Dragon Li, otherwise known as the Li Hua cat, is a natural self domesticated breed that is directly descended from the wild Chinese Mountain Cat, Felis Silvertris Bieti. While this is controversial, the theory has not been disproven scientifically, thus, it is widely accepted as the origin of this breed. If this is true, then it means the Dragon Li has evolved naturally over the years in China before humans intervened in the early 20s to develop it into a breed. The Dragon Li was brought to recognition by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 2010 and was being placed under the Miscellaneous Class. Being introduced only in recent years, the Dragon is a very rare and uncommon breed in Europe as well as in the United States. However, it is sure to increase in its popularity in the coming years.
Physical appearance and attributes
This is a medium to large sized cat that weighs between 8 – 11 pounds. It has a long rectangular body with a broad chest and a level back, making it appear longer than it is tall. Good musculature is being displayed throughout its entire body. The legs are straight and strong and extend into firm oval paws. Its hind legs are slightly longer than its fore legs. It balances with a well-proportionate tail that is thick and tapers into a rounded tip.
The head of Dragon Li resembles a hexagonal diamond and is longer than it is wide. It has a long nose that is of the same width throughout the length. Set atop the head is a pair of medium sized ears that taper into a rounded tip and are tilted slightly forward. Dragon Li has large, arresting eyes that are oval in shape and set at an oblique angle. They gleam in colors of green, yellow or brown and are outlined with a rim of a lighter color. Viewed in profile, a convex curve on the forehead between the ears and a slight nose break between the eyes are evident. The lines, smooth into a broad and slightly rounded muzzle that is made in part by a firm, flat chin.
Hailing from the wild, the Dragon Li wears a layer of striking brown mackerel tabby coat that is short, slightly coarse and close-lying. There is no undercoat, which makes it sensitive to cold weather. The ticked hairs are black at the root, grading into light yellow at the mid-section and changing into brown at the tip. Ring marking encircles the tail length at regular interval. It wears also the appearance of a smile contributed by small black dots that mark the upper corners of the mouth.
Personality and temperament
The Dragon Li is an inherently intelligent and athletic breed. There was precedence where a Dragon Li was trained to fetch the morning papers. It is well-balanced in its temperament and is known for its gentleness and keen sense of sympathy and love. It takes the responsibility to care for other cats in the house and seeks to live peaceably with other pets. Even though it might not appear as affectionate as other cat breeds, but the Dragon Li is a highly loyal cat. Expect the Dragon Li to be high in its activeness, and it does appreciate the space for running and exploring.
Care and health issues
This is a healthy breed with no known hereditary genetic diseases and a healthy Dragon Li can live up to between 9 -16 years. It is important to obtain a written health guarantee from qualified breeders when purchasing the breed to ensure that it is not contracted with other common feline diseases.
Grooming is easy as the short coat requires only a weekly brushing to help remove dead hair and distribute skin oil. Other basic grooming practices should include frequent teeth brushing as well as regular nail trimming and ear brushing whenever necessary.
The ideal family
The Dragon Li can be suited for apartment living. However, due to its activeness, space will need to be created for it to run and play. Equip the play area with cat toys, cat trees and cat gym sets. Training programs can also be offered considering its high level of astuteness. Dragon Li is an undemanding yet sensitive and sociable cat. It can get along well with children and other family pets as long as they are introduced properly. This makes it a suitable pet for most types of household. Even though it is not exceptionally affectionate, but it carries a strong sense of loyalty towards its trusted owner. Its composed and sensitive nature will certainly make it an endearing pet to have around the home.