Bengal cat patterns - Tabby Influence
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Bengal Cat Patterns

about:  bengal cats, horizontal flow, bars, circle, marble bengal

Bengal Cat PatternsLet's face it, people are drawn to the Bengal cat due to its gorgeous coat.  When it comes to the Bengal coat pattern, there are two basic types:  Spotted and Marbled.  Regardless of whether you're talking about spots or swirls, the main concept you want to understand is horizontal flow.

Before you start looking at Bengal kittens, it is good to train your eye by looking at the small wild cat species we are trying to duplicate.  Keep in mind, the Bengal is a work in progress; we haven't reached the point in development where our domestics look like our wild cats, but it helps the novice to understand the goal.

In terms of pattern, notice a horizontal movement in the wild cat's coat.  Having horizontal flow is the optimal pattern.  Whether that horizontal flow occurs is more important than whether or not the marks themselves are marbled, big spots, small spots, rosettes, or single spots.

Fighting the Tabby's Circular Influence

Often the tabby influence causes an arching or circular movement in the back half of the pattern.  This breaks the perfect horizontal flow.   Bengal horizontal spots

Notice the pattern on this kitten doesn't have an arch.  The lines are horizontal starting at the shoulder and continuing through the back legs.
Bengal horizontal pattern

Breaking the Bars
One of the most dominate tabby trait we struggle with is the vertical alignment of spots right behind the front shoulder.  While they spread out with age, they are always aligned.  These are so common, they have a name; we call them rib bars.   bengal bars

One will notice the ALC has no vertical alignment whatsoever.  The ideal Bengal will have no vertical alignment as well.  The pattern on this kitten is completely horizontal with no rib bars.
Bengal Vertical Alignment

Marble Horizontal Flow
Since the marble pattern comes from the domestic cat, not the ALC, turning the circular pattern horizontal is a challenge for Bengal breeders.  This cat demonstrated the strong domestic influence of the circular tabby pattern.   Bengal Marble Target

When marbling goes horizontal, it is amazing.  Great marbles make quite a visual impact.  This cat is a wonderful example of my number one rule for the Bengal pattern -- regardless of whether you're talking spots or swirls, look for horizontal flow.
Bengal Marble Pattern

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