Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a hardworking, high-energy, loyal, and protective breed. If you are looking for a companion dog that enjoys working alongside of you all day long, the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog may be your breed!
An American breed, these dogs' specific origin is often disputed. It's believed to be a cross between Native American dogs, the red wolf, mastiffs, and sighthounds. This breed was originally used for large game hunting in the Louisiana swamps by the Native Americans. Today, the Catahoula is used as a hunting and herding dog to round up wild boars and livestock in the heavily dense, wooded and swamped areas in Louisiana. In 1979, the Catahoula became the official state dog of Louisiana.
Dominant in Spirit
The Catahoula is known for their dominant demeanor. They are head-strong and will watch over their family in a protective manner. The Catahoula typically does not do well with other dogs and must be supervised around children they do not know, as their dominant spirit will take control.
Early socialization and obedience training is imperative with this breed. They do best with a family that uses a positive training method, as well as making sure their pack placement is low.
Go-Go-Go - Always on the Go
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a very active dog. This breed is not a couch potato, and will only be happy when properly exercised or used as a hunting dog. The Catahoula should not be crated all day long, nor left alone, as this breed is mentally driven and gets bored very easily. They will do best in an environment that provides them with proper mental and physical stimulation.
If the breeds' needs are not met, they will become overly destructive and out of control, displaying some behavioral issues like counter-surfing, barking, jumping, aggression, destruction, chewing, and much more.
A running or hiking partner will be the best match for this breed. They need a daily work-out for up to 2 hours or more. They make an excellent working dog and will be happy doing a job for their family, such as carrying a backpack.
Affectionate, Playful, and Independent
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is affectionate towards their family and people they know. They enjoy playing with their family, but should be supervised as the Catahoula can be dominant in their play.
The Catahoula is an independent thinker and will have no problem trying to "run the show." This can easily be resolved with good leadership in the family structure.
The Leopard Print
The Leopard print on the Catahoula's coat is due to the merle gene, with their coat coloring typically being blue merle, red merle, brindle, patchwork, and solid colors with the leopard type prints throughout.
Their coat is typically smooth, short-medium length, and close to the body. Grooming is minimal for the Catahoula. Their coat dries quickly, only requiring a weekly brushing and bathing every few months (unless, of course, they play in the swamp). They are an average shedder.
Although relatively healthy, the Catahoula can suffer from hip dysplasia, deafness, and eye problems (tunnel vision). Some older dogs have gotten cancer. The average lifespan is 12-13 years.
As you begin looking for a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year, there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe