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Behind the Breed: Catahoula Leopard Dog

by | Mar 26, 2022 | Animals, Behind The Breed, Dogs, Front Page Slider | 0 comments

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are unique-looking dogs with roots in the southern United States. The exact origins of the breed are debated but it’s considered to be the only one with roots in the state of Louisiana, which is why it’s also called the Louisiana Catahoula Dog. The breed has a range of varied coat colors and patterns but almost all coats are short and tight. Temperament-wise, Catahoulas are independent and protective but with training and time, they form deep bonds with their people and can be incredibly loving, affectionate, and energetic. 

This breed has strong ties to Louisiana and was even named the state dog in 1979! They are named after the Catahoula parish of the aforementioned state, with the word ‘Catahoula’ meaning ‘sacred lakes’ in the Choctaw language. DogTime describes the Catahoula Leopard Dog as a “jambalaya of native American dogs, Spanish Mastiffs, and Greyhounds”; other ancestors of the breed include Bloodhounds and Nordic Wolfhounds. These dogs were working dogs and helped farmers with herding and driving livestock. They’ve also been particularly great at hunting wild boars!

Catahoulas are medium/large dogs that often stand 20-26 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 35-100 pounds. Their coats are short, easy to groom, and come in a variety of colors and patterns, including black, brindled, red merle, yellow, spotted, solid, or patched. Their single coats mean Catahoulas are not meant for being outside for extended periods of time in cold weather. Between their affectionate temperament and short coats, these dogs should either be indoor dogs or have access to a high-quality, warm dog house that protects them from the elements. This breed can also have a variety of eye colors and heterochromia has been known to happen. 

These dogs belong to the herding group, meaning they have plenty of energy and opinions. Because of their size and exercise needs, Catahoulas generally do not do well in apartments or tiny homes – they need plenty of space! This breed thrives in an active home that provides an array of ways to burn off some of their energy through activities like puzzle toys, agility, walks or runs, and fetch. A fenced-in yard where they can run and play would be great but any owner should work on training their Catahoula to be respectful while playing, as Catahoulas can get a bit rough when really excited.

If you’re looking for a dog with a striking appearance, strong work ethic, intense energy needs, and wonderful temperament, you can’t go wrong with a Catahoula! These dogs are great for experienced dog owners with time, space, and active life. Their short, single coats come in a range of colors and patterns and are easy to groom. Catahoula Leopard Dogs are incredibly unique but fun dogs to have around.

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