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So I have a question about color.....


Site Supporter
Actually, I'm just curious as what 'category' Lotto would fall into....

There really is absolutely no reasoning behind my wanting to know....just plain ole curiosity! I wonder because he is colored a little differently than most Savannahs that I see either in this forum, or on my little Savannah email groups.

He is listed with TICA as a BST. But is he a cool BST? Warm BST? Non-standard BST? He has dark brown spots, and mostly a light gold base. Some of his hair is gold base with white tips....and then the hair down his back is a grey with gold tips. When I take a picture without flash, he looks mostly golden. But when I take a picture with flash, it reflects the white tips, and he looks somewhat silvery. He's 6 months now, and as he grows older, he seems to get more of the white tipped fur.

Anyway, here are a picture of his parents. Mom is Bunny, an F1 from Dagger and Dot (a DSH)...Dad is Ansel, an F5 (or 6 - I can't remember).....
bunny.jpg Ansel.jpg

And here's Lotto
Lotto light boy 3 wks 2.JPG Lotto spots 3 mo.jpg Lotto and the toilet 5 mo.jpg Lotto and the feather.jpg

Any thoughts from the experts?


Trish Allearz

He's a warm BST- but a BST is a BST- we just tend to differentiate for description purposes...

For example- this is a COOL BST..


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Site Supporter
AAAAhhhhhh.....OK. Somewhere in my development, I lost the 'girl' gene that helps me understand color! :rolleyes: Makes it really hard when building our new home! LOL

Anyway, I see the difference now. It looks like your cool BST kitty is less golden, and almost more cream colored? He's awfully cute, by the way - particularly that little spot above his nose.

Do a lot of BST's have the funky tipped fur? Or is that a 'ticked' thing? I read somewhere that the 'ticked' fur was due to the Abyssinian breed being used for outcross....but I don't think Lotto has that in his heritage. Although since mom was a DSH, who knows.

PS - I'm a science person, and so all of this is quite interesting to me.

Thanks for the response!


Savannah Super Cat
black spotted tabby- confusing as the base coat is all shades of brown to light yellow to almost gray. Some silvers are confused as bst. I have one that I used to show. I would swear on my life, she is a silver. Even the judges were befuddled. A true silver has a white under coat (part the fur and it will be white). Believe me, we breeders are confused all the time!!!!

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
We tend to say "brown spotted tabby" but genetically it is black so TICA papers say "Brown (black) spotted tabby" for a while and may soon only say "black spotted tabby". Just the phenotype looks generally browner than black... and there are polygenes that act on the BST to make it look different. The warmer tones and browner spots tend to come from the rufousing polygenes. Then the very very cool-toned ones can be termed "charcoal" and may be the expression of yet another set of genes.

No, ticking in Savannahs does not come from Abyssinians... although tenuously the effect might come from there via the Ocicat which was developed using Abys as well as Siamese and American Shorthair. But plain domestic shorthairs come in BST and tend not to have high contrast and seemingly more I think it a normal tabby trait...

What is different in the Savannah is the blackness of the spots, and that makes the background appear less ticked... if you look at the background on an F1, the hairs of the background look similar, but they have those big very black spots so we don't notice the ticking so much. It is when the spots get smaller and less black that we start noticing the ticked effect more...


Site Supporter
Thanks, Brigitte! We knew Lotto's spots would not be very dark (brown, not black) when we got him. Which is maybe why I notice the ticking more on him than others. When he stretches out (and you see more of his undercoat), they are more noticeable.

Interesting about the possible multiple genes involved in color. There are so many great colors/patterns with Savannahs - all beautiful, in my eyes.


Staff member
Educate me about rufous, pease, if anyone has the time.
Rufousing is a rich, orange coloring that can be found on some very warm colored BST cats. Check out this website:
Read #3 Ticking and Tabby Patterns, the fourth paragraph down says:
In eumelanistically-pigmented hair shafts, the agouti band is normally a drab yellow-beige color. However, the color of the agouti band can be a richer orange due to the effect of "rufousing" factors. These are polygenetic factors that have not been isolated and identified, but breeders have been able to select for them to produce "warm" background colors in the tabbies. In particular, the Brown Tabby patterns are genetically Black, but the selection of individuals with strong rufousing has produced a rich brown color in the ticked hairs.

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
Here is a picture that demonstrates it a little. The kitten on the left is a cool-toned BST, the one on the right is a warm BST so highly rufoused. Genetically both "brown spotted tabbies" just the one on the right got quite some of those polygenes!


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