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 can no longer be excused for not knowing about and appreciating how “awesome” the Catahoula hound is!
So, without further ado, let’s jump into it and begin discussing one of our all-time favorite dog breeds.
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 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, but it’s also a much better description of what the breed is all about. The only problem is that their name doesn’t really “roll off one’s tongue” 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 Catahoula, folks have traditionally used the term Leopard instead.
Why is that?
We’re not 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…
What often arises when trying to determine the true origins of the Catahoula breed is that the early Native Americans interbred their native animals with Bauceron dogs after the French invaded and settled in the south, which is considered scientifically closer to the truth.
But… regardless of how the Catahoula Leopard Dog came into existence, one thing is 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, ask any owner of a Catahoula Leopard dog, and they’ll be sure to tell you that there is no finer “type” of the dog in all the world.
Cur Defined: “Cur” is a derogatory term to describe an “aggressive” dog or a dog not in good condition or shape. It’s often used interchangeably with “mutt” or “mongrel.”
And truth be told…
Saying that a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a “mutt” 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 AKC, and there is also a National Association of Louisiana Catahoula’s (NACL) organization utterly dedicated to the breed, which is not something you would typically associate with a “mongrel” breed!
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog Characteristics
Because the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a bit of a “mix,” you’re going to find that 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 that most Catahoula Leopard dogs will be: A medium dog, weighing somewhere between 50 to 90 pounds. They also tend to have their characteristic “glass eyes,” a genetic trait that makes some of the Catahoula hound’s eyes resemble fractured glass. And when this trait is combined with their unique eye colors (often mismatched), the effect 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 find out they have “webbed” toes! It makes a lot of sense when you think about it, considering 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 great companion animals and perfect pets for those willing to keep their Catahoula busy. You see, most Catahoulas will require quite a bit of exercise. So, you’re either going to need to provide them plenty of room to roam, or you’re going to need to treat them to plenty of walks around the neighborhood.
Because of the last thing…
You’re going to want to do is keep them cooped up inside all afternoon. Once your Catahoula has had an opportunity to burn some excess energy, you’ll find it a very affectionate, pleasant, and gentle companion for the entire family.
While also maintaining…
A healthy skepticism for strangers. Which is great! So, please 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 them to plenty of folks while still a puppy so that they will grow up to be more confident and non-aggressive to guests later.
A word of caution:
Catahoulas tend to be pretty raucous as puppies for those with tiny children. So, this dog breed is best avoided if you have 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 overbred just yet, which is why these guys remain one of the “healthiest” breeds. 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…
This brings us to…
The last topic we wanted to discuss regarding the Catahoula is if you’re researching 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 to happen is to have your new pet become sick or injured and not be able to afford the care that they 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.