Adelhills Bengal Cats 

Recognised Colours

Bengals come in a variety of colors. Classified as recognised and unrecognised colors. The four basic recognised colours are: Brown - Silver - Snow - Blue.

Snow

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This term refers to a group of colours with three distinctive genetic variations being the Seal Lynx Point, the Seal Mink and the Seal Sepia. It a double dilute (blue) gene is present you can also have a Blue Lynx Point, Blue Mink and Blue Sepia.

Seal lynx point (genetically a "cs/cs" Snow)
The SLP is the lightest of the snow group in colour and most often is born white or with very faint markings. Their pattern usually comes in later and most often starting at the points. The SLP will have a brownish-grey, tan or buff spotted or marble or charcoal pattern on a white or cream background. The one very unique thing about the SLP is that they are the only Bengal colour with the clear ice blue eye colour.

Seal Mink (genetically a "cb/cs" Snow)
The SM will usually be born with a detectable pattern that will usually darken some as they grown. The colour background of the SM is usually in ivory, cream or buff with an almost caramel tone to their spotted or marbled or charcoal pattern. SM's have aqua green eyes.

Seal Sepia (genetically a "cb/cb" Snow)
Are usually the darkest of the snow group and are most often born with a distinctive pattern in seal brown to dark seal brown - deep chocolate spotted or marble or charcoal pattern. The SS eye colour is golden or green.

This litter from Seal Mink (Cb/Cs) x Seal Mink (Cb/Cs) show all three genetic types of snow Bengals. Firstly the seal lynx point requires both Cs genes from both parents (Cs/Cs). This colour I've found to be the most common of the snows seen in the Bengal breed. The Seal Lynx Point is a blue eyed cat and is usually born white with their pattern developing in the first 6-12months. There was one Seal Lynx Point kitten born in this litter and pictured.

Second the seal sepia requires both Cb genes from both parents (Cb/Cb). This colour I've found to be the rarest of the snows seen in the breed. The Seal Sepia is a green or gold eyed cat and are born with an almost chocolate pattern on white snow background. They are the darkest of the snow Bengals and their colour continues to develop till about 6-12months. There were two Seal Sepia Kittens born in this litter and pictured here. 

Lastly the Seal Mink which requires one Seal lynx point (Cs) gene and one Seal Sepia gene (Cb) = (Cs/Cb) a different one from each of their parents. This colour is often requested as its almost a burnt caramel colored spotted snow on white or cream background. They are an aqua blue eyed cat. Born with golden spots showing then they mature and darken in the first 6-12months. There were two Seal Mink Kittens born in this litter and pictured here.

Brown

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This colour has a large range of background colours with descriptive terms such as golden, cream, tawny, honey, taupe, buff, tan, beige, caramel or red. The brown Bengal will have black or deep brown spotted or marble pattern. Their eye colours are green or golden.

Here is a sample photo of a range of brown bengal cats.  All the cat's pictured in this collage are Adelhills cats in "Browns".

Silver (I/i or I/I)

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This colour has a background of almost white, silvery or silver in colour with inky black spotted or marble or charcoal pattern.  Silver in an inhibitor gene "i" that removes the melanin from the cat.  Some cat's inhibitor gene is better than others and so in some cases in "silvers" you we see what's called "Tarnish" which is a brown, gold or pink tone that shows up often on the face and feet.  Tarnish happens when the inhibitor gene doesn't mask all the melanin.  A silver that is free of tarnish is highly prized in silver focused breeding programs. Silver is a dominant gene which means only one parent needs to be silver to have silver kittens and if that silver parent is a homozygous silver meaning they carry two copies of the inhibitor I/I gene then ALL their kittens will be silver no matter what colour you breed them to. Because of this you can have "silver" snows, blues etc... Their eye colour is dependent on what coat colour they are inhibiting. For example you can have a Silver Seal Lynx point that has Blue eyes and a Silver Blue which has gold eyes or a "silver" which is actually a brown cat (under the inhibitor gene) that has green or gold eyes.

