The Catahoula Leopard Dog breed is distinguished by its striking looks and its tenacious work ethic. They need a leader who is firm and consistent and who has time to keep them occupied because they are a hardy breed of dog bred to work in swamps and forests. Despite being uncommon, purebred dogs, you might come across them in the care of rescue organizations or shelters.
Don’t forget to adopt! If you want to bring a dog home, don’t go shopping! Although these puppies love to cuddle with their owners, they do require a lot of exercise. They’ll thrive in a house with a sizable, enclosed yard and responsible pet parents. You’ll have a loving family member who can keep you on your toes if you can meet their needs. See the complete list of characteristics and information about Catahoula Leopard Dogs below!
Catahoula Leopard Mixed Dog Breed Picture
Catahoula Leopard – Mixed Dog Breed Characteristics
|Adapts Well To Apartment Living||*|
|Good For Novice Owners||*|
|Tolerates Being Alone||**|
|Tolerates Cold Weather||***|
|Tolerates Hot Weather||***|
|All Around Friendliness||***|
|Affectionate With Family||*****|
|Friendly Toward Strangers||*|
|Health And Grooming Needs||***|
|Amount Of Shedding||***|
|Easy To Groom||*****|
|Potential For Weight Gain||***|
|Easy To Train||**|
|Potential For Mouthiness||***|
|Tendency To Bark Or Howl||***|
|Potential For Playfulness||**|
|Dog Breed Group:||Herding Dogs|
|Height:||20 to 26 inches|
|Weight:||50 to 90 pounds|
|Life Span:||10 to 14 years|
The “hog dog” of Louisiana is a jumble of Greyhounds, Spanish Mastiffs, and American Indian dogs. Catahoulas are naturally aggressive and resolute in their work because they were developed to track and drive feral hogs and cattle when it came time to butcher them. This robust yet stunning dog can have a coat that is solid, spotted, brindled, or patched in a variety of colors.
Their webbed feet, which enable them to swim well and work in soft, marshy areas, and their eyes, which can be blue, green, brown, or amber, are additional noteworthy physical traits. Some Catahoulas have “cracked” eyes, which are eyes with two different colors inside of them, or eyes that are each a different color. The Catahoulas are wary of strangers, which is in keeping with their history as herding and driving dogs.
They have strong opinions about who is and isn’t reliable and are fiercely protective of their families. They are reputed to be excellent character judges by those who share their home. This dedicated and independent dog will require strict direction during training sessions as well as at least an hour of daily vigorous exercise. Catahoulas make devoted, loving, and patient companions when their needs for leadership and exercise are met.
- You shouldn’t let the Catahoula live outside. They perform poorly in isolation because they are a companion dog.
- A Catahoula should never be walked off leash as they could be aggressive toward other dogs.
- Catahoulas require strict, consistent training because they are highly intelligent animals.
- Due to their high energy levels, catahoulas require at least one hour of vigorous exercise each day.
- All year long, catahoulas shed lightly to moderately. They should be brushed once a week to remove dead hair and maintain a glossy coat.
- If you want the Catahoula to be friendly with other animals, you should socialize them early and often.
- The Catahoula is not advised for a nervous or novice owner. This breed requires a self-assured trainer who is firm, consistent, and loving at the same time.
- Catahoula puppies require toys that are robust and long-lasting.
- A fenced yard and opportunities for the dog to engage in its natural tasks of tracking and herding are necessary in the ideal home for a Catahoula.
- While Catahoulas are protective of the youngsters in their family, they are not animal nannies. Always keep an eye on any interactions between kids and dogs.
- Catahoulas can get along well with other dogs and animals if properly socialized and raised with them. It’s crucial to realize that some Catahoulas may never get along with other animals and may require homes with just them.
- Particularly when both dogs are male, catahoulas can be aggressive.
- Observant guard dogs, catahoulas are suspicious of strangers.
- Never purchase a Catahoula from a puppy mill, pet shop, or breeder who doesn’t offer guarantees or health clearances. Choose a reputable breeder who breeds for sound temperaments and who tests the breeding dogs to ensure that they are free of genetic diseases that they could pass on to the puppies.
The Catahoula got its name from a Choctaw word for “sacred lake” that was first used in northern Louisiana close to Catahoula Lake. They most likely resulted from crossbreeding between native dogs and the Bloodhounds, Mastiffs, and Greyhounds that Spanish explorers introduced to the region.
When they were chosen to represent Louisiana as the state dog, their previous names—Catahoula curs, Catahoula leopard curs, and Catahoula hounds—were officially changed to Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog. The Catahoula is sometimes referred to as a “hog dog” because it was used to locate and corral wild hogs that roamed the forests.
The National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas was established in 1977 after the Louisiana Catahoula Cur Association in 1976. The American Catahoula Association and the Catahoula Cur Breeders Association are two additional organizations that work to promote and maintain the breed’s conformation and working ability through shows, clinics, trials, and accredited testing.
