Savannah cats are a hybrid cat breed derived from the exotic serval cat. They were originally bred by Judee Frank in the 1980s, and became popular in the late 1990s.
Recently, fertile generations of males have been successfully bred with early generation females. Breeders are now using fertile males to create even more exotic-looking variations of Savannahs.
Savannahs are described as fun-loving, energetic, loyal, assertive, and are generally interested in other pets and children. They tend to follow their owners around the house, and can be trained to walk on a leash and play “fetch.” People are sometimes surprised by a savannah greeting, which may consist of an unexpected head-butt or pounce. Some savannah cats have been reported to growl or hiss at strangers, but this behavior can be mitigated by socializing savannah kittens with other people and pets as they grow up.
Savannah cats have long, lean bodies and long legs which make them look larger than their weight would suggest. They typically range from 8 to 18 lbs, although 1st and 2nd generation cats can be larger, up to 20 lbs. Males tend to be larger than females.
The coat and markings of a savannah cat is highly dependent on the breed of domestic cat used for the cross. Their coats can be cool to warm brown, tan, gold, silver, or black. Their spots may be brown, dark grey, or black. It has been reported that the recently-introduced “Ashera” cat may actually be re-labeled savannah cats, albeit with a much higher price tag: Ashera vs. Savannah Cat.