The Bengal cat has a desirable "wild" appearance with large spots, rosettes, and a light/white belly, and a body structure reminiscent of the ALC. The name "Bengal cat" was derived from the taxonomic name of the Asian leopard cat (P. b. bengalensis), and not from the more distantly related Bengal tiger.
Bengal cats have "wild-looking" markings, such as large spots, rosettes, and a light/white belly, and a body structure reminiscent of the leopard cat. A Bengal's rosetted spots occur only on the back and sides, with stripes elsewhere. The breed typically also features "mascara" (horizontal striping alongside the eyes), and foreleg striping.
The Bengal cat is usually either classed as brown-spotted or snow-spotted. Within brown Bengals, there are either marble or spotted markings. Included in the spotted variation is rosetted, which consists of a spot with a dark line surrounding it in the shape of a rose. Snow Bengals are also either marble or spotted, but are also divided into blue-eyed or any other colour eyes. However there are many classifications of bengals such as brown, seal lynx point, mink, sepia, silver, marbled, spotted, or long hair.
After three generations from the original crossing, the breed usually acquires a gentle domestic cat temperament; however, for the typical pet owner, a Bengal cat kept as a pet should be at least four generations (F4) removed from the leopard cat. The so-called "foundation cats" from the first three filial generations of breeding (F1–F3) are usually reserved for breeding purposes or the specialty pet home environment. Bengals are extremely active, social, and vocal which make for a great companion. The bengal cat is known for its intelligence and can be easily trained to do tricks, walk on a leash, and use the toilet!
Since the late 1960s—when the Bengal cat was developed through hybridization of Asian Leopard cats and domestic cats—it has gained huge popularity. However, in recent years, a novel early-onset autosomal recessive disorder was described in this breed. This disease appears to be an early-onset primary photoreceptor disorder, leading to blindness within the first year of age. Bengals life expectancy range from eighteen to twenty-two years.