region United States
silhouette Long and substantial
cut medium to large
hair Short and silky
dress Spotted tabby or marbled (modified blotched tabby)
head Triangle with rounded edges
eyes Large, oval and well spaced
ear Medium to small
tail Medium, thick at the base
federation LOOF, ACF, ACFA, TICA, FIFe, WCF
The Bengal is a breed of cat originating in the United States. This medium to large sized cat is characterized by its fur resembling that of the Bengal Leopard Cat.
The Bengal results from the cross between a domestic cat and the Bengal leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), a small wild feline found in Asia and in particular in the province of Bengal. It was in 1963 that for the first time we crossed domestic cat and wild feline. It was an American, Jean S. Mill, geneticist, who made the cross and chose a black cat of the American Shorthair breed. From this cross come the so-called “F1” (1st generation) then “F2” (2nd generation) hybrids, semi-wild cats. Bengal cats called "domestic" belong to at least the 4th and 5th generations. They can then participate in competitions or exhibitions and be sold to individuals. Since 1963, selection work has taken place to keep the wild appearance of the Bengal Leopard Cat but having the character of a domestic cat. Jean S. Mill was helped by the University of Davis in California which provided her with eight females from the same cross and which were intended for research on feline leucosis. There were also crossings with the Egyptian Mau, the Burmese and the Siamese in order to fix certain physical characteristics and not fall into too strong an inbreeding. It was not until 1985 that Jean S. Mill could present one of his cats in exhibition. The success was immediate and the TICA quickly recognized the breed as a "new breed" in 1986 and authorized it to enter the championship in 1991. Meanwhile, in 1989, the first Bengal arrived in France, directly imported from the breeding by Jean S. Mill. It is a female and quickly three males join her1. The first French litter was born in 1993 and French bengal breeding started1. The LOOF recognized the breed a few years later, in 1997. England welcomed its first Bengals in 1991. In 2009, the CFA did not yet recognize the breed while the FIFé did so recently. From now on, crossings with Bengal Leopard Cats are no longer authorized. Popularity In 2009, Bengal is very successful. While it did not yet enter the 10 favorite breeds of the French in 2003, it found itself in eighth place in 2007, ahead of the Siamese and the Ragdoll. The same year, in England, he found himself in third place with almost 3,000 registered Bengals. It is also one of the most represented breeds at TICA
The Bengal is generally said to be lively, intelligent, curious but also very affectionate, especially with other animals and children. A particularity: he would love water and would particularly like to perch high up. He would be athletic and talkative. These character traits remain however perfectly individual and are functions of the history of each cat.