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Dragon Li Breed Summary

Intelligent, Lively, Loyal

In China, this kitty is popularly known as the Li Hua Mao, which means ‘Fox Flower Cat’. Unofficially, they’re considered the national breed of China and are very rare outside of their native country. In fact, fairly little is known about this cat, although it’s believed they existed for centuries in the wild and effectively domesticated themselves. They've since developed as a breed – possibly from the Chinese Mountain Cat.

The Dragon Li is typically a people-loving cat with a fur-bulous temperament; they are gentle, devoted companions to both adults and children. Agile and lively, the Dragon Li is described as such in the breed standard: ‘The Dragon Li should be able to jump in the air and turn around twice before landing’, so they are quite the athlete!

Lifespan 9 – 16 years
Height (at the withers) Males: 40cm – 51cm, Females: 40cm – 46cm
Weight Males: 5kg – 7.3kg, Females: 3.6kg – 6kg
Coat Short smooth coat
Colour This cat’s coat can be described as tickled or mousey, with hairs that are black at the root and brown at the tip
Eye colour Green, brown, yellow
Common health issues Gingivitis, hip dysplasia, ringworm
Other Names China Li Hua, Li Hua, Lu Hua Mao, Li Hua Mau, and Li Mao
The Dragon Li is known to be highly intelligent and inquisitive. They are generally friendly kitties with a gentle disposition. They even have a tendency to act as the family caretaker, not just with their humans but also with other cats. If politely introduced, they are friendly towards dogs too.

Lively and brisk, the Dragon Li is a fur ball of energy, especially as a kitten! Their playfulness may last well into their adult years, making them a wonderful companion. To keep them entertained it’s wise to provide your Dragon Li with a play area that has a cat tree so they can climb up high. As much as this kitty loves to play, they’re partial to a catnap too and enjoy having a snooze throughout the day.

As this intelligent cat is quick to learn, they can be taught to walk on a lead, which is ideal for giving them some much appreciated outdoor time while being supervised. Like most cats, the Dragon Li enjoys an enclosed outdoor area where they can lie outside and explore, however they shouldn’t be allowed to roam; most owners of this breed keep their Dragon Li as an indoor pet to prevent it from being injured or stolen.

The unofficial cat of China, the Dragon Li is thought to be one of the earliest known domesticated cats. While we often think of cats as having been domesticated in Egypt, a recent archaeological discovery has placed the first domesticated cats in China. In the report ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’, a study found that there were cats living 5,300 years ago in the Chinese village of Quanhucun, providing evidence of cats and people living together harmoniously; these early cats may have been ancestors of the Dragon Li and they were found all over China, where their main job was to catch rats in order to help protect crops and grain.

The Dragon Li is a natural breed of cat, meaning it was not cross-bred with other cats. It is only recently that the Dragon Li has been developed as a breed and they were accepted into the Cat Fanciers Association’s Miscellaneous Class in 2010. Unfortunately, the breed didn’t catch on and the CFA no longer accepts this breed for championship status.