Catahoula Leopard Dog Breed Guide

Breed Group:
Herding Dogs

Middle Age: 5 years

Geriatric Age: 10 years

Life Span: 11 to 14 years

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Catahoula Leopard Dog Info & History

This native breed of dog originated in Louisiana where they hunted wild boars and hogs that inhabited the nearby forests and swamps. This breed got their name from the Catahoula Lake that is located in Northern Louisiana. “Catahoula” is an Indian word that when translated to English means “sacred lake”. Because of the unique spots on their coat, they are often referred to as a hound, even though this is not the case at all. They are

They are a part of the herding group, but they also excel at hunting small animals. These hintong dogs are used to working long days in rough terrain. From swamps to mountains, to even forests, this dog is built to have endless stamina and determination. Even today, this breed does best when they have plenty of space to run freely and roam around. They would much rather be on a farm herding cattle and doing a job than stuck in a congested city any day. In 1979, the Catahoula Leopard Dog became the state dog of Louisiana. Today this dog is an energetic and loving breed who has transitioned into a great household pet. They are extremely hard working and love to work on a farm or a ranch.

They would much rather be on a farm herding cattle and doing a job than stuck in a congested city any day. In 1979, the Catahoula Leopard Dog became the state dog of Louisiana. Today this dog is an energetic and loving breed who has transitioned into a great household pet. The Catahoula Leopard Dog personality traits make them extremely hard working and these dogs love to work on a farm or a ranch.

Continue reading for more Catahoula Leopard Dog information.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Temperament & Personality

This dog is athletic, independent, and confident. Without firm leadership, the Catahoula Leopard Dog will be calling the shots in a household and walking all over their owners. An experienced owner is highly recommended for this breed. Make sure to train this dog and establish your authority as early on as possible.They also need plenty of mental and physical stimulation, which can be time consuming for families who are not very active or live in a large city.

This is not a breed that likes to lounge around the house all day, and they can quickly become bored if cooped up inside the house. Whether it be biking, hiking, or running, the Catahoula loves to live an adventurous lifestyle with their owners. When dealing with other pets, this breed is best to be by themselves in a household. They easily become competitive with other dogs, especially of the same sex, which can lead to aggressive behavior.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Trainability

Due to their independent qualities, the Catahoula is not the easiest breed to train. As previously stated, they need an owner who is willing to put in a lot of work and determination in order to train them. They are not a breed that wants to please their owners, so don’t expect them to follow you around the house wherever you go. Once you can establish yourself as a leader, your Catahoula will learn tricks fairly quickly. They are a smart breed but need some serious guidance to be able to show it.

Make sure to use positive reinforcement when training your dog. This breed can be sensitive to hard punishment, which will affect their self-esteem and cause them to become depressed. An important factor to consider when training your Catahoula is socialization. Introduce them to different people, places, sounds, and experiences at a young age. The earlier you familiarize your pup with different things, the more comfortable they will feel on a day to day basis. This is especially important when you are trying to get your Catahoula to get along with other dogs.

Exercise Requirements for Catahoula Leopard Dogs

Catahoula Leopard Dogs need a lot of physical activity to keep them healthy and happy. They are used to roaming freely, herding cattle and hunting, so they should never be stuck in a house all day. They have an impressive endurance that is made for laborious work, so their owners should have a lifestyle that includes outdoor activities like biking and hiking. Exercise is extremely important for this breed not only for their physical needs but also their mental needs as well.

If a Catahoula does not get enough exercise, they will quickly become bored and restless. Once this happens, they have a tendency to create their own entertainment by becoming destructive in your house. Lack of exercise can also cause Catahoula Leopard dog behavioral issues. If you want to own this breed, know that they will need plenty exercise and endurance training on a daily basis.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Life Span

The Catahoula Leopard Dog life expectancy ranges from 11 to 14 years.