The Catahoula Cur Breeders Association registers Catahoulas. Treeing, Hog Bay, Cow Bay, and Cow Trials are among the events. In 1979, the breed was designated as Louisiana’s state dog. In 1995, the United Kennel Club became the first national canine registry to officially recognize the Catahoula. In 1996, the Catahoula was added to the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service, which keeps track of rare breeds.
It cannot take part in AKC conformation competitions because it has not yet fulfilled the requirements for recognition by the AKC. The Catahoula is a special breed of dog with an interesting history and formidable working prowess. Although it is not appropriate for life with every family, when you commit to one and develop a relationship with them, you have a dependable protector and friend for life.
Males range in height from 22 to 26 inches and weigh between 65 and 90 pounds, while females weigh between 20 and 24 inches and 50 and 65 pounds.
The right kind of Catahoula is not hostile to people. They are cautious around strangers but never timid. When it comes to family, they are devoted and watchful. Male Catahoulas can be aggressive toward other males and work aggressively in general, which is essential when corralling savage animals like wild hogs or cattle.
Their natural instinct is to hunt and herd game, so if they are unable to do so, they require another way to release their energy. Catahoulas make excellent watchdogs and will bark at approaching strangers to warn them off or otherwise become alert. Be firm with them, but fair. They reject physical or verbal abuse as unacceptable.
Numerous elements, including training, socialization, and heredity, have an impact on temperament. Puppies with good dispositions are curious and playful, approachable, and eager to be cuddled. Select a puppy that is in the middle of the pack rather than one that is bullying its littermates or hiding in a corner. Always meet at least one parent to make sure they are pleasant and comfortable around you.
Usually, the mother is the one who is available. It can be useful to meet the parents’ siblings or other family members to get a sense of what the puppy will be like as an adult. A Catahoula needs early socialization, or exposure to a variety of people, sights, sounds, and experiences, when they are young, and it should continue throughout their life, just like any other dog.
In order to ensure that your Catahoula puppy develops into a well-rounded dog, socialization is important. It’s a good idea to enroll them in a kindergarten class for puppies. They can hone their social skills by hosting guests frequently, taking them to crowded parks, dog-friendly shops, and on leisurely strolls to meet the neighbors.
Catahoulas are typically in good health, but like all breeds, they are prone to some health issues. It’s important to be aware of these diseases if you’re thinking about getting a Catahoula, even though not all of them will affect this breed. Find a reputable breeder who will provide you with the health clearances for both of your puppy’s parents if you are purchasing a puppy.
Health certifications attest to a dog’s having undergone testing and receiving a clean bill of health. Health clearances aren’t given to dogs younger than 2 years old because some health issues don’t manifest themselves until a dog reaches full maturity. Look for a breeder who waits until the dogs are two or three years old before breeding them.
In Catahoulas, look for certifications of good health for the eyes and the hips from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, respectively. The breed may experience any of the following issues:
- Hip dysplasia in dogs (CHD). This heritable condition results in the thighbone not fitting tightly into the hip joint, eventually leading to arthritis or lameness. The University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program or the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals perform X-ray screening for hip dysplasia (PennHIP). Hip dysplasia in dogs should prevent breeding.
- Deafness: Since the merle gene in Catahoulas is linked to deafness, the breed is also at risk for unilateral (one-sided) and bilateral (both sides) hearing loss. Test a puppy’s hearing prior to purchase by clapping your hands behind it or making another loud noise, and then observe whether it reacts. Another option is to take the dog to a BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) testing center that your vet recommends.
The Catahoula is not a breed of dog that is suitable for being chained up and left outside. They should be as comfortable inside your house as they are out in the yard. They also need companionship and exercise. For this breed, underground electronic fences are inappropriate. The absence of a solid fence prevents other dogs from entering the yard, which can result in a serious fight between the dogs.
A Catahoula will ignore the shock if they see another dog approaching their territory. They should receive at least an hour of daily exercise. Train them mentally or involve them in enjoyable activities. the day you bring your new Catahoula puppy home, start training him. They are quick learners and intelligent, but they require a strong leader.
To achieve the best results and create the strongest bond possible with your Catahoula, be persistent, firm, and patient. Inform them of your expectations before allowing them to get to work. Always look for positive behaviors to praise rather than negative behaviors to correct. The dog’s personality and self-confidence can be harmed by harsh corrections.
You can live together happily if you engage in social interaction and regular training. A Catahoula who is lonely or bored will resort to destructive amusement. The Catahoula is a dog that is easy to housetrain if you are consistent and stick to a routine. This process is aided by crate training, which keeps your Catahoula puppy from chewing on inappropriate objects or otherwise getting into mischief when you aren’t around to supervise.
Additionally, a crate offers them a place to hide out when they’re feeling stressed out or exhausted. Never use a crate as a punishment facility. In addition, leash training is essential because your Catahoula will be a powerful puller. The health of your muscles, your happiness, and the security of your Catahoula depend on your ability to behave properly on the leash.