Blue (d/d)

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In 2021, Adelhills submitted through our membership with the GCCFSA a formal request and application to recognize the blue bengal.  This went forward to the ACF national meeting and we are very thankful for the support of our president Fiona Hawkins and the rest of the council in the GCCFSA for approving and putting this forward along with supporting us in seeing the blue colour variant bengal approved and recognized now in Australia with the ACF. This colour tends to have a buttery-peachy toned background colour with bluish-gray spotted or marbled or charcoal pattern. There is also the option for blue bengals to be silver if they carry the inhibitor "i" gene. The Blue Bengal's pattern and markings will never turn black.


NON-RECOGNISED COLORS

Besides the recognized colours listed above the Bengal Cat can produce other rare colours that have been brought down through the generations with recessive genes that can show up from time to time.

Melanistic/SOLID (a/a)

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This is a colour that has a solid colour background with faint spotted or marble patterning which can sometimes only be seen in natural sunlight.  Solid cats can be found in all the snow range of Lynx/Mink/Sepia, along with Blues, Silvers and Browns. 

Cinnamon (red) b1/b1)/Chocolate (b/b or b/b1)

One of the rarest colors having been developed recently in the bengal breed, is the cinnamon (red or previously known as sorrel) and chocolate bengal. The cinnamon/red/sorrel (b1) Bengal is a orange-cream color with a darker orange pattern and tail tip.  You can have Brown bengals that are very "red" i.e. warm colours in tone but a brown bengal will always have a black tipped tail and your true Red/Cinnamon/Sorrel bengal does not have any black markings or tail tip. Your cinnamon genetic type is b1/b1.

The chocolate (b) bengal is coloured chocolate for lack of any better description, they have a chocolate coat base with a dark chocolate pattern and tail tip in NOT black but rather the barker chocolate colour that matches the pattern. The chocolate allele "b" is dominant over the "b1" (cinnamon) so chocolates genetic type can be b/b or b/b1 (carrying the cinnamon). 


BENGAL CHARCOAL PATTERN

The "charcoal colour" is not so much a colour as a pattern that sits on top of any and all colours and patterns (spotted or marble) within the breed. This means that any of the colours described above can also be charcoal of their colour.  A charcoal cat tends to be a much darker shade than it's normal colour range due to the addition of this pattern that sits on top the colour.  A charcoal pattern carries two different agouti genes to create it, one is the "domestic" (a) Solid gene and one is the Apb "ALC Wild cat gene" which means to get a charcoal they need a different gene from each parent to come together in an Apb/a combo to create the Charcoal pattern. The Apb gene by itself is highly prized by bengal breeders as it is an agouti colour gene that is ONLY found in descendants of the ALC (wild Asian Leopard Cat).  Which means that a cat with an Apb agouti colour genetic literally has wild cat colour genes still present even if they are several generations removed from their wild ancestors.

Charcoal (APb/a)

This colour is a "masking" gene which means it is a layered colour on top of you base coat colour. i.e. Charcoal Brown, Charcoal Mink, Charcoal Seal Lynx Point, Charcoal Seal Sepia, Charcoal Blue and Charcoal Silver. They will have very dark patterning that sits over their normal pattern and increases the intensity of colour. However sometimes this can deter from the high contrast of background colour to pattern that we often prefer to see. Charcoals have dark masks on their face and in the spotted pattern you can notice a thick back stripe running the length of their body along the back, also known as a "cape".


BENGAL SPOTTED PATTERNS

While there are only two patterns under which Bengals Cats are shown (Spotted or Marble) there are descriptive terms used to define the types of pattern seen. We have compiled photos of several different Wild Cats that help show the patterns and wild look that Bengal breeders are working towards in the above photo album.

Within the spotted pattern you will hear many descriptive terms referring to the type of spotted pattern a cat or kitten might have.

