The Bengal cat has a striking appearance that is reminiscent of the Asian Leopard Cat from which the Bengal originates. Bengals are hybrids — born when an Asian Leopard Cat is crossbred with a domestic cat. The offspring of this crossbreeding have the appearance familiar to devotees of the wild cat, but their temperament is most often similar to their domestic parents.
With a lightly colored or white belly, the Bengal is a large and muscular cat who has a body structure closely resembling the Asian Leopard Cat. They tend to have large spots and rosettes on their back and their sides. Bengals also often have horizontal stripes next to their eyes and their forelegs are often also striped. There are several colors that Bengals can range in, from brown to silver and even red. While their coats are generally short, it is not unusual to see a longhaired Bengal.
In order to ensure that the Bengal has a desirable temperament, it is important that Bengals intended to be domestic pets should be at least three generations out from the original crossbreeding. Some experts maintain that four generations out from the crossbreeding with the Asian Leopard cat holds greater odds that the temperament of the domestic pet will be more like other domestic housecats.
Bengals are very intelligent cats with a high-prey drive, which can make them excellent hunters. They are also very curious and nosy. It is not at all unusual to find a Bengal getting himself into mischief while his owners are away. Affectionate and sociable, Bengals can be a great addition to a family if they are aware of its breeding and how far removed from the original Asian Leopard cat they are.