Felid hybrid

A felid hybrid is any of a number of hybrid between various species of the cat family, Felidae. This article deals with hybrids between the species of the subfamily Felinae (feline hybrids). For hybrids between two species of the genus Panthera (lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards), see Panthera hybrid. There are no known hybrids between Neofelis (the clouded leopard) and other genera. By contrast, many genera of Felinae are interfertile with each other, though few hybridize under natural conditions, and not all combinations are likely to be viable (e.g. between the tiny rusty-spotted cat and the leopard-sized cougar).

Authenticated Felid Hybrids (2013)
Authenticated Felid Hybrids

All-wild feline hybridization

Caracal × serval hybrids: caraval and servical

A caraval is a cross between a male caracal (Caracal caracal) and a female serval (Leptailurus serval)), while a male serval's and female caracal's offspring are called servicals. The first servicals were bred accidentally when the two animals were housed together in the Los Angeles Zoo. The offspring were tawny with pale spots. If a female servical is crossed to a male caracal, the result is a car-servical; if she is crossed to a male serval, the result is a ser-servical, etc.

Bobcat × lynx: blynx and lynxcat

The blynx or lynxcat is a hybrid of a bobcat (Lynx rufus) and some other species of genus Lynx. The appearance of the offspring depends on which lynx species is used, as the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is more heavily spotted than the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis). These hybrids have been bred in captivity and also occur naturally where a lynx or bobcat cannot find a member of its own species for mating.

At least seven such hybrids have been reported in the United States, outside of captivity. In August 2003, two wild-occurring hybrids between wild Canadian lynx and bobcats were confirmed by DNA analysis in the Moosehead region of Maine. Three hybrids were identified in northeastern Minnesota. These were the first confirmed hybrids outside of captivity. Mitochondrial DNA studies showed them all to be the result of matings between female Canada lynx and male bobcats. A male Canada lynx × bobcat hybrid was trapped in 1998, radio-collared and released, only to die of starvation. The female hybrid was fertile. In November 2003, a spotted lynxcat was observed in Illinois, 500 miles (800 km) from normal lynx territory, but it may have been an escaped hybrid pet.

The hybrids closely resembled bobcats with larger bodies and smaller feet, but had some lynx-like features: long ear tufts and almost completely black-tipped tails. The Canada lynx is a protected species in 14 US states constituting the southern part of its historic range, but the hybrids are not protected and may be shot by hunters. However, some of odd-looking Lynx may be colour morphs of either bobcats or Canada lynx rather than hybrids. This poses the danger that protected Canada lynx are being killed.

Bobcat × jungle cat: jungle lynx

A jungle lynx is a hybrid between the bobcat and the wild jungle cat species (F. chaus, not to be confused with the Jungle Cat breed, detailed below), bred as an exotic pet. Later generations can include domestic genes, as they may be crossed to Savannah, Egyptian Mau, Serengeti, and Pixie Bob domestic breeds, and have also been crossbred with the wild caracal.

European wildcat × jungle cat: Euro-chaus

The Euro-chaus is a man-made hybrid between the European wildcat (Felis silvestris) and the jungle cat species. It should not be confused with the Euro-chausie, which is a cross between the domestic Chausie breed and a European wildcat (see below).

Margay × ocelot: marlot

The marlot is a hybrid between a male margay (Leopardus wiedii) and female ocelot (L. pardalis). In May 1977, the Long Island Ocelot Club (LIOC) announced the birth of a marlot bred by Barbara Brocks using captive-bred parents. There was no description of the marlot, but the parent species both have rosetted or marbled patterns on a sandy background.[1]

Margay × oncilla hybridization attempts

There were attempts to breed the margay with the oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus) by Dutch breeder Mme Falken-Rohrle in the 1950s. These appear to have been unsuccessful.[2]

Domestic × wild hybridization

The domestic cat, known variously as Felis catus, F. silvestris catus, or F. lybica catus, a descendant of the African wildcat (F. lybica), has been hybridized with several wild felid species. These wild-domestic hybrids have sometimes been called "feral-domestic hybrids", but this is a misnomer, because feral refers to a domesticated population species which has reverted to living without human caretakers. Most of these are artificial hybrids (i.e., bred intentionally by humans), though natural hybridization has occurred (see below).

Confirmed domestic cat × felid hybrids

Some pairings have given rise to more than one variety, bred for distinctive appearances and different percentages of wild felid genes. They may thus form distinct breeds with separate breed standards, though many of these hybrids are not recognized by any major breed registry. Several are the result of accidental cross-breeding in zoos, or experimental hybridization (as with wolfdogs) for the exotic pet market.

