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12 Hybrid Cat Breeds (with Pictures)
There is a wide range of unique cat breeds with different coats, colors, sizes, and shapes. But what happens when you take some of the distinctive feline species and combine their most notable characteristic? You get a hybrid cat, which combines the best of both the breeds-domestic tameness and wild lions.
Hybrid cat breeds can be a product of crossbreeding two domestic cats or a domestic cat and a wild cat species. This creates genetic diversity and unpredictability with varying markings, colors, temperaments, and sizes.
Check out some of the hybrid cat breeds in the world today.
Here’s the most common and most popular hybrid cat breed. Breeders created Bengals by crossing housecats and Asian Leopard cats, with the oldest confirmed case dating back to 1934. However, it wasn’t until about two decades ago that they were consistently created and became the popular breeds they are today.
A breeder must separate a Bengal from its parents by at least three generations before considering it a domestic cat. Bengals are larger than most domesticated cats, and their coats retain the wild leopard-like spots on the back and belly.
Cheetoh’s parent breeds are Ocicat and the Bengal cats, bred by Carol Drymon in 2001. She intended to develop a cheetah-like cat that would display a wild cat and a housecat’s gentleness.
These cats are roughly eight generations removed from wild feline parents. Cheetohs are talkative, bond strongly with their owners, thrive in large and active homes, and love to have other kitties for the company. They are still rare breeds and are by no means small hybrids.
Savannah hybrids look like cheetahs and are taller than typical housecats. They are offspring of the wild African Serval and domestic cats and acquired their names after the Serval’s habitat in Africa-the Savannah.
Like their wild ancestor, Savannah hybrids are tall, with lean frames, long legs, big ears, and long necks. They are also intelligent, athletic, and generally spirited. They require spacious playrooms and lots of exercise for entertainment.
A Toyger’s stripped tiger-like markings may make you think that they are wild cats. They are among the newest cat breeds, developed in 1980 by Judy Sugden after crossing a domestic shorthair cat with a Bengal.
These mini-tigers have laid-back personalities, intelligent, easier to leash-train, and get along with other cats, dogs, and kids.
Chausies resemble small mountain lions and are products of a domestic cat (Abyssinian), crossed with a wild Asian jungle feline.
This French breed is rare and slower to develop-may take up to three years to reach full maturity. Chausies are quick, adventurous, form deep bonds with owners, and enjoy walking on leashes.
These hybrid cats look strikingly like wild African Serval cats. However, they do not contain any Serval strain as they are a cross between Bengals and Oriental Shorthairs. This breeding produced a hybrid with a graceful Leopard-like cat with a unique spotted coat, an athletic build, and an amiable temperament.
Serengeti cats have medium to large sizes, large-boned, boast long legs, long bodies, large round-tipped ears, a small triangular face, and bold eyes. They have short, glossy, and tight-fighting coats with rich gold coloring and widely spaced dark markings. Generally, Serengeti cats possess are instinctual, energetic, active, and require spacious playrooms.
The Highlander is a new experimental hybrid, developed in 2004. It is a cross between two hybrids; a Desert Lynx and a Jungle Curl. For this reason, the Highlander does not have any wild cat genes, meaning it is docile, playful, confident, and loving.
They are large, muscular, highly energetic, and require lots of activities to shed some. Interestingly, Highlanders love water, unlike other cat breeds.
8. Pixie Bob
Pixie Bobs are naturally occurring hybrids that started from an unplanned crossing between a female Domestic Shorthair and a male Bobcat in 1985. Ann Brewer, the Shorthair’s owner, named a female offspring Pixxie, a cat that became the breed’s matriarch.
Pixie Bobs entered The International Cat Association’s (TICA) records in 1994. These cats are wooly, muscular, large, have a bobbed tails and wild appearances due to genetic mutation.
These cats may be products of the wild but are generally laid-back, affectionate, interactive, and excellent family pets.
9. Jungle Curl
A Jungle Curl is a product of an African Jungle cat and a domestic American Curl. They are active felines that are rapidly gaining popularity thanks to their affectionate and social dispositions and wild appearance.
These felines have their ancestors’ intelligence and domestic cats’ affection and friendliness. Jungle Curls are relatively challenging to breed, making them rare species. They can only be considered domestic after their fourth or fifth generation.
Burmila hybrids originated from the U.K. in the early 1980s after crossing Chinchilla Persian and Burmese cat breeds. These cats are sturdy, medium-sized, somehow compact, muscular, and heavy-boned.
A Burmila’s coat is short, soft, and dense, thanks to the original pairing. They are rounded cats with round heads, round-tipped ears, and slightly slanted eyes. They are also independent felines, easy-going, relatively peaceful, and retain their kitten-like traits into their adulthood.
This hybrid is an all-domestic breed, a cross between three domestic cats; the Abyssinian, Chocolate Point Siamese, and a Seal Point Siamese. It resembles a wild cat even though it is entirely domestic.
Ocicats have spotted coats, large ears and resemble Ocelots. These cats are relatively new and resulted from accidental mating in the 1960s. Despite their exotic appearance, Ocicats are friendly, social, playful, and intelligent.
12. Oriental Shorthair
Oriental Shorthairs must be among the most distinct and smartest hybrid felines out there. With their large ears, athletic builds, stunning eyes- no wonder people refer to them as ‘the ornaments.’
These felines are of the Siamese family breeds, only that they have different colorings. They share many features with Siamese cats, including long bodies and almond-shaped eyes. Oriental felines are active breeds, highly curious, and are people-oriented.
Hybrids are a recent phenomenon and a controversial one, and cat registries may not recognize some of them.
Although they may have a place in most households, pet parents should be careful when considering adoption because they can be wild enough! But truth be told, these kitties are unique and beautiful.
Featured Image: stockelements, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.