From ALK to Bengals
Colors of Bengal Cats
Despite the common belief that a Bengal is a miniature copy of a leopard, the colors of Bengal cats are quite varied. Let's look at the main ones.
The classic version of the color (the very same leopard color) is called brown (black) spotted tabby. Which translates as black spotted tabby. Moreover, in different systems it is written differently. Thus, in WCF color code denotes n24, where n - black, and 24 - spotted. But it does not mean that Bengal cats have black color. It's just that in color genetics it is accepted that all cats are either black or red. All other variations are based on just that. And we see the background color of Bengal cat as golden color, though it is not considered golden, therefore the criteria of golden color assessment are not applicable to it. And only among people this coloring is called "rosette on gold".
It would seem that cats of this color should be similar. But, as a matter of fact, you'll never find two identical Bengals, even if both of them have this very same black spotted tabby (n24) in their pedigree! Starting with background, which by standard can vary from light to dark and from golden to reddish-red, finishing with spots. They can be not big single spots, big monochrome spots or "rosettes" - two or three-color spots. Rosettes, in turn, may also be different - "darts", when the spot has the shape of an arrowhead with transitions of color from light to dark, "open rosette" - a kind of semicircle or semi-oval with an open contour, "bagel" - the classic "loaf" with a clearly outlined outline and highlighted middle. Rosettes and spots can be fused to form bizarre drawings, but the main requirement for them is the horizontal orientation of the pattern, the absence of straight vertical lines (the so-called "ribs"). The color of the marks can also be from brown to coal-black; the standard does not specify an advantage, but a clear contrast between the background and the marks is desirable.
Here we should once again pay attention to the concept of "ribs" in Bengal coloring. Beginners often pay attention to the absence of ribs when choosing their first cat, not always understanding the difference between "rib" and "spliced rosettes". Simply speaking a "rib" is a distinct, often thin, vertical line running from back to belly. Such lines are highly undesirable in the color of breeding animals. Another thing is crossed rosettes. They are so-called wavy lines, diagonal or sometimes vertical. Such marks, though considered a defect, are not evaluated very strictly. They are considered in the overall impression of the color. Most experienced breeders, when selecting a new breeding stock, will give preference to a bright, contrasting animal with crossed rosettes over a dull dull and noncontrast color of an animal which has no such defect.
The following kind of "golden" color is black marbled (patched) tabby, or in WCF code - n22, where 22 is a marbled pattern. Marbled in Bengal coloring has appeared thanks to other breeds used in breeding at formation of breed. However, the Asian leopard cat genes gave the Bengal Marble an undeniable advantage over other breeds. The fact is that in all cat breeds, the marble pattern has again a vertical orientation, whereas the marbled color of a Bengal cat tends to be horizontal. And if we add relief to this, then we can say with confidence - the marbled color of the Bengal cat is unique. However, this coloring also has its own nuances. The simplest division (which is by no means complete) is a division into "cloak", "patterned" and "ribbon" marbles. The most spectacular is the latter, although the patterned one is also very beautiful. The cloak one does not look so glamorous, as the main color looks simply black, but it is no less valuable because of the beautiful glitter and its value for work on the rosette color. The point is that the color of Asian leopard cat, the founder of Bengal breed, is not distinguished by big rosette spots, and the modern conception of Bengal cats raises the color exactly to leopard color. And it is to transform a small spot into a beautiful large rosette that cloaked marbled cats are used.