The Toyger cat is one of the newest and rarest breeds of domestic cat, with only around 35 breeders active worldwide at present! The Toyger was produced from the selective breeding of domestic shorthaired mackerel-patterned tabby cats, to produce a cat with a distinctively striped coat that should be reminiscent of the tiger. The breed was founded by Judy Sugden, who states that the intention of creating the breed was to inspire and interest people in the conservation and welfare of tigers in the wild.
As a relatively young breed and one with few breeders devoted to promoting the breed on a large scale, the Toyger can be hard to find offered for sale, but thanks to their popular and unusual coat pattern, they are growing in popularity and demand for the breed is on the increase across the world.
If you have your heart set on owning a Toyger, you may have to wait some time until a suitable litter becomes available, and it is a great idea to spend that time wisely finding out as much as you can about the breed as a whole.
In this article, we will cover some of the most frequently asked questions about the Toyger cat breed. Read on to learn more!
As a relatively new breed that has yet to become widely established, the Toyger is not yet recognised as a breed in its own right by the GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy) here in the UK. However, the Toyger gained recognition by TICA (The International Cat Association) during the 1990’s, and went through the various stages and waiting times to gain full championship breed status, which was achieved in 2007.
TICA registration is often the first stage of gaining formal recognition by the GCCF, and so the Toyger may well become eligible for registration in the future.
While the intention of breeding the Toyger for their distinctive markings is to produce a cat that resembles a tiger in appearance, the Toyger does not have any wild cat input into their genetic make-up. Unlike other breeds that are prized for their wild cat style coats, such as the Bengal and the Serengeti, the Toyger is not a hybrid breed, and does not contain wild ancestry. The Toyger’s colour and patterning is caused by selective breeding of domestic cats with tabby patterning.
The most distinctive feature of the Toyger cat is their coat patterning, which is unique within domestic cat breeds. While the mackerel-patterned tabby cat that forms the origin of the breed has vertical stripes on the coat, the Toyger is bred to have broken and branched stripes in a random patterning that resembles the wild tiger. The facial markings of the Toyger should be circular, and the colouration of the breed should consist of dark striped markings on a bright orange coat. The underside of the coat may have white in it too. The coat of the Toyger is also classed as “glitter,” meaning that it has a clear sheen to it that appears to make it sparkle.
As well as the distinctive coat of the Toyger, the build and conformation of the breed is also intended to resemble the tiger, with a deep, rectangular shaped body that is long and low-slung, to create a rolling gait similar to large wild cats.
The Toyger should be very muscular and medium to large in size, with males weighing from 10-15lb and females between 7-10lb.
The Toyger should also be bold, inquisitive and active, much like the wild tiger, but without the potential aggression! The Toyger is a very open, friendly cat that loves the company of people and bond strongly with their families, and are rarely shy or nervous around strangers.
They are intelligent cats that can soon work out puzzles and challenges, and very much like to play and hunt, or mock-hunt. They are also relatively laid back, easy going and not overly demanding, making them a perfect choice for families and households of all types.
Because the Toyger was produced from domestic tabby cats, they have a wide and varied gene pool that means they are unlikely to suffer from any specific hereditary health problems. The ongoing breeding programmes of the Toyger rely upon maintaining the genetic diversity of the breed, and introducing new genes into the breed, to avoid the problems that can come from maintaining a small gene pool and a lot of inbreeding.
Despite the fact that Toyger breeders are few and far between, the ongoing development of the breed means that new cats are introduced into the breed lines on an ongoing basis, to ensure the ongoing viability of the breed in good health.