What Does The Future Of Bengal Cat Breeding Hold?
Future crosses with Chausies, Savannahs or Singapuras would result in Mini and Mega Bengals!
The Bengal breed has developed to a level almost unrecognizable from the cats I bred in the 90s. The breeders have made such amazing progress in a very short period of time where they can now obtain rosette patterns and depth of glitter that none of us back in the old days could have ever dreamed of.
The vast majority of Bengal traits these days are absolutely spot on, and I wholeheartedly approve of the direction the breed is going. In my "maybe not so humble" opinion, I can only point to one trait which is misbegotten, and that is the trend towards microears.
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Yes, I have held (or tried to hold) Asian Leopard Cats (ALCs), so I am aware of their tiny cuplike ears. However, I don't believe that Bengals will ever be a xeroxed clone of ALCs anyway, and I am convinced that the forcing of ever smaller ears is going to eventually lead to anatomical problems along the lines of the squished in Persian noses which to my perspective, borders on criminal abuse of animals. I would never want to see anything along those lines creep into such a phenomenal and aesthetically stunning breed as Bengals.
Therefore, and small ears aside, what does the future hold for the breed? Certainly a continuation of the amazing spots and rosettes that many breeders are obtaining will continue to be much sought after, as will the Bengals' unique glitter which is not approaching the appearance of fairy dust. However, given the latest advances in other domestic breeds with an element of wild blood, I certainly would not be surprised to see an offshoot of Bengal which has been crossed with Savannah or Chausie. This would create a much larger cat (with Savannah bat ears) which might maintain the spots and rosettes. Imagine what a spotted golden/brown Bengal pattern would look like on a Chausie! Completely stunning!
Although I certainly wouldn't want a 30 pound Bengal/Savannah/Chausie deciding he wanted to dig his claws into my new leather couch, you could certainly see the appeal of such a huge cat, especially for the lover of the big cats who doesn't want to go as far as obtaining a license!
Let's go the other way now. When I was in breeding I had a conversation with another breeder about the hypothetical introduction of Singapura genes into the Bengal line. The breeder was aghast. He was so distraught that I've waited about a decade just to bring it up again. But why not? The Singapuras do share a level of similarity to Abyssinians which were extensively used during the creation of Bengals, so really all we would be doing is shrinking down the size of the adult Bengal. Just the thought of a 5 pound female and 6 pound male fully grown Bengal makes me teary-eyed. A mini-Bengal could be not only the ultimate "fashion" accessory but make the breed more suitable for living in smaller apartments.
Of course all of these crossings would have to be done with an eye towards preserving the essential Bengal-ness of the breed and not to the end of creating a different cat just because its different, or worse yet, just to make money. Breeders must always keep in mind that beyond the sublime aesthetics, the Bengal character and personality is what people really fall in love with, and that very special aspect must be forever preserved.