The Catahoula Leopard Dog is independent, protective, dominating, territorial, intelligent, energetic and loyal. Catahoula Leopard Dogs are a versatile working breed that are naturally protective of their family and property. They are extemely loyal towards their family and get along well with children, provided they have been socialized with them from an early age. These dogs are reserved with strangers including unfamiliar children and can be aggressive towards other dogs if they perceive them to be a threat. Catahoula Leopards are intelligent and have a high learning rate, but their naturally assertive nature means they need a firm handler who can dominate when training this breed. Catahoula Leopard Dogs need to be kept occupied and would ideally live on a farm or in the country where they can fulfill their role as a working dog.
Catahoula Leopard Dogs only need minimal grooming with their short coats. They are constant shedders and should be brushed periodically to remove the loose hairs. Their teeth need to be kept clean and the nails trimmed short.
These dogs are very energetic and should have daily exercise, whether running freely in a fenced-off backyard or going for a walk or run. Catahoula Leopard Dogs can be very physical when playing and should be trained at a young age to control their play, especially around children.
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is believed to have descended from war dogs that were brought to the United States by the Spaniards and from dogs belonging to Native Americans. The state of Louisiana was where this breed originated (particularly in the Catahoula area) and the Catahoula Leopard Dog was designated the state dog of Louisiana in 1979. These dogs were used to round up hogs and cattle and tended to work in teams of three. Unless the Catahoula Leopard Dogs worked in a co-ordinated team the hogs could easily kill the dogs in under 10 minutes.
General Appearance: Well-muscled, agile and alert.
Color: Merle, blue leopard, red leopard, black, red, yellow, and brindle. Tan and/or white trim may be present. There are endless varieties of coat colors and patterns.
Coat: Single coat, flat, close and short to medium in length. The texture can either be smooth or coarse.
Tail: Tapering and should reach to the hock. It is carried down when at rest and may be carried upright with the tip curving forward when active.
Ears: Drop ears, short to medium in length and folded foward in a triangular shape.
Body: The body is just slightly longer than tall and the back is level, broad and well-muscled. The ribs are well-sprung and extend well back and the deep chest reaches at least to the elbows. The loin is short, strong and slightly arched and the croup is medium to long in length.
- Because of the name "Catahoula Leopard Dog", many people assume that all Catahoulas have the so-called "leopard" markings and blue eyes. But actually, the breed is known for its many and unusual coat colors and patterns, as well as varied eye color