The basic aim of the Bengal cat is to mimic the appearance of the Asian Leopard Cat. However, Bengals do come in a variety of colours and patterns.
In the UK there are therefore officially 6 types of Bengal – The Brown (Black) Spotted , the Brown (Black) Marbled, the Blue-Eyed Snow Spotted, the Blue-Eyed Snow Marbled, the AOC-Eyed Snow Spotted and finally the AOC-Eyed Snow Marbled
Types of patterning
SPOTTED: The ‘basic’ Bengal spot is solid colour and roughly circular. However, many breeders aim for producing more ‘wild-looking’ arrow-head shaped spots, or ‘rosettes’ which vary from simply two-tone spots to ‘full’ rosettes with a part circle of spots around a distinctly lighter centre..
Rosettes can be described as being of 4 major types – arrow, pawprint, donut, and cloud – in addition to single spots. Some cats have a connected row of donut rosettes running parallel to the cat’s spine on each side. This is called chaining
A cat may have some of each type of rosette or the markings may be more uniform.
The spotting should be random or horizontal configuration, avoiding lining up or joining up in obvious stripes. ‘Rib bars’ are considered undesirable. The spots should always be very clear and stand out distinctly from the background colour.
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
MARBLED: The marble Bengal cat has four official types—reduced horizontal flow, horizontal flow, chaos pattern, and sheet marble patterns.
In attaining the marble Bengal cat variety, there are four tough considerations that highly skilled, specialized breeders keep in mind:
Diagonal or Horizontal direction/flow—This is the flow that starts from the Bengal’s shoulder to its back or to its lower hip. It is one smooth direction that is one of the basic aims in breeding the marble Bengal cat.
Tri-color marble—This is the pattern that involves three colors present on the marble coat. First is the background color, then the color of the marble pattern, and third is the distinct color that outlines the marble pattern of the Bengal cat.
Quad-color(Four-color)—The fourth color that is being referred to here is the white coloration that is present on the belly of a tri-color marble Bengal cat.
Chaining pattern—This is a special kind of marbling pattern that is like a series of rosette spots linked together and outlined by a much darker color. This really appears to resemble a chain.
Background colour and glitter
Though most Bengals are simply classed as ‘brown’ there is actually a modest amount of colour variation between different cats, which reflects the variation found in the wild between different Asian Leopard Cats.
BROWNS: This colour has a large range of background colours with descriptive terms such as golden, cream, tawny, honey, taupe, buff, tan, beige, caramel or red. The brown Bengal will have black or deep brown spotted or marble pattern. Their eye colours are green or golden.
SILVERS: This colour has a background of almost white, silvery or silver in colour with inky black spotted or marble pattern. Their eye colour is green or golden.
SNOWS: This term refers to a group of colours with three distinctive genetic variations being the Seal Lynx Point, the Seal Mink and the Seal Sepia.
The SLP is the lightest of the snow group in colour and most often is born white or with very faint markings. Their pattern usually comes in later and most often starting at the points. The SLP will have a brownish-grey, tan or buff spotted or marble pattern on a white or cream background. The one very unique thing about the SLP is that they are the only Bengal colour with the clear ice blue eye colour.
BLACKS: Melanistic is referred to as the “self” or “solid” gene because the colors of the background and the pattern are the same. Interestingly, even though the colors of the background and the pattern are the same, in most melanistics you can still see the pattern in the light. This is referred to as “ghost markings” or “ghost spots”. “Ghost spots” look exactly like a black panthers markings
An additional unique characteristic of the Bengal colour is that some cats have a distinct “glitter” effect over their fur, as if each hair were tipped with gold dust. This remarkable characteristic is considered highly desirable. It is also desirable that the underside of the cat should be lighter coloured, like the ‘white tummies’ of Asian Leopard Cats. A Bengal cat’s ‘whited tummy’ should always be spotted, unlike the bright white paws and chest bib found in domestic tabby cats.