The High Percentage Savannah
Some basic knowledge about Savannah breeding, and those who quote a high percentage Savannah, to begin with, is helpful. Those breeders who produce F1 Savannahs understand that if a serval male bred to any domestic female the kittens always receive fifty percent of their genes from the father and fifty percent from their mother.
This is due to a process called meiosis. Simply put, meiosis is a specialized type of cell division that reduces the chromosome number by half. Each parent contributes half of the chromosomes to its offspring. So, yes, the serval gives half and the domestic cat gives half to make a kitten.
That is the only breeding that any Savannah breeder can ever know for sure which genes came from which cat.
Now, if someone were to breed an F1 to a serval, no one could say the kittens were seventy-five percent. This is because that fifty percent of F1’s may have passed on more of the domestic cat genes than serval genes. Also because the meiosis is not going to split off equal amounts of serval and domestic.
Three words for those who worry about percentages and/or high percentages: ALL IN THEORY!!!
Genetics has a very different way of operating. Mother Nature never gives us black and white and no one has ever discovered a gadget to measure percentage in a hybrid so please understand; percentages, when quoted in advertising, it is just that…advertising.
The exact same thing takes place with Savannahs. In an F2 litter, you might see kittens with exact serval traits and others who got more of the domestic genes and their percentage is not predictable; simply theoretical.
Breeders do a terrible disservice when they quote high percentage Savannah cats as if it’s possible to quantify, and it passes on many misconceptions. A much better way to pick a kitten is the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) method and not pay much attention to percentage claims. In addition, the proper terminology should be as such: ‘Serval to outcross (non-Savannah)’ or ‘Savannah to outcross (non-Savannah)’ and ‘Serval to Savannah’ or ‘Savannah to Savannah.’
The correct terminology causes less false information advertised and promoted to the unsuspecting public. It also helps when it comes to legislation and using misleading terms activists might pick up on.