Temperament: Loyal, Independent, Watchful
- Height: 22-24 inches
- Weight: 50-95 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 10-14 years
- Group: Foundation Stock Service
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a multi-purpose working dog that is well-muscled and powerful, but with a sense of agility and endurance. They are serious while working and playful at home.
About the Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a medium-large, short-coated dog, known for its many varied coat and eye colours and patterns. The word catahoula is of Choctaw origin and is translated to mean “sacred lake.” Catahoulas are the only breed of dog to have historically originated in the state of Louisiana. The breed requires firm guidance and early socialisation, as they can be independent, territorial, and protective. For the same reasons, they do not allow mistreatment and will assert themselves in self-defence. Once they know their place in the family unit, they are affectionate, loyal, and gentle. Also called the Catahoula Hog Dog, they are used as stock dogs, bay dogs, tree dogs, watchdogs, guard dogs, and of course as loyal companions.
NUTRITION The Catahoula Leopard Dog should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
GROOMING Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep your Catahoula clean and looking his best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your dog. The breed’s strong, fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris, which can result in infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
EXERCISE The Catahoula Leopard Dog needs space to expend his copious amount of energy and always needs a job to do. He is not suited for the city or as an apartment dog. Without the proper amount of exercise and attention, he will start to cause trouble digging holes and chewing things. Options for exercise could include play time in the backyard, preferably fenced, or taken for walks several times a day. Outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, and retrieving balls or flying discs can also provide a good outlet for expending energy. Note: he is an excellent swimmer! Training for dog sports like agility, obedience and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise.
TRAINING Without training and mental stimulation, this breed can become destructive in the home. Due to his independence and territorial instincts, becoming well-socialised is also very important for the Catahoula to be a gentle and affectionate companion in the home. Though working like an adult at the early age of 10 months, Catahoulas are not fully matured until they are 2 years old. Therefore, it is important to make all jobs and exercises fun so as not to cause burnout at too early an age.
HEALTH Issues such as hip dysplasia, deafness, and eye problems have occasionally occurred in the Catahoula Leopard Dog. Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of this breed are healthy dogs.
Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Catahoula Leopard Dog can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilise genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.