  • Bengal: domestic cat × Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis, usually the P. b. bengalensis susbspecies)
    • Pantherette: Pixie-bob × Asian leopard cat
  • Ussuri: domestic cat × Amur leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis euptailura)
  • Bristol: domestic cat × margay (Leopardus wiedii)
  • Chausie: domestic cat × jungle cat species (Felis chaus)
    • Jungle-bob: Pixie-bob × jungle cat
    • Jungle-curl: Hemingway Curl (polydactyl landrace × American Curl) × jungle cat
    • Stone cougar: domestic cat × jungle cat
  • Kellas cat: Naturally occurring, domestic cat × Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris)
  • Machbagral, viverral, and jambi: domestic cat × fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)
  • Punjabi: domestic cat × Indian desert cat, a variety of Asiatic wildcat (Felis lybica ornata)
  • Safari: domestic cat × Geoffroy's cat (Leopardus geoffroyii)
  • Savannah: domestic cat (including Bengal) × serval (Leptailurus serval)
  • Domestic cat × caracal (accidental, Moscow Zoo, 1998)
  • Domestic cat × oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus)
  • Domestic cat × black-footed cat (Felis nigripes)
  • Domestic cat × rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus); wild-occurring hybrids, India
  • Domestic cat × sand cat (Felis margarita); kittens were born to a domestic female, in 2013.
Crossbreeding with additional domestic breeds or between two wild–domestic hybrids

Hybrid breed × wild felid

Three-way hybrids of a wild–domestic hybrid to another wild species

  • Afro-Chausie (proposed name): Chausie × African wildcat
  • Euro-Chausie: Chausie × European wildcat
  • Scottie-Chausie (proposed name): Chausie × Scottish wildcat
  • Bengal × ocelot; two litters of were delivered by a female ocelot in 2007 and 2008.

Attempted or unconfirmed hybrids

These crosses are of dubious viability due to genetic divergence between these genera

  • "Mandalan jaguar" (proposed name): domestic cat × jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi)
  • Domestic cat × Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)
  • Domestic cat × bobcat (Lynx rufus): There are reports of bobcats breeding with domestic cats, but evidence of offspring remains circumstantial and anecdotal. Their interfertility is yet to be proven scientifically.[3]
  • Domestic cat × Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul)

Ambiguously named breeds that are not hybrids

The Jaguarundi Curl is not a jaguarundi hybrid. It is a short-legged experimental domestic breed developed from the Highland Lynx/Highlander and Munchkin breeds, named after the short-legged wild feline.

The Ocicat is not a hybrid between a domestic cat and an ocelot. It is derived from Siamese and Abyssinian domestic breeds of cat, and gets its name from its markings which resemble the spotted markings of an ocelot.

The Desert Lynx and American Lynx experimental breeds were originally claimed to be bobcat hybrids with around 12.5% wild genes. In spite of their slightly bobcat-like appearance, DNA testing failed to detect any bobcat marker genes, and these cats are now considered wholly domestic for the purposes of ownership, cat fancy registration, and import and export laws. This parallels the case of the Pixie-bob, in that foundation cats in the breed were speculated to be bobcat-domestic hybrids, but were proven all-domestic.

The "Lynx" breed group has expanded with the derivative Alpine Lynx and Highlander (formerly Highland Lynx) varieties.[4] So far, few of these ongoing crossbreeding programs are recognized by breed registries as standardized breeds.

See also


  1. ^ Newsletter, Long Island Ocelot Club, May 1977
  2. ^ Fernand Mery "The life, history and magic of the cat" 1967
  3. ^ "Domestic x Bobcat/Lynx Hybrids". Messybeast.com. 1975-06-27. Retrieved 2016-08-17.
  4. ^ "Rare and Exotic Feline Registry". Rareandexoticfelinereg.homestead.com. Retrieved 2016-08-17.

Other sources

  • I Kusminych & A Pawlowa ("Ein Bastard von Karakal Hauskatze im Moskauer Zoo" in Der Zoologische Garten Vol. 68, No. 4 (1998)) (A Hybrid of Caracal and House Cat in Moscow Zoo).
  • Paul Leyhausen (Oncilla x domestic cat hybrids)
  • Mike Tomkies, "Wildcats" (and various other works regarding Scottish Wildcats)
  • Frances Pitt, "Wild Animals in Britain" (1939) (Scottish Wildcat hybrids)
  • Edward Hamilton, 1896 (Scottish Wildcat hybrids)

External links and online references

Beast of Buchan

The Beast of Buchan is a big cat or phantom cat reportedly sighted mainly in the historic Buchan area of Aberdeenshire in northeastern Scotland. Sightings throughout other areas of Scotland, stretching from the northern highlands down to the border with England, have also been claimed; the earliest reports date back to the 1930s.


Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats. A member of this family is also called a felid. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat (Felis catus).The Felidae species exhibit the most diverse fur pattern of all terrestrial carnivores.

