The Savannah Cat is one of the largest domestic cat breeds around. But there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to their size. Not all Savannah Cats are huge. The size of a Savannah Cat will depend on their generation and their genetics.
A lot of people are drawn to this breed because they want a large, wild looking cat. Some Savannah breeders play into the hype by overestimating the size and weights of Savannah Cats to prospective buyers. In reality, it is virtually impossible for a breeder to know how big a Savannah Kitten will get. There can even be a lot of variability within a single litter.
Generally speaking, earlier generation Savannahs (F1s and F2s) will be larger than later generation Savannahs and other domestic cats. That’s because they’re more closely related to the Serval. Males also tend to be larger than females. But there are always exceptions!
Here's an infographic that shows just how big Savannah Cats are compared to the average domestic shorthair. F1 and F2 Savannah Cats are larger overall. But F3, F4, F5, and F6 Savannah Cats are much closer in size to the domestic shorthair. The average height of F1 and F2 Savannah Cats is 16" measured at the shoulder. For the average person, these cats are approximately knee-height. That's a pretty tall cat! F3 to F6 generation Savannahs have long legs and lean bodies, but their overall body shape is closer to that of a domestic cat. There's no clear-cut size delineation between the different Savannah generations. As you can see from the height, length, and weight ranges, there's a lot of overlap. So while the Savannah Cat is still the World's tallest domestic cat breed, there's no guarantee that you'll get a huge cat.
So how big is BIG? People are always asking me how much my Savannah Cats weigh. When I tell them that my full-grown F5 Male weights 14 pounds and my F5 Female weighs 11 pounds, they look confused. They tell me – There’s no way Django only weighs 14 pounds – he looks so much bigger than that! Almost everyone who meets my cats drastically overestimates their weight. That’s because weight is not a good indication of size, particularly when it comes to Savannah Cats.
That's Django sprawled out on my lap. I know a lot of pictures can be deceiving, but for reference, I'm 5'8" tall. There's no doubt that Django is a big kitty. But I would have had no way of knowing just how big he was going to get. As a kitten, Django was pretty scrawny. Arya and Django were pretty much the same size up until their first birthday. Then Django just kept getting bigger and bigger for the next 2 years.
Savannah Cats have a very tall, lean, build. They have long legs and long bodies. This gives them the appearance of being much larger than typical domestic cats. But they really don’t weigh that much more. Because they are so active, you’ll rarely find an overweight Savannah Cat.
Maybe a visual illustration will be helpful. On the left is a picture of Mango the F1 Savannah Cat weighing in at 15 pounds. And on the right, weighing in at 16 pounds is Princess Leia, an overweight member of our Kitty Loaf team.
Both cats are approximately the same weight, but Mango the F1 Savannah Cat would tower over Princess Leia if they were standing side by side. At 15 pounds, Mango is on the smaller end for an F1 Savannah Cat. But he's anything but small when compared to average domestic cats. Mango is all muscle, whereas Princess Leia is just fat. (Sorry Leia, but it's true!)
So you've had large dogs all your life and now you think you're ready to own a big cat? Just be warned - 15 pounds of Savannah Cat is NOT equivalent to 15 pounds of dog. Dogs can be trained to do as you command and they are far more compliant than cats. Don't underestimate the strength of an uncooperative 15 pound Savannah Cat. F1 and F2 Savannah Cats are far more wildcat than most people can handle. They are incredibly stubborn and require a ton of patience on the part of their owners. So unless you're willing to put in the extra effort, save yourself a lot of trouble and stick with a later generation (F3 - F6) Savannah Cat. They might not be quite as large, but they'll still have the exotic appearance and an even more outgoing, friendly personality.
But if you’re still trying to decide which generation of Savannah Cat to get, it is best to base your decision on how much ‘wildcat’ you can handle, rather than size alone. We’ve seen full-grown F1 Savannah Cats that weigh 10 pounds and F6 Savannah Cats that weigh 20 pounds. There will always be exceptions when it comes to size. But I can pretty much guarantee that the F1 Savannah Cat, regardless of size, will be wilder, and a lot more of a handful than the F6 Savannah Cat.
There's so much more to this amazing breed than their physical measurements and exotic appearance. Size isn't everything. Savannah Cats are social and loyal cats that are endlessly entertaining. Their high intelligence and impressive physical abilities make them fascinating animals. But their loving and friendly nature make them terrific pets. So while their size might not always be easy to predict, you can pretty much count on your Savannah Cat having a HUGE personality.