Bengals are originally a cross between the Asian Leopard Cat, Prionailurus Bengalensis (sub species, Bengalensis, most commonly from India, but other localities as well), and is commonly referred to as the "ALC," and most often the cross has been with the Egyptian Mau, Felis Catus. The sub-species for the Bengal Breed is designated as Felis Bengalensis.
These two Cats were considered to be the most genetically compatible mix of domestic and wild felines. Responsible Bengal Breeders' goals are to improve the breed, while providing proper habitats for their breeding stock. Bengals are bred to have predictable House Cat personalities and temperaments and to retain as much of the conformation, color, size, and coat patterns of the Asian Leopard Cat as possible. Today, after thirty years plus of breeding, we are creating Bengals that have markings which resemble Leopards and Clouded Leopards, with larger and more distinct patterns and colors. SBT Bengal Kittens available for purchase as pets are at least four or more Filial (or "F") generations away from the wild ALC and are completely domestic with lovable, sweet temperaments. The early generations of the ALC/Bengal mix are designated by F1, F2, F3 and are called Foundation Cats or Early Generation (E.G.) Cats. Generation F4, and after, are fully Domestic and designated as SBT. They are TICA (The International Cat Association) registered and numbered as all pure breed cats are. These domestic SBT generations (SBT = Stud Book Tradition) have their own individual identifying number and are for Show, Breeding, and Pet categories. The early Filial generations are most often for Breeding purposes to strengthen a genetic line in a Breeding Program. F2 and F3 Kittens may be sold as pets to highly screened potential Owners, as they are much more active and require more attention than the usual Domestic Bengal to remain a good pet. Foundation Bengals have a different TICA designation prefix and are not allowed to compete in Cat Shows. The Domestic Bengal Cat is designated by the Latin, Felis Bengalensis, "Felis" referring to being Domestic, and not wild as their ALC ancestors.
The International Cat Association web site has valuable information about different breeds of Cats and Breed Standards, the "Breeders' Voluntary Code of Ethics" and "How to Buy a Healthy Kitten." Go to www.TICA.orgto fnd out more.