2016 - 2019 CFA Bengal Standard for MELANISTIC PATTERN (AOV):
The term "Melanistic" when describing a hybrid cat, is a Solid, but not in the sense of a Solid in a non-hybrid breed. In the Bengal Cat, the Melanistic shows ghost tabby markings. They can be either Rosetted/Spotted, Marble or Snow. The pattern is more visible in kittens. As adults, most appear more solid
The term "Melanistic" is synonymous with "Solids" as well as "Non-Agouti". Genetically this comes from the Agouti Gene for cats. Agouti is a term used to scientifically for the strands of fur that have banding of color to each single peice. In Bengals and other wild cat breeds, the term Melanistic is used because there is still a pattern that comes through on the cat as a whole (Black Jaguars, Black Leopards, Black Servals etc). So, the term "Solid" is misleading for hybrid/wild cats and not preferred in our breed since they don't appear as a single solid color.
The majority of the time, a Bengal that carries a single copy of the non-agouti gene will darken what every color would have normally come to any particular cat. the uses we have for this allele is:
A. It can help with female Bengal fading that can occur as some females get their adult hormones.
B. I can darken the color of the Bengal and sometimes create more contrast (But sometimes, it darkens up the base color as well as the Rosettes/Spots.
C. Full Melanistic "Brown (Black)" brings the same look at the Black Leopard, Black Jaguar, Black Serval etc. It comes as a ghost pattern that is best seen in full sunlight.
Breed Council Change Considerations:
1. NOTE: I could not find any language in the proposed 2018 standard to address "Melanistic".
2. Change a portion of the 2016-2019 standard:
From: They can be either Rosetted/Spotted, Marble or Snow
To: They can be Rosetted/Spotted or Marble as come in all Bengal Colors.
A. Melanistic's can come in any color as the genes that create thisi patter/color are separate from the genes that other colors. Because this webpage (part of the standard) addresses "Pattern", we should keep the color discussions to their appropriate color sections/webpages. (We should also include other colors - Blue, AOV and any/all other colors can also be non-agouti. These other colors will be addressed in the melanistic color portion of this website and non-accepted colors that are not included in the current Bengal Breed standard.