Explain Savannah Cat F1, F2, F3
Many people ask the question, “What does the Savannah Cat F1, F2, F3 mean?” Before the Savannah had completed the rigorous routine and steps to become fully recognized as a domestic cat, and registered to show at full Championship rings during cat shows, there were some slang words and abbreviations such as F1 and F2, used by breeders to communicate with other breeders. Those slang words are still used today and, at times, confuse new people that are interested in the breed.
The F1 Savannah is the biggest and is a son or daughter of the actual African serval. The F2 Savannah is not quite as big and will retain much of the quirky and fun antics of the F1. The F3 Savannah is what many seasoned breeders recommend as the entry to Savannah cat ownership.
Not as large but still sizeable, the F3 Savannah will be friend to children and other animals. They make a great companion for long walks with a walking jacket or cuddling on the couch to watch tv.
After F3, the other Savannah cat generations seem to maintain about the same size and still keep that acute mind and curiosity.
The ‘F’ in the Savannah cat generations stands for filial, not foundation and F1, F2, etc. shows how many generations from the serval.
F plus a number seems to be the most often used and also the most confusing. The F in Savannah cat F1, F2, F3, etc. stands for filial, not foundation. F1 is the proper use of the symbol and the use stems back to Mendelian genetics. F is for Filial and 1 for first generation offspring of the hybrid. If all breeders used the correct subscripts for the generations it would look like this: F1, F2, F3, etc. However, that is difficult and cumbersome and all breeders use the F and the 1 and most likely do not even know the subscripts should be used at all.
The numbers, subscripts or not, stand for how many generations away from the original outcross (in this case the serval) any particular cat may be. F1 is obviously the son or daughter of a serval when talking about Savannahs. F2 is the grandson or granddaughter, and F3 is a great-grandson or great-granddaughter and so on. This can get tricky if you breed the daughter (F1) of a serval to a great, great, great grandson (F5) of a serval, however. A chart is most likely the best way to understand:
Savannah Cat F1, F2, F3, and so on can be found in the chart.
Choose the generation of one cat in the column and the generation of the other cat in the row and where the two meet will be the generation of the two cats being bred. Another way to explain is to take the cat with the smallest F number and add one. For example an F2 in one column matched with an F6 row meet at F3, that is F2 (the smallest number) plus one.
The next information and charts can get a bit complicated and there is not much I can do about it. I will try to be as clear and concise as possible and the charts will help.
Every cat registered in TICA has a registration or code number. Once understood the code is very easy to learn precise information about an individual cat. The following is important to understanding Savannah registrations.
There are three principals that apply to Savannah Cats that do not apply to many of the other registered breeds in TICA.
1. The parents of the F1 kittens are considered different breeds on the charts below.
2. The serval is not a registered cat even though it can be registered at TICA for the purpose of the Savannah breeding program. Therefore, any serval to domestic breedings are labeled with an “S” in the third position of the registration code and signifies a different ‘species’ of cat has been used.
3. When Savannah cats were in the early developmental stages in TICA, there were no fertile males. Due to this breeders used males from other breeds to further the breed. There were some breeds such as Ocicat and Oriental Shorthair that were permissible outcrosses. Other breeds such as Bengal and most other breeds were not permissible outcrosses.
Litters that were the result of permissible outcross males were registered and there appears a “P” in the third position of the registration code. Likewise, the non-permissible outcrosses had litters that bear an “N” in the third position. Once a cat is enough generations away from any S, N and P codes, the third place will be a “T”. This means that the cat/kitten in question will have only that breed (Savannah) in the three previous generations.
Currently, the Savannah is a Championship breed.
This means that any breeding to an outcross male or female to try to bring in needed traits or vigor will be labeled as N because there are no permissible outcrosses.
Keeping the above in mind (the information for the third digit in the code), there are also rules that apply to the first two places in the registration status code. The letters (A, B, C) are for the first place in the code and the numbers (1,2,3) and letter O are the second places.
1. A. The cat/kitten has parents of two different breeds.
2. B. The cat/kitten has at least one grandparent of a different breed.
3. C. The cat/kitten has at least one great-grandparent of a different breed.
4. 1. The cat/kitten has at least one unknown or unregistered parent. (i.e. the serval)
5. 2. The cat/kitten has at least one unknown or unregistered grandparent.
6. 3. The cat/kitten has at least one unknown or unregistered great-grandparent.
7. O. The cat/kitten has no unknown or unregistered cats in its three generation pedigree.
The following is how the codes affect Savannah registrations
1. A serval registration code is always 00S.
2. Any cat bred to a serval will bear the registration code A1S and we would refer to the “Different Breed Outside of the Breed Group” chart because the Serval is a different breed than a Savannah.
3. When we breed the A1S Savannah to another Savannah, we move to “The Same Breed” chart and stay on that chart unless or until we breed to another breed including the serval.
To use the charts you locate one cat/kitten’s code in question along the top row and the other cat/kitten’s code on the first column. Follow the column to the right and the row down and where they intersect is what the outcome would be for the mating of the two.
Here are some examples for you to try. Find the outcome of the following breedings:
1. A serval to a B3 Savannah
2. An SB to an A1 Savannah
3. A C2 Savannah to an SB Oriental Shorthair
4. A BO Savannah to a BO Savannah
5. A C3 Savannah to a C3 Savannah
6. A B3 to an AO Savannah
7. An SB Savannah to a serval
8. A B2 Savannah to a B3 Savannah (check your answers below same breed chart)
Why do I need to know Savannah Cat F1, F2, F3, and other generations?
There is no need to memorize this data if you have the knowledge of how to use it. The information is always available here.
There are a number of reasons you should understand. An ability to use the information and charts will allow you to check your registration papers for discrepancies. When purchasing a cat from a breeder, scan the numbers to be sure you are getting the correct generation or breed. Another reason may be when breeders use the numbers in conversations or sales copy it is advantageous to understand just what it is they are purporting. One last item. As a breeder, you should be able to know what your codes your kittens are.
These charts are not that hard to understand once you know which chart to go to for your information and how to look it up. Practice makes perfect.
One other factor that comes up frequently is “percentages”. Mathematically, an F1 would be 50% Serval, and an F2 would be 25% and so on. This can be very misleading. Some very well bred cats at F4 and F5 can be much more “Serval” looking than a poorly bred F2 or F3.
Always base your opinion of a cat based on how it looks, instead of the percentage. Also, it’s smart to use the A B Cs when referring to a cat instead of the “F”…especially in the later generations.