There has always been lots of beautiful cat breeds around some of which have been popular choices with people the world over, whether they are kept as companions or family pets. These days there are even more to choose from and some are ancient rare breeds that nobody has heard of outside of their native country or newer breeds that have appeared on the scene in recent times. One breed you may have never heard of is the Dragon Li, a breed native to China that's been highly prized for their hunting abilities for centuries.
The Dragon Li goes by a few other names one of which is Li Hua and there are those who believe that these charming cats are in fact, the earliest cat to be domesticated. Native to China where they have always been highly prized for their hunting abilities, records of the breed go back centuries, but it is only very recently that Dragon Li cats have been developed by breed enthusiasts to become the charming cats we see today.
In 2010, the Dragon Li was finally recognised as a breed by the Cat Fanciers Associated under their Miscellaneous Class and although still relatively unknown outside of China, these loyal cats are finding a fan base in other countries of the world, including the UK. The breed is also known by other names which as previously mentioned includes Li Hua, Chinese Li Hua, Lu Hua Mao, Li Hua Mau and Li Mao.
The Li Hua is a largish breed with cats weighing in at anything from 9 to 12 lbs. They are sturdy with a cobby look about them and they have very striking mackerel/brown tabby markings in their coats which are dense and short. Their coats are often described as being "mouse coats" thanks to the roots being black yet the colour in the middle of each hair is yellow and the tips are brown. They have a charming look about their faces which is accentuated by small dark marks on the upper corners of their mouths which, as a result, makes it look like a Dragon Li is always happy and smiling. They have almost diamond shaped heads with lots of space between the ears and lovely large green, yellow or brown eyes. Their ears are often tufted which adds to the breed's endearing looks.
Loyal, charming, playful and intelligent, the Dragon Li matures slowly which is when they are around 3 years old. As such, they remain very kitten-like in their behaviours right up until then and even beyond well into old age. Being so intelligent, some owners have even managed to train their Dragon Lis to fetch the morning paper for them, but with this said these lovely cats are known to be quick at learning new things they are taught and love any sort of interaction with the people they love.
Thanks to their close-lying, short coats, the Dragon Li is low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They shed steadily throughout the year and like other breeds this tends to be more in the spring and the autumn when their summer and winter coats start to grow through. As such they are moderate shedders and their coats only need to be brushed occasionally to remove dead and loose hair.
Because the Dragon Li is such a mild natured and laid-back cat, they make wonderful family pets which includes in households where the children are younger. They are also known to get on well with dogs they have grown up with in the same household, but care should be taken when a Dragon Li is around smaller animals and pets because of their high prey drive, bearing in mind that the breed has been highly prized for centuries for their hunting abilities.
The Dragon Li enjoys a long life which can be anything from 9 to 16 years when they are properly cared for and fed a good quality diet to suit their ages. They are also known to be a healthy breed although it's important to contact reputable and well established breeders if you are hoping to share your home with a Dragon Li because it will give you peace of mind that you are buying a healthy cat that’s been carefully bred. With this said, because the breed is rarely seen outside China, finding a breeder might prove challenging and you would need to register your interest and go on a waiting list for the pleasure of sharing a home with a Dragon Li Cat.