Bengal cat


Bengal cat is the result of a cross between the Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) and a domestic cat. The Asian leopard is a small wild cat found in Southeast Asia in the province of Bengal.


A geneticist

Jean S. Mill

An American made the first cross with an American Shorthair and ALC. In 1963, the couple's first hybrids were born.

A Doctor

Dr Centerfall

In the 1970s he was researching leukosis using Asian leopards but also domestic cats which produced hybrids. His studies were funded by the Department of Biology at DAVIS University to eradicate a deadly disease that has devastated populations of  cats at the time

It was in 1980 that he ended his research and offered Jean S. Mill to entrust him with his female hybrids. Obviously, Jean doesn't just take care of his new companions, but decides to set up an experimental breeding program with hybrids, aiming to create a new breed. CLA and hybrids were then crossed with Siamese, Burmese and Egyptian Mau to fix certain physical characteristics but also to avoid the risk of inbreeding.

Cats from these new lines wore the wild appearance of CLA but retained the confidence of the domestic cat and were as outgoing as them.

Jean S. Mill has worked the hybrids to make them look spectacular but also to make excellent companions without any fear or aggression towards humans. It was a success! 

The Bengal Cat was officially named the Bengal in 1974 by Bill Engler. There is still some speculation as to the “true” origin of the breed name. It has been claimed that the name originated from the Bengal cat's legacy: felis bengalensis, and others were true to the story that the name was indeed inspired by Bill Engler himself, B. Engle.

A zoo keeper

Bill Engler

Who was William (Bill) Engler? Bill Engler was a zookeeper and an active member of the Long Island Ocelot Club, LIOC. In early 1964, Bill composed a "Plea for Cats" to members of LIOC in which he shared that having been in the import, procurement and sale of exotic cats for a number of years, each subsequent year he found them more and more difficult to obtain. And the only way he could see to save the exotic cats was by raising them in civilization much like ordinary dogs and cats. In 1967, Bill Engler received the LIOC Lotty Award, an annual award presented by LIOC which signifies unusual devotion to exotic felines, exemplary conduct at home and abroad in relation to exotic cats, and unusual service at the club, the LIOC.

Bill was also active in film work, behind many widely admired feline scenes on television.

In 1970 Bill stated that he had two litters of "bengal" sired by his Leopard Cat Shah.

He stated that his goal with the hybrids was: "To create an exotic little cat that was beautiful and had the disposition to suit a domestic cat, which had greater resistance to the diseases of civilization than its cousins, and which would breed. easily. "

In 1975, Bill said he had now produced over 60 Bengals and bred “2.5” generations. Bill was considered a "Bengal pioneer" and was active in the early years of the Bengal breed by hybridizing leopard cats to pets, but none of today's Bengals can be traced to Engler lines.

William Engler submitted the Bengal name to national registers and the breed name was official. The Bengal was accepted for registration through the ACFA and the Bengals were now registered by several different breeders.

In 1975 it was reported that Bill's Bengal cats had reached the third generation and for a time the males were considered sterile making a true breed impossible. Then, a few fertile males were produced which allowed a breakthrough in this field. Bill Engler died on March 17, 1977.


The Bengal cat finally recognized 

In 1986, the TICA officially recognized the breed in the category: "new breed and color". The breed is then called "FELIS BENGALENSIS" the Latin name of the Asian leopard cat. It was in 1991 that TICA recognized the bengal as an established breed and set the standard. They are now one of the breeds most frequently registered and exhibited in TICA. An enthusiastic group of breeders around the world have successfully achieved the goal of creating a civilized and docile domestic cat that wears the richly patterned coat of jungle cats and possesses some of the striking characteristics that have inspired and awakened humanity during centuries.

The breed standard

of the bengal cat

Affectionate cat

The goal of the Bengal breeding program is to create a domestic cat that possesses physical characteristics distinctive to small wild cats living in the forest and with the loving and reliable temperament of the domestic cat.

special merit

With this goal in mind, the judges will give special merit to those characteristics of Bengal appearance that are distinct from those found in other breeds of domestic cats.

curious and confident

A Bengal cat is an athletic animal, attentive to its environment; a friendly, curious and confident cat with strength, agility, poise and grace.

Solid construction

A Bengal cat is an athletic animal, attentive to its environment; a friendly, curious and confident cat with strength, agility, poise and grace.

Shimmering coat

His wide nose with prominent mustache pads and large circles in a modified wide "V" shaped head with rounded contours enhance the wild appearance and expressive nocturnal appearance. Its very light to almost straight concave profile and medium to small ears with a wide base and rounded tips add to the distinctive and unique appearance of the Bengal. The short, dense coat has a unique soft silky feel. The coat is preferably sparkling. A thick, low, medium-length tail adds balance to the cat.

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