Color Patterns

Savannahs come in several different colors and variations of these colors.   Some of the colors come from both the Serval and domestic heritage, while others come only from the domestic heritage.  The Serval is known for it’s vibrant golden basecoat, but there are accounts of melanistic, or black, Servals in the wild.  By TICA standards the Savannahs can be brown (golden), silver, black and smoke.  However, there are other color variations as well that are not acceptable to be shown at a cat show.  Individuals with these color variations are still registerable with TICA however and are also sometimes in even more demand from the discerning pet owner.

Brown Spotted Tabby (BST): 

The brown, or golden, toned Savannahs tend to be the most popular of the colors.  The majority of people prefer to have a cat that most closely resembles their wild heritage when purchasing their first Savannah.  There is quite a range in color that is still considered “brown.”  The color distinction has a range in tone, from cool to warm.  The cool toned spotted Savannah cats have a very neutral-beige basecoat and generally have very inky spots.  As the tone warms up we will find a variation of browns that can be wheat-colored, sand, sable or a more vibrant yellow-golden.  The spot color on “brown” Savannahs will range from an orangish-brown to a dark brown to black.  We have found that it is extremely difficult to get a solid black nose with the more vibrant yellow-golden coat color.  Even if kittens are born with this color combination, most will lose the vibrant coat as they mature.  By six months of age these individuals will have a cooler neutral-beige basecolor.  Following are examples of the brown color variety.

Silver Spotted Tabby (SST):

Silver Savannahs are probably the second most popular color.  The silver’s will have a basecoat that ranges from a very light, almost white-silver to a darker, more charcoal-silver color.  Spot color will range from a charcoal to inky black.  We are able to keep the more vibrant basecolor, in combination with a black nose, on the silver Savannahs.  The silver coloration was injected into the breed from the early creation of the breed when domestic cats of different breeds were used in creating the Savannahs.  Following are examples of this color variety.

Black Savannah Cat:

Melanistic Savannahs are black, but still have spots.  In most cases you will not notice the spots on the body and the rings on the tail unless in good lighting.  These Savannahs will always have a black nose.  This color pattern is an acceptable color pattern by TICA standards and these individuals can be shown.  Following are examples of this color variety.


Smoke colored Savannahs are black, but have white hair roots, lightening their overall appearance.  Markings will be visible on these individuals.  Although there are not any Smoke colored Servals, TICA still recognizes this color pattern as acceptable.  Following are examples of this color variety.


Savannahs can also be found in the snow color pattern.  This color is quite rare to find in a Savannah.  Servals do not come in this color variation.  It is not an acceptable color by TICA standards and is not permitted in the show ring.  However, it is highly sought after by pet owners.  The blue or aqua colored eyes of the snow Savannahs are mesmerizing.  Following are examples of this color variety.


The lavender color is one that we see on occasion as well.  Lavender colored Savannahs have what I describe as “domestic -cat gray” markings on a cream to peachy-cream basecolor.  It is a very unusual color combination that lends to what can be described as an angelic, soft-focus appearance.  This color pattern is not acceptable in the showring.  Following are examples of this color variety.


Most are spotted Savannahs, like the Serval.  This is the pattern that we aim to produce.  There are many different varieties or types of spotting patterns.  Some will have large, irregular shaped spots, some will have very small, highly numerous, uniform spots.  Others will have spots that are very linear in their placement.

Occasionally you will find a Savannah with rosettes.  The rosetting pattern is frowned upon in the show ring, but again, highly sought after by some.  If a program is focusing on producing latter generation Savannahs with specific show ring aspirations an effort should be made to avoid producing the rosetted pattern.  However, for those with the interest of producing higher generation Savannahs with as much of a wow-factor as possible, large, rosetted cats are pretty captivating.  To each his own.

The other pattern seen on occasion is the marbled pattern.  This pattern comes from a recessively carried gene, injected from the domestic heritage.  This is not a pattern accepted in the show ring.  At Select Exotics we have found that cats that are carrying the marbled gene are more apt to throw offspring with larger, more irregular shaped spotting patterns, which we are drawn to.  The marbled patterned Savannahs are still Savannahs.  They will have the same extreme body shape, personality and size of the spotted Savannahs.  We find that a lot of our clients prefer to get a marbled patterned Savannah when they come back to us looking for a playmate for their first Savannah.  We have repeatedly been told by these clients that have one spotted Savannah and one marbled Savannah that when people come to their house to visit, not knowing what a Savannah is or is “supposed” to be, they all believe the marbled patterned Savannah is more wild-looking than the spotted Savannah.