Bengal Coats and Patterns
We evaluate our Bengal kittens based on pattern and build as dictated by the TICA Bengal Breed Standard. In my opinion, every kitten is perfect, but, to be fair, I'd like to provide some more information on what makes an exceptional Bengal. =^..^= If you'd like to cite us on your webpage, please write us, and I'm happy to link with you.Note: I cannot remember for the life of me where I found these images within the twisting nether of cyberspace. If you recognize where any of them are from, or if it is your image, please let me know and I will properly cite! Thanks! (Kitten pictures are original and property of Bengal Royalty.)
BACK TO BASICS - BASIC AND MODIFIED TABBY PATTERNS
As we all know, the very first Bengal originated from a cross between the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) with the domestic shorthair tabby. The goal of each subsequent breeding is to perpetuate desirable traits as much as possible, such as a horizontally aligned pattern (whether Spotted or Marbled), smaller ears, thicker tails with black tips, solid bone structure, egg-shaped heads, black paw pads, black noses where possible, tri-colored patterns (whether Spotted or Marbled), golden glitter in browns, strong contrast, beautiful personalities, and gentle temperaments. A kitten/cat that embodies all of the above will inevitably be a very expensive kitty.
A Tabby is not a Breed in itself, rather it is a coat style that all cats carry. (In fact, Bengals are noted on TICA documentation as "Brown and Black Spotted Tabby," "Seal Lynx Point Tabby," etc.) Where they really begin to differ is whether that tabby pattern is ticked, striped, mackerel, etc.
The Basic patterns shown in the picture above are examples what you would find in a regular cat.
The Modified tabby patterns are what we look for in a Bengal kitten - you can see where the Tabby influence comes from (striped legs/tails, and facial markings), but you can also see that there are certain quirks that the Tabby does not possess, which make the modified tabbies (such as Bengals) that much more rare and beautiful. Bengals are essentially "super-tabbies," in a class all their own. They are completely different, and not in any way "regular."
What we aim for
We aim mainly for these 3 styles: Rosetted, Oceloid, and Marbled/Clouded.
The Rosetted type has a fill color in each spot, and when it is a tri-color, it is exceptionally kick-a.. - I mean, beautiful. :) Rosettes often carry over into the tail, as shown in the image above.
The Oceloid pattern is very reminiscent of the Asian Leopard Cat, and are also known as "arrowhead" markings. They can be very bold in contrast, and are absolutely gorgeous. Note the horizontal alignment.
The Marbled/Clouded pattern is reminiscent of the King Cheetah, although this cat is not part of the breeding history. There are several different styles of Marbling that can be seen. The Sokoke is what the tri-color marble looks like, except it is a lot more horizontally aligned, and the "bulls-eye" marking is not as apparent (see the Marbled/Clouded tabby for an example). You can even find spots within the marbling in some Bengals, which looks VERY cool. You can also have a more closed pattern, or a Sheet Marble. These babies' patterns develop over the two years they are growing, and are more subtle than the Sokoke. These I usually price as pets, because I have no idea what their patterns will do in the future - each kitten's pattern is as unique as a fingerprint.
What we don't aim for within Modified patterns
The Candle Flame/Braided Stripes are what Toyger breeders aim for (Toygers = Bengal x Tabby), but is not what we aim for as Bengal breeders. The way the Sokoke is pictured below is very beautiful, too, but prefer a more horizontal tendency.
The cats shown to the left are both examples of regular cats showing the Mackerel and the Classic patterns.
The Mackerel is not a desirable pattern style within the Bengal breed, and Bengal kittens presenting a strong influence of this are going to be less expensive. There's nothing wrong with the cat in any way, genetically or otherwise - this is simply what happens when you are following the specifics of the Bengal breed standard. Within the Toyger world, this may be more desirable! It depends on what you are looking for.
The Classic pattern still has features in common with the Mackerel tabby, but is a step closer to what we aim for. This was what was bred to the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) to produce the Bengal. Note the bulls-eye influence on the sides. We see here definite swirls around the shoulders, and the markings on the head are more intricate than on the Mackerel. A desirable Bengal Marbled pattern will look similar to a Classic, but it is "stretched out" along the spine and sides of the kitten/cat, with asymmetrical markings (using the spine as the axis). The patterns on both tabbies pictured are both symmetrical. Note: We do not breed classic tabbies - we only breed Bengals.
