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The Melanistic Bengal

Rare Beauties

The black Bengal, or melanistic Bengal sometimes appears in Bengal litters. Both parents must carry for the recessive in order for a melanistic Bengal to appear in a litter. Not all black, the pattern is actually, black-on-black and can easily be seen in person but with difficulty in photos.  Generally, this cloudy pattern turns to solid black as the kitten matures. For some reason, they are often noted for having exceptionally silky and shiny coats.

Though considered “not of show standard”, they make unique and wonderful pets. Indeed, they are a personal favorite.They are being used as foundation stock for a new hybrid breed, the “Pantherette”. The pantherette is a cross of the black Bengal and the “Smoke Mojave Desert Cat”. More info. on that breed here: http://bamboobengals.tripod.com/phistory.html

They are not strictly speaking, “rare”. To be rare, something has to have the qualities of being both scarce and valuable. However black Bengals lack the high degree of contrast so desirable in a show Bengal. Their appearance is unusual because they are not a color breeders desire to further and are thus not bred for. So, if not "rare", they are statistically  improbable.

Other than coat color, they are the same as all Bengals. They have a long, lean body and a long, blunt snout. The black color actually accentuates the distinctly “un-cat-like” profile of the Bengal, thus the comparison to the panther. 

All this means that if a “Black Panther” is your thing, you are quite lucky, both statistically, and financially as these lovely cats are usually less expensive than even relatively unexceptional spotted Bengals.