Education on the Savannah Breed

Savannah Cats are known to be one of the largest domestic cat breeds in the world. The Savannah cat is desired for their wild spotted coats, large size, canine mentality with high intelligence. Savannah cats are a hybrid cat bred from an African Serval and a domestic cat (preferably to a Savannah cat as this is now a well established breed). All breeding at this point is to genetically improve the Savannah breed and does not require to be bred to any other breed of domestic cat. The Savannah cats unique canine like temperaments and similar size are ideal for an owner that wants a spirited canine but cannot accommodate such requirements. Savannah cats are well known for being taught to walk by harness and leash while enjoying a few rounds of fetch!

The wild appearance of this feline hybrid allows people to own a uniquely spotted domestic cat as a ethical option to owning a potentially dangerous wild species that requires a specialists education and proper enclosure/ housing. 

  • Lifespan: 12-20 years

  • Weight: 8 - 25 pounds

  • Exercise: High

  • Hypoallergenic: No

Energy Level of the breed is medium/high depending on the generation of savannah and will require exercise. Exercise can be achieved easily with a safe outdoor enclosure, Cat wheels and harness walking combined with socialization is an extremely important part of a kitten's development into adulthood. Exposure to safe and friendly environments with positive reinforcement is best. This breed is highly intelligent and being naturally curious gets them into mischief at times. Earlier generation Savannahs (F1-F3) will require a more specific and costly diet ( approximately $150 - $300 a month)

F1 Savannah

The F1 should have approximately 50% - 82% or higher Serval blood.  The F1 does not typically like being held but does love to be scratched, petted, and to be in contact with humans.  They will show a friendly, playful, active nature.  They generally bond to one person and get along with other pets.  The weight of a F1 could range from 15-30 lbs as each vary based on breeding. Size and Fertility is not a guarantee. Some F1's when socialized and handled appropriately from birth do enjoy being held or cuddled. As a high generation Savannah he or she will require a more specific diet and have a higher energy level.

F2 Savannah

The F2 should have approximately 25% - 50% Serval blood.  The F2 will typically bond with one or two people and will also get along with other pets.  The F2 may be held for short periods of time, may sleep with you and even want to cuddle in your lap.  The F2 will generally make a better pet than the F1.  They love and demand human interaction as they are friendly, curious and very active.  The weight of a F2 could range from 12 -22 lbs as each vary based on breeding. Size and Fertility is not a guarantee. Some F2's when socialized and handled appropriately from birth do enjoy being held or cuddled. As a high generation Savannah he or she will require a more specific diet and have a higher energy.

F3 Savannah

The F3 Savannah should have approximately 19% Serval blood but this varies by generations bred. F3 is typically a better choice for a family, especially a family with children.  Though they do not like being held for long periods, they too love attention and get along well with other pets.  They have less tendency to spray and are a more domesticated personality. The weight of a F3 could range from 12 -22 lbs as each vary based on breeding. Size and Fertility is not a guarantee. Some F3's when socialized and handled appropriately from birth do enjoy being held or cuddled. As a high generation Savannah he or she will require a more specific diet and have a higher energy.

F4 Savannah

The F4 Savannah should have about approximately 11% Serval blood but this varies by generations bred. F4 is great choice for a family, especially a family with young children.  Though they tend to like being held for longer periods than earlier generations and they too love attention and co exist well with other pets are they are much more domesticated. The lower the generations the less tendency they have to spray. The weight of a F4 should range from 12 - 22 lbs as each Savannahs will vary based on breeding. Size and Fertility is not a guarantee. This is the generation that diet requirements and costs are not as expensive but should still have a quality diet. Many F4 Savannah owners can and will feed a dry or dry/wet combo diet at this generation and below. Average food costs a month per cat can average around $50 -$100.

F5- F7 Savannah

F5- F7 are very similar to the F4’s in temperaments. Although these generations enjoy a more hands on lifestyle, treatment and care, they still want to be petted and played with often like a cat that never outgrows the kitten stage. They are still very intelligent and energetic, social and outgoing compared to a domestic cat.

Accepted Breed Standard Colors

Brown Spotted Tabby = Aguoti Cat (A-)

Silver Spotted Tabby = Aguoti Cat (A-) + Inhibitor gene

Black (Melanistic) = Non- Aguoti Cat (AA)

Smoke = Non- Aguoti Cat (AA) + Inhibitor gene

The Savannah Colors: As a breeder the goal is to mimic the Savannah's ancestor the African Serval. Accepted colors are warm to cool shades of brown, silver, black (Melanistic) and smoke. The African Serval has a bright buttery like golden basecoat with solid black spots. Tall tightly set ears with the white ocelli markings on the ears and are long and Leggy. The golden color is a shade of brown spotted tabby and must be registered as a brown spotted tabby or BST. The only accepted Savannah cat Pattern is spotted by TICA. (PENALIZE: Rosettes. Spots that are any color other than dark brown to black). Solid one-color spots are the only pattern found on the African Serval Cat, due to this fact Spots are the pattern acceptable. The spots should follow across the body and not be connected. The spotted Savannah pattern is made up of bold, solid dark-brown to black spots, which can be round, oval, or elongated. A series of parallel stripes, from the back of the head to just over the shoulder blades, fan out slightly over the back and the spotting pattern follows the line of the stripes from the shoulders continuing the length of the body. Smaller spots will be found on the legs and feet as well as on the face.

Breeding Color Examples

Brown Spotted Tabby   + Inhibitor  Gene   =  Silver Gene

Black (Melanistic )       +  Inhibitor Gene    =  Silver Smoke                        

Snow                        +  Inhibitor Gene    =  Silver Snow

                                  

Nonstandard Colors are those not currently accepted by the TICA breed standard. Meaning they are a non desired color.  Such colors are typically recessive colors or dilute colors that stem from domestic heritage. For example:

Cinnamon - Recessive

Chocolate - Recessive

Fawn - Dilute of cinnamon

Blue - Dilute of black

Lilac - Dilute of chocolate

The Inhibitor Gene

The Inhibitor gene removes the yellow pigment (color) in the agouti hairs of the background color but does not affect the non-agouti areas (the markings AKA Spots). The inhibitor gene may suppress all or little of the yellow pigment which results in some cat appearing as washed-out appearance in color. The yellow pigment left that shows through is considered to be a "Tarnish" or "Tarnishing" of fur coat pattern.

Educational Links and Sources

Savannah Cat Association Registered Breeders

TICA Registered Breeders

TICA Savannah Breed Introduction 

TICA Savannah Breed Standard

TICA Suggested Genetic Laboratories US: Veterinary Genetics Lab at UC Davis

UC Davis DNA Color Test - Veterinary Genetics Laboratory

UC Davis Cat DNA Tests

Where is Savannah/ Serval Ownership Legal

 

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