<< What do all four tabby patterns (shown at left) have in common? Vertical alignment! These are all regular tabbies, not Bengals. The wildcats below are Cheetahs. The one on the right is a King Cheetah. Note the distinct horizontal alignment on both cats. Bengals can have "chaining" rosettes along their spines that is reminiscent of the bold stripes on this King Cheetah.v v
< < Princess Noelle is a tri-color Rosetted Bengal. Note the darker color within her rosettes, black tail tip, bold and excellent contrast, very light (almost white) fur around her muzzle, and underneath (belly) as well. BEAUTIFUL kid.
This was her at 6 months of age.
Note the golden eyes and the golden glitter throughout her pelt.
Rosetted - Baby Doc Holliday
This beautiful angel has exceptional contrast and gorgeous clouded rosettes on a creamy background. The largest out of all his siblings and with a very sweet personality, he is truly a stunning kitty.
<< This is Queen Elsa of our Frozen 2014 Litter. Her pattern has bold, excellent contrast, and a beautiful cool brown color. She is a little replica of her mother, Queen Aurora. =^..^=
These pictures show this beautiful baby at 9 weeks of age.
<< This is an example of an exceptional Tri-Tone Marble. Kittens that have a closed pattern such as this are known as Sheet Marbles, and their patterns open up as they mature. As with a spotted Bengal, the tail tip, and paw pads must be black, and the belly must be patterned. (Refer to the example below to see Sven's development.) Note: Pattern will be asymmetrical (random, different on each side using the spine as the axis), which is a very distinct feature of the Bengal.
Look at the "antlers" on Prince Sven's belly =^..^= > >
Watch This - Very Cool!
Prince Sven at 1 Week of Age (Pattern is very faint, if at all visible. Fun Fact: I nicknamed him Light Butt until I decided on his real name. =^..^=)
Prince Sven at 2 Weeks of Age (Pattern gradually starts coming in)
Prince Sven at 3 Weeks of Age (Looks pretty much the same, but the darker colors have started to deepen.)
Prince Sven at 4 Weeks of Age (Hints of color start to appear within pattern)
Prince Sven at 8 Weeks of Age (Not much else seems to happen, UNTIL....wait, what?!
By now, contrast has improved drastically, with dark borders appearing around lighter spots and background colors.)
Prince Sven at 9 Weeks of Age (Is this the same cat? Sure is!)
Prince Sven at 11 Weeks of Age
<< This is an example of the very sleek and handsome Two Tone Marble Bengal. This pattern style is also closed (Sheet), and develops over the course of his growth and development. Note the excellent contrast, rounded ears, dark nose, and striped tail with a black tip.
Two tones have a beautiful double stripe that runs down their backs, and ends in a diamond shape at the base of the neck. Being a two-tone, Prince Olaf's markings will be more subtle and intricate, but still very unique and beautiful. Belly must always be patterned. vv
Prince Olaf at 1 Week of Age - Pattern is more apparent at a young age. Starts off with excellent contrast from day one.
(Fun Fact: Prince Olaf's Nickname was Dark Butt until I decided on his official name =^..^=)
Prince Olaf at 2 Weeks of Age -
Prince Olaf at 3 Weeks of Age -
Prince Olaf at 4 Weeks of Age -
The Two-Tone Marble Pattern remains pretty consistent at this stage, but continues to develop over time as he grows (up to two years). The lighter portions of his pattern spread out as his body grows, and you may even start to see some lighter background peeking in. Here is an example of an older two tone Marble featured on the Pocket Leopards Website: http://www.littleleopardcats.com/bengalinformation/marblebengaldevelopment.html
Prince Olaf at 8 Weeks of Age -
(These images are a little on the dark side, but you can still see his bold pattern.)
Prince Olaf at 9 Weeks of Age -
Prince Olaf at 10 Weeks of Age -