History of the Bengal


The Bengal cat is a distinct, unique breed of spotted domestic cat derived from the ancestral crossing of a domestic cat such as an Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Burmese or Egyptian Mau with an Asian Leopard Cat. The wild Asian Leopard Cat is a beautiful, small, wildcat approximately the size of a domestic cat. The Asian Leopard Cat can be found in twenty-one Asian countries, throughout Southeast Asia, including Taiwan, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Laos and the Philippines.

The name "Bengal" is derived from the Latin name of the Asian Leopard Cat, Feline Bengalensis. The domestic Bengal has inherited the exotic, stunningly wild spotted pattern from the Asian Leopard Cat, found in the wild in central Asia. This beautiful breed of cat is very loving, affectionate, playful and friendly while retaining the wild look of it's ancestors.

The first hybridization with the intention to create a pet "leopard" was accomplished in Japan according to the 1941 Cat Fancy publication. It was not until 1960 that any records exist in the United States of breeding Leopard Cats to domestic cats.

The chief credit for this breed is given to Jean (Sudgen) Mill of the USA. Jean Mill crossed a black shorthaired domestic cat with a female Asian Leopard Cat in 1963. Offspring were produced proving that a second generation was possible. Further experiments were interrupted due to a death in the family.


The little Asian Leopard Cats became very well known in the late 1960's and early 1970's when it became fashionable to wear leopard furs. It would take over 200 leopard pelts to make just one fur coat! These little leopards were almost wiped out of existence to meet the demand for fur. Thanks to concerned scientists, animal rights activists and the union of Nations, the hunting and trading of Asian Leopard Cats across international boundaries was banned and is still in effect today under CITES.

In the 1970s, the domestic cat population was seriously threatened by Feline Leukemia. At that time, there was no vaccine or cure. It was discovered that Asian Leopard Cats did not get the disease. A study was started to find out if this immunity would be passed on to the hybrid kittens of the Leopard Cat bred to domestics. As a result of this study, in 1975 Jean Mill acquired eight female hybrids from the geneticist, Dr. Willard Centerwall.

Jean Mill began again to further the new breed. Jean felt that if people could own a domestic little leopard as a beloved pet that they would be less likely to either buy Asian Leoapard Cats for pets OR to want to wear leopard fur! She hoped this new breed would help protect the shy, but beautiful, Asian Leopard Cat.

In 1984 the domestic Bengal became recognized by the International Cat Association (T.I.C.A.) and was then eligible to be shown.


Asian Leopard Cat to Beautiful Bengal...

Bengals must be four or more generations removed from their nearest wild, ALC ancestor, and have three consecutive generations of Bengal to Bengal breeding in order to be eligible to be shown in T.I.C.A. The Earlier generations, F1, F2, and F3 are known as "foundation bengals" and are considered to be hybrids. Below is a table showing just what "four or more generations removed" means:


(ALC) Asian Leopard Cat

+ (SBT) Bengal =

F1 Hybrid

(SBT) Bengal

+  F1 Hybrid =

F2 Hybrid

(SBT) Bengal

+  F2 hybrid =

F3 Hybrid

(SBT) Bengal

+  F3 Hybrid =

F4 Bengal (SBT)

(SBT) Bengal

+  F4 (SBT) Bengal =

Bengal (SBT)


At SierraGold we have a personal goal to maintain and build upon a wild look; we are very aware of both beautiful patterns AND wonderful wild conformation and head type when selecting our studs and queens for breeding!  Along with this we also take great care to make sure we are breeding only the most healthy and socially inclined Bengals.

      Above: Champion SierraGold Starmaster

We have a wonderful time pursuing this hobby and enjoy watching our "progress" in breeding this beautiful companion, our beloved Bengal!


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Bengal Kitten Breeders love their Bengal Kittens For Sale from SierraGold Bengals, a TICA Cattery of Distinction, Bengal Kitten Breeders breeding Bengal Kitten and Bengal Kittens to love from SierraGold Bengals, a TICA Cattery of Distinction.  Bengal Kitten breeders SierraGold Bengals has Bengal Kittens year around. Bengal Kittens are raised with lots of love from SierraGold Bengals. Bengal Kittens Available throughout the year from SierraGold Bengals a TICA Cattery of Distinction.