Charcoal Pattern in Bengals

Quick Summary

Charcoal Bengals sport an unusual coat marking of a darker face mask and dark thick dorsal stripe ("cape"). This “charcoal” pattern is produced by the combination of a domestic cat non-agouti variant and an Asian Leopard Cat agouti variant.

Charcoal Bengal Kitten
Bengal kitten without the charcoal pattern (left); Bengal kitten with the charcoal pattern (right)

Phenotype: Charcoal Bengals sport an unusual coat marking of a darker face mask and dark thick dorsal stripe ("cape"). The markings on these cats are darker and more extended than those seen on non-charcoal Bengals.

Mode of Inheritance: Not yet fully understood; APb variant appears to not be fully dominant over a variant

Alleles:

A = Agouti variant (Domestic Cat)
A2 = Agouti variant (Bengal and Savannah cat)
APb = Agouti variant (Asian Leopard Cat)
ALs = Agouti variant (Serval and Savannah cat)
Ajc = Agouti variant (Jungle Cat and Chausie)
a = Non-agouti variant (Domestic Cat)

Breeds appropriate for testing: Bengal

Explanation of Results:

  • Cats with APb/a genotype are expected to have charcoal patterning and can produce charcoal offspring depending on the genetics of the mate.
  • Cats with the following genotypes are not expected to have charcoal patterning, but they have a copy (or copies) of the Asian Leopard Cat agouti variant and can produce charcoal offspring depending on the genetics of the mate (mate must have non-agouti variant a in order to produce charcoal offspring):
    • APb/ A
    • APb/ A2
    • APb/APb
    • APb/ ALs
    • APb/ Ajc
  • Cats with the following genotypes are not expected to have charcoal patterning, but they have a copy (or copies) of the Domestic Cat non-agouti variant and can produce charcoal offspring depending on the genetics of the mate (mate must have Asian Leopard Cat agouti variant APb in order to produce charcoal offspring):
    • A2/a
    • ALs/a
    • Ajc/a
    • A/a
    • a/a
  • Cats with the following genotypes are not expected to have charcoal patterning, have no copies of the Asian Leopard Cat agouti variant, and cannot produce charcoal offspring:
    • A/A
    • A/A2
    • A2/A2
    • ALs/A
    • ALs/A2
    • ALs/ ALs
    • ALs/ Ajc
    • Ajc/A
    • Ajc/A2
    • Ajc/Ajc
    Price

    $40 one test per animal

    Panels Available
    Additional Details

    The Bengal cat breed consists of hybrid animals originally developed from crosses between the domestic cat (Felis sylvestris catus) and the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) (Prionailurus bengalensis). Although the original intention was to replicate the exotic spotted ALC coat in domestic cats, some hybrids sport an unusual coat marking of a darker face mask and dark thick dorsal stripe (cape). This pattern has generated great interest among Bengal enthusiasts. Terra Sinclair, a Bengal Cat breeder, postulated from breeding outcomes that the “charcoal” pattern was produced by the combination of a domestic cat non-agouti allele (a) and an ALC agouti allele (APb), thus conferring the darker markings on their coat pattern. Research by Drs. Liza Gershony and Leslie Lyons has confirmed this mode of inheritance of the pattern.

    Testing for the alleles associated with charcoal patterning helps breeders/owners determine the Charcoal status and breeding potential of their cats.

    Turnaround Time
    2-6 business days
    Type of Sample

    Species

    Cat

    Type of Test

    Results Reported As
    Test Result Charcoal/ALC Agouti
    A/A No copies of ALC Agouti genes are present. Cannot have charcoal offspring.
    A/A2* No copies of ALC Agouti gene are present. Cannot have charcoal offspring.
    A2/A2* No copies of ALC Agouti gene are present. Cannot have charcoal offspring.
    APb/ A 1 copy of ALC Agouti gene is present. Offspring can be charcoal depending on the genetics of the mate.
    APb/ A2* 1 copy of ALC Agouti gene is present. Offspring can be charcoal depending on the genetics of the mate.
    APb/APb 2 copies of ALC Agouti gene are present. Offspring can be charcoal depending on the genetics of the mate.
    ALs#/A No copies of ALC Agouti genes are present. Cannot have charcoal offspring.
    Ajc@/A No copies of ALC Agouti genes are present. Cannot have charcoal offspring.
    ALs#/A2* No copies of ALC Agouti gene are present. Cannot have charcoal offspring.
    Ajc@/A2* No copies of ALC Agouti gene are present. Cannot have charcoal offspring.
    APb/ ALs# 1 copy of ALC Agouti gene is present. Offspring can be charcoal depending on the genetics of the mate.
    APb/ Ajc@ 1 copy of ALC Agouti gene is present. Offspring can be charcoal depending on the genetics of the mate.
    ALs#/ Ajc@ No copies of ALC Agouti gene are present. Cannot have charcoal offspring.
    ALs/ALs# No copies of ALC Agouti gene are present. Cannot have charcoal offspring.
    Ajc/ Ajc@ No copies of ALC Agouti gene are present. Cannot have charcoal offspring.
    A/a 1 copy of non-Agouti gene is present. Offspring can be charcoal depending on the genetics of the mate.
    APb/a Charcoal Bengal cat. Carries 1 ALC Agouti and 1 non-Agouti genes.
    A2*/a 1 copy of non-Agouti gene is present. Offspring can be charcoal depending on the genetics of the mate.
    ALs#/a 1 copy of non-Agouti gene is present. Offspring can be charcoal depending on the genetics of the mate.
    Ajc@/a 1 copy of non-Agouti gene is present. Offspring can be charcoal depending on the genetics of the mate.
    a/a 2 copies of non-Agouti gene are present. Offspring can be charcoal depending on the genetics of the mate.

    * A2 is an alternative Agouti variant found in Bengal and Savannah cats. The phenotypic effect of A2 has not been established.

    # ALs is an alternative Agouti variant found in Serval (Leptailurus serval) and Savannah cats. The phenotypic effect of ALs has not been established.

    @ Ajc is an alternative Agouti variant found in Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) and Chausie cats. The phenotypic effect of Ajc has not been established.

    References

    Gershony, L.C., Penedo, M.C., Davis, B.W., Murphy, W.J., Helps, C.R., & Lyons, L.A. (2014). Who's behind that mask and cape? The Asian leopard cat's Agouti (ASIP) allele likely affects coat colour phenotype in the Bengal cat breed. Animal Genetics, 45(6), 893-897. doi: 10.1111/age.12206