COLOURS AND PATTERNS

The Brown Bengal

 

The classic brown colour can range from a nice rufus brown to silver-grey or even light orange.  The spots on a brown Bengal can range from a lightish brown through to black.  Whichever colour the spots are there should be good contrast between the background colour and the spots (or marbling). Many Bengal kittens don't achieve their full colouring until they are a year old or more.  In many cases kittens go through a fuzzy stage where their coat becomes rather grey and fluffy.  This makes their markings very indistinct and can take several weeks or even a few months to clear. 

Bengals come with two distinct coat patterns:

 

The Rosetted/Spotted Bengal

The superb spotted/rosetted pattern is very distinctive and attractive on Bengals. These spots can range from brown through to black. In general the greater the contrast between background and spots the more striking the cat. The spots themselves should be arranged in a random or horizontal pattern and although all Bengals have occasional stripes it is considered the fewer the better

 

 

The Marbled Bengal

 

These Bengals originated from the introduction of the tabby gene into the breeding programme.  When the classic tabby pattern interacts with the Asian Leopard Cats' markings a unique and lovely flowing pattern occurs which is reminiscent of Marble - hence the name.  The marble pattern is made up of three colours - brown, black and cream.  As in the Spotted Bengals the Snow Marbles have lighter markings.  Marbles are generally born with only two colours, the third develops as the pattern matures.  Some Marbles also have distinct rosettes on the rear quarters and/or shoulders.  They also have spotted tummies. 

All Bengals have beautiful streaks on their face, head, neck and shoulders. In the very best examples Bengals develop rosettes in their spotting where some spots are made up of an outer circle (or part circle) of dark colouring around a lighter inner circle similar to the spots on a leopard or jaguar which are also rosetted. In recent years the rosetting of Bengals has improved tremendously and a major part of our breeding programme has been based around introducing and developing these rosetted lines. These rosetted coats have made bengals even more "wild" in their appearance - yet they are still of course a a  domestic cat!  All Bengals should have lighter tummies which should also be spotted. In the Snow Bengals the depth of colour and contrast between the spotting and the base colour of the coat tends to be less marked than in the Brown Bengals. However in the best examples of the Silver Bengals the contrast between spots and background is equally as good as the Browns.

The Snow Bengal

 

In addition to the Brown Bengals a Snow version of both the Spotted and Marbled cats exists. Snow Bengals have a much lighter background, creamy white rather than pure white.  Their spotting or marbling can be tan, brown or pewter. The contrast between spots/marbling and the base colour of the coat is much more subtle than in the browns and silvers. In fact there are two distinct types of Snow available. "Blue-eyed Snows" have beautiful blue eyes and a very light coat with delicate markings. "Any other colour-eyed Snows" can feature green to light blue-green or gold eyes. These also tend to have slightly darker markings.  Both types of Snow can glittered but instead of the golden glittering found on some brown Bengals theirs’ is best described as a "Pearldust" effect. 

 

 

Often the coat is still quite "fuzzy" at the very stage that the new owners collect a Bengal. This is quite normal and the coat will clear over the coming months. 

However, a problem known as "Ticking" can sometimes appear on the coat where individual hairs develop grey/white  bands  (tipping is where just the tip of the hairs have a light edge).  Both ticking or tipping unlike the "fuzzies" do not fade and although a little ticking/tipping on a pet Bengal is perfectly acceptable and doesn't spoil the overall look of the cat it is undesirable to use a ticked/tipped cat for breeding. 

Experienced breeders can usually easily distinguish between ticking and a simple fuzzy coat which will clear. Many Bengals also have an effect known as glittering which gives some individual hairs a golden glittered effect. (see below for further details) Ticking/tipping should not be confused with glittering.

