Bengal Vs Savannah Cats: Everything You Should Know

Are you considering adopting a Bengal or Savannah cat, and you are not quite sure about the differences? 

It can be hard to find out the differences between these cats, with so many sites offering different information.

Bengal Vs Savannah Cats Everything You Should Know

The last thing you want to do is follow the wrong advice, meaning you end up with the wrong cat, or care for them incorrectly. But what can you do?

Well, you can stick with us, as we have the answers for you! Today we will show you the differences between these cat breeds so that you can identify them and select the right one for you! 

Just keep reading to find out more.

Bengal Cats

Bengal Cats

As a breed, Bengals are a crossbreed between an Asian leopard and a domestic cat. The result is a beautiful feline with an impressive coat.

As their name suggests, Asian leopards originate from Asia, and they were at the top of poaching lists for their fur and kittens.

However, in the 1960s breeder and animal activist Jean Miller decided to create a cat breed that looked similar to the Asian leopard.

The thought behind this was to stop the fur trade and grow the numbers of these rare, wild cats.

So in 1963, Mill crossed a domestic black tomcat with a female Asian leopard. Their kittens were the first Bengals ever to see the world.

Since then, breeders continued to refine the breed, and Bengals were accepted by the International Cat Association (TICA) in 1983.

Bengals as a breed were also given championship status in 1991, which meant that these cats could now compete in cat shows.

Bengals are loved for their beautiful, athletic bodies, rounded ears, and high cheekbones. As domestic cats, they are also well-liked by families because of their engaging character. 

Savannah Cats

Savannah Cats

Savannah cats have a beautiful coat that looks very exotic. Similar to the Bengal, Savannahs are a hybrid breed where a breeder crosses a Serval with a domestic cat.

The Serval comes from  Africa, and he has a long body with equally long legs. Compared to other cats, the African Serval is in the medium size range.

These wild cats have small heads but large ears, and their golden coat is covered with a spotted pattern.

While some people do keep Servals as pets, these wild felines take particular attention and care so they are not your average cuddly friend.

Although the Serval wasn’t hunted by poachers, people wanted to keep these cats as pets, and as they are not initially the ideal domesticated cat, breeders decided to create the Savannah in 1986.

The rise of the Savannah was quick. Already in the early 2000s, the International Cat Association registered the Savannah cat as an official breed.

These domesticated cats have slim and elegant bodies. They have the large ears of the Serval but they are more agile and lightweight than most other domestic breeds.

Their coat’s pattern and color can vary greatly but TICA has set a certain breed standard required for a spotted coat.

Although Savannah cats descend from Servals, they are much larger. Male Savannahs can reach a weight of up to 20 pounds, with 18 inches shoulder height.

As a hybrid breed, the size of the Savannah cat will decrease with each generation. However, they will keep their long limbs.

Similarities Between Bengal And Savannah Cats

Like many hybrid breeds, the Bengal and Savannah cats share similar traits.

Their ancestors may hail from different continents but the cross between a domestic cat and a wild cat creates some very individual behaviors in these cats.

Very Athletic

Thanks to their wild ancestors, Bengals and Savannahs have very strong physical abilities.

They both can jump high up into the air from a standstill. As Savannah cats have slightly longer legs, they can jump up to an impressive 12 feet in the air. 

In comparison, Bengals can manage roughly three times their height. This is still very impressive compared to the average house cat.

With their high hunting instinct, they also have much higher energy levels than most cats.

This means for owners that these cats need to burn the energy off with a lot of play and plenty of exercise indoors or outdoors.

Savannah cats and Bengals love to play with toys that utilize their hunting and running abilities. An interactive toy that moves is ideal for them.

If these cat breeds don’t have any space where they can run, jump and climb, they will grow anxious and restless.

This means that if you are thinking of adopting a Bengal or Savannah, you need to be prepared to put some serious playtime in.


Cats are generally very curious creatures but Savannah and Bengal cats take it to the extreme. They are both extremely intelligent breeds and always up to mischief.

They can open closed doors or storage containers with ease. It’s a challenge they relish.

Both of these breeds love exploring their surroundings and they will go to great lengths to see their adventure through.

As a Bengal and Savannah owner, you will have to cat-proof your home. If you don’t put strict safeguards in place, these cats will eventually figure out how to get into any kind of closed space.

This could mean locking doors or putting safety latches in front of each cupboard so they don’t get in.

This behavior becomes even more extreme and can turn aggressive if they get bored. Cat owners need to understand that the combination of boredom and curiosity can lead to disaster.

We recommend that if you are considering adopting a Savannah or Bengal, you plan at least a couple of hours of playtime with them.

A Love For The Outside

With this much energy to be, it’s no surprise that Bengal and Savannah cats love the outdoors. It’s important to keep them on a leash though.

They need to be carefully supervised and ideally shouldn’t be allowed out on their own. Outdoor cats face a much greater risk of injury and disease than indoor cats.

As a cat owner, you need to ensure that the cats are leash trained from an early age onwards so even kittens can get used to walking on a leash.

Bengals and Savannahs can walk on a leash, just like dogs, and it gives them the freedom of exploring the world outside as well as satisfying their great need for exercise.

Very Little Shedding

With their short and practical coast, neither Savannah cats nor Bengals shed a lot of hair. Bengals have a single layer of fur, while Savannahs also have an undercoat.

