Bengal - BEN
This is a preliminary standard.
Final version is to be approved by the Standard Commission, and will soon be published.
In 1963, Jean S. Mill crossed the domestic cat with the Asian Leopard Cat, a spotted five to twelve pound shy wildcat species from Asia. Originally developed from crosses between the domestic cats and the Asian Leopard Cat, the Bengal is the only domestic cat that can have rosettes like the markings on Leopards, Jaguars and Ocelots.
Top of head
Broad modified wedge with rounded contours. Longer than it is wide. Slightly small in proportion to body, but not to be taken to extreme.
Muzzle and chin
Muzzle is full, broad, with large, prominent whisker pads, and high, pronounced cheekbones. Slight muzzle break at the whisker pads. Strong chin, on one line with tip of nose in profile.
Curve of the forehead should flow into the bridge of the nose with no break. Bridge of nose extends above the eyes; the line of the bridge extends to the nose tip, making a very slight, to nearly straight, concave curve. Nose is large and wide, slightly puffed nose leather.
The eyes are large and oval. They are wide set and at a slight slant. Eye color independent of coat colour except in the lynx points. The more richness and depth of colour the better.
Medium to small, relatively short, with wide base and rounded tops. Set as much on side as top of head. Light horizontal furnishings acceptable; lynx tipping undesirable.
Size and boning
Medium to large (but not quite as large as the largest domestic breed). Sturdy, firm; never delicate. Very muscular, especially in the males, one of the most distinguishing features.
Long and substantial, not oriental or foreign.
Long, substantial, muscular; in proportion to the head and body.
Legs and paws
Medium length, slightly longer in the back than in the front. Feet are large, round, with prominent knuckles.
Medium to long, proportionate to the body, thick, tapered at the end with a rounded tip.
Short to medium. Allowance for slightly longer coat in kittens.
Dense and luxurious, close lying, unusually soft and silky to the touch.
There are two patterns recognized: spotted (rosettes are preferred) and marbled.
Spots shall be random, or aligned horizontally. Rosettes showing two distinct colors or shades, such as paw print shaped, arrowhead shaped, doughnut or half-doughnut shaped or clustered are preferred to single spotting but not required. Contrast with ground color must be extreme, giving distinct pattern and sharp edges. Strong, bold chin strap and mascara markings desirable. Virtually white undersides and belly desirable. Blotchy horizontal shoulder streaks, spotted legs and spotted or rosette tail are desirable. Belly must be spotted.
The marbled markings should have as little similarity to the classic tabby as possible. A vertical striped mackerel tabby tendency is also undesirable.
The Snow Bengal is a pointed cat. The points have the same colour as the Bengal. The body is slightly lighter, but is - in contrast to other pointed cats - slightly colored in the corresponding point-colour and has a distinct pattern. The cat does not look like a pointed cat to the novice.
All variations of brown are allowed. Markings various shades of brown to black. Light spectacles encircling the eyes and a virtually white ground color on the whisker pads, chin, chest, belly and inner legs is desirable.
See general part.
Special breed faults
Spots on body running together vertically forming a mackerel tabby pattern on spotted cats.
Belly not patterned.
Any distinct locket on the neck, chest, abdomen or any other area.