The Savannah Cat Foundation is the Serval.
The Serval is the ancestor of the Savannah cat. The Serval is crossed with an
ordinary domestic cat and from here the Savannah originated.
The first generation Savannahs are commonly known as the Filial Savannahs.
You see that the term F1, F2, F3, F4 and F5 etc are used. The “F” is not like
many people think for Foundation (foundation) but for Filial (Generation).
The “F” stands for generation of. F1 (Filial 1) means 1 generation of something removed, F2 means 2 generations of something removed, F3 generation means 3 generations of something removed, etc..
In the case of the Savannah breed, the term is used to show generations of the Savannah cat that it is removed from the Serval (the Foundation cat). When we talk about F1, we are talking about a Savannah whose father is a Serval. The mother cat (no matter what generation it is) is therefore covered by a Serval. The cat is therefore a 1st generation after the Serval.
When we talk about an F2 Savannah we are talking about a cat whose grandfather is a Serval. The mother cat itself is an F1 Savannah and is covered by a Savannah male (generation from F5, but does not matter which generation, for the percentage of Serval blood and the size prefer an F5 than a lower generation male. But it remains an F2 Savannah as well. if it is covered by an F7). When we talk about an F3 Savannah, we are talking about a cat of which the great-grandfather is a Serval. The mother is always a F2 Savannah etc. In each Filial (generation) there is a certain percentage of
Serval blood and a percentage of domesticated cat. Below is a list with the percentage in the miscellaneous Filial. These percentages are all about, because in some crosses more or less Serval blood may be present. This is due to the 2 parent animals that are crossed.
A Serval with an F1 Savannah gives a higher percentage of wild blood than a Serval with another domesticated cat. This is of course quite simple to explain, because in a F1 Savannah already at least 50% Serval blood is present and in the domesticated cat this percentage is 0%. With a cross between a Serval and a higher generation Savannah you can also come to F1 with 75% Serval blood. These Savannah cats are therefore larger and come closer to the Serval. In terms of character and appearance, they also look more like their ancestors. However, for a 75% Savannah percentage, it is also more difficult to keep them in the house, because the behavior of the Serval is also 75% reared in the cat. This is, despite being beautiful, not what we strive for.
The aim of a good Savannah breeder is to obtain the beautiful appearance and the large and a bit of character of the Serval only in a lower generation. Actually we try to breed a cat that looks like an African Serval only than one that has left behind all the “negative” qualities of the Serval. As far as you can speak of “negative” properties, of course. We are talking here about the natural traits of a Serval that we prefer not to see back in the house, such as delimiting urine from its territory (spraying) or chewing the couch because it looks like a soft prey.
Where all generations of female Savannahs are generally fertile, the males are sterile (infertile) to the fifth generation (F5). All male cats from F1 up to and including F4 should be neutered and sold as pets. It sometimes happens that an F4 male turns out to be fertile. Savannah cats are also covered by F5 (or lower generations, F6, F7, etc.) Savannah males, or by another domesticated breed: Oriental Shorthair, Ocicat,
Egyptian Mau and European Shorthair are recognized by TICA as authorized breeds, but beautiful cats were also obtained by crossing with Serengetis, Bengal and even Maine Coons (for the size) to name but a few, but these are nowadays no longer allowed to use to breed Savannah cats. Dedicated breeders now ensure that it is possible in the near future to further improve the breed using only Savannah X Savannah. F1 Savannahs are rare and expensive. The starting cross between Serval and domesticated cat is difficult, given the large difference in size between the two cats and also because there is a difference in wear time between Serval and domestic cat (65 days for the latter and 66-77 days for the Serval). As a result, some F1 kittens can be born prematurely and need care day and night.