Popularly known in China as the Li Hua Mao, meaning ‘Fox Flower Cat,’ the breed has a very uncertain history. Believed to have existed for centuries in the wild, the Dragon Li effectively domesticated itself and has since been developed as a breed. Unofficially, the Dragon Li is considered the national cat of China and is very rare outside its native country. Precious little is known about how or when the cat came into existence, although it is believed to be a breed of antiquity, having evolved naturally – quite possibly from the Chinese Mountain Cat, as opposed to being selectively bred.
The Dragon Li is a small and muscular breed with a distinctively wild appearance. It possesses a relatively short tail, with straight legs, a wide, rounded head, pointed ears with or without tufts, and bright green or yellow eyes. Another characteristic trait is the black-tipped tail. The Dragon Li coat is generally short and close, requiring minimal grooming. Colours and patterning that are typically observed in the breed include tabby or brown and gold broken mackerel (broken striped). In China, the Dragon Li is still highly revered for its hunting and retrieving capabilities.
If you are fortunate enough to find a breeder, the Dragon Li is a wonderful breed choice for families with young children or a dedicated sole owner. Possessing a gentle, affectionate and friendly temperament, this cat is highly social and enjoys the company of its master, family and other house pets. Due to the intelligence of the breed, a Dragon Li will benefit from a variety of interactive toys, scratching posts and plenty of companionship in its everyday life. It is recommended that this cat be housed indoors in order to protect it from harm or theft. On average, a fully-grown Dragon Li will weigh 9-12 pounds, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years.
Thought to be a healthy and resilient breed, the Dragon Li is not known to suffer from any genetic or breed-specific conditions. However, this is difficult to accurately determine due to the breed’s relative rarity.
I have two dragon li cats named Coco and Codi. Coco is a lap cat and is very affectionate although she doesn’t play that much. Codi is very independent and curious. He would rather be outside than inside. They both sleep a lot and they sometimes bring in mice.
I adopted an adult dragon li named Asia she was over weight when I got her(18.2 lbs) my vet said 14 or 15 lbs would be a healthy weight for her because she has a very wide frame and is muscular. I never in my life have met a more talkative cat. Easily 10x more talkative than the Siamese cat I grew up with (and Siamese are known for being talkative) She is always meowing! Asia is NOT a lap cat, but she loves attention, and purs very loud. She also is a loud breather. She is fairly playful, not nearly as playful as my other cat though.