About Savannahs

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Savannah – Savannahs for sale – Savannah kittens for sale – Savannah cats

The Savannah cat are the largest hybrids of the Serval generation. A Savannah cat is a cross between a domestic cat and a serval, a medium-sized, large-eared African cat. The unusual cross became popular among breeders at the end of the 1990s, and in 2001 The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted it as a new registered breed. In May 2012, TICA accepted it as a championship breed.

On April 7, 1986, Judee Frank crossbred a male serval, belonging to Suzi Woods, with a Siamese domestic cat to produce the first Savannah cat (named Savannah). In 1996, Patrick Kelley and Joyce Sroufe wrote the original version of the Savannah breed standard and presented it to the TICA board, and in 2001, the board accepted the breed for registration. The Savannah cat can come in different colors and patterns; however, TICA breed standards accept only spotted patterns with certain colors and color combinations.

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The Savannah’s tall and slim build give them the appearance of greater size than their actual weight. Size is very dependent on generation and sex, with F1 hybrid male cats usually being the largest.

F1 and F2 generations are usually the largest, due to the stronger genetic influence of the African serval ancestor. As with other hybrid cats such as the Chausie and Bengal cat, most first-generation cats will possess many of the serval’s exotic traits, while these traits often diminish in later generations. Male Savannahs tend to be larger than females.

Early-generation Savannahs can weigh 4.5 to 11 kg with the most weight usually attributed to the F1 or F2 neutered males due to genetics. Later-generation Savannahs are usually between 3.5 and 7.7 kg. Because of the random factors in Savannah genetics, size can vary significantly, even in one litter.

The coat of a Savannah should have a spotted pattern, the only pattern accepted by the TICA breed standard. Non-standard patterns & colors include rosetted, marble, snow color (point), blue color, cinnamon color, chocolate color, lilac (lavender) and other diluted colors derived from domestic sources of cat coat genetics.

Savannah – Savannahs for sale – Savannah kittens for sale – Savannah cats

A Savannah’s exotic look is often due to the presence of many distinguishing serval characteristics. Most prominent of these include the various color markings; tall, deeply cupped, wide, rounded, erect ears; very long legs; fat, puffy noses; and hooded eyes. The bodies of Savannahs are long and leggy; when a Savannah is standing, its hind end is often higher than its prominent shoulders. The small head is taller than wide, and the cat has 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 in kittens (as in other cats), and may be green, brown, gold or a blended shade in the adult. The eyes have a “boomerang” shape, with a hooded brow to protect them from harsh sunlight. Ideally, 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.

TICA’s 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.

Domestic outcrosses from the early days in the 1990s have greatly impacted the breed’s development in both desired and non-desired traits. As of 2012 most breeders perform Savannah-to-Savannah pairings; using outcrosses is considered less than desired. There are no longer any permitted domestic outcrosses for the Savannah breed now that TICA championship status has been achieved. Previously domestic outcrosses for the Savannah breed that were permissible in TICA were the Egyptian Mau, the Ocicat, the Oriental Shorthair, and the Domestic Shorthair.

Outcrosses that are “impermissible” according to the TICA breed standard breeds include the Bengal and Maine Coon cats. These impermissible breeds can bring many unwanted genetic influences. Outcrosses are very rarely used as of 2012, as many fertile Savannah males are available for studs. Breeders prefer to use a Savannah, rather than a non-Savannah breed, with the serval to produce F1s in order to maintain as much breed type as possible.

As Savannahs are produced by crossbreeding servals and domestic cats, each generation of Savannahs is marked with a filial number. For example, the cats produced directly from a serval × domestic cat cross are termed F1, and they are 50% serval.

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F1 generation Savannahs are very difficult to produce, due to the significant difference in gestation periods between the serval and a domestic cat (75 days for a serval and 65 days for a domestic cat) and incompatibilities between the two species’ sex chromosomes. Pregnancies are often absorbed or aborted, or kittens are born prematurely. Also, servals can be very picky in choosing mates, and often will not mate with a domestic cat.

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