Bengal cats were created by Gene Mill, blah blah blah. That story is worn out. They were introduced and accepted by T.I.C.A. in the 1980s. By the 1990s they were still considered a new breed but they were a hot breed. Bengal cats still have that special something. Perhaps it’s because they have changed.
How has the Bengal cat changed? They actually meet the breed standard which calls for large random rosettes. More spots are not better. Less spots are best. Why? Because fewer means larger. Fewer means spots within spots. Rosettes. Arrowheads, donuts and paw. These type of spots were not prevalant in early Bengal cats unless you owned a filial or foundation.
What are those types of Bengals? They are Bengals which are one, two or three generations removed from the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC). To own one of these early on meant you had $4,000.00 to $5,000.00 to spare. Foundations were often only owned by breeders. The first generation removed male Bengal would be sterile. When a male foundation one (F1) was born, it would be sold as a pet, IF the breeder was willing to socialize it. Stories spread of how feral they were. That was a lie. It always comes down to socialization.
As you reached four generations removed from the ALC, your chances of fertility increased, and any Bengal four generations removed is not an F4 unless it is exactly fourth generation, but in truth, it is now a Stud Book Tradition (SBT) Bengal. Breed an F3 to an 8th generation removed Bengal and the offspring are SBT. Breed a fourth to fourth, and those are SBT. Breed a 24th removed to a 10th removed… SBT.
Most of the time breeders would NEVER part with any stock which held onto the rosette marking. This was gold. So breeders were notorious for selling sub-standard stock to new breeders. Ticked coats, loads of spots like an Ocelot, and just plain substandard markings.
This went on for god knows how long. For me, I bred for twelve years and I would only own F2’s F3’s and F4’s for breeding. Even those were not another breeder’s best stock. I knew. I understood. When I left the business in 2007 I thought I was done. Now in 2020, I’ve returned to a single cat program for the love of producing to stock.
But as perfect a specimen I own, pet owners all over are taking ownership of beautifully rosetted Bengals. I’m fine with that. It is what they should have always looked like on a consistent basis. The public deserves it. The defining characteristic a pet owner will receive from me is astounding socialization.
When Bengals sold in the 1990s they sold for $600.00 to $800.00 in the pet category of ownership rights. Now, the prices are $1,000.00. That extra two hundred wasn’t inflation. It was for the rosettes. The modern-day Bengal cat is really perfect. Small ears, large random rosettes, mink like coat and super confident personality. This was not always the case. The Bengal cat has come into its own after thirty years.