Cats have retractile claws, slender muscular bodies and strong flexible forelimbs. Their teeth and facial muscles allow for a powerful bite. They are all obligate carnivores, and most are solitary predators ambushing or stalking their prey. Wild cats occur in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Some wild cat species are adapted to forest habitats, some to arid environments, and a few also to wetlands and mountainous terrain. Their activity patterns range from nocturnal and crepuscular to diurnal, depending on their preferred prey species.Reginald Innes Pocock divided the extant Felidae into three subfamilies: the Pantherinae, the Felinae and the Acinonychinae, differing from each other by the ossification of the hyoid apparatus and by the cutaneous sheaths which protect their claws.

This concept has been revised following developments in molecular biology and techniques for analysis of morphological data. Today, the living Felidae are divided in two subfamilies, with the Pantherinae including five Panthera and two Neofelis species. The Felinae include all the non-pantherine cats with 10 genera and 34 species.The first cats emerged during the Oligocene about 25 million years ago, with the appearance of Proailurus and Pseudaelurus. The latter species complex was ancestral to two main lines of felids: the cats in the extant subfamilies and a group of extinct cats of the subfamily Machairodontinae, which include the saber-toothed cats such as the Smilodon. The "false sabre toothed cats", the Barbourofelidae and Nimravidae, are not true cats, but are closely related. Together with the Felidae, Viverridae, hyaenas and mongooses, they constitute the Feliformia.


The liger is a hybrid offspring of a male lion (Panthera leo) and a female tiger (Panthera tigris). The liger has parents in the same genus but of different species. The liger is distinct from the similar hybrid tigon, and is the largest of all known extant felines. They enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable like lions. Notably, ligers typically grow larger than either parent species, unlike tigons.

List of experimental cat breeds

The following is a list of experimental cat breeds and crossbreeds that do not have the recognition of major national or international cat registries, such as The International Cat Association (TICA) in the US, Europe, and Australasia; the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in the UK, the Fédération Internationale Féline (FiFE) in continental Europe, the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) in North America, or the more recent World Cat Federation based in Germany. Such a breed may be recognized by one of the smaller cat registries. Smaller registries include the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry (REFR), The Dwarf Cat Association (TDCA), and others. This list only includes breeds recognized by at least one extant, national or international, multi-breed registry.

Breeders of some minority breeds actively seek major recognition for them but have yet to receive it. For example, in regions where formal cat fancy is in its infancy, naturally occurring native varieties – landraces – can be classified as minority breeds when attempts at selective breeding have begun to produce a formal natural breed with consistent traits, as is ongoing with the Aegean and Van cats. Other minority breeds are bred for private reasons and inadvertently attract an informal following. Minority breeds may be recognized by some registries, or none at all; recognition can be refused for a variety of reasons (including over-similarity to an existing breed, medical problems being statistically linked to the breed, and others). Some may have "preliminary" status in one or more registries, with experimental conformation standards already in place, but turn out to be non-viable over the longer term.

Discrepancies between breed names can often cause confusion; occasionally the name adopted by one registry is used elsewhere for an entirely different breed; for example the breed known in Australia as "Burmilla Longhair" is analogous to the "Asian Semi-longhair" in Britain (also called the "Tiffanie"), but Australia already has a quite different breed known as the "Australian Tiffanie" and both are different from the American "Tiffany" (also known as the Chantilly-Tiffany). Such conflicts are decreasing due to better communication between registries, largely facilitated by the Internet and by the World Cat Congress.

Panthera hybrid

A Panthera hybrid is a crossbreed between any of the four species tiger, lion, jaguar and leopard in captivity.

Most hybrids would not be perpetuated in the wild as males are usually infertile. Mitochondrial genome research revealed that wild hybrids were also present in ancient times. The mitochondrial genomes of snow leopard and lion was more similar to each other than to other Panthera species, indicating that at some point in their history, the female progeny of male ancestors of modern snow leopards and female ancestors of modern lions interbred with male ancestors of modern snow leopards.


The Pixie-bob is a breed of domestic cat claimed to be the progeny of naturally occurring bobcat hybrids. However, DNA testing has failed to detect bobcat marker genes, and Pixie-bobs are considered wholly domestic for the purposes of ownership, cat fancy registration, and import and export.


A tigon () or tiglon () is a hybrid cross between a male tiger (Panthera tigris) and a female lion (Panthera leo). Thus, it has parents with the same genus but of different species.

The tigon's genome includes genetic components of both parents, thus they can exhibit visible characteristics from both parents: they can have both spots from the mother (lions carry genes for spots—lion cubs are spotted and some adults retain faint markings) and stripes from the father. Any mane that a male tigon may have will appear shorter and less noticeable than a lion's mane and is closer in type to the ruff of a male tiger. It is a common misconception that tigons are smaller than lions or tigers. They do not exceed the size of their parent species because they inherit growth-inhibitory genes from the lioness mother, but they do not exhibit any kind of dwarfism or miniaturization; they often weigh around 180 kilograms (400 lb).


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