Savannah - Cat Breed Profile and History

Savannah F6 Shorthair Cat
Tracy Morgan / Getty Images

Savannah History:

The Savannah is a hybrid cross, between an African serval and a domestic cat. The first known breeding was in the early 1980s Judy (or Judee) Frank, a Bengal breeder located in Pennsylvania. In the early 1990s, Patrick Kelley, founder of, enlisted Joyce Sroufe to help him develop the breed, with Kelley using offspring of that first hybrid cross. Their efforts were successful, as were their efforts to convince TICA to accept the new breed.

Although the Savannah cat is a relatively new breed, it has caught on like wildfire, and there are already dozens of Savannah breeders, both in North America and in Europe, with over 60 breeders worldwide.

Savannah Physical Development:

Much like its wild ancestor, the Savannah is a tall, lean cat, with long legs and a long neck. Its coat shows the typical spotted pattern, along with some bars, on a golden to tawny background. The Savannah is a smaller version of the African serval, weighing in at around 20 pounds, as opposed to 40 with its ancestor. Sort of a "half-pint" version, if you will.

The Savannah was named after the habitat of the serval, and its beauty echoes the lush splendor of those golden plains in Africa.

Registries That Accept the Savannah:

Savannah Personality:

The Savannah cat is said to make an excellent companion, sociable with other pets, and always willing to greet their owners with friendly "head-bumps." Their long legs and athletic grace will often find them in high places, (more convenient for head-bumps), and like the serval, they love to play in water.

It's no wonder that these cats have so quickly attained popularity, both as family members and in the show ring.

Savannah Organizations and Groups:

Photo Credits:

Willow is one of the gorgeous female Savannah cats at Avalon Savannahs.

Her breeders say about her, "Willow is an F1 generation Savannah, meaning that one of her parents is an African Serval. She is very inquisitive and playful; she does fetch and return a thrown ball, over and over and over."

Photo copyright Avalon Savannahs

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