Julie Stanton Welch

I attempt to own the Bengal Cat, with spotty success...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gene Ducote: What could Bengal Breeders have done better?

Seamuskitty: What are the most important things the inheritors of your legacy have done right and what could they have done better?

Gene: Now this is controversial, and we are all entitled to our opinions...but this is mine. And I think Jean (Mill) would agree. 

I have always felt that the most unique feature of the Bengal, what sets it apart from all other breeds, is its incredibly wild-patterned coat. 

No other domestic breed has markings like this, it is truly the most distinctive feature of the breed, and for thousands of years, man has been drawn to the beauty of the gorgeous rosetted coats of leopards and ocelots. 

We're seeing Bengals out there now who have even more incredible coats and markings that its wild ancestors. 

So yes, I am thrilled with what breeders are doing.

Ok, since I have stuck my neck out here, I'll bring up another controversial subject, where many will disagree with my views. But it's my opinion, take it or leave it. 

To me, a big factor in the beauty of the Bengal's pattern and one that is even mentioned in the Standard, is contrast.

No matter what the pattern, without good contrast, the pattern is lost. I said this long ago when there was so much ticking in coats that you could hardly see the markings, and I think it's just as bad with charcoals. 

Charcoals, to me, are the exact opposite of what we've been working towards for a quarter of a century. 

So this is the one aspect of current breeding programs that I am not happy with, the use of charcoals. And remember...recessives are forever!!!

There will always be the negative aspect of breeding, those who breed just for quantity, regardless of what the cats look like. 

All breeds have this, and I suppose there's not much that can be done about it. 

I've always believed that ultimately, the public demand for the "real thing" will win out.