Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: South of No-where
I breed and show bengal cats and have been breeding for 7 years now.
They are NOT bigger than normal cats and they are not leopard hybrids. They are decendants of Asian Leopard Cat hybrids (huge difference there - big wild cat vs. small wild cat). The Asian Leopard Cat is a small wild cat that is about the same size as your average house cat (7-15 lbs with males being larger than females). A bengal is not a bengal until its 4 generations from the original cross. At that point it is considered a domestic and registerable with several cat registries, the most common being TICA. Generations 1-3 are called Early Generation or Filial and are not considered domestics and males are usually infertile. A domestic female bengal typically is going to be 6-10 lbs and a bengal male will be 9-18 lbs and the standard calls them a "medium to large, but not quite as large as the largest domestic breed".
As to if they are hypoallergenic - that answer is, it depends. Both of you had the "partial" answer. The proteins in the saliva creates the dander in the cat's fur when they clean themselves its the residue left behind. Due to the bengal's history, their proteins tend to be altered a bit due to the ALC blood. Some people who are allergic to normal cats are not allergic to this altered protein. There is no gaurantee, so they are not "hypoallergenic" per se for all, but I do know some people who can't even pick up a domestic, but can live with a bengal no problem. The best thing to do is go to a breeder's house or another person who owns one and see how you react.
The other bengal advantage is the fur is a smoother lying fur and is typcially called a "pelt" because there are some differences between them and other breeds. The smoothness prevents the dander from holding and building up in the coat. So if someone allergic to the cat picks it up - they aren't going to get a face full of dander.
I'll post pics in a bit...