The most common terms are; Single-Spotting, Cluster Rosettes, Paw-Print Rosettes, Doughnut Rosettes, Arrowhead (Rosettes), Embryonic Rosettes. All of these styles are classed for showing under "spotted".

The rosette colour pattern is a desirable marking for Bengals Cats and has more than one shade of color in the pattern. At first glance a rosette pattern can look like a spot that fades in color towards the middle of the spot. But this is not the case. Most rosetted cats will in fact display a range of styles within the one coat pattern. it is not required that the cats pattern be solely one design of rosettes, and in fact the combination of designs lends towards that random unique look of the Bengal.

A rosette pattern has a distinct alternate colour different from the background colour that is then "outlined or edged" by a darker or different distinctive colour. Here are some examples of different styles of the spotted pattern.

Single-Spotting

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Is used to define a pattern that has no second colour to the spot (there is only the background colour of the cat and the one spot colour).

Cluster Rosettes

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Is used to define a pattern with small spots forming clusters around the second “inner” colour that is different from the background.

Paw-Print Rosettes

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Is used when the rosette is open on one side and there are spots edging the second colour creating a pattern that looks like paw prints walking across the background.

Embryonic Rosettes

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Is when the spot shows subtle signs of a second colour on the edges. (note; this pattern is also displaying the arrowhead pattern as an embryonic rosette)

Doughnut Rosettes

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Is used to define a rosette that is completely or almost completely outlined with a darker colour and the center is a distinctly different colour to that of the background.

Arrowhead Rosettes

Is used when you see a spot or rosette in triangular shapes with the “tip of the arrow” pointing toward the back of the body. (note; this pattern can also be solid in the single spotted group.)


BENGAL MARBLED PATTERNS

Within the Marble pattern you will hear descriptive terms referring to the type of marble pattern a cat or kitten might have. You'll find the most common terms below.

Tri-Colour and Quad-Colour

Describes when there are three definite colours present, the background, the marble markings and the center, like seen in a spotted doughnut rosette pattern. The same for a quad-colour pattern you will see four distinctive colours that make up the pattern and background.

Horizontal Flowing

This is used to describe when you see the marble pattern flowing from the upper shoulder along the body to the back of the cat in a horizontal fashion. This affect is much like the markings on a boa constrictor. This style of marbling is highly desired in the marble pattern.

High Acreage or Reduced Pattern

This is used to describe a pattern that has a high percentage of background colour showing behind and between the marble pattern. This has become a highly prized look and is often referred to as mimicking more closely the look of wild cats like the Margay (Leopardus wiedii) King Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus rex) and the Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata). Please refer to the above photo album of wild cats to see their sample patterns.

Chaos Pattern

Is used to describe a dramatic pattern compromised of swirls and splashes in different sizes and shapes of marbling flowing in a horizontal fashion.

Sheeted or Closed Pattern

This term is used to describe a marble pattern that has a high ratio of pattern to background colour. Sheeted marble kittens born with this high percentage of pattern can take up to two years to finish "opening up" in pattern to the "real pattern" underneath. It can be very exciting to see what is "behind" the sheeted pattern of a Bengal once the colour "matures".

Bull's-eye

(NOT DESIRED) A circular presentation on the marble pattern with a round center of marbling inside the circle creating a literal "bulls-eye" in the pattern on the side of the cat. This is also known as the "classic Tabby pattern" which we do not want to perpetuate in the Bengal Breed.

bengal kittens
Breed Standard

While the Bengal Cat breed is recognized around the world, each country will have their own governing body/s who hold and maintain the Breed Standard for the Bengal Cat.

Minor differences and wording can be found between the different standards but the basic requirements of what makes a Bengal a Bengal will be there.

In some cases how the points are applied to the different aspects of the cats can vary when showing.  This is true of the Australian vs USA Breed Standards.

