participation in the exhibitions of hybrids of the first three generations (from F1 to F3) is preserved to protect participants and spectators from any surprises.