Toyger Cats: Breed History, Personality & More


With a fierce appearance and a lovable personality, the Toyger cat is the perfect blend of big cat looks in a small, domesticated body. Read on for the full story behind this rare breed.

The History of Toyger Cats

The Toyger cat breed was created in the 1980s by Judy Sugden, the daughter of Jean Mill who was the original breeder of the Bengal cat. Sugden crossed a striped domestic shorthair (named Scrapmetal) with a Bengal (named Millwood Rumpled Spotskin), and the Toyger cat was born. As a newer breed, Toyger cats are still somewhat rare and it can be difficult to find breeders.

The word “Toyger” is a combination of the words “toy” and “tiger,” which accurately describes the goal of developing the breed. Bengals were bred to resemble miniature leopards, and Toygers were bred to look like small house tigers. Sugden also created the Toyger to raise awareness for the conservation needs for wild tigers.

Since Toygers are very rare, breeders often charge between $1,500 and $5,000 per kitten. However, some breeders donate a portion of their profits to tiger conservation, just as Sugden envisioned. If this is a breed that you want as part of your family, cautiously investigate the breeders integrity and check to see if they are one of the few that donate a portion of their profits from their litters to tiger conservation.


To put it plainly, Toygers really do look just like little tigers. Of all the types of domestic cats around the world, this breed is the one that most closely resembles the beloved wild tiger — only in a much, much smaller size.

Toygers are considered a medium-sized cat breed, and they have long, muscular bodies, high shoulders and round heads. Their trademark stripes aren’t the only thing they have in common with a tiger. Toygers have shorter legs than other breeds, which is a common trait of big cats. This gives them the appearance of a wild cat on the prowl when they saunter around their home. They also have long toes and big paws.

Toyger Coat Color

A Toyger’s coat is short, but dense. The base coat color can be brown, reddish brown or deep orange, with dark tabby stripes all over the body and circular markings on the head. To maintain the shine of their thick, silky coats, these cats need to be brushed on a weekly basis. 

Eye Color

Toygers have big, round-shaped eyes in colors that range from light hazel to dark brown.

Biology & Health

Toygers are considered to be a generally healthy breed. However, since they are a fairly new and rare type of cat, we are still in the process of learning about their health on a breed-specific basis.

We do know that Toygers may have a higher risk of heart murmurs and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy than the general feline population, as reported by VetStreet. Finding the right breeder that is aware of these issues, one who will not breed their cats suffering from these conditions, is imperative for this breed's integrity and perseverance.

Weight Range

Just like Bengal cats, Toygers often look larger than their weight suggests. According to Catster, adult females typically weigh between seven and 10 lbs. and adult males average between 10 and 15 lbs.  

Toyger cats also have high energy levels like their Bengal relatives, so they usually don’t have trouble maintaining a healthy weight. You can help your Toyger’s weight and overall health by feeding them a high-quality cat food that contains minimally processed ingredients and stays true to their obligate carnivore needs.

Life Expectancy

Toyger cats have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. The exact life span of every Toyger will depend on their overall health and whether they are an indoor or outdoor cat.


Toyger cats are known for much more than their good looks. This is an outgoing, friendly breed that can even be trained to do tricks, much like their Bengal cousins. Some Toyger cats have been trained to walk on leashes, play fetch and perform in agility competitions.

Since Toygers are a smart breed, they need intellectual stimulation. Make sure that you take time each day to play with your Toyger to prevent them from becoming bored, as boredom often leads to destructive behavior.

Fun Facts About Toyger Cats

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are Toyger cats hypoallergenic?
A: Cats are not hypoallergenic, but some breeds may produce less dander and saliva, which are the causes of human irritation. The Sphynx and Devon Rex are two breeds that are known for producing minimal amounts of dander and saliva.

Q: Do Toyger cats get along with children and other pets?
A: Yes. Toygers are a very friendly cat breed that is known to get along with children and other pets. However, every cat will have their own unique personality, so you should assess each Toyger on an individual basis before allowing them around new people or pets.

Q: Where can I find a Toyger cat?
A: Toygers are a rare cat breed. According to a list of breeders on The International Cat Association (TICA) website, there are only seven breeders in the U.S.


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