 

Rosetting

 

Going back to the early Bengals - simple spots were the first markings on the coat. Then came arrowhead rosettes (where the spots began to form an arrowhead pattern with two colours) - then we had full rosetting which has become larger and more distinct as the breed has progressed. In the early days of rosetting people would describe the markings as leopard like but we think of them as leopard/jaguar type rosettes. Some can be flat pancake rosettes - others pawprint rosettes.  Not every Bengal has large rosettes - some of the most spectacular examples of Bengals have smaller rosettes with good acreage (distance) between them.  We love and appreciate all these different types, they all have their own merits, but one ting all Bengals must have is that wild conformation with a superb pelted coat.

White tummies

 

Only a tiny percentage of Bengals have white tummies. Most are born with them but as they grow & develop the whiteness fades. It certainly isn't essential to have a white tummy on a Bengal - there are thousands of spectacular Bengals which don't have white tummies, many of our cats included!

Assessing Colour At Cat Shows!

 

When visiting a cat show to look at Bengals it is worth having a look at the lighting in the hall. In many cases, the lighting has a slightly coloured effect which gives a yellow/brown tinged light. This type of lighting can make a Brown Bengal with very little real colour in its coat look quite rufus & colourful. It also tends to make the markings on very rufus cats (which often have beautiful dark brown spots rather than jet black) appear less distinct and contrasting. It can also mask the rosetting somewhat as this is made up of varying shades which become lost in the poor lighting.

The Silver Bengal

 

We were the first breeders to import and intentionally breed Silver Bengals in the UK. Our aim was to establish the colour in the UK. This has been phenomenally successful and demand for our silvers always exceeds our supply of kittens!

Our Silvers are of the highest quality available and are not merely Bengal "variants" which have resulted from cross breeding a Bengal  with another breed of Silver cat.  Our Silvers were originally developed through outcrosses to Classic American Shorthairs and Silver Egyptian Maus  however they are several generations removed from these original outcrosses and are therefore full Silver Bengals. Since we introduced Silvers to the UK they have become extremely popular and our silver kittens are sought after by breeders and pet owners alike.

In snows and silvers this unbalanced type of lighting can also cause problems. By tinting the colour of the cat it can make determining the difference between the two types of snow very difficult and can add a yellowish tinge to a beautiful clear silver. Worse still it can completely mask a white tummy! The best light to assess a Bengals coat is natural sunlight or under a pure white light (daylight bulbs, small desktop halogen lamps etc.)

Glittering

 

Some Bengals have what is often described as a glittered coat. This is thought to be the result of a translucent outer cover to individual hairs in the cats’ coat. This clear edging to the hair acts in a similar way to a fibre optic lamp - the glittering is an effect caused by the rufus coat colour being reflected/refracted up this translucent covering which in turn gives the appearance of shimmering golden glitter in certain bright lights. Glittering is not compulsory in Bengals and not all lines carry the genes responsible for glittered coat. Glittering, though mentioned in the standard of points for Bengals, is optional. In many show halls in the UK the lighting employed does not allow glitter to be assessed accurately. It can even occasionally mislead the onlooker to confuse ticking with glittering!

Unfortunately photographs generally fail to adequately capture the glitter effect however the picture on the left goes a little way to displaying the shimmering effect it creates. Glittering should not be confused with ticking where the hairs have bands of light grey/white which, in a heavily ticked coat, tends to mask the markings. Tipping, which is also undesirable is where just the tip of the hairs have a light edging. Snow Bengals have a glittering of their own which produces a "pearldust" effect. Some silver Bengals also display glittering.

 

 

The Pelted Coat

 

These cats have also inherited a short, thick, plush pelted coat which is often both soft and luxurious. It is quite unlike the coat of other domestic cat breeds and is a result of the Asian leopard cat ancestry.

 

 

E-mail Peter@bramblewood.co.uk

Peter & Christine Edwards

telephone 01746 710498  or 07815 993590

Breeding The Highest Quality Pedigree Cats since 1989

BRAMBLEWOOD & SILVERSAFARI BENGALS

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Home

Kittens Available

The Bengal Cat

Colours & Patterns

Choosing a Kitten

Our Queens

Our Studs

Contact Us

Retired Cats

Marbella the HP