ABOUT SAVANNAHS

The Savannah Cat is a Hybrid offspring of the wild African Serval. When a Serval Cat mates with a domestic cat, they produce hybrid Savannah kittens. That mating is called F1 Savannahs in the cat world. F1 Savannah hybrid cats are very similar to Servals. They will generally inherit the large Serval ears, slightly smaller in size with a beautifully spotted coat.

Savannah cats are considered by some to be one of the larger breeds of domesticated cats. The savannahs tall and slim build gives the appearance of greater size than their actual weight. Size is very dependent on hybrid generation. F1 hybrid and F2 hybrids are the largest, due to the stronger genetic influence of the African Serval ancestor. Male Savannah cats also tend to be larger than females Savannah cats. Early generation Savannah cats may weigh 20 to 30 lbs, with the higher weights being the F1 or F2 males. Later generation Savannah cats are usually between 12 to 20 lbs. Lower generation cats will reduce in size but still retain the long body and legs. Savannah cats will take an average of three years to reach their full size. Because of the random factors in Savannah hybrid genetics, there can be significant variation in the size of a Savannah cat, even in one litter. F1 hybrid male Savannah cats usually being the largest.

The coat of a Savannah depends a lot on the breed of cat used for the domestic cross. Early generations have some form of dark spotting on a lighter coat, and many breeders employ "wild" looking spotted breeds such as the Bengal and Egyptian Mau for the cross to help preserve these markings in later generations. The International Cat Association (TICA) breed standard calls for brown spotted tabby (cool to warm brown, tan or gold with black or dark brown spots, silver spotted tabby (silver coat with black or dark grey spots), black (black with black spots), and black smoke (black tipped silver with black spots) only. In addition, the Savannah can come in nonstandard variations such as the classic or marble patterns, snow coloration (point), and blue or other diluted colours derived from domestic sources of cat coat genetics. The overall look of an individual Savannah cat greatly depends on its generation, with higher-percentage Savannah cats often having a “wilder” look. The domestic breed that is used will influence appearance as well. The domestic out-crosses for the Savannah breed that are permissible in TICA are the Egyptian Mau, the Ocicat, the Oriental Shorthair, and the Domestic Shorthair. In addition, some Savannah breeders have in the past used "non-permissible" breeds or mixes such as Bengal (for size and vivid spotting) and Maine Coon cats (for size) for the domestic parentage.

A Savannah's wild look is often due to the presence of many distinguishing Serval characteristics. Most prominent of these include the various colour markings and tall erect ears. The bodies of Savannahs are long and leggy. When a Savannah is standing, their hind-end is often higher than their shoulders. The head is taller than wide, and they have a long slender neck. The backs of the ears have ocelli, a central light band bordered by black, dark grey or brown, giving an eye-like effect. The short tail has black rings, with a solid black tip. The eyes are blue as a kitten and may be green, brown, gold or a blended shade as an adult. The eyes have a "boomerang" shape, with a slightly hooded brow to protect them from harsh sunlight. Black or dark "tear-streak" or "cheetah tear" markings run from the corner of the eyes down the sides of the nose to the whiskers, much like that of a cheetah. These tear marks also help reduce glare from sunlight, which aids the Savannah's vision during hunting. Most F1 generation Savannahs will possess many or all of these traits, while their presence often diminishes in later generations.

The hybridised-breed of cat's appearance can vary far more than cat owners may be used to. It is important to remember that each Savannah Cat is different - what it lacks in size or coat colouring, if it is a truly bred savannah to savannah cat it will certainly make up for that in its dog like personality.“...