Melanistic Bengal History
The Melanistic Bengal should be registered as a Black Bengal, derived from Asian Leopard Cat and Domestic Cat Hybrids aka Bengals. Many lovingly refer to these beautiful Black Bengals as, Melanistic Bengals, Miniature Black Panther, Pantherette, and House Panther.
While breeding Bengals successfully over the years, we obtained a Black F2 Bengal and was amazed at her close resemblance to a miniature Black Panther. Every time people saw her they were amazed at how beautiful she was and many wanted a Bengal just like her.
The Bengal breed standard in ACFA and TICA does not recognize the Black (Melanistic) color in their standard yet. Because of this there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding among many Bengal breeders and the public in regards to the black Bengals. In fact we heard that there were some Bengal breeders who actually would dispose of the Black kittens born in their litters because of this misunderstandings.
The amazing thing is that the Black or Melanistic color were present right from the beginning of these ALC X Domestic Hybrids. Many of the first F1 (first generation) ALC X Domestic offspring were Blacks, meaning that even the ALC carried for Black. I find it interesting that the Bengal breeders excepted the snow colors and the marble pattern (both from the domestic), that has never been produced in the F1 generation, but did not recognize these beautiful Blacks from the very beginning.
So the Melanistic (Black) Bengal has actually been around a long time, but is just now starting to be given it's rightful place in the Bengal breed and the cat fancy. Right now, they may be shown in TICA and ACFA as a new color in the New Breed and Color Class (NBC) and hopefully will be able to be shown in the Championship Class with the other recognized Bengal colors in a short time. They are already eligible for Championship showing in UFO and CCBA.
Black Bengal Color Description: The mature specimen should be Black with a high sheen and may display slight rusty undertones. Pattern should not be obvious, but may be slightly visible. Kitten coats may display more pattern and rusty tones than adults, but should darken and become more sleek and black with age. Nose leather and paw pads: black with rosy undertones allowed. Eye color may be all colors recognized in the brown spotted tabby.
Marie and I are looking for breeders who want to help preserve these wonderful awesome cats. If you are a breeder with Melanistic (Black) Bengals or just want to start breeding them, we would be glad to welcome you aboard and help you any way we can.
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