The Desert Lynx is a completely domesticated cat breed which has been intentionally bred to resemble the wild bobcat. Feral bobcats inhabit most of North America, from as far south as the Florida Everglades and northern Mexico, to as far north as Canada. The bobcat is somewhat larger than most domestic cats. It is a powerful animal with long legs and a muscular body, and is noted for its short tail.
Through generations of selective development with different breeds of domestic cats, the Desert Lynx has acquired many of the characteristics of the bobcat. Desert Lynx cats are medium in length with hind legs longer than the front legs, and toes that may be tufted. They are very alert, intelligent cats. Males are larger than females and slower to mature. There are both long- and short-haired versions of the Desert Lynx, and both are very clean cats.
The bobcat was the foundation cat for the Desert Lynx breed. The first and subsequent generations derived from the breeding of a bobcat to an IDLCA-acceptable domestic cat is recognized as a domestic Desert Lynx cat. The International Desert Lynx Cat Association recognizes the following breeds as acceptable outcrosses to the bobcat: the Maine Coon, Manx, American Bobtail, American Lynx or Pixie-Bob. Third, fourth and subsequent generations can only be bred to other registered Desert Lynx.
When purchasing a Desert Lynx cat for a pet, especially for a family with children and other pets, it is wise to inspect the pedigrees to make sure the cat is a minimum of three generations removed from the bobcat. The feral nature of the bobcat will be totally bred out by then.
The International Progressive Cat Breeders Alliance (IPCBA) was the first international all-breed organization to recognize the Desert Lynx for registration. The IPCBA was also the first registry to accept the Desert Lynx as an established domestic breed, making the breed eligible for Championship competition. The International Desert Lynx Cat Association (IDLCA) now has total control of the Desert Lynx breed, under the umbrella of the IPCBA.
The head of the Desert Lynx is large but not round, with a full, well-developed muzzle that is almost square in appearance and features prominent whisker pads. The ears are large and set wide apart, usually with feathering and tufts on the tips. The wide-set eyes are large, very expressive, and set at an angle, with colors ranging from gold to green. Blue eyes only appear in those cats with the coat color referred to as “snow.”
The tail may be the length of the bobcat tail, which reaches halfway to the ground, or it may be lacking entirely, as with the Manx, or it may be any length in between. Desert Lynx cats come in three coat patterns and many colors – ebony, blue, sorrel, fawn, chocolate, lilac, red, and cream – as well as silver, cameo, sepia, mink, and snow. The coat patterns are tawny (ticked), leopard (spotted), and clouded leopard. Solid-colored cats, as well as cats in classic and mackerel tabby patterns, also sometimes appear.
Dramatic dark lines around the eyes give the Desert Lynx a chillingly exotic look. They all have belly spots, with bar stripes around the legs, and sometimes down the back and tail. These are large cats: females range from twelve to eighteen pounds, with some achieving a weight of twenty pounds, while males range from sixteen to twenty pounds – or even as hefty as twenty-five!
The Desert Lynx has a very people-loving, friendly temperament, and has been kept as a domestic pet for many years. Their popularity as pets in the United States and overseas has been on the rise, as more cat fanciers have become aware of this uniquely intriguing breed. Kittens resulting from the mating of a bobcat to an acceptable domestic cat have a very mild temperament. The widespread adoration of this cat is greatly due to its combination of the beautiful "wild" look of the bobcat with the docile, playful, loyal, and affectionate personality of a dog.
Don’t expect Desert Lynx cats to just sit around your house all day. These are active cats, but fortunately, they are not curtain-climbers, as are a few of the other more aggressive breeds. When company arrives, your Desert Lynx will not be there to greet them at the door. Typically, when the doorbell rings the cat will head for cover. Only after people have been in the house for fifteen to twenty minutes will the cat work up the courage to venture out. Each Desert Lynx, of course, will have its own individual personality—for example, some of these cats will allow strangers to pet them, and some will not.
No license is required to own a Desert Lynx. Their diet, as for all cats, purebred or not, should be a high-quality cat food. The Desert Lynx is easily litterbox trained, and they do not require a special health or vaccination regimen.
Desert Lynx cats are loyal, extremely intelligent, stunningly exotic, and tend to have outgoing personalities. They make excellent companions for families with children, as well as other cats and dogs. The main requirement for adoption of a Desert Lynx is an abundance of love, attention, hugs, and kisses, which they will happily give back in return!
One lover of this breed offered that she has “never met a bad-tempered Desert Lynx.” While the Desert Lynx and the Bengal are similar in many ways, the Desert Lynx has a gentler personality, and is calmer, less high-strung, and more sociable than the typical Bengal cat. They are also far less vocal than Bengals tend to be, and when they decide to speak, their voices may produce a wide range of “not kittycat-like” sounds. Chirps, twitters, whistles and such are part of their vocabulary.
Extremely acrobatic, the Desert Lynx is an excellent jumper. Often sarcastically described as “lively,” it seems that all of the exotic “jungle” cat breeds tend to be very playful, athletic, and full of beans, to be more accurate!
Although some breeders may put great emphasis on this cat’s cosmetic “flash,” it is important to seek a pet whose personality fits your goals as well. When choosing your kitty, try to find a cat who exhibits friendly, gentle, humorous, and adventurous qualities. Looking decorative lolling around on your living room sofa should be merely an afterthought, albeit a wonderful one!