The Striking Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Catahoula Leopard dog breed has a striking appearance. It has a strong work ethic and is definitely a tough dog bred to work in swamps and forests. It is also known as the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog or Louisiana Catahoula. It is sometimes referred to as the Catahoula Hound or Catahoula Leopard Hound because of its spots, but it is not a hound but a cur. It is traditionally used in hunting wild boar. In this dog breed, females are often the alpha. Let us know more about the Catahoula Leopard dog breed.


Based on one theory, the Catahoula Leopard dog breed came from the war dogs brought to Louisiana in the 16th century by Hernando de Soto. The dogs that were left behind by the explorer’s party were interbred with local domestic dogs by the local natives.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog was named for a Choctaw Indian word which means “sacred lake”. It is probably the product of breeding between local dogs and Bloodhounds, Mastiffs, and Greyhounds brought by the explorers. They were used to track and round up the wild hogs that roamed the forests that’s why they are also called hog dogs.

During the 1800s, French settlers with their Beauceron arrived in Louisiana. The Beauceron looked like the strange looking dogs used by the Indians to hunt game in the swamp. It is thought that Red Wolf and Beauceron were interbred to produce the Catahoula Leopard dog breed.

In 1976, the Louisiana Catahoula Cur Association was formed and it was followed by the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas in 1977. Sometimes they are called Catahoula Leopard curs but the name changed to Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog when Governor Edwin Edwards signed the bill, making them the the official state dog of Louisiana in 1979. That was in recognition of their importance in the history of the region.

In 1995, the United Kennel Club recognized the Catahoula and it was the first club to recognize the breed. In 1996, the Catahoula breed entered the American Kennel Club’s foundation Stock Service, which maintains records for rare breeds. However, the breed has not yet met the requirements for AKC recognition that’s why they cannot participate in AKC conformation events.

Characteristics of a Catahoula Leopard Dog


Average height: 1 foot and 8 inches – 2 feet and 2 inches tall at the shoulder

Average weight: 50 pounds – 90 pounds

Hypoallergenic: No

The Catahoula Leopard belongs to the herding dogs breed and they can live from 10 to 14 years. Males can grow up to 26 inches at the shoulder and can weigh up to 90 pounds. Females on the other hand can grow up to 24 inches and can weigh up to 65 pounds.

They have short to medium-length single coat that lies close to the body. The texture of their coats can range from smooth to coarse. They are also found in many coat colors and patterns. They can also have color points located on their chests, cheeks, legs, and under the tail. Their leopard patterns have a base color with contrasting sports of one or more other colors. There are also some Catahoula Leopard dogs that have a patchwork coat which may or may not have one predominant solid color

Catahoula Leopard dogs are not aggressive toward people. They are kind of wary towards strangers but are never shy. They are loving and protective when it comes to their family members. They are also excellent watchdogs and they will bark a warning or go on alert at the approach of strangers.

For some, this breed is a great babysitter for kids, making them suitable for families with children. However, despite their loyalty and protectiveness, it’s still important to supervise them in the presence of toddlers and young children. They can also get along well with other dogs and even cats when they are raised with them.

Caring for a Catahoula Leopard Dog


The Catahoula Leopard is not a dog breed that can be tied out in the yard and left on its own because it needs companionship as well as exercise. It should also be familiar with the inside of your house as the yard. You should also give this dog breed at least an hour of exercise daily. You also need to have a higher fence and underground electronic fences do not work for them because they can ignore the shock once they see other dogs approaching your territory. And the lack of a solid barrier can lead to a serious fight with other dogs.

To keep their coats clean and shiny and as well as to reduce shedding, weekly brushing can help. Their coats shed lightly to moderately all-year round. Bathing them is usually necessary only a couple of times a year.

Dental hygiene and nail care are also important for Catahoula Leopard dogs. You should brush their teeth at least two or three times a week and trim their nails once or twice a month or as needed. Remember to check their ears regularly as well and make sure that there are no debris, redness, and inflammation.

The recommended daily amount of dog food for them are 3 3/8 to 5 1/8 cups a day divided into two meals. To prevent them from having gastric dilation volvulus or bloat, try to withhold water and food for at least an hour after their exercise. The amount of the food you’ll give them should depend on your pet’s size, age, build, activity level, and metabolism.

The Catahoula Leopard dog is indeed a unique dog with a fascinating heritage and a strong working ability. And when you make a commitment to one, you can earn a steadfast protector and a lifetime companion.