Feral bobcats, Lynx rufus, inhabit most of North America, from as far south as the Florida Everglades and northern Mexico north into Canada. The bobcat is somewhat larger than domestic cat breeds. It is a powerful animal with long legs and a muscular body and is noted for its short tail. The American Lynx is bred to include many features resembling the bobcat, creating a very unique breed of cat, medium in length with longer hind legs. Toes may be tufted. These cats are very alert, intelligent cats. Males are larger than females and slower to mature. These cats come in both long and short hair.
The head is large but not round, with a full, well-developed muzzle that is almost square in appearance, with prominent whisker pads. The ears are large and set wide apart, usually with feathering and tufts on the tip. The wide set eyes are large and expressive, set at an angle, with colors ranging from gold to green, with blue eyes in the snows.
The distinguishing feature between American Lynx and Desert Lynx is that American Lynx may not use any known short-tailed domestic cats as outcrosses. As a result, the short tails in the American Lynx do not typically include very short tails or complete lack of tails as in Desert Lynx type cats, American Bobtail cats, Pixie Bobs, or Manx cats.
American Lynx officially come in three coat patterns in all eumelanistic colors--ebony, blue, sorrel, fawn, chocolate, and lilac--including silvers, sepias, minks, and snows. The coat patterns are tawny (ticked), leopard (spotted), and clouded leopard. However, it is not uncommon for them to occur in red and cream colors.
The leopard pattern is a spotted tabby pattern. It is marked by spots of the darker color, most prominent on the sides of the body and the belly. The spots may vary in size and shape, but should be evenly distributed. Preference is given to rosette spots which are formed by a part-circle of spots around a distinctly lighter center. Contrast with ground color may not be as distinct as in some spotted breeds . It reflects the camouflage qualities of the bobcat coat. A dorsal stripe runs the length of the body to the tip of the tail. The stripe is ideally composed of spots. The markings on the face and forehead are typical tabby markings, with the underside of the body having distinct spots. Legs and tail are barred. In the sepia, mink, and snow subdivisions, it is desirable for ghost leopard spots to appear on the bodies.
The tawny pattern is a ticked tabby pattern marked by ticking on the body hair with various shades of the marking color and ground color, with the outer tipping being the darkest and the undercoat being the ground color. The body may exhibit a barely perceptible spotted pattern. The tail, legs, and face will have tabby pencilings. Necklace tracings will are also frequently seen.
The clouded leopard pattern, while derived from feral modifications to the classic tabby gene, is different from the classic tabby pattern, with as little bull's eye similarities possible. The pattern gives the impression of marble, preferably with a horizontal flow. Vertical stripes are undesirable. Contrast should be good, with distinct shapes and sharp edges. The belly must be spotted.
If American Lynx are crossed with Desert Lynx, all resulting kittens will be registered as Desert Lynx. Outcrosses are allowed for American Lynx, but outcrosses are not to include short-tailed cats.