Savannah Cat FAQs

Posted on August 30, 2012

What is a Foundation Savannah Cat?

The origin of the Savannah cat breed began with the cross of the African serval cat and the domestic cat. Some of the felines used in the early mating process include: Oriental Shorthairs, Egyptian Maus, Serengetis, Maine Coons, Bengals, Bengal Crosses, and non-pedigreed domestic cats. As the breed continues to progress, later generation Savannah females are more often taken back to the African Serval instead of the misc. other breeds, and later generation fertile Savannah males are bred to all generations of Savannah females. The first three generations resulting from the Serval x Domestic cat are considered "Foundation Savannahs". The terminology regarding the early generation Foundation Cats can become somewhat confusing for even the most experienced Savannah enthusiast.

What do "filial," "F1," "F2," "F3," and "SBT" mean?

The word filial comes from the Latin word filius or "son." The genetic meaning of the word "filial" means "of or relating to a generation or the sequence of generations following the parental generation."

Today's Savannah breeders refer to F1 as the first generation cross between the serval and the domestic cat. An F2 is the second generation cross (the offspring of the F1 and the domestic cat). The F3 is the third generation (the offspring of an F2 and a domestic cat.)

F1 - serval parent X domestic cat parent
F2 - F1 parent X domestic cat parent (has a Serval as grandparent)
F3 - F2 parent X domestic cat parent (has a Serval as great grandparent)
F4 - F3 parent X domestic cat parent (has a Serval as great great grandparent)

The Savannah cat is not a fully recognized breed of cat until it has three generations of straight Savannah cat to Savannah cat breeding in its pedigree. The SBT Savannah cat must also be at least four generations removed from its African Serval ancestor.

When the above criteria have been met, the Savannah is no longer a foundation Savannah cat - the Savannah has reach SBT (studbook tradition) status!

Savannah breeders are working hard to progress the Savannah cat to SBT status.

The Savannah breed must progress this far in order to be fully recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA), the registering body for the Savannah Cat. The SBT Savannah cat is the true breed of domestic, pedigreed Savannah cat.

The International Cat Association (TICA) considers the "SBT" (studbook tradition) Savannah, eligible for competition in the show ring and a fully accepted domestic cat.

The following table outlines the steps needed to progress to SBT status:

F1 - Serval parent X domestic SBT Savannah parent
F2 - F1 parent X domestic SBT Savannah parent (has a Serval grandparent)
F3 - F2 parent X domestic SBT Savannah parent (has an Serval great-grandparent)
F4 - F3 parent X domestic SBT Savannah parent (has a Serval great-great-grandparent)

For more information, check out the full FAQ on Foundation Savannah cats (pdf)