History of the Bengal
A Bengal cat is considered a hybrid breed. Bengals are not typically included in lists that exclude exotic or big cat breeds due to the fact that they are smaller, are accepted by several other organizations as a pure breed, and are bred consistently past three generations.
While there were previous attempts at breeding hybrids between African leopard cats (ALC) and domestic cats, the Bengal cat hybrids are credited to Jean Sudgen Mill in the 1970s. She acquired hybrids from Dr. Willard Centerwall who was breeding them at Loyola University to study their genetics. She bred the hybrids with domestic cats to produce a breed that had the personality of a domestic cat and an exotic look. Greg and Elizabeth Kent crossed African leopard cats with Egyptian maus to develop a line of Bengal cats as well.
Hybrids are denoted by the generations they are away from their wild ancestry, with F1 denoting the first generation, which has one African leopard cat parent. F2 would have one ALC grandparent, and F3 would have one ALC great-grandparent. It is thought that by F3 the cats have the temperaments of domestic cats. To be shown, the International Cat Association (TICA) accepts only cats of F4 or further generations removed from having an ALC ancestor. Today, most Bengal cats are bred from other Bengal cats.
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