A golden tabby tiger is one with an extremely rare color variation caused by a recessive gene and is currently only found in captive tigers. Like the white tiger, it is a color form and not a separate species. In the case of the golden tiger, this is the wide band gene; while the white tiger is due to the color inhibitor (chinchilla) gene. There are currently believed to be fewer than 30 of these rare tigers in the world, but many more carriers of the gene.
While no official name has been designated for the color, it is sometimes referred to as the strawberry tiger due to the strawberry blonde coloration. The golden tiger’s white coat and gold patches make it stand out from the norm. Their striping is much paler than usual and may fade into spots or large prominent patches. Golden tigers also tend to be larger and, due to the effect of the gene on the hair shaft, have softer fur than their orange relatives.
Like their white cousins, all golden tabby tigers have mainly Bengal parentage, but are genetically polluted with the genes of the Amur tiger via a part-Amur white tiger called Tony, who is a common ancestor of almost all white tigers in North America. The suggestion that this coloration is caused through the deliberate breeding of Amur tigers with Bengal tigers is a popular myth founded on this fact. All golden tigers appear traceable to one of Tony’s male descendants, Bhim.