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Catahoula Leopard Dog


Overview of Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Catahoula Leopard Dog's breed history is a bit of a mystery, but one thing is clear: their combination of work instinct and versatility is a force to be reckoned with! The early settlers around the Catahoula (Choctaw word for beautiful clear water) swamps and lakes used these working dogs to herd and catch the wild hogs and cows in the area. The Indigenous people and European settlers appreciated the Catahoula for their ability to hunt large game, follow scent trails, and control a herd. Although their breed origins are unknown, one theory suggests that the Catahoula Leopard Dog originated in the mid-1700s when French settlers emigrated to Louisiana with harlequin (grey, black and tan) patterned Beauceron dogs. These dogs were then crossed with well-adapted swamp hunting wolfdogs owned by the Indigenous people to develop a more versatile working dog. Regardless of the breed's origins, the Catahoula Leopard Dog became the official state dog of Louisiana in 1979 and is still in the early stages of acquiring breed recognition (currently an experimental new breed at the AKC). Also known as the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, these pups are generally well-muscled and can weigh up to 100 lbs. They come in many different colors, including solid colors, blue/red merle and brindle. Often, a solid coat Catahoula has small splashes of other colors like white on their face, chest and legs. A fun fact is that the Catahoula Leopard Dog has been featured in fictional works centered in and around the bayou including episodes of Veronica Mars, Bones and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse vampire novels.

Common Health Conditions & Recommendations for Catahoula Leopard Dog

Dog Ear Infection:

May be a problem for your Catahoula Leopard Dog as they often splash around in water and get dirty working and playing in the field. Debris can get trapped in their ears and become infected. Regular cleaning of the ears is a must for any working breed.

Recommendations for Dog Ear Infection in Catahoula Leopard Dog Dogs:

Common Health Conditions & Recommendations for Catahoula Leopard Dog

Eye Diseases in Dogs:

Such as cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy can develop in any breed of dog but Catahoula Leopard Dogs may be more susceptible to these conditions. Diet and nutritional supplementation can help maintain eye health and help slow down degenerative disease.

Recommendations for Eye Diseases in Dogs in Catahoula Leopard Dog Dogs:

Common Health Conditions & Recommendations for Catahoula Leopard Dog

Dog Hip Dysplasia:

Is a genetic condition that causes mild to severe changes to the inner workings of a dog’s hip joint. These changes may result in the degeneration of the hip joint and may lead to arthritis down the road.

Recommendations for Dog Hip Dysplasia in Catahoula Leopard Dog Dogs:



The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a gentle, affectionate and loyal companion with an independent mind. Their temperament spans from one end of the spectrum to the other: serious and focused while working yet fun-loving and silly at home. Catahoulas tends to be suspicious of strangers and are naturally protective of their family. They require weekly brushing and the occasional bath to keep their coat in top form. To keep your Catahoula happy, give them a job to do so they can expend their abundant energy. Without the appropriate outlets, these pups can become destructive. Proper training and early socialization are key with this dog. Catahoulas would be happiest in a large-fenced yard or access to a large field - they are not apartment dogs. So if you want a ghost eyed, tenacious companion that feels totally at home in the bayou, then you may need a Catahoula Leopard Dog!

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