What kind of Bengal cat wins cat show competitions?

If you want to know the kind of Bengal cat which wins cat show competitions, you need to look at the breed standard (CFA or TICA) and while reading that have a look at a couple of photographs of two Bengal cats who have won competitions. This is exactly what I've done for this page. I welcome the views of cat breeders and judges etc. Please comment as much as possible.

Importance of the coat

Below you will see two winners. When I look at these photographs the most outstanding aspect of the anatomy which catches my eye is the coat and the nature of the markings. This is a high contrast coat and the rosettes and doughnuts ('donuts' in American English), as they are called, are very pronounced and sharp. The patterns are interesting and exotic. I think a lot rests on the quality of the markings.

Overall appearance

A cat that wins Bengal cat shows is going to be medium-to-large in size with a sleek, muscular build. The hindquarters are slightly higher than the shoulders and the "boning is substantial". This cat has a thick tail with a rounded tip. The head is expressive with a "nocturnal look". The markings are stunning with a wild appearance. The cat should be alert and active with an air of inquisitiveness but at the same time have a dependable disposition. Males are usually larger than females.

CFA cat show winner. Image: CFA
CFA cat show winner. Image: CFA

Glittering

The quality of the Bengal cat coat is unique to the breed. It is close lying, soft, silky and luxurious. Ideally it should be glittered. I've discussed that on another page (see below). The coat genuinely looks as though it is glittering as if it's been sprinkled with stardust.

RELATED: Bengal cat glittering.

Bengal cat glittering
Bengal cat glittering. Image: PoC.

Coat types

The CFA standard mentions two types of Bengal cat patterns and colours: rosetted/spotted tabby pattern and marble tabby pattern. The former is a coat covered in rosettes and spots with a horizontal flow to their alignment. 

The contrast between the pattern and the ground colour or background should be 'extreme' in the words of the CFA. The rosettes can be of many different shapes such as a round doughnut, open doughnut, pancake, paw print, arrowhead or clustered. These are preferred to single spotting. 

Other markings

The markings around the eyes and on the face should be strong and bold. The backs of the ears have a thumbprint. The colour of the chest and belly should be lighter than the other parts of the coat. The CFA likes horizontal shoulder streaks, spotted legs or a rosetted tail. The belly must have spots on it.

Bengal cat that has won at CFA cat shows.
Bengal cat that has won at CFA cat shows. Image: CFA.

The marble pattern is sometimes called a blotched tabby pattern and is full of swirls. There should be high contrast between the markings and the background as for the rosetted coat. There should be sharp edges between the markings and the background. The markings are two toned. 

They say that there should be no resemblance to the classic tabby pattern and circular pattern or bull's-eye is undesirable. They are emphasising the fact that the tabby pattern of the Bengal cat is superior or different to the standard tabby pattern on a standard tabby cat. They prefer a random pattern and the more random it is the better. They like a stained-glass effect.

I've given you a flavour of how the survey relates to the coat pattern of the Bengal cat. It is complicated. There are lot of features to the coat that they are checking on. It is perhaps the most important aspect of the Bengal cat in terms of appearance.

There are many types of Bengal cat in terms of the coat type from blue mink smoke to black melanistic. I would recommend that you have a look at the CFA breed standard.

Negatives

On the negative side, the CFA disqualifies Bengal cats if the belly is not patterned when the cat is a rosetted/spotted tabby, marble tabby, charcoal tabby and snow tabby. They also disqualify when there is a distinct locket on the neck, chest, abdomen or anywhere else. If the tail is kinked or deformed the cat is disqualified. A cat with crossed eyes and 'cow hocking' with also qualify for qualification.

Just short of disqualification, Bengal cats will be penalised if the rosettes or spots run together vertically forming a mackerel tabby pattern. They'll be penalised if he or she has a circular bull's-eye pattern for the marble tabby. And if a snow tabby patterned Bengal cat has a "substantially darker point, as compared to colour of body markings" that cat will also be penalised.

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