Bengal adult in black and white


The Bengal was first produced by crossing domesticated tabbies with the Asian Leopard Cat, creating the first hybrid females.

About the Bengal

Bengals, often known as “little leopards”, are very affectionate and can be a lap cat if they want to be, but in general they much prefer playing, chasing and climbing. Bengals are devoted companions and are patient with other household pets and children.

These are confident and curious cats who are always investigating. As active cats, it is important to ensure they have a lot of stimulation and opportunity to exercise and interact with their owners.

Source: key facts and characteristics sourced from World Cat Congress (WCC)

Breed specifics

United States
Short coat
Size category
Avg life expectancy
12–16 years

Confident / Sociable / Vocal / Energetic / Playful

Key facts

  • A cat tree is essential
  • Needs little grooming
  • Good with children
Breed origins illustration

Origins of the breed

The Bengal origins are rooted in the work of Dr Centerwall, who, in the 1960’s, bred several Leopard Cat hybrids in the course of his studies. In 1970, William Engler, a zookeeper who had been involved with exotic cats for many years, had two litters of kittens sired by his Leopard Cat.

Engler’s cats eventually reached the third generation and it was he who created the name Bengal. It was Jean Mill who established the Bengal as a domestic cat, thanks to her efforts to publicise the breed around the world.

Health Condition

Bengals are hybrid cats, which means that they have been developed by crossing a domestic cat with a wildcat. Earlier generations of Bengal have a less predictable behavior because they have a higher proportion of wildcat in their DNA. There are many concerns and unknowns about the temperament and safety of these cats from the early generations in a home setting and the effect on wildlife. Therefore, for all hybrid cats, we recommend choosing a cat from a later generation where their wildcat ancestry becomes more dilute and they have lost most of the wild instincts.

health checklist illustration