Pet Advisor Blog

Chinese Li Hua – Cat Breed Guide

Adopt a Chinese Li Hua, Cat Breed Guide


The Chinese Li Hua cat is a naturally bred domesticated feline that is only recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association or CFA and its Chinese counterpart the Cat Aficionado Association or CAA. The Chinese Li Hua is a cat rooted to the folklore and the imperial culture of the ancient Chinese.

Official Name

Chinese Li Hua
The breed’s name is pronounced as “Leeh-Wah”. It is also called as the Li Hua, China Li Hua, Li Hua Mau and also as Li Mao. The most popular local name for this Chinese cat breed is The Dragon Li, a cat that is believed to be the physical and natural embodiment of the ancient dragon cats in Chinese folklore, depicted as far back during the times of the early Chinese Dynasties.


The Chinese Li Hua cat is considered to be fairly young as a breed, but it has been known to exist for several thousands of years in China. The China Li Hua is even consi
dered to be one of the earliest domesticated cat breeds to appear not just in Asia, but the entire world.

This cat breed’s ancestry can be traced to a small Chinese wild that is called the Chinese Desert Cat. It is a subspecies of the wild cat classified under the name “felis silvestris”. The forefathers of the Chinese Li Hua are also called the Chinese Mountain Cat.

Quick FAQs
Size: Chinese Li Hua cats generally come in medium sizes.
Coat Type: Chinese Li Hua is a shorthaired cat breed.
Body Type: Chinese Li Hua are muscularly built with a rectangular shaped body.
Grooming Requirement: Chinese Li Hua cats are easy to groom and will only require attention twice a month.
Vocal Tendency: Chinese Li Hua cats are moderately vocal.
Energy Levels: Chinese Li Hua cats have average energy levels.
Time Alone: These cats will require 4 to 8 hours of alone time every day.
Care: Chinese Li Hua cats are easy to care for and easy to handle due to their very well-tempered disposition.

Recognized By:
Cat Fancier’s Association
Cat Aficionado Association


The Chinese Li Hua is the real-life version of the ancient and mythical dragon cats of Chinese folklore, the Dragon Li. These cats is a natural domesticated feline breed that are ancient and may perhaps be the progenies of the first mating of wild cats and domestic cats in the Asian region. Historically, the Chinese Li Hua has been depicted in ancient Chinese art and literature as have been known to exist across the entire Chinese nation.

It is said to be the cat that is often referred to in China as the Dragon Li cat of Chinese antiquities. The direct link and verifiable account about this commonly accepted belief regarding the Chinese Li Hua’s origin is quite cloudy, and the actual origin and age of this breed is often a subject of debate and controversy. Regardless of its unverified historical background, the Chinese Li Hua cat is considered to be an unofficial cultural treasure, linking the modern China to ancient times where mythical Chinese dragons roamed.

The Chinese Li Hua was first shown as a registered cat breed in Beijing, China in the year 2003. It was entered as an Experimental Breed Class and exhibited to American Cat Fancier’s Association or ACFA guest judges from the United States in a Cat Aficionado or CAA hosted show. By 2005, the CCA awarded a Chinese Li Hua the First Class CAA Champion, an event that was judged by an official representative and show judge of ACFA.

In 2010, the Chinese Li Hua saw another milestone as the Cat Fancier’s Association or CFA accepted the entry of this cat under the Miscellaneous Class, which eventually led to CFA’s official recognition of the breed. This breed was first exhibited on American soil at show held in San Diego, California in 2011.


The Chinese Li Hua cat is known to be very expressive towards people, very intelligent and also very observant in its surroundings.

The Chinese Li Hua or the Dragon Li cat is distinguishable from other cat breeds by its very unique tabby pattern that is described as golden brown color and broken striped or mackerel in pattern. Among the distinctive traits of this Chinese cats are their ears and eyes. Dragon Li cats have distinctive ear tipping and eyes that are large and round almond eyes displaying yellow or green color.

A Chinese Li Hua cat is generally a well-proportioned and sturdy cat that has a touch of wild-like physical appearance but actually very gentle and docile in temperament.
The bodies of Chinese Li Hua cats are wide and powerfully built and rectangular in shape. These cats have broad chest and well-developed muscles.
Head, Ears and Eyes
Chinese Li Hua cats have hexagonal heads that is diamond like in shape. The head is longer than it is wide and the overall size is proportioned to the body. These cats have large and bright eyes that are almond-shaped and display an alert expression. Eye color may come in green, brown and yellow. These cats have ears that are medium in size, wide at the base and strictly set apart by 1 1/2 or 2 times the width of one eye. The ears are tilted to the front.
Coat and Tail
Chinese Li Hua cats have tails that are slightly shorter to length of their body and have no abrupt tapering at the tip. The coats are short in length with thick guard hairs and thinly haired undercoat.
This breed is famous for their brown mackerel tabby coats.
Chinese Li Hua cats are considered somewhat healthy, but the medical history of these Chinese cats are not that well documented.