Medium to large cat breed
Long, low slung, muscular body
Athletic in appearance
Plush, striped, glittered coat
Superbly, amiable temperament
Resemble a miniature tiger
The temperament of a domestic pet
No new wildcat outcross has been used in the development of the Toyger, which is still ongoing.
Toygers have been bred in the USA for over 30 years. The breed was first recognised by the GCCF in 2015 and achieved preliminary status in the Foreign Breed Group in June 2016. We are now enjoying showing our Toygers for Merit Certificates at GCCF shows and also introducing them to the public at events such as the National Pet Show.
The Toyger is a new breed in the UK. It was developed in the USA by Judy Sugden, whose mother Jean S Mill is the founder of the Bengal breed. People often refer to mackerel tabby cats as tigers or tiger stripes and yet their pattern is a far cry from the bold braided patterns of the real tiger. In the late 1980s, Judy was working to improve the clarity of the markings in mackerel tabbies descended from Bengals and a few other breeds including domestic shorthair. She noticed that her cat, Millwood Sharp Shooter, had two spots of tabby markings on the temple and realised that this could be a key to developing a cat with the true circular pattern on a tigers head. The temples of domestic tabbies do not usually have such markings.
Two cats that formed the cornerstone for the young Toyger breed were a striped domestic shorthair named Scrapmetal and a big-boned Bengal named Millwood Rumpled Spotskin. In 1993, Judy also imported Jammu Blu, a street cat from Kashmir, India, who had all spots between his ears rather than the regular tabby lines.
The Toyger is a striking cat of foreign type. Although descended from the Bengal the body and head shape is distinctly different.
The Toyger is a medium to large sized, domestic shorthaired cat that is reminiscent of a big cat in pattern, type, confidence, stately movement and athletic ability. The impression is of a sleek, muscular long bodied, large boned cat with a long thick tail which is carried low.
Females may be smaller and less muscular than males.
The head should be long, broad and deep i.e. a broad medium sized wedge and medium sized in proportion to the body. The muzzle should be strong resembling an inverted heart shape with prominent whisker pads. The ears should be small and rounded.
The coat is particularly dense and luxuriously soft. The contrast should be extreme and unmarred by ticking of the background fur. The pattern is a modified, mackerel tabby with branching and interweaving of stripes (braiding) being particularly desirable. The only colour currently recognised by the GCCF is Brown (black) mackerel tabby, however TICA also recognises Silver mackerel tabby.
Breeders take particular care to select for a good temperament and they have succeeded in producing a cat who is exceptionally sociable, confident, outgoing and loves human company.
Toygers are a highly intelligent, active breed but also very much a lap cat that wants nothing more than a cuddle, refusing to do so, often ends up with them shouting at you till you do so.
They get on well with children, other cats and cat-friendly dogs; making them ideal family pets, but they do prefer company so may not be happy as single cats, if left alone for long periods.
Toygers are active cats but will live happily as house cats given adequate space and mental stimulation.?They enjoy going outdoors too but secure outdoor housing or garden enclosure systems are recommended to keep your Toyger safe.
Toygers are similar to any domestic shorthaired cat in their care requirements. They are not fussy eaters and require minimal grooming. A light brush and combing once a week will keep your Toygers coat in top condition and remove loose hair. They are very clean cats and kittens quickly learn to use a litter tray as soon as they are weaned.
Females weigh less than males with a range of 8-12lbs (3.6-5.4kg) for females and 10-15lbs (4.5-6.8kg) for males and life expectancy is the same as any domestic shorthair cat.
The Toyger is generally a healthy cat. There are no diseases specific to the breed and they have no health problems related to their conformation. Breeders should take care to select against cow hocks which crop up occasionally.
Their susceptibility to infectious diseases is comparable to other domestic breeds. Some breeders claim that some cats show an adverse reaction to Feline Leukaemia vaccine but this has not been substantiated.
The Bengal is the main breed used to develop the Toyger and hence breeders should do the same health screening i.e. HCM echocardiography screening and DNA testing for PKDef and Bengal PRA is recommended. However anecdotal reports indicate that the incidence of all these conditions is significantly lower than in the Bengal due to the influence of domestic shorthair outcrosses. There are reports of reduced milk production (*Agalactia) in some lines.