They have a strong prey drive, so never let them run loose in areas where they might come across dogs or other animals they are unfamiliar with. If you want your Catahoula to be friendly with or at least tolerate other animals, especially other dogs, early and frequent socialization is a necessity.
Classes for socializing puppies are a fantastic place to start, but socialization shouldn’t stop there. Introduce them to as many people as you can, both at home and in public, and visit a variety of dog-friendly shops, parks, and events. Your Catahoula will become a wonderful family member who defends and loves you without conditions with the right training, consistency, and socialization.
The suggested daily intake is 3 3/8 to 5 1/8 cups of premium dog food divided into two meals each day. Withhold food and liquids for at least an hour after engaging in vigorous exercise to prevent gastric dilatation volvulus, also known as bloat. The amount of food your adult dog consumes is influenced by their size, age, build, metabolism, and level of activity.
Like people, each dog is unique, so they don’t all require the same amount of food. A highly active dog will require more than a couch potato dog, which should almost go without saying. The kind of dog food you purchase also matters; the better the food, the more effectively it will nourish your dog and the less you will need to shake into the bowl.
Instead of leaving food out all the time, feed your Catahoula twice a day using the proper amount of food. Give them the hands-on and eye tests if you’re not sure if they’re overweight. Look down at them first. There should be a waist visible. Then lay your hands on their backs with the fingers spread out and the thumbs along the spine.
Without exerting much pressure, you should be able to feel but not see their ribs. If you can’t, they should eat less and exercise more. See our recommendations for selecting the best food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog for more information on feeding your Catahoula.
Coat Design and Maintenance
The single, short- to medium-length coat of the Catahoula is close to the body. Its texture can be anything from fine to coarse. Catahoulas come with a variety of coat patterns and colors. On the chest, cheeks, above the eyes, or on the legs, underbody, or under the tail, they may have color points or trim. The leopard pattern has contrasting spots of one or more other colors on a base color.
The color of a solid’s coat is uniform. Brindles can have contrasting stripes over a light or dark base coat color. Patchwork-coated cats may or may not have a dominant solid color, with one or more patches of various sizes and hues dispersed throughout the body. No coat color or pattern is more valuable than another, though rich, deep colors are preferred to lighter ones.
The Catahoula’s coat stays clean and shiny with weekly brushing, which also helps to cut down on shedding. All year long, the coat sheds lightly to moderately. Only occasionally does one need to take a bath. Other grooming requirements include nail care and dental hygiene. At least twice or three times a week, brush your Catahoula’s teeth to get rid of tartar buildup and the associated bacteria, daily is preferable.
Once or twice a month, or as required, have their nails trimmed. The nails are too long if you can hear them clicking on the floor. Short nails prevent tearing of the carpet and keep the feet in good condition. Make sure there is no debris, redness, or inflammation in the ears once a week. With a cotton ball and a cleanser suggested by your dog’s breeder or your veterinarian, clean the ears as necessary.
Avoid inserting the cotton ball deeper than your first fingernail as you wipe the ear canal’s outer edge. As soon as your Catahoula puppy is old enough, start examining and brushing them. Dogs are sensitive when it comes to their feet, so handle their paws frequently and examine their mouth and ears.
Lay the groundwork for simple veterinary exams and other handling when they are adults by making grooming a rewarding experience filled with praise and rewards.
Kids and other animals
Some breeders tout the Catahoula as a fantastic child sitter. The Catahoula is a good choice for families with kids, but despite their devotion to and protectiveness of their family, they should always be watched over when around toddlers or young kids. They can be boisterous and may unintentionally knock down young children.
And like any dog, they might take kids approaching them at eye level as a challenge. Always instruct kids on how to interact with dogs, and watch over any interactions between young kids and dogs to avoid any mouthing, biting, or pulling of ears or tails from either party. Teach your child to never approach a dog that is sleeping or eating, and to refrain from attempting to take the dog’s food.
With a child present, no dog should ever be left unattended. When raised alongside other dogs and cats, some Catahoulas get along well with them. When they are adults, they might need more time to get used to having another dog around. Select a dog of the opposite sex to ensure the best possible relationship. Introduce yourself in a public setting away from your house.
Catahoulas are occasionally purchased without a clear understanding of what it takes to be a catahoula owner, and as a result, these dogs frequently end up in the care of rescue organizations and require adoption or fostering. Because of a divorce or a passing of their owners, other Catahoulas wind up in rescue.
A rescue organization is a good place to start if you’re interested in adopting an adult Catahoula who has already passed the destructive puppy stage and may already be trained.
- Rescue Catahoula.
- Network of Catahoula Rescue.
- Northern Catahoula Rescue.
- Southern Catahoula Rescue.
- United Rescue Service of Catahoula.
- Catahoula Lone Star Rescue.