Savannah and Bengal cat breeds are fairly similar, but they also have differences which include appearance and temperament. Their history and origins are also completely unique. Both of these cats also have a unique and wild appearance.
Both Bengal cats and Savannah cats are great choices for those that are looking for a very energetic, playful, and active companion.
We will be explaining everything that cat lovers need to know about the Savannah and Bengal cat breeds.
This will include explaining how they are both unique and similar to one another, allowing you to make the best choice if you are considering one of these amazing cats.
Keep reading to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the differences between a Bengal Cat and a Savannah Cat!
What is a Savannah Cat?
The Savannah cat is a relatively new breed, and it was originally created by cross-breeding a wild African Serval with Siamese cats.
The very first, first-generation Savannah kitten was born to Judee Frank and her female Siamese cat.
After being rehomed by Judee, the first Savannah cat was renamed Savannah. This is where the breed gets its name.
From here, more people fell in love with the sleek and exotic appearance of the Savannah cat.
Many of these individuals contributed to the breed by breeding their own Savannah cats and seeking recognition from official cat associations and clubs.
It wasn’t too long before Savannah cat owners were successful. In the early 2000s, the Savannah cat was officially recognized by the International Cat Association.
Savannah cats are still being bred today, and they are becoming an increasingly popular breed to own.
There are multiple generations of Savannah cats out there, with first-generation Savannahs (F1s) being the wildest and the 8th generation (F8s) being the least.
It is important to note that there are laws in some locations limiting the ownership of the Savannah cat. This is due to them being hybrid cats with wild ancestors.
Some areas have banned Savannah cat ownership altogether, while some other areas have rules on Savannah cat ownership.
Before getting a Savannah cat, you must do your research to ensure that they are legal to own in your area.
What is a Bengal Cat?
The Savannah breed is not the only cat breed with wild ancestry.
The Bengal breed is also a partially wild feline that is a cross between the wild Asian Leopard Cat and domestic breeds like the Egyptian Mau.
The very first Bengal kittens were bred by Jean Mill in the 1980s.
Jean’s goal was to create a breed with the personality of a domestic cat breed and the striking appearance of wild cats.
The Bengal cat breed was officially recognized by the International cat association in the early 1990s.
They have also been officially accepted by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 2016.
Since the Bengal cat is a bit older than the Savannah, we are in the later generations of the breed.
It is also incredibly rare to find Bengal cat breeders still breeding domestic cats to Asian Leopard cats.
Since most Bengal cats are bred to other Bengal cats to create kittens, you don’t really need to worry about the wild component of this hybrid breed anymore.
Bengal cats today are essentially domestic cats with a wild-looking appearance.
The good news is that because of this, you do not need to worry about the legality of owning a Bengal as much as you would with a Savannah.
Still, it is a good idea to check and make sure that Bengal cat ownership is completely legal in your city and state before getting one.
Bengal Cat vs Savannah Cat Appearance
Savannah cats can weigh anywhere between 12 and 25 pounds, and they can be 20 to 22 inches long. The more Serval cat genetics the cat has the larger they tend to be.
Meanwhile, the Bengal cat can technically weigh up to 20 pounds, but most Bengals only weigh around 12 pounds.
The Bengal is also a bit shorter, with most Bengals being around 18 inches long on average.
Bengal Cat vs Savannah Cat Coat Differences
One of the main factors that draw people into these cat breeds is their beautiful coats. Both cats have absolutely stunning, short coats, but this is where the similarities end.
Bengals will have a coat that is silky, and almost velvet-like to the touch, and the Savannah has a coat that is more coarse and rough to the touch.
The main difference between their coats though is the color and pattern.
Bengal cats will always have rosette markings, and their coats can come in a wide variety of color gradients.
The coat of a Savannah cat should always have a spotted pattern with solid dark spots and some minor striping.
The Savannah can come in several different color gradients including brown, silver, and black smoke.
Head and Body Shape
The Bengal cat will have a head and body shape that is similar to that of a typical domestic cat.
Bengals do have a muscular build, but their overall profile will not be much different from the average domestic cat breed.
Bengal cats are also known for their small ears and large eyes.
Meanwhile, the Savannah cat has a head and body shape that is much more unique. Savannahs will have hooded eyes, a triangle-shaped head, large ears, and long necks.
They will also have incredibly long and slender bodies with long legs. Both cats are absolutely stunning, and they are both pretty muscular cats as well.
Both the Bengal and the Savannah should be well-proportioned and have medium-length tails.
Savannah vs Bengal Cat Temperament
Both breeds are incredibly active cats that need lots of exercise and mental stimulation each day. If you have either one of these cats you will need to pay them attention!
They are both also known to be very playful and friendly with people, dogs, and other cats.
Which Breed is Better With Kids?
