Bengal Terms

CONFORMATION

Conformation regards a Bengal cat that is of the correct "type". The Bengal cat fits the standard closely especially as regards to body structure, including head, ear set, eye set, tail set, straigtness of legs, width of chest, length of neck, etc.

 

BENGAL

A hybrid, or man made breed. Cross bred from an Asian Leopard cat and and Egyptian Mau or domestic short haired tabby.  Only Bengals 4 generations removed may be eligible for show and are regarded as SBT's.  Ancestors prior to 4 generations removed are regarded as Filal stock or foundations.  They can be domestic in nature depending on the effort the breeder puts into socialization. Some breeders speculate non-skitish nature or domestic nature is a genetic trait as well.  

 

FILIAL

Designates the generation or the sequence of generations following the first out cross breeding(Asian Leopard to domestic cat) and then the foundation Bengal to SBT Bengal breeding .  Specifically referred to as: F1, F2, and F3, F4, and F5. 

 

An ALC(Asian Leopard Cat) is breed it to a Bengal(first original out cross is usually with an Egyptian Mau cat). The kittens produced by this breeding are called F1's.  

 

The F1 female is bred to a male Bengal and the kittens produced are called F2's.

 

The F2 is bred to a Bengal and the kittens produced are called F3's.

 

The F3 is bred to a Bengal and the kittens are now considered SBT (stud book tradition meaning at least 4 generations away from the leopard cat) Bengals or F4's.

 

 All F1 and almost all F2 Bengal males are sterile.  Some F3 Bengal males are fertile.  F4 generation and beyond are referred to SBT or Stud Book Tradition Bengals and are considered completely domesticated and make wonderful pets. 

 

FOUNDATION

A confusing term due misinterpretation.  Generally new breeders description of a foundational Bengals is being F1 through F3.  Yet to the informed breeder foundation relates to "foundation breeding stock", in any breed, regardless of generation or ancestry.  A foundation stock Bengal could be an ALC, F1, F2, F3, or SBT.  However, TICA registers the filial Bengals as Foundation Bengals. Consequently TICA refers to filial only as foundation.  This is where confusion can set in.  Breeders that have been around awhile and bred other cats commonly refer to cats in their initial breeding as "foundation stock".  From this two-word description we gain a clear perspective between filial and foundation.

 

FUZZIES

Found in Bengal kittens only.  Lasting until the Bengal is about 16 weeks old , Bengal kittens begin to have longer hairs protruding from their coat.  Many consider it a stage of being an "ugly duckling" where the Bengal is about to begin a great transformation.  The kitten looses contrast and its coat takes on a dull appearance.  The undercoat becomes more prominent in the weeks to come.

 

GLITTER

Highly desirable in Bengals, but not all Bengals have it.  Individual hair shafts that are gold in color and shimmer like gold. Some say "glitter" is like a dusting of gold.  This feature is not necessary for showing but obviously very appealing to the eye.  The glittered gene in Bengals was first discovered in one of Gene Ducote's litters of Bengals.  Once discovered, Gene breed brother and sister together and "locked in" the glitter gene.  

 

WHITED TUMMY

A whited tummy is another very highly desired trait inherited from "The Asian Leopard Cat," it is referred to as "whited" to help distinguish it from the white spotting gene.  "Whited" refers to a nearly white (but still spotted) belly, chest, throat, and inner legs on a brown colored Bengal.  This is a pretty rare trait in Bengals and is very highly prized when it does happen.  Some brown Bengal kittens appear to be "whited" at a really young age, but then their "whited" areas turn gold or cream colored as they grow.  Sometimes breeders mistake this early whiteness for the true "Whited Tummy."  Our queen Bella has a true whited tummy!!!

 

MACKERELING/RIBBARS or RIB STRIPES

Spots on a Bengal cat that are less horizontal and essentially vertically aligned and are touching each other.  Spots chained together create a "stripe" effect.  This is known as "mackereling".  Also referred to as "rib bars" or "rib stripes".  Mackereling is acceptable on  "pet quality" and "breeder quality" Bengal cats.  Mackereling should not fair well in a show ring, however after years of many Bengals sporting some makereling on the front legs its pretty much accepted by judges in an unspoken manner.  There are many Bengal cats that are championed while having some small degree of striping.  Mackereling is found anywhere on the torso where as rib strips are found on the torso behind the front legs.

