What Is A Dragon Cat? Fall In Love With This Rare Breed

If you’re wondering what is a Dragon Cat you’ve come to the right place. In this post you’ll discover all about the rare breed known as Dragon Li,  and how it originated.

Plus, physical characteristics, temperament, and caring for a Dragon Cat. Whether you’re just curious or want to adopt, you’ll discover everything you need to know.

Where Does The Dragon Cat Originate From?

The Dragon Li is one of the oldest breeds of cat, and is thought to be descended from wildcats. In fact, it can be traced back to the Xiang dynasty.

Interestingly, the Dragon Li is considered to be the national cat of China. Although native to China, it’s rare to find this breed in other countries.

Due to its unusual markings, the cat has often been mistaken for a wild fox. Also, the original name for  the Dragon cat was Li Hua Mau, and is still used as breed definition.

The Dragon Li is a very new cat breed and was registered at a Beijing cat show in 2004. Following that it was accepted by the Cat  Fanciers Association.

Dragon Cat Physical Characteristics 

what is a dragon cat- physical characteristics

If you were to see a Dragon cat you’d think it was an ordinary domestic breed at first glance. However, you’d soon notice it’s  muscular body, and long legs. 

The paws are rounded in shape which is similar to a wildcat. 

If you look carefully you’d also notice small black dots near the corner of the mouth, as well as the Tabby “M” pattern on the forehead.

All Dragon Li cats have tabby markings which can be confusing if you believe you’re looking at a regular Tabby!  Also, mackerel stripes cover the tabby pattern giving a very distinct appearance. 

You’ll only ever find short hair Dragon Li cats. Also, The fur is thick with darkest markings on the tips of the hairs. 

Look at the tail and you may notice it has dark rings. These may also appear on the legs. 

Take a look at the head and you’ll notice it’s quite wide and rounded in shape. Also the ears are large in size with rounded tips, and spaced quite wide apart.

Dragon Li cats have large, almond shaped eyes which are either green, amber, or brown.  Also, if you’re wondering about the size of this unique kitty, it’s average, weighing between 9-12 pounds. Females are smaller though which is normal for any breed. 

Dragon Li cats are slow to mature, with full maturity not reached until  around 3 years old. However, its gentle, loyal nature makes this breed a perfect companion.

Dragon Cat Temperament

what is a dragon cat-temperament

If you’re looking for a lapcat, the Dragon Li may not be your ideal breed. These cats have high levels of energy and love exploring. 

Sitting on your lap may not be a popular pastime for the Dragon cat! Instead, you’d find her honing her hunting skills by stalking and pouncing on toys. 

Having said that though, all cats are different with some owners finding their Dragon cat enjoys a cuddle  on their lap. 

If you’re lucky enough to get a Dragon Li kitten I’d advise investing in plenty of interactive toys. These could include self rotating balls, robotic mice, or even puzzle toys.

These cats are highly intelligent and easily bored without a stimulating environment. In fact, Dragon cats are very easy to train.

There’s even an example of one owner training his cat to fetch the morning paper!  However, I’m sure you’d need to stock up on plenty of treats if you feel that ambitious!

Training your Dragon Li to fetch toys or small objects is doable though. You could even train her to walk on a leash.

One thing to bear in mind is you need to allow time for playing with your cat each day, especially if there are no other pets. 

You’ll find this breed great with children and other pets. Although, if you have very young children make sure to supervise them. Dragon Li cats enjoy the company of children providing they’re calm and gentle.

Caring For A Dragon Cat

caring for a dragon li cat

Although the Dragon cat is a very rare and expensive kitty, you should consider allowing outside access. This could be a catio, or safe area of the garden that has high cat proof fencing.

A small apartment wouldn’t be suitable for such an active cat as they need plenty of space. If this is your situation you’d be better off with a less active breed such as Persian.

Grooming is easy as Dragon Li cats have short, fine hair. However, you’d still need to brush your kitty several times a week to remove any loose fur. Also, use a fine tooth comb to spot any signs of flea or tick eggs.

Dragon cats don’t require any special care, but as with all felines, vaccinations, worming, and dental hygiene are important. One thing to note is Dragon Li kitties are highly sociable, and ideally you’d get 2 kittens. 

Maybe, buy one get one half price lol! Yes, they’re very expensive I know, but if you already have other cats or dogs you’ll be fine:)

As with all kittens socialization is vital for development and should start from around 2-7 weeks.. Also, it’s important they’ve been handled by around 10 weeks old.

Kittens that haven’t been handled by humans can be harder to adapt and slower to bond with. 

Where Can You Get A Dragon Cat?

If you’re wondering where you can get a Dragon Cat from, sadly, your chances are slim unless you live in China. In fact, in 2017 there were just 4 of these cats in the USA. Don’t despair though as that was a few years ago, so further breeding may have occurred. 

If you’re lucky enough to find a reputable breeder, expect to pay anywhere from $400-$1,000 for a kitten. In fact, it’s possible the price could be even higher due to rarity.

Final Thoughts

dragon li cat

Now you know what is a Dragon cat and a bit about its history. I hope you have a better understanding of the breed. Although very rare, there’s always a slim chance you could find one. 

You’d need to be prepared to pay a high price though. This would depend on the breeder and location. 

Be very wary if you do manage to find a breeder. There are plenty of scammers willing to take your money for a kitten that isn’t the breed you want.

Take plenty of time to research and start with the Cat Fanciers Association.  At the moment, Dragon Li cats aren’t in the breed directory, but they may be listed in the future. 

You could also join a few cat forums and visit a few shows.  You never know, one day you may meet someone who has a genuine Dragon Li kitten for sale!

If you’ve enjoyed this post please share. Feel free to share this pin on your “pets” board

What You Need To Know About The Dragon Cat pin

Also if you have any questions or want to share experiences, leave a comment below.

Wishing you a purrfect day:)


2 thoughts on “What Is A Dragon Cat? Fall In Love With This Rare Breed”

  1. Thanks for another enjoyable reading Kathy. Really loving to gain these facts about the cats breed. This Dragon Li cat seems to be very similar to the fox nature. You mentioned they look also similar from outside, but seeing its nature and characteristics, theirs behaviour looks pretty same to o. You mentioned they can go well with kids, but they need to be supervised. Do you mean I as a parents should supervise the kid how to behave or the cat? Hopefully the question is not too dummy haha

    • Hi Julius, nice to see you here again and glad you enjoyed this post:) Yes, Dragon LI cats are often mistaken for wild foxes. Ha ha! No, your question isn’t silly! It’s the kids that need to be supervised, not the cat. Most cats are fairly tolerant, but if pushed to the limit could scratch or bite. Ensuring your kids are gentle and play quietly all should be fine. Thanks for stopping by:)


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