Louisiana Catahoula Dog Breed Information
Louisiana Catahoula dog breed information profile includes pictures, history, temperament, personality, appearance, size, lifespan, health, grooming, care and training of Louisiana Catahoula dogs and puppies.
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All About Louisiana Catahoulas
Believed to be the product of Greyhound and Mastiff war dogs, that were then crossed with breeds already native to North America, the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is named for the Catahoula Parish, located in the historical state of Louisiana.
Recognized as the official state dog of Louisiana, they are prized as a companion animal, a herding dog for farm work, and a skilled hunter particularly used for hunting wild boar. The Catahoula hound is a powerful, beautiful and brave member of the canine community.
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog Facts
The Catahoula Cur is an American dog breed named after Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, United States. Also known as the Catahoula Leopard Dog, it became the state dog of Louisiana in 1979.
Non Shedding: No
Good With Children: Yes
Life span: 10 – 14 years
Temperament: Inquisitive, Gentle, Energetic, Intelligent, Loving, Independent
Height: Male: 56–58 cm, Female: 51–61 cm
Colors: Black, Red Merle, Yellow, Red, Brindle, Black merle
Weight: Male: 16–37 kg, Female: 16–37 kg
Catahoula Leopard Dog History
Many claim that the Catahoula Leopard Dog is a descendant of fierce war dogs that were brought to early America by the Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto. Of Greyhound and Mastiff breeding, these dogs were then allowed to interbreed with the Native American canines that were already present in the area. While some originally tried to say that these native dogs had sprung from red wolves, recent DNA testing has proven this to be false.
It is now believed that the native dogs were the result of primitive Asian breeds that had accompanied early man into North America and then mingled with grey wolves and local fox in the area. Then, as the French came to settle in Louisiana, they brought with them their shorthaired shepherd dogs, the Beauceron. These sleek black and tan or marbled dogs then bred with the glass-eyed native dogs and would eventually create the eerily beautiful Catahoula Hound.
Regardless of what story you might want to believe, the one thing that is generally agreed upon is that the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a Cur, or a dog of mixed breeding. Heinz 57 or not, his unusual appearance, incredible intelligence and amazing personality make him an unforgettable dog.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Appearance
The general appearance of the Catahoula Hound is as widely varied as the beautiful colors the breed can be found in. We’ll try and break down all the differences for you.
First of all, the Catahoula can vary in size from about 20-26 inches at the shoulder, though some can be smaller and other individuals can exceed that amount. A common weight for the breed is generally somewhere between 50-90 pounds, depending on the bloodlines. In all cases, the weight should be proportionate to the dog’s overall size; the Catahoula Leopard Dog is athletic and should have a lean and muscular build, but should still possess the strength and mass needed to hunt wild boar.
In addition to the size difference, there are also 3 distinctive coat varieties in this unique breed – the wash and wear, or slick-coated Catahoula, the coarse-coated Catahoula, and the wooly. The last is considered an undesirable coat variety, but still occurs in some bloodlines, so must be noted.
Finally, we come down to the beautiful and unique coloring of this magnificent breed: Catahoula Leopard Hounds come in a wide variety of colors, including black, gray, tri-color, quad-color, patchwork and even white. Their eyes can also be any possible color, as well as glass, cracked glass or, in some cases, the eye can be two different colors! No, we don’t mean odd-eyed dogs, we mean one eye with two different colors. Talk about unusual!
Catahoula Leopard Dog Temperament
It’s commonly said that the Louisiana Leopard Dog has a strong tendency to be either a one-person or one-family dog, so one should give very careful consideration into bringing one of these amazing canines into your home. When you adopt a Catahoula Leopard Dog, it should be for the long haul, as rehoming is very difficult on them.
The Catahoula is a very loving and loyal dog, when it comes to his humans and many claim that they seem to have a natural desire to protect children, perhaps from the Beauceron’s herding instincts. Even so, small children should always be supervised with any pet, regardless of how gentle and loving they are.