 

PELTED

Originating from the obvious, many wild animals have soft coats and have a "pelt". Bengals have a very plush, silky soft, short coat if they are "pelted."  Pelting usually goes hand in hand with Bengals that show sharp contrast in markings and are glittered.  If you see sharp contrast of markings on a Bengal it's possible that the Bengal is "pelted."

 

ROSETTES

A spot within a spot, ideally the shape of an arrowhead or random in nature, not perfectly round.  There are doughnut rosettes, arrowhead rosettes, half doughnut rosettes, and paw print rosettes.  In show quality Bengal cats the spots should not display vertical alignment.  This is better understood as you would recognize the spots chained together creating a 'stripe' effect.  This is known as "mackeraling".

 

RUFINISM

Refers to the quality of background or ground color which gives a warm tone to the Bengals coat.  This does not mean a reddish or orangey colored cat, but one whose coat color gives an overall impression of warmth.  The standard for the brown tabby calls for a high degree of rufinism.  It is more desirable, however judges don't follow this rule.  

 

SBT

Stands for Stud Book Tradition. A term designated by TICA, The International Cat Association.  SBT indicates that the Bengal is pedigreed and must be at least 4 generations removed from the Asian Leopard Cat.  To be an SBT there must only be Bengal to Bengal breeding. No longer does the Bengal standard allow outcrosses. 

 

SORREL

Essentially any other foreground (spot) color other than black. If the spots are not black you would refer to the cat as a sorrel. Depending on the breeder some consider sorrel to be a coat deep orange in ground color or a more intense tawny color.  As an aside the deeper orange is usually found on the facial region and flank of the torso.

 

TAWNEY

On leopards beige(tan). Another way to understand tawney is it is like the color of a cougar, its cooler in color than sorreling.

 

T. I. B. C. S.

Acronym for The International Bengal Cat Society.  Pronounced "tibbs".  Gene Ducote of Gogees whom is considered by many, the top breeder of Bengal cats for years was one of the original founding members.  The breed has now come of age and Bengal cats as high quality of what Gene has produced can by found in a number of other breeding programs.  Gene has written a very informative book on Bengals called "Getting to Know the Bengal Cat."  Gene retired in 2011 and we were fortunate enough to get two of her beautiful Bengals for our breeding program.  

 

TICKING

A "ticked" Bengal cat displays a lack of contrast in spots due to multi-colored hair shafts.  Giving a salt & pepper appearance or a faded appearance.  That is the spots look faded.  Ticking does in fact take away from the soft plush "pelting" that some Bengals are also very well known for.  To many Bengal enthusiast "ticking" is bad, unlike in an oci cat where "ticking" is good.

 

TYPE  or TYPED

A buzz word among breeders to describe a Bengal that the is of the correct "type" that it fits the standard closely especially as regards to body structure.  Conformation is basically the same thing, the body structure, including head, ear set, eye set, tail set, straigtness of legs, width of chest, length of neck, etc.

 

WILD - HEAD / WILD - FACE / WILD - LOOKING

These variations of the term "wild" come up frequently when a breeder is describing a Bengal you have not seen.  Perhaps you are about to buy and have asked for details on the prospective Bengal.  "Tell me more about your kitten..." and the breeder responds... "His spots are random, he's got a wild-head and..."  And you don't want to appear dumb so you don't ask them to explain wild head.  Just what is a wild head?  You'll get a thousand different answers to that one, because that is based on opinion.  There is NO hard fast description of what makes a head wild looking.  Many people have drawn pictures and written articles on what they believe to be a wild looking head.  Gene Ducote was resourced for this answer and since she agrees with Jean Mill, it's worth repeating.  Gene says,  "What gives the wild look is: wide whisker pads, big nocturnal eyes, rounded forehead, a pinch behind the whisker pads, no nose "break"--that is an almost straight profile, puffy nose leather, and the white encircling the eyes and muzzle."  I am in agreement as well!

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