2016-2019 - Current CFA Bengal Standard
The Bengal is a medium to large cat with a sleek, muscular build. Boning is substantial. Hindquarters slightly higher than shoulders. The tail is thick, with rounded tip, and carried lower than the back. The Bengal's head, expressive nocturnal look, and stunning markings give the breed a wild appearance. The coat is like no other: short, soft, silky to the touch, luxurious, and preferably glittered. Bengals are alert and active, with inquisitive, dependable dispositions. Males are generally larger than females.
Even in the title of this published article, it clearly states that Jean created Bengals to look like leopards! This means her original intent was not to re-create the Asian Leopard Cat (or other small tree dwelling cats), but was to create a domestic cat that looked like a leopard. She goes on to discuss Snow Leopards as well (who have nothing to do with ALC's or any other small tree dwelling spotted cat). The reasons that the ALC was used to create the Bengal Breed were mostly due to:
1. Size of the ALC was close to the size of domestic cats making successful mating more likely.
2. Rosette spotted patterns that could help to duplicate the pattern of a leopard.
3. Availability of ALC's in southern CA that gave Jean access to this wild Bengal ancestor.
Breed Council Change Considerations:
General Comments on the Bengal standard as a whole:
1. We need to condense our standard using fewer words where appropriate
-combining sections that have duplicate phrasing
-Shortening some sections so that they are highlighted with fewer words.
A. Judges are not able to fully remember our standard because of it's wordiness. They have to know 45+ breeds and sometimes focusing on the highlights are best for a standard so that what we really want them to focus on can easily be determined.
B. Judges are asking us to do this.
2. "General Housekeeping" - We need to fix errors and inconsistency within the standard
a. Example: For the description of ears, it says: "Set far apart, following the contours of the face in frontal view". It doesn't describe where on the face the ears should be placed.
A. There are a few areas in the written standard that are incorrect and need adjustment.
3. I would like us to consider to use and agree on "Common Terminology" so that Clients, Breeders and CFA Judges can all be on the same page when describing colors, patterns and other Bengal specific terms. These terms should also meet common dictionary definitions.
A. I have seen spotted vs. rosetted being used and this is incorrect. Rosetted Leopards, Jaguars and Bengals are all spotted cats - as well as rosetted. Rosettes are only one style of spotting that comes in two-tones which occurs when the outer ring color encircles the inner color - similar to a Rose.
B. Alternatively, "Spotted" is sometimes used to mean a solid spot - Similar to that of a Cheetah, Ocicat or Egyptian Mau. This should be more correctly called "Solid Spots".
B. I have created a page on this website to help with language so that it is used consistently in our Bengal Standard. Look for "Terminology" on this website
C. Please send me any other terms/definitions that you feel are appropriate to include on this website, they may be used.
4. Currently, our Bengals who are "Registered by Pedigree" do not show up for us under "ecats". Only those descendants do. I have investigated the reasons why and it has to do with CFA systems and their guidelines for pedigrees. Only cats bred under CFA will show up in ecats.
General Description Comments:
1. Write a new "General" introduction to our breed that sets the stage for the reverence that our Breed creates as follows:
From the steamy rain-forests of South America & Asia, the steep snow covered mountains of Nepal and the deserts & grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa - there is endless inspiration for our breed, the Bengal Cat. The Bengal is a solidly built, athletic cat which moves about the jungle of our living rooms stalking their prey (Toys, Pets and their Human family :) and reminding us of one of the Big Cats of the World. Their muscular body is often seen through the movement of their sleek, long bodied prowl or an awe inspiring stretch on the judges scratching pole. The Pelt of a Bengal is amazing both visually and by touch. Most Bengals have a rosetted spot pattern as seen in many of their wild cat species counterparts and comes with a luxurious, soft, sleek, silk satin texture that lies close to the body. This often results in jaws dropping when humans touch their first "pelted" Bengal in admiration and wonder. No one attribute should be emphasized over any other.
African Leopards, Amur Leopards, Black Jaguars, Gold/Brown Jaguars, Snow Leopards, Clouded Leopards, Margays, Ocelots and our original breed wild ancestor - The Asian Leopard Cat (and more) are all represented in the Bengal by the diverse rosette spotted patterns, rich clear coloring and defined markings that can be realized.
Note: Parts in rose highlight are not proposed as part of the 2019 Ballot. They can be used for the general Bengal description.
A. This is the place where we paint a picture of the feeling that our breed gives to us and our clients. This paragraph sets the stage. We've been told that it's not the best place for trait specifics because they can either be missed or duplicated unnecessarily. If the traits are important enough to belong in the general description then they should be mentioned in the individual trait section. (We will want/need to correct this in the upcoming 2019 vote).
B. We are inspired by more than just the ALC ancestor of our breed (one mental picture is "of a cat coming out of the jungle" and while this is partially true, it leaves out many rosette spotted cats that also inspire many of us.
C. Our Breed would benefit from the creation of mental pictures of:
1. ALC's, Jaguars and Clouded Leopards coming out of the jungle habitat.
2. African Leopards skulking through the bush and grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa.
3. Snow Leopards nimbly navigating the steep snow covered mountains of Central Asia.
4. Black Panther (or Black Jaguar) sleeping on the branch of a tree.
D. Since CFA has a preference for more "domestic" Bengals, we can speak a bit more to the wild like nature of our Breed in the language in an effort to show the reverence and unique personalities of our breed without the risk of losing clients with fears of having too much wild DNA.
