Profile and Chin
Type is illusive and subjective. As beginner breeders, we form a preference and, as we become more experienced, we fine-tune our vision.
So what is type? Type is what distinguishes one breed from another. Type is the essence of a breed. A Bengal cat without type is not the breed.
Pattern is readily grasped, but type requires a trained eye, and breeders should give type the respect it deserves. Nothing is more beautiful than a Bengal with a gorgeous paint job that also exudes type.
We have individual visions of type, and I will share mine, beginning with profiles.
First, please note that looking at images is not the same as a hands on approach. As a breeder, it's important that we go over as many Bengals as possible. Nothing is as educational as real life cats. Images can be deceiving, especially regarding profiles where a tilt of the head can drastically change the appearance of what the cat is in the flesh.
I will use one of my Bengals, Dazzledots Fashion Show (Milla), as an example. These pictures are true representations of Milla's depth and finish of chin and the nice curve to her top skull.
The TICA Standard, just like our individual preference, is subjective. We are left to interpret words which is not the same as a drawing to show exactly what words convey.
TICA: "Shape: Broad modified wedge with rounded contours. Longer than it is wide. Slightly smaller in proportion to the body, but not to be taken to extreme. The skull behind the ears makes a gentle curve and flows into the neck. Allowance to be made for jowls in adult males. Overall look of the head should be as distinct from the domestic cat as possible."
My vision of an outstanding head is first and foremost that the head is long. A short head gives the appearance of a domestic cat. Producing long heads - at least in my experience - is not that easy, especially when you are working with genes that produce big rosette patterning. Desirable also is a smaller head in proportion to the body which provides a wild appearance.
TICA: "Chin: Strong chin, aligns with tip of nose in profile."
If you drop a plumb line from the tip of the nose, it should line up with a well-finished chin. A chin that aligns yet is narrow in depth provides a weak appearance. A deep, well-finished chin also can be difficult to achieve when working with lines that produce large rosettes. Weak chins are unappealing and can be so severe that it causes an over bite. Upper incisors should fit snugly in front of the lower incisors and provide a scissors bite.
There is controversy among breeders regarding interpretation of the standard for profile.
TICA: "Profile: Curve of the forehead should flow into the bridge of the nose with no break. Bridge of the nose extends above the eyes; the line of the bridge extends to the nose tip, making a very slight, to nearly straight, concave curve."
I've enjoyed looking at profiles of big cats to get the essence of wild. Lions are extremely straight, as are tigers, and they have deep powerful jaws (chins). Cheetahs look dippy, in part perhaps due to the tuft of hair above their eyes. Leopards come closest to my vision. Asian Leopard Cats also, but some have excessive convex and I've seen ALCs with shallow chins.
Some breeders like a convex profile taken to an exaggeration where it resembles a Bull Terrier dog or Roman Nosed horse. In my view, these profiles are extremely unappealing and often in combination with a unattractive narrow head and ears that sit too high on top of the head.