Bengal cats are the descendants of a cross between an Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic cat, originally Egyptian Maus, Abyssians or Ocicats amongst others.
The first three generations resulting from the ALC x Bengal are considered “Foundation Bengals”. The terminology regarding the early generation Foundation Cats can become somewhat confusing.
The term “filial” comes from the Latin word filius or “son”. The genetic meaning of the word filial is “of or relating to a generation or the sequence of generations following the parental generation”
Bengal breeders refer to F-1 as the first generation cross between the ALC and the domestic Bengal. The F-2 is the second generation cross (the offspring of the F-1 and the domestic Bengal). The F-3 is the third generation (the offspring of the F-2 and a Bengal). The International Cat Association (TICA) considers the fourth generation (F-4) to be a “SBT” (studbook tradition) Bengal, eligible for competition in the show ring and a fully accepted domestic cat.
The fourth generation removed from the wild and beyond can be considered a domestic animal and is officially a Bengal rather than a Leopard Cat hybrid.
The goal in developing the domestic Bengal cat breed was to preserve a strong physical resemblance to its beautiful wild ancestor with large spots, rosettes, and a light/white belly, and a body structure and at the same time the new domestic breed was designed to be a pleasant and trustworthy family companion.