E. This desription in alignment with Jean Mills original vision of creating domestic leopards. Her vision was not about a small wild tree dwelling cat at all, her vision was about creating pets that looked like leopard. Please see her document below for full information.
F. This wording (without the rose highlight) is the 1st part of the description for our breed in the 2019 Annual.
A. One council member doesn't prefer the wording of "Stalking prey" as they don't want people to visualize their cats in this manner.
B. One council member believes that there is "pure hatred" towards our breed and that we should be mindful of the possible negative perceptions created.
C. One council member believes that there is a disconnection between describing the larger rosette spotted cats and some of the physical aspects that some breeders are drawn to that are more correlated to the Asian Leopard Cat (Small tree dwelling cat).
Proposal #77 on 2019 Ballot. Results: 21 Yes, 47 No - 68 Voters needs 41 "yes votes to pass. Did not pass.
Breed Council Change Considerations for 2019 that did not get on the Ballot:
A. Write a new "General" introduction in 2020 for our breed if Proposal #77 does not pass.
A. Giving all the various cats that we draw from for inspiration may not be needed in the standard but could be included in a Powerpoint presentation for judges training.
CURRENTLY NOT A SEPARATE QUESTION FOR THE PROPOSED 2019 BALLOT - I THINK THAT WE MAY CHOOSE TO LEAVE THESE PARTS OFF FOR THE VOTE WHICH WILL TURN THIS SECTION INTO QUESTION #1.
3. Another option for rewriting of the "General" Description portion of the standard.
GENERAL: The Bengal cat is meant to replicate the appearance of a small, nocturnal, tree-dwelling wildcat with a confident, friendly, outgoing personality. The Bengal is a medium to large, cat with a sleek, muscular build. Boning is substantial. Hindquarters slightly higher than shoulders. The tail is thick, with rounded tip, and carried lower than the back. The Bengal’s head, expressive nocturnal look, and stunning markings give the breed a wild appearance. The coat is like no other: short, soft, silky to the touch, luxurious, and preferably glittered. Bengals are alert and active, with inquisitive, dependable dispositions. patterned, short-haired cat with a muscular build, hindquarters slightly higher than shoulders and a thick tail carried lower than the back. The coat that is short, soft, silky to the touch and may be glittered. The distinctive rosetted, spotted, and marbled patterns are composed of markings that align horizontally and flow in a pattern that stretches from shoulder to rear. Preference shall be given to patterns that differ from all of the traditional tabby patterns such as horizontal flow, blotchy horizontal shoulder streaks, spotted legs, feet, tail and countershading - a much lighter to white ground color on the whisker pads, chin, chest, belly, and inner legs. On the head and neck a chin strap, necklaces and light thumbprints on back of ears are desirable. A long, athletic, body upon thickly boned legs and large, knuckled feet give the Bengal a structure distinct from other domestic cats and contribute to the look and feel. Its head is shaped by characteristics necessary for a nocturnal hunter: large, puffy nose, prominent eyes, and rounded, cupped ears. Bengals are alert and active, with inquisitive, dependable dispositions. Males are generally larger than females.
Note: Yellow highlighted area is new wording (Underlined). Rust highlighted area is wording to be removed (Strike Out)
Rationale: A group of about 12 Council members used existing wording but condensed items that were repetitive, as well added some descriptors for emphasis.\
A. Describing only a "nocturnal, tree-dwelling wild cat" does not include African Leopards, Jaguars, Snow Leopards, Clouded leopards etc. Only focusing on only a small portion of the CFA Bengals is not inclusive of many of the current Bengals being shown in CFA.
B. It leaves behind many breeding programs Bengals that are the original and current CFA Bengal Breeders who came into this organization to create.
C. The "General" part of the standard is best when it describes the feeling that a Bengal cat gives all of us. The parts of this proposal that are descriptions of specific body parts should be in these sections of the standard so that they are not missed by judges when they look up the wording on "Ears" for instance.
D. This conflicts with many sections of the current standard. I don't believe that we can vote "YES" on this proposal without the ties and questions to the specific body parts that would now be required to change.
CURRENTLY NOT A SEPARATE QUESTION FOR THE PROPOSED 2019 BALLOT AS IT WAS ONLY SUBMITTED ON 7/31/19 AND FOR THE REASONS BELOW. IT IS CURRENTLY POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE ON 8/3/19 SO THAT THE COUNCIL CAN START TO GET FEEDBACK FROM ALL OF IT'S MEMBERS.
I AM REASONABLY SURE THAT THERE IS NOT ENOUGH SUPPORT FOR THIS TO PASS AS IT IS WRITTEN. MORE TIME FOR WRITTEN DISCUSSION IS NEEDED. CURRENTLY, CHOOSING TO ONLY HIGHLIGHT A SINGLE STYLE OF WILD CATS THAT INSPIRE US IS NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WHOLE CFA BENGAL BREED COUNCIL.