How to pick between them: Bengal vs Savannah cat

Are you having a hard time choosing which breed to go with between Bengal vs Savannah cat? The good news is, we’re here to help you decide.

First and foremost, you need to understand the differences between a Savannah cat vs Bengal cat. Many people still can’t differentiate these two hybrid felines apart.

Both breeds may look very similar, and an untrained eye may not be able to distinguish them apart.

Their striking resemblance is because both breeds were developed to look like exotic wild felines.

By crossbreeding a domestic cat with a wild feline, a unique hybrid of household pets that look like feral cats were born.

While both breeds look closely similar, several differences differentiate them apart.

You’re probably considering having a hybrid cat as a pet but can’t decide which to choose between a Bengal vs Savannah cat.

You're not the only one who's thinking about getting an exotic breed of feline pet.

Pet lovers from all over the world also wanted to get their hands on these gorgeous-looking felines.

Aside from appearance, these exotic breeds also possess exceptional personalities that you'll surely love.

If your household only has one room for one more feline pet, which breed would you choose?

You might wonder which of these two hybrid felines is the better choice.

We’ll help you find the right pet for you by presenting to you the differences as well as the similarities of a Bengal vs Savannah cat.

Bengal Cat

savannah cat vs bengal cat

The Bengal Cat is a hybrid between a domestic cat and an Asian leopard cat. Its name was derived from the taxonomic name of its forebear Prionailurus bengalensis.

Bengals were recognized as a breed by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1983.

However, the race was first developed in the 1970's when William Centerwall bred domestic cats with Asian leopard cats.

Asian leopard cats have a natural immunity to feline leukemia. Moreover, this prompted Centerwall to develop a domestic feline breed that is partially immune to this condition.

The hybrid was then given to Jean Mill who later worked on domesticating these cats by breeding them further with each other.

Jean Mill worked on getting the breed off the ground by registering it through TICA that paved way to show the new hybrid to the world.

Savannah Cat

Bengal vs Savannah

The Savannah cat is a cross between a domestic cat and a wild African cat called serval.

Judee Frank crossbred a Siamese cat with a male serval to produce the first Savannah cat in 1986.

Although it was deemed an unusual cross at first, it became a popular hybrid at the end of the 1990’s.

The breed was accepted by the TICA in 2001 and was registered as a new breed. Also, it later achieved championship status in 2012.

Savannah Cat vs Bengal Cat – Which Is the Better Pet?

savannah cat vs bengal cat

Bengal vs Savannah cat – which is the right pet for you? Both hybrids are products of crossbreeding domestic kitties with wild cats to achieve the exotic appearance of feral felines.

Pet lovers are fascinated by the idea of keeping a household kitty that looks like it came straight from the wild. However, which of these two is the better choice for a pet?

Picking a new pet can be a fascinating task, but it can also be quite a challenge. It is essential to choose wisely and carefully think about your choice.

These particular hybrids may look similar, but they have more differences in them than we ever know.

If you want to pick the one that suits your taste, then you need to examine what they have in store for you.

Comparison between Bengal vs Savannah cat takes a lot more than just appearance.

The best breed depends on your specific needs and your current situation.

Do you prefer an active pet? Alternatively, would you instead go for a sedentary companion? Are you into a clingy pet or would you opt for an independent type?

In other words, there are other important factors to consider other than appearance in choosing a pet that best suits your lifestyle.

What are the Differences: Savannah Cat vs Bengal Cat?

To kick off this Bengal vs Savannah cat comparison, we'll start by looking at their fundamental differences.


Bengal vs Savannah

When it comes to appearance, these two breeds may have striking resemblance since both were bred with exotic wild felines.

Due to their exotic predecessors, both have spots and markings that are inherent to wildcats.

However, aside from these, Bengal vs Savannah cat has unique physical characteristics of their own.

Bengals have rosettes (clusters of blotches in a roughly ring-like formation) that that are similar to leopards. They are medium-sized felines with short, muscular bodies weighing from 6 to 15 lbs.

