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The Catahoula Leopard Dog…. Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Now if you didn’t grow up in the south or haven’t visited Louisiana specifically, we’ll forgive you for not being familiar with this spectacular dog.

That said however…

Now that you’ve found this page, you no longer can be excused for not knowing about, and appreciating just how “awesome” the Catahoula hound is!

So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it and begin discussing one of our all-time favorite dog breeds.

Commonly known…

By its former name: “The Hog Dog”, the Catahoula dog received this nickname because of one of its earliest roles, which was to help drive hogs and cattle for slaughter!

And let’s face it…

Is a pretty horrible job to have and one that doesn’t do justice to how unique these dogs really are.  This is why here at IndulgeYourPet, we much prefer their full name, which is the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, because not only does it sound a whole heck of a lot classier, it’s also a much better description of what the breed is all about.

The only problem is…this name doesn’t really “roll off one’s tongue” all that easily!

Now, you may also hear them referred to as the Catahoula Hound or the Louisiana Catahoula, which is certainly better than “the Hot Dog,” but certainly doesn’t have the same flare as their full title does (in our humble opinion)!

Origin of the Catahoula

As the official breed of the State of Louisiana and hailing from Catahoula Parish, the Catahoula is described to be a ‘Leopard’ because of its fascinating coloring. Where the word ‘Merle’ might be used to describe other breeds with similar patterns, when it comes to the the Catahoula, folks have traditionally chosen to use the term Leopard, instead.

Why is that? 

We’re not really all that sure, but it could have something to do with who first owned and domesticated the Catahoula hound.

You see, it is believed that the Catahoula’s ancestry is tied to the Native American tribes living in and around Louisiana and the areas surrounding the Catahoula lake who originally domesticated these dogs early on in their history.

And many even…

Believe that these early ancestors of the Catahoula were bred early with Red Wolves and Greyhounds (but DNA analysis has since ruled out the “wolven” aspect).

A second theory…

That often arises when trying to determine the true origins of the Catahoula breed is that the early Native American’s interbred their native animals with Bauceron dogs after the French invaded and settled in the south, and this is considered to be scientifically closer to the truth.

But… regardless of how…

The Catahoula Leopard Dog came into existence, one thing is for certain, Catahoula dogs have been bred for strength, agility, speed and hunting.

And while they may be referred to by some as a “cur” dog, just ask any owner of a Catahoula Leopard dog and they’ll be sure to tell you that there is no finer “type” of dog in all the world.

Cur Defined: The term “Cur” is a derogatory term used to describe an “aggressive” dog or a dog that is not in good condition or shape.  It’s often used interchangeable with the term  “mutt” or “mongrel”

And truth be told…

Saying that a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a “mutt” simply isn’t true!  Or at least it has been true since 1996.

You see, as of 1996, the breed has been officially recognized by the American Kennel Club the AKC and there is also a National Association of Louisiana Catahoula’s (NACL) organization completely dedicated to the breed, which is not something you would normally associate with a “mongrel” breed!

Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog Characteristics

Because the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a bit of a “mix” what you’re going to find is, while their coats will tend to be short and easily manageable, their “coloring” can, and often will, vary significantly from one dog to another.  For example some may be spotted, bridled, patched or even solid.

Other than that…

You’re going to find is that most Catahoula Leopard dogs are going to be: A medium dog, weighing somewhere between 50 to 90 pounds.  They’ll also tend to have their characteristic “glass eyes,” which is a genetic trait that makes some of the Catahoula hounds eyes resemble fractured glass.  And when this trait is combined with their unique eye colors (that are often mismatched), the affect can be mesmerizing!

And just when…

You think you’ve discovered all the unique “quirks” about the Catahoula Leopard dog that’s usually when you discover that they actually have “webbed” toes!

Which, when you think about it, actually makes a lot of sense considering the fact that they “evolved” while living in the marshy areas in and around Catahoula lake, Louisiana.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Temperament

Now, you might think that a hard working dog that “evolved” from the swamp and whose original “duty” was to help herd wild hogs and cattle for slaughter might not be the “type” of dog you’d like to have around the house!

But the truth is…

Catahoula “Hot Dogs” are actually great companion animals and make perfect pets for those willing to keep their Catahoula busy.

You see, most Catahoula’s are going to require quite a bit of exercise.  So, you’re either going to need to provide him or her plenty of room to roam, or you’re going to need to treat him or her to plenty of walks around the neighborhood.

Because the last thing…

You’re going to want to do is keep him or her cooped up inside all afternoon.  Now once your Catahoula has had an opportunity to burn of some of his or her excess energy, what you’re going to find is that they will be a very affectionate, pleasant and gentle companion for the entire family.

While also maintaining…

A healthy skepticism for strangers.  Which is great! So, don’t blame him for it, he has been bred to it. Instead if you wish to have your Catahoula more “social” just be sure to expose him or her to plenty of folks while still a puppy so that he or she will grow up to be more confident and non-aggressive to guests later on.

A word of caution…

For those with very small children, Catahoula’s tend to be pretty raucous as puppies.  So, this dog breed is best avoided if you have very small children, or at the very least, you’ll want to be very careful when your children are around your young Catahoula. That way, once everyone has grown a bit, they’ll all be sure to be best friends later in life.

Is the Catahoula Leopard Dog Breed Healthy?

There is still enough of a wild streak in these dogs that they haven’t been over bred just yet, which is why these guys remain one of the “healthiest” breed around.  That said, as is usual with  most medium-sized, energetic breeds, they may be prone to suffer from hip dysplasia in their later years.


There is also a chance of deafness with these dogs, but the cost to treat it is comparatively low – especially if you have insurance…

Which brings us to…

The last topic we wanted to discuss when it comes to the Catahoula, which is if you’re just doing research on this breed to determine if it might be the right dog for you, that’s great!  But don’t stop there.

Also, take a moment and see exactly what it might cost for you to be able to purchase a pet insurance policy on your new Catahoula puppy or Catahoula rescue dog, because the last thing that you want to have happen is to have your new pet become sick or injured and not be able to afford the care that he or she will need.

This is why…

We’ve taken the time to research many different pet insurance companies out there and have created our own Best Pet Insurance Companies article so that you can quickly determine if getting a pet insurance policy for your loved one is the right move for you.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Misty A. January 14, 2020, 3:37 pm

    I had 8 puppys and the mom pitbull they are amazing i would. Like to get them registered i have black and white and light brown spots and white pretty amazing but rambon

    • indulgeyourpet January 14, 2020, 6:43 pm


      They sound amazing!



  • Christina B. January 20, 2020, 6:55 am

    I have one hes 4 months old and I love him .could use all the information I can get

    • indulgeyourpet January 20, 2020, 9:22 am


      Congrats on you new puppy, we hope you found our article informative!



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