The Brown Spotted (Leopard) Bengal
The traditional color of the Bengal is that of the leopard, black spots upon a gold background. This color is sometimes referred to by breeders as the "leopard" color. The intensity and colors of "leopard spotted" Bengals can vary considerably. The spots might be deep brown, jet black, or may even be rosetted. The base, or background color can range from grey to sandy buff, or gold to bright orange. A warm rufous ground color is preferred. Sorrels have brown spots on an orange background. Bengals' spots should be random, with as few stripes on the body as possible. The quality of the individual Bengal is determined to a large degree by the richness of color and the pattern of the markings.
Leopard and sorrel colored kittens go through many stages before they develop their true color. Often they do not attain their full rich color until they reach maturity at twelve to sixteen months. It takes a great deal of experience for a breeder to know what to expect from these kittens, as they go through their grey fuzzy stages. Often, just when the kitten is ready to go to its new home, it is at its absolute worst stage. As a rule, the blacker the spots, the slower the ground color is to come in. So these kittens, who look rather plain as infants, can be the most striking as adults with jet black spots upon a warm rich background. Sorrels tend to be very brightly colored at birth, and make very striking kittens. The light sorrels however, especially out of a sorrel-to-sorrel mating, can fade with maturity.
The Brown Marbled Bengal
The Marble pattern should flow horizontally with rosetting and chain-like appearances. The classic tabby gene creates the marble Bengal and represents a change of pattern from spotted to swirled or marbleized. The dramatic pattern is comprised of swirls of black and varied shades of brown or tan to rufus colours flowing in a horizontal fashion instead of traditional spots, and giving the impression of marble. Preference is given to the more horizontal, flowing and "ocelot-like" patterns.
The Snow Bengals
Snow Leopard's are off-white or ivory with grey or brown spots. Their eyes can be blue, aqua, or green. Snows are further classified as either seal lynx point, mink, or sepia, depending on whether or not they carry the Burmese gene. Generally the Mink and Sepia colored snows have more pronounced markings than those of the lynx pointed snows.
Lynx point snow babies are born almost solid white, with ghost pattern gradually developing as they mature. So at 8 or 10 weeks, the pattern of spots may be very faint. It may take up to a year for the blue-eyed snow to develop its full colored markings. The mink and sepia snow babies are born with a very distinct patterns and markings. The best snows seem to be the ones who exhibit the color of their markings at an early age. Snows can be either spotted, rosetted, or marbled.
Seal Lynx Point
The Silver Bengals
New to the recognized colors in the Bengal World, are the awesome silvers! Recognized in 2004 for Championship titles, they have virtually white undercoat color with pewter to jet black markings. Silvers can be either spotted, rosetted, or marbled, but a high degree of contrast is desirable. The white undercoat should be as clear as possible with little or no "tarnishing" or yellowish discoloration on the face, feet, tummy, or spine. Silvers are born with their markings and retain them as they mature.
Under the microscope, glitter appears as "hollow air space" surrounding the colour of the hair. It is sometimes described as bubbles of air, almost crystal like. The effect glitter gives to rufoused coats is that of gold sparkles. The effect on the coat of the seal lynx, seal sepia, and seal mink is that of crystals. Like ice on a tree limb, glitter refracts the light and enhances the colour. So far, the Bengal is the only domestic breed of cat to actually be noted for its glitter.
Non-recognized Colors of the Bengal Cat
The Melanistic Bengal
The Melanistic Bengal is a black Bengal. Melanistic Bengals may exhibit varied intensities of black spotted or marbled pattern which may be visible in bright light. The patterns are usually more visible on the kittens coat rather than that of the adult Melanistic Bengal. Melanistic Bengals are registered as 'black' with no indication of pattern.
The Blue Bengal
The Blue Bengal should exhibit an ivory or cream background with the blue spotted, rosetted, or marble pattern clearly visible. Spots shall be random, or aligned horizontally. Rosettes showing two distinct colors or shades, such as paw print shaped, arrowhead shaped, doughnut or half doughnut shaped or clustered are preferred. The marble pattern should flow horizontally with rosetting and chain-like appearances. Contrast with ground color must be extreme, giving distinct pattern and sharp edges. Strong, bold chin strap and mascara markings desirable.