In Australia there are two governing bodies responsible for the Breed Standard:

Australian Cat Federation Inc (AFC)
Download the AFC standard pdf

Coordinating Cat Council Australia(CCCA)
Download the CCCA standard pdf

 

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Glitter


The Bengal breed is the original domestic cat displaying "Glitter". Glitter is a highly desirable trait and not all Bengals have it. You can recognize glitter, by the sparkling effect of the cats coat. Even in low lighting you can see the sheen of the glitter on the front paws and legs of a glittered Bengal. "Glitter" is a translucent hollow hair shaft that catches light and reflects it, that is present throughout the pelt.

The best way to visualize the glitter effect is it to think of it as a sprinkling of gold, silver or crystal fairy dust over the coat that shimmers when the cat moves in certain lights.  Having Glitter in a pelt is amazingly eye catching.

While glitter is not required in the Bengal breed it is highly prized and enhances their exotic quality as a unique breed.

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White Tummies

Why are they sought after?

The Asian Leopard Cats among many other wild cat species have a 'white tummy'. This trait adds to the wild beauty of the Bengal breed.

Quality breeders of Bengals strive to produce cats that reflect wild colour and pattern traits. The Bengal breed should have lighter colored tummies (the lighter the better) in comparison with the background colour.

Bengals are also required to have spotted tummies. Dedicated breeders are striving to duplicate the white belly, inside of legs, throat, and neck of the wild Asian Leopard Cat, while, at the same time, keep the beautiful and vibrant body color of the Bengal.

The success of producing whited tummies is still rare. When breeders are successful in producing this in their cats and kittens it is considered highly prized.

The result of having the spotted whited tummy gives the Bengal breed a very unique wild look closely reflecting their wild ancestors the Asian Leopard Cat.

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Kitten Fuzies

Bengals do not have "cat hair" but rather a pelt that was inherited from their wild ancestors.

The texture and feel of a Bengals pelt is reminiscent of the texture and feel of mink.

Because Bengals have the same sort of pelt as the Asian Leopard Cat their kittens go through a unique stage.

At about three weeks of age  Bengal kittens will often (but not always) go through a fuzzy stage often referred to as the "ugglies". This stage usually ends between the age of three to six months.

The coat becomes muted and fuzzy in appearance. This stage of development is similar to the camouflage stage that Asian Leopard Cat kittens display in their natural habitat to make them less vulnerable to predators.

The good news is, that all kittens gradually grow out of this stage and their spectacular markings, sharp contrast, vivid colors and patterns return in grandeur.

bengal kittens
Premoridial Pouch

The primordial pouch is located on a cat's belly and has the appearance of a loose flap of skin. It can be compared to a deflated balloon hanging between the back legs.  The primordial pouch swings slightly as a cat walks.

The primordial pouch is another trait prized for its wild ancestry that again lends itself to the Bengal as a further tribute to their hybrid wild cat history.

If you have watched nature shows you would have seen the very distinctive primordial pouch displayed on wild cats, swinging gently as they prowl through the forest.

The primordial pouch is often misunderstood in domestic cats and in the past been attributed to an “out of condition” cat, an “overweight” cat, or due to “recent lactation” in females or due to  “multiple litters” in females.  These are inaccurate statements made by those who do not recognize what the primordial pouch truly is. 

The picture above shows a female Bengal (Fraservalley Fey Pandoras Box of Adelhills), aged 10 months, having never been bred, and in excellent show condition, displaying the classic primordial pouch.

The primordial pouch can be found in both the male and females of the breed. As many other traits that are not required in the breed, quality breeders have recognized the primordial pouch as yet another wild trait that we want to keep in our breed. As breeders we prize those traits that lend themselves to that feeling of the wild ancestry of the Bengals.

Acknowledgement
The compiled photos of wild cats in our album has been done without knowledge of photo ownership. If you are the owner of one of these amazing photos please contact us immediately and we will remove it or if you prefer we will make reference to you for the courtesy of their use.