Both the Bengal cat and the Savannah cat tend to do very well with children. This is because both cat breeds are incredibly affectionate and playful.
Which Breed is Better With Other Pets?
Both cat breeds also tend to behave well around dogs and other cats.
However, they are not recommended for households with other types of small pets like small mammals, reptiles, or birds.
This is due to both breeds having a very high prey drive.
Additionally, you will want to keep any aquariums and terrariums under wraps with tight lids and doors that the cat can’t get through.
This is because both Bengals and Savannahs are known to fish for fish and other small creatures.
Which Breed is Better for Novice Cat Owners?
Generally, the Bengal cat is going to be better suited for first-time cat owners.
This is because most Bengal cats are essentially just active domestic cats, even though they are technically a hybrid cat breed.
Meanwhile, you have to be much more careful when getting a Savannah cat.
Depending on how much wild genetics they have, Savannahs can be a real handful even for the experienced Savannah owner.
Savannah vs Bengal Cat Trainability
Both the Bengal and the Savannah are incredibly intelligent breeds.
This means that with enough treats, toys, and patience, you can also train them to do some pretty cool tricks.
It is also fairly easy to alter some undesirable behaviors in Savannah and Bengal cats with enough training.
Savannah vs Bengal Cat Care Requirements
Luckily, both Bengal and Savannah cats are generally low maintenance care-wise. Both cats love to jump, climb, and sit in high places.
As a result, having cat trees and ledges that are acceptable for cats is essential when owning either a Bengal or a Savannah.
Additionally, it is important to give both Savannahs and Bengals plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
You can do this by playing with them, and some Bengal and Savannah owners even take their cats out for walks.
When it comes to things like grooming and diet, both breeds are pretty similar to other cats.
You can give your Bengal or Savannah a weekly brushing to keep their coats shiny and smooth. Also, both breeds tend to do well on high-quality cat food.
Savannah vs Bengal Cat Health Considerations
It is important to remember that both Bengal and Savannah cats require the same vaccines and preventative care as all other domestic cat breeds need.
It is a common misconception that Bengal cats are immune to the feline leukemia virus. (FeLV) However, this is not the case and they should still be vaccinated for it.
Of course, when looking into any cat breed it is important to take common health issues within the breed into consideration as well.
Here are some common health problems that are associated with the Bengal and Savannah cat breeds.
Savannah Cat Health Issues
Luckily, the Savannah cat is generally a pretty healthy breed. The only main prevalent health concern that occurs in Savannah cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
This is a heart condition that is genetically passed down from parent to offspring.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy causes the tissue around the heart’s left ventricle to become thicker than normal.
This condition can range in severity, and sadly it can lead to heart failure when left untreated or very severe.
The treatment for this condition mainly consists of supportive care in the form of prescription medications and good nutrition.
It is also important to note that there is a sterility problem in male Savannah cats until around the 4th generation.
This means that F1-F3 male Savannah cats will most likely be unable to produce offspring.
Bengal Cat Health Issues
Bengal cats also tend to be a pretty healthy breed, and they only have three main medical conditions that are of major concern. These include:
- Autosomal Recessive Disorder
- Feline Infectious Peritonitis
Autosomal Recessive Disorder is a genetic condition that can cause blindness in cats.
There is no treatment for this condition other than supportive daily care for the cat’s blindness.
Meanwhile, Entropion refers to the eyelids rolling into the eyes. This can be very painful for the cat, and it can cause damage to the eyes when left untreated.
Luckily, this condition can easily be treated by a vet when it occurs.
Feline infectious peritonitis is a deadly condition that occurs when a cat becomes infected by the feline coronavirus.
While most cats that become infected with the virus never develop FIP, Bengals have a higher chance of developing it.
Sadly, there is no treatment or cure, and most cats that develop FIP pass away from the disease.
Preventing your cat from becoming infected with the feline coronavirus is the best thing that you can do when owning a Bengal cat.
Are Savannah Cats or Bengal Cats Better Housecats?
Both breeds can make great house cats as long as they are mostly domestic cats genetically.
Early generations of domestic and wild cat hybrids tend to be quite energetic and destructive, making them not suited for most households.
However, the more domestic cat one of these hybrid cats has in them the more like an average house cat they are, making both domestic Bengals and Savannahs well suited for home life.
Are Savannah Cats or Bengal Cats More Expensive?
Savannah cats are somewhat rarer than Bengals, and as a result, they also tend to be more expensive.
The average Bengal cat from a breeder can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $3,000.
Meanwhile, Savannah cats from a breeder can cost between $1,500 to $25,000 depending on their pedigree and how wild their genetics are.
Which Cat Breed is Right for You?
So, is the Bengal or the Savannah cat a better choice for your lifestyle and family?
While both breeds can be pretty similar in temperament and care requirements, there are definitely some considerations you will need to make before choosing one.