Cat Breeds 101: Dragon Li

Cat Breeds 101 - Dragon Li - WP
Photo – Wikipedia – GFDL

The Dragon Li (also called Chinese Li Hua) is cat breed originating from Chinese folklore and dynastic culture. This natural breed is recognized as a formal breed by the Cat Fanciers Association and China’s Cat Aficionado Association. [1]

People usually think that cats were first domesticated in Egypt but a recent archaeological discovery may place their domesticated beginnings in a surprisingly different place: China. According to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a study of cats living 5,300 years ago in the Chinese village of Quanhucun provides the earliest known evidence of a relationship between cats and people, meaning they lived together compatibly. These cats may have been the ancestors of the Dragon Li and were found throughout China. They have also been mentioned in old books and other written documents. Their job was to catch rats and protect the crops. Although its origin may be ancient, the Dragon Li as a pedigreed cat is relatively young. It was first exhibited as an experimental breed at the Cat Aficionado Association show in Beijing in 2003 and the Cat Fanciers’ Association officially recognized the breed in February 2010. [2]

Dragon Li cats exhibit a unique golden brown to a broken mackerel tabby pattern. They have a round face with large almond-shaped eyes that are yellow or green with the outer corners of the eyes placed slightly higher than the inner corner. The ears are medium-sized that have sharply pointed tips. [3] Their wide and strong body are carried by their muscular legs. Their tail is slightly shorter than the length of their body. Dragon Li cats mature slowly and may not reach their full size until they are three years old. [4]

Dragon Li cats are lively, brisk and have a reputation for being extremely intelligent. They generally have a gentle disposition and act as the family caretaker. Chinese lore claims that one owner, Zhao Shangzai trained his Dragon Li to fetch the morning paper! A Dragon Li has a good memory and an analytical nature. In other words, it can figure things out so owners of this cat may have to work hard to stay a step ahead. [2]

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