What is a Savannah?
Savannahs are considered one of the larger breeds of domesticated cats. Their tall and slim build gives Savannahs the appearance of greater size than their actual weight. They are as tall as many breeds of domestic dogs. F1 hybrid and F2 Savannahs are usually the largest, due to the stronger genetic influence of the African Serval forbear. Male Savannahs tend to be larger than females. On average, early generation Savannahs may weigh 10 to 25 lbs. Average size is also very dependent on generation and sex, with F1 male cats usually being the largest. Later generation Savannahs are usually between 8-17 lbs. Because of the random factors in Savannah hybrid genetics, there can be significant variation in size, even in one litter.
The Savannah Coat
The coat of a Savannah depends a lot on the Hybridized-breed of cat used for the domestic cross. Early generations have some form of dark spotting on a lighter coat, and many breeders employ “wild”-looking spotted breeds such as the Bengal and Egyptian Mau for the cross to preserve these markings in later generations. The Savannah has a tan coat with black or brownish spots, or a silver coat with dark spots, a marble (also called classic) pattern, and many other patterns and colors, although The International Cat Association (TICA) breed standard calls for black, brown spotted tabby, silver spotted tabby and black smoke types only.
The Savannah Look
The overall look of an individual Savannah depends greatly on generation, with higher-percentage Savannah cats often having a more “wild” look. A Savannah’s wild look is often due to the presence of many distinguishing Serval characteristics. Most prominent of these include the various color markings and tall, erect ears. The bodies of Savannahs are long and leggy—when a Savannah is standing, their hind-end is often higher than their shoulders. The head is taller than wide, and they have a long slender neck. The back of each ear has a light band bordered by black stripes, which are called ocelli. The short tail has black rings, with a solid black tip that extends Several inches. The eyes are blue as a kitten, and usually green as an adult. Black “tear-streak” markings run from the corner of the eyes down the sides of the nose to the whiskers, much like a cheetah’s. The black tear marks help reduce glare from sunlight, which aid the Savannah’s vision during hunting.
Most F1 generation Savannahs will possess many or all of these traits, while their presence often diminishes in later generations. Being a Hybridized-breed of cats, appearance can vary far more than cat owners may be used to.