While he’s not the massive and strong dog that one might desire in a protection dog, the Catahoula is a very adept watch dog, quick to give voice when anything seems amiss. While rarely shy, he is often very standoffish and distrusting of strangers. This also adds to his value as a wary guard dog.
Catahoula Hounds usually get along well with other canines and commonly work with others in the field. When properly socialized, they are generally accepting of cats and other animals as well.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Exercise Info
The Catahoula is a high-maintenance dog, when it comes to exercise. Bred as a working and hunting animal, they don’t adapt well to a sedentary life and require at least an hour’s worth of strenuous exercise per day. Left to his own devices for too long and you may find this natural born athlete will take to digging holes, destructive scratching and chewing, or even find his own escape routes out of home or yard.
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is not well-suited for apartment living or for the person that spends a lot of time at work. This is a hands-on dog that wants to be right there, with you, most of the day.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Grooming Info
Depending on what coat style your Catahoula Leopard puppy has, your grooming needs may vary significantly. For the most part, however, they are generally fairly low-maintenance when it comes to basic grooming. In most cases, a weekly brushing will help to remove dead hair and dander from their coat, as well as protecting your furniture from stray dog hairs. Longer-coated dogs, particularly wooly-coated Catahoulas may require more frequent grooming to keep them comfortable.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Training Info
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a highly intelligent individual and, common with smart dogs, can often be quite willful and stubborn. He has a strong tendency to believe he knows best and the breed commonly strives to be the alpha in the family.
For this reason, it’s very important to teach him basic obedience from a very young age and ensure that he realizes that he is not the top dog in the household. Teaching and training the Catahoula never stops, be forewarned – this intelligent canine needs constant stimulation and will continue to test boundaries throughout his lifetime.
When training, remember this one important thing – this is not a breed that responds well to loud voices or a heavy hand. For all his tough exterior and airs, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is very loving and loyal, and he dislikes the idea of displeasing his people. Treat him gently and with consistency and your Catahoula Leopard Puppy will thrive!
Catahoula Leopard Dog Health Info
Being that the Catahoula is of mixed heritage, he possesses a hybrid vigor that makes him less prone to hereditary disease and flaw than his purebred relatives. This does not mean, however, that they cannot suffer the same problems as purebred dogs, simply that they are less likely.
Two problems that are of concern to Catahoula breeders are deafness and hip dysplasia. Dealing with responsible and reputable breeders will help to reduce your risk of getting a dog that suffers one of these health concerns. Also note that the majority of white or predominantly white Catahoula Leopard dogs suffer at least some degree of hearing loss.
This is not necessarily due to bad breeding – The cells needed for the dog’s hearing to develop properly are the same cells that are responsible for the lack of pigmentation in the dog’s coat – if he has less pigmentation in his coat (and is more white), chances are he has a fewer number of these cells to help his hearing develop properly.
Due to the unpredictability of a deaf dog and the number of biting incidents from dogs that suffer from hearing problems, many breeders euthanize deaf puppies and never allow them to leave the kennel. This is a highly controversial practice but is generally considered to be done for safety’s sake. Regardless, a deaf dog should NEVER be used for breeding purposes as Catahoula Leopard Dog deafness is hereditary.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Right Breed Info
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is stunningly beautiful and can be a loving and loyal part of the family. This does not mean, however, that the Catahoula Hog Dog is the canine companion for everyone. Remember that these dogs are extremely high energy and require a great deal of exercise. Fail to provide it and they will turn to destructive behavior.
The Louisiana Leopard Dog requires lots of time and attention – he doesn’t do well locked up or left alone. He wants to ride in the truck with you and stay at your side. Fortunately, they tend to do well with other dogs as well.
The Catahoula is also a very dominant dog and he will test the limits again and again. He’s very intelligent and it’s just part of his nature to behave this way. However, if you’re willing to invest the time and energy into this gorgeous canine, he may just be the perfect pet for you!