One of the most charming characteristics of Bengals is their beautiful coat having hairs with an iridescent sheen.

Furthermore, their skin comes in a variety of background colors such as bright orange, golden, sand, and brown.

However, the ivory ‘snow' Bengals are also gaining popularity due to its rare color.

Their striking rosettes also vary in color, from brown to black and from rust to cocoa.

Aside from their unique rosettes, their bellies are light-colored (almost white), and their ears are broad set and rounded.

On the other hand, Savannah cats are long-legged felines with slim, athletic bodies that weigh 8 to 20 lbs.

They are distinguished by the spotted pattern on their coat that closely resembles that of a cheetah. Coat color can be anything from solid black to spotted brown or silver. 

Unlike the Bengal’s rosettes, Savannah’s spots can be round, oval or elongated with a series of parallel stripes fanning out slightly over the back.

These feline breeds have long necks, hooded eyes, large tall ears sitting on top of their heads, and medium-length tails.

The exotic appearances of both breeds are one of the main reasons why pet lovers are interested in them.

However, when it comes to physical characteristics, you can never go wrong with any of these two breeds.

Grooming and Shedding

savannah cat vs bengal cat

One of the best things about these breeds is that they shed very little, making them ideal for people with allergies.

Not to mention those pet owners who find regular grooming annoying and tiresome.

Since both are generally short-haired breeds, neither require any more grooming nor need bathing as much as your average house pet.

Bengals, in particular, are excellent self-groomers and you may not need to groom them any further.

However, occasional brushing will keep their coats in excellent condition as this also helps prevent excessive shedding.

Remember, the amount of shedding also depends on some other factors such as weather condition and temperature.


Bengals are more vocal than other feline breeds, and they tend to be more talkative.

Apart from their usual meowing, they also make distinct chirping sounds.

Surprisingly, Bengals are known for their love of water, which is uncommon in felines.

Also known for their ability to jump high, Bengals are active and playful pets that will require much interaction with their humans.

If you intend to get a Bengal as a pet, make sure to commit some time and energy to play with it. When they get bored, they tend to explore other things to kill time.

As intelligent and curious creatures, they are capable of breaking things apart to see how they work.

Moreover, they also have the habit of taking your belongings and hiding them from you.

You may want to lock that pricey jewelry up before bringing home a Bengal kitty in your house.

However, as long as you spend sufficient playtime with it, the chances are good that it will leave your belongings alone.

Just like Bengals, Savannah cats are also intelligent and active pets. Moreover, they are also excellent jumpers that can leap and climb even the highest cabinets in your home.

They are also known for their extreme liking to water and would even enjoy having a shower with you.

Savannahs are also talkative and may either meow or chirp or sometimes even do both.

Periodically, they may produce a hissing sound that is commonly heard from typical servals.

Those who are not acquainted with their hissing sound may be alarmed with it as it closely sounds like a very loud snake.

The loyalty of a Savannah can be compared to that of a dog. 

Within the feline kingdom, this breed is the closest thing to dogs.

Surprisingly, Savannah kitties can also be trained to play fetch and walk on a leash. Nothing could be more dog-like than that.

Besides being athletic, they would undoubtedly enjoy snuggling with you or share jokes with you from time to time.

One of the most amusing behaviors of Savannah cats is their habit of butting their heads against you.

However, don't worry, this is just their way of showing their affection to their humans. If they head-butt with you, it means they love you.

When it comes to temperament, both breeds are active and will do almost anything to get your time and attention.

Due to their ‘wild’ genes, these hybrid felines are likely to bring out their wild side if you fail to spend time with them.

Health Issues

Bengal vs Savannah

Crossbreeding may have its several advantages, but it may also take its toll on the offspring's health.

Here are some hereditary health issues that most pedigree breeds are highly at risk, Bengal and Savannah cats included.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

This genetic condition is the most common heart disease in felines and is characterized by thickening of the heart muscle.

Eventually, this disorder will create stiffness in the heart muscles that can lead to reduced cardiac function during the diastole phase.

In worse condition, the thickened cardiac muscle obstructs blood flow. This can put more pressure on the heart, forcing it to pump out blood via the aorta during the systole phase.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure or treatment for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in felines.

All that’s left for you to do is to ensure that the kitten you’re planning to adopt doesn’t have any direct relatives with this condition.

Hybrid Male Sterility

Bengal vs Savannah

Because male hybrids are heterogametic (having sex chromosomes that are not the same) they are more prone to sterility. To put it, they cannot reproduce or breed.

Sterility is universal in most hybrid animals. Unless you intend to breed your pets, this condition isn't something you should worry about.

Male Bengals and male Savannah that cannot reproduce go on to live happy, normal lives as long as they are healthy.

Progressive Retinal Degeneration

Since hybrid felines are at risk of several genetic disorders, Bengals with progressive renal degeneration isn't a surprise at all.

This condition causes damage to the cells that register light in the retina (back of the eye).

The loss of these photoreceptors slowly progresses until it eventually leads to blindness.

While this genetic disorder is not life-threatening, affected felines tend to experience difficulty at night, and they become more dependent on their humans.

Taking care of a blind pet is no easy task. However, once they get familiar with their surroundings, they go on to live normally by using their other senses.

Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK Deficiency)

Another genetic condition that is most common in purebred felines is erythrocyte pyruvate kinase deficiency, also known as PK Deficiency.

This disorder is an inherited hemolytic anemia which is the result of the insufficient activity of regulatory enzymes that leads to the loss of red blood cells.

Symptoms of PK deficiency may include abdominal enlargement, severe lethargy, jaundice, and weight loss.


savannah cat vs bengal cat

Regardless of your choice of breed, taking care of any of these two hybrids is quite easy since both don’t require more grooming.

If you can't allow enough time for playtime, you can give them exciting toys to keep them entertained and occupied.

Take note that these are expensive breeds and you may want to keep them indoors to keep them safe from outside threats.

They tend to explore and satisfy their curiosity when they get bored. Keep an eye on them because they manage to escape into the outdoors if you're not paying them any attention.

This can expose them to outdoor dangers such as getting attacked by predators, getting hit by a car, or being stolen.

You should also carefully look after their health. Keep in mind that they are prone to many genetic disorders.

Sad to say, medicinal research is still far from discovering the cure for genetic diseases.

Moreover, the only thing we could do is to ease and manage the symptoms of these conditions.

Consult with your veterinarian and seek professional advice in taking care of affected cats.

Life Expectancy

A healthy Bengal has an average lifespan of between 12 and 16 years.

On the other hand, a healthy Savannah has an average life expectancy of between 17 and 20 years.

Appropriate diet, physical exercise, and regular check-ups all play an essential role in providing longer life for your feline pet.


After this Bengal vs Savannah cat comparison, you’ve probably made up your mind on which breed would suit your preference.

You can never go wrong with your choice because both breeds will make excellent pets for you and your family.

Now it all depends on specific characteristics that you prefer in a pet.

Bengals are slightly more demanding than Savannah, and they also tend to be the more talkative breed.

Well, if you don't mind having a clamorous companion that possesses all the attributes of a typical feline, then Bengal is it. Besides, this breed comes at a lower price than the expensive Savannah.

However, if you already have some household pets and you're planning to introduce a new pet, then a Savannah cat would be the better option.

Due to their ‘dog-like’ characteristics, they can get along with other household pets better than their Bengal counterparts.

Comparing a Savannah cat vs Bengal cat and choosing which breed to go is entirely up to you.

However, no matter which one you want, make sure to prepare commitment and extra time for your feline pet.

It is important to realize that both breeds came from their wild predecessors. They are therefore more active and more athletic than your average kitty.

The real challenge isn't about deciding between Bengal vs Savannah cat.

The real problem is the amount of commitment you're willing to devote to your demanding feline pet.

So get your own flat faced cat, or take a look at other cat breeds that might draw your attention. You may also check out here for more organic food for cats.


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