Savannah Cat History
The Savannah is a hybrid domestic cat breed and it is one of the newest and most exciting cat breeds. The history of the breed has been relatively short. It dates back to 1986, when Judee Frank, a Bengal cat breeder, crossbred a male Serval and domestic cat which gave a birth to first Savannah. This first generation kitten was named for the native African grasslands where Serval comes from.
The newborn female F1 kitten was unusual and had both domestic and Serval-like traits. When Patrick Kelly, an exotic looking domestic cat enthusiast, purchased one of Savannah kittens in 1989, he had a vision. He dreamt of establishing a new domestic breed. He asked several breeders of Servals for cooperation in pursuing his dream. Initially, there was not much interest. Being persistent, he finally got into an agreement with Joyce Sroufe who joined him to establish the new breed.
Together they wrote the original TICA (The International Cat Association) Breed Standard. Because of a moratorium that TICA placed on new breeds, The Savannah breed was not accepted until 2001. In addition, the SIMBA (Savannah International Member & Breeder Association) was formed in the same year. Today, The Savannah cat breed has been shown at TICA’s shows in the Championship Breed Class.
Savannah Cat Personality
Savannahs are wonderful family friends with remarkable personality. It seems like they carry best traits of the domestic vs. wild personality combination. They are very lovely, friendly, and talkative as a domestic cat would be. On the other hand, they stand out in being very playful and curious, assertive and intelligent, as Serval is in a wild nature.
Savannahs get along extremely well with everyone. Because of their curiosity, they are not afraid to make friends at all and they do so with no hesitation. They are very good with children and dogs. They are very social. Commonly, when a stranger comes to a house, they approach a person right away to smell it and to make a new friend. Also, greeting people with giving “head-butts” is not an unusual behavior.
These cats are often compared to family dogs. They behave like them in many ways. They are not only very active and fearless and require a lot of interaction on daily basis, but they are also very loyal. They love their owners and follow them everywhere they go around the house. They bond with them strongly and it seem like the bond is to be forever and equal with every family member. They give everyone the same amount of affection with no preferences, no matter how much time a person spends with them. Moreover, many of them can be trained to walk on a leash, play in water, and even fetch, as canine would do.
Intelligence is another personality feature that makes many people to want this breed. As Savannahs grow and observe, they investigate and learn. They get into all sorts of things. They easily learn how to open cabinets, doors, or shortcuts to get where they want to be.
They are smart enough to learn human’s daily routine activities and know what follows what. For example, they know that when a fridge opens, the food is being served, or when a door bell rings, a visitor is coming.
Savannah Cat Physical Features
Savannahs are known to be one of the larger breeds of domesticated cats. They are smaller replicas of African Serval: they are tall, lean, and muscular, with exceptionally long neck, legs and big ears set right on top of their head. Their tail is to be thick and of a medium length. Because of their wild genes, Savannahs have impressive jumping abilities. They love to relax on high cabinets, refrigerators, or shelves. Some of these cats can leap about 8 feet (2.5 m).
Savannahs are said to be very large cats. However, their weight can vary. Male Savannahs and early generation Savannahs are reported to be heavier than female or later generations. While early generations may weigh 20-35 lbs, later generations may only be between 12-25 lbs. Spotted coat of a striking color and patter makes Savannahs to be very distinctive.
(The International Cat Association) calls for the following breed standard: brown spotted tabby, silver spotted tabby, black, and black smoke. Besides these, there are some nonstandard coat variations like marble patterns or snow coloration.
Savannah Cat Generations
Savannahs are produced by crossbreeding Servals and domestic cats. Each generation of Savannahs is marked with a filial number. For example:
The F1 generation Savannah is a direct offspring of this breeding cross. This is the closest generation to the wild (serval is the parent);
F2 is produced by crossing F1 with domestic cat (serval is the grandparent);
F3 is a result of F2 and domestic cat cross (serval is the great grandparent); and so on…
Because of the fact that male Savannahs are sterile and cannot reproduce until the F5 generation, Savannah to Savannah breeding is not possible at higher generations. (Some fourth generation males have been reported to be proven). In addition to Savannah generation filial numbers, letters A, B, C, or SBT have been used to refer the generation.
“A” – means that one parent is a Savannah and the other is non-domestic outcross (serval)
“B” – both parents are Savannahs while one of them is “A”
“C” – both parents are Savannahs and one of them is a “B”
F1 generations are always A. F2 can be A, or B. F3 can be A, B, or C. F4 generation is the first generation that can be a championship breed SBT (pure-bread generation).