However, both of these breeds do not shed as much hair as other domesticated cats. They do still need regular grooming though.

As their coat is very easy to keep clean, they are likely not in need of a regular bath. But you may find that if they feel like they need a bath, they will turn on the faucet and jump in themselves.

A Love Water

Savannah and Bengal cats love water. Both breeds enjoy splashing around in ponds, swimming pools, rivers, and lakes.

The only problem is that they can drown in such conditions. This is why you must keep them on a leash and supervise them when they’re playing in the water.

Their love for water makes these cats real outsiders in the cat world. Most cats stay away from water as much as they can but Bengals and Savannahs can’t get enough of it.

That’s why you must allow them access to running water. They enjoy running the tap, or you could get them a cat water fountain which also encourages them to drink more.

This deep-seated love for water comes from their ancestors who spent a lot of time in rivers and lakes in the wild.

For example, Asian leopard cats prefer to live near the water and they are even great swimmers. Bengals, originating from the Asian leopard, do show a similar affinity with water.

The same counts for the Savannah cat. Servals can be found near bodies of water where they typically catch fish.

You can introduce your cat very early on to water. However, you are likely to find that these cats breed naturally the feeling of water, and they may even follow you into the shower!

Very Talkative

You will quickly discover that Savannahs as well as Bengals are two of the most talkative cat breeds out there.

They will just chatter away, either because they want something from you, or they simply want to have a chat with you.

It also happens that these cats trill or chirp in the middle of the night because they just want to talk.

Differences Between Bengal And Savannah Cats

There are some clear differences between Bengal and Savannah cats. This may be not surprising considering that they descend from two very different wild cats.


One of the most obvious differences is their size.

Bengals descend from the Asian leopard which is much smaller than the Serval, the ancestor of the Savannah cat.

This makes the Bengal cat smaller than the Savannah, and it has a similar size to some other housecats, just with longer legs.

In comparison, Savannah cats find themselves amongst Maine Coons and the Norwegian forest cat being one of the largest cat breeds.

This large size means that the Savannah isn’t the right fit for everyone as it means that they struggle to live in smaller homes.

Strikingly, some Savannahs can be as large as a dog. 

On the other hand, the Bengal cat is much more compact in size making it easier to keep them in a small house.

Markings And Color

Both Bengals and Savannahs can show a range of different coloring. This can be everything between silver and black, as well as brown.

The main difference between Savannah cats and Bengals is their markings. While Savannah cats have dark spots, Bengals have distinct markings which set them apart from other cat breeds.

Bengals can have rosettes, which is a spot pattern on top of the base coat, or marbling, which is a swirling design covering their fur.

Interestingly, the different markings of a Bengal entirely depend on their breeding history.

Wild Behavior

Savannah cats that are kept as pets usually have more wild genes. This means that they are more related to the Serval than a housecat.

For some owners, this may be great because it means Savannahs will follow you around the house like a dog.

However, other owners found that the fierce, wild behavior is too much for them, despite their affections and loyalty.

Savannah cats don’t usually show affection as a common house cat would do. They likely will not cuddle up to you but have different ways of showing how much they care about your presence, like chattering.

Bengals have a much more domestic streak as their genes are dominated by their domestic ancestors.

A Bengal cat tends to gently wander around a little more. However, they can jump quickly into action when you offer them a toy or they know it’s time to play.


Whenever you buy a cat from a breeder, you can expect to pay a certain amount of money.

Both Bengal and Savannah have their distinct price as they are unique and raw. However, Bengals have been around for longer than Savannahs so they are more readily available from a breeder.

The price for a Bengal kitten can vary from $1,000 to $10,000. The exact price depends on how close they are genetically to their ancestors.

The closer their genes are to that of their ancestors, the more you will need to pay for the cat.

Be wary of breeders who try to sell a cat cheaply, as they may be untrustworthy and there may be issues with the breeder or the animal. 

You will find that Savannah cats are more expensive because there are simply fewer available worldwide.

Therefore, Savannah cat breeders can charge up to $20,000 for a kitten. A Savannah cat of the first generation is still very rare and can demand a high price tag. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your last-minute questions answered here! 

How Can You Tell If It’s A Bengal Cat?

Bengals typically have long limbs and bodies, with much longer tails than a domestic cat. Their back legs are a little longer than their legs in the front. This means their hips are higher up than their shoulders. 

You will find that they move a bit more like a leopard than your average housecat.

How Do I Know If My Cat Is A Savannah?

The easiest way to find out if your cat is a Savannah is to check their coat. Savannahs have a spotted pattern. In comparison, Bengals have either a swirling pattern or a rosette design on their coat.

Savannahs are also significantly larger than Bengals. Sometimes they are even as large as a medium-sized dog.


If you’re looking for a pet that has a lot of energy and is always up to play, then both the Bengal cat and Savannah are a great choice.

They are very energetic and need lots of playtime. They enjoy a good splash of water and can be great fun to be around.

However, owners need to be aware that these cats do require a lot of attention to give them plenty of exercise.

Their intelligence and curiosity can cause chaos in a home if their energy isn’t channeled into play and activities.

You should also consider the size of your home. Savannahs can be as large as a dog so they are not suited for small homes.

If you have a small house or flat, a Bengal cat may be better for you.

Whatever cat you choose, it’s important that you patiently allow them to settle in and build in plenty of playtimes to get to know their character.

Courtney Trent
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