Popularity of the Catahoula Leopard Dog

Being a purebred from the United States, the Catahoula is a fairly popular dog within the herding breeds. They tend to be great family dogs because of their affectionate and loving personalities. Pet owners also admire this breed for their strong loyalty. They work as great protectors of the home, and will even become defensive for their family if needed. For the most part, once this dog is given proper training and exercise, they can be a great companion for any kind of household.

Feeding Recommendations of Catahoula Leopard Dogs

The Catahoula is a larger dog breed that has a large appetite to fuel their high energy needs. Professionals recommend 3-5 cups of food a day, split into two separate meals. Keep in mind that their daily intake depends on several factors including their age, size, metabolism, and activity level.

Be sure to consult with your veterinarian to find the best feeding regimen for your specific pet. Also be sure to provide your Catahoula with fresh water. Their water bowl should be cleaned and washed every day to prevent bacteria from growing. Also, make sure to top off with water as needed so your dog does not become overheated or dehydrated.

Grooming a Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Catahoula has a short to medium coat that comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. Each dog is unique- some showcase a solid coat while others have a beautiful coat of intricate patchwork. For the most part, this breed is fairly low maintenance when it comes to their grooming. Weekly brushing is highly recommended to keep their coat clean and healthy. This will also help to reduce their seasonal shedding that occurs moderately throughout the year.

Along with their brushing, make sure to check their ears once a week for wax build up or infection. Use a veterinarian-recommended solution and a cotton ball to clean their ears. Also be sure to brush their teeth once a week. Weekly brushing will prevent bacteria and tartar from accumulating. The last step for grooming your Catahoula is to trim their nails every couple of weeks. A good rule of thumb to follow is if their nails are clinking against the hardwood floors, it’s time to trim them down.

Are Catahoula Leopard Dogs Good With Kids?

The Catahoula Leopard Dog personality is gentle and loving, which makes them a great breed for a household full of children. Despite their size, this breed is patient with kids and loves the attention they provide them. It is important to note that older children will be a better fit than toddlers. Since they are still a large and hyper breed, they can sometimes be too rambunctious and overbearing for a small child.

If you want your Catahoula to be well behaved around children, make sure to train them early on and familiarize them with different people. Socialization will help them to become a well-mannered family pet that can interact with anyone. No matter how well behaved your Catahoula is, make sure to always have a parent supervise any kind of interaction between a dog and a child.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Health Problems

For the most part, these dogs are a fairly healthy breed. The life expectancy of a Catahoula Leopard dog is relatively long for their size. Just like with all dogs, they are still prone to several health conditions that an owner should be aware of. Below is a list of the most common health issues that are found in Catahoulas.

Hip Dysplasia: This genetic defect occurs when the thigh bone doesn’t fit properly in the hip socket. Canine hip dysplasia is very common in larger breeds and can be a very serious condition. In some cases, hip dysplasia can cause lameness, immobility, or inflammation.

Deafness: Because Catahoulas carry the merle coloration gene, they are at a higher risk of deafness compared to other breeds. Make sure to have your pet’s ears checks frequently.

Obesity: Like said before, Catahoulas need a lot of physical activity to stay healthy. If they do not get enough exercise, they can easily become overweight or obese. You can prevent obesity by making sure they get the recommended amount of food and daily physical activity.

Dental Issues: Taking care of your Catahoula dental hygiene is very important. Dental disease is very common in all breeds, and can easily be prevented with weekly brushing.

Eosinophilic Panosteitis: This is painful inflammation that occurs in the leg bones. Eosinophilic Panosteitis is brought on at an early age and can switch back and forth between both legs.

Diabetes: If your dog experiences a change in weight, loss of appetite, or increase in water consumption, they may be suffering from diabetes. This disease can affect any breed but is seen in higher incidences within the Catahoula breed. This is caused when the body lacks the right amount of insulin or when it can not properly use insulin how it should.

More Resources

National Breed Website: National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas, Inc.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Rescue: Catahoula Rescue, Inc. 

Health Issues Associated with this Breed: