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Bengals are known for their spotted coats. The gene responsible for spotting is dominant. That means that it only takes one spotted parent to get spotted kittens. The spotted gene cannot be carried recessively, so if you don't have at least one spotted parent, you know you will not get any spotted kittens. Two marbles cannot produce spotted but two spotted can produce marbles if they both carry recessively for the marble gene (more on that on the marble page).
Some bengals have rosettes which are two toned spots, like that of a Leopard. Usually a rosette will have a dark outline with a lighter color inside. Below are some examples of rosetted spots. All of the pictures are of Pocket Leopards Bengals.
Black outlined rosette on a Pocket Leopards kitten.
black outlined rosettes on a Pocket Leopards Bengals cat
Rosettes on "Metallic Miss" charcoal brown spotted bengal
Rosettes on a Pocket Leopards Bengals cat
Some bengals are spotted but not rosetted or have very few rosettes. These can be very beautiful as well. Below is an example of a spotted bengal that is not very rosetted. He has a few rosettes but overall his coat has spots only. Some spots are inky black and the color reaches right down to the base of the hair, right next to the skin. Interestingly, bengals do not have spotted skin.
"Grafitti Art" bengal with inky black, non-rosetted spots
Spots and rosettes come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
The different shapes of rosettes are called things like: paw print, arrowhead, doughnut, and pancake. Breeders are developing cats with different shapes all of the time. Undoubtedly, we will see more descriptive terms for rosettes as they are developed. Look at the picture above. The cat "Graffiti Art" has an interesting cluster of spots that look just like a baby's footprint. Can you "spot" it?
Spots and rosettes should be horizontally aligned. The more horizontal the better. Some cats even have rosettes that link together horizontally, this is called "chain rosetting" (see pic of the ocelot below).
Spots that run together in the other direction forming a vertical line is not desired in the bengal breed. Generally these lines are seen on the torso on the bengal, right behind the front legs. These lines are called "rib stripes" or "rib bars". Rib stripes are generally not considered desirable.To see a picture of a rib stripe, see the picture below. I prefer rosetted rib stripes over the solid ones.
Most kittens are not born completely rosetted, and it takes time for the rosettes to open up fully. But experienced breeders can usually tell if a kitten will rosette by looking at the center of the spot to see if it looks like it's less pigmented than the rest of the spot. Usually rosettes will start to clear out from the center outwards as the kitten grows.
This ocelot has "chain rosetting"
This cat has a "rib stripe" right behind the front leg
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