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Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog

Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog

Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog

Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, also referred to as Catahoula Leopard Hound, Catahoula Hound or Catahoula Hog Dog, is a cur-type dog that originated in Louisiana, United States and was primarily used for hunting deer, squirrels, black bears, mountain lions, wild boars and other such animals.

These medium to large-sized dogs were also used for herding cattle and particularly tracking and rounding feral pigs. The versatile breed was named the official state dog of Louisiana in 1979. Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog breed is believed to have descended from greyhound and mastiff type dogs brought to the state of Louisiana in the 16th century by Hernando de Soto.

Physical Appearance

These dogs tend to have leopard-like markings on the body that is muscular in build. The head is broad and flat. The solid legs are strong boned and there tends to be webbing between the toes.

These dogs are characterized by blue, green, amber, brown or blue-white eyes. Light blue and blue-white eyes are referred to as “glass eyes”. The eyes may also exhibit a combination of colors.

Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a breed that has been bred more for its temperament and working ability rather than physical appearance so, the physical characteristics may vary from one dog to another.

Color: These dogs are available in a variety of colors like merle, yellow, brindle, chocolate, black, blue leopard, red leopard etc.
Height: The average height of these dogs is generally 22 to 26 inches. Female Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dogs usually grow to about 20 to 24 inches.
Weight: The ideal weight of Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog breeddepends on the height. It generally varies from 55 to 80 pounds.

Health Problems

Some common health issues in these dogs are Hip Dysplasia, ear problems like deafness in one or both the ears, and eye problems such as tunnel vision, abnormal pupil etc. Dogs with predominantly white hair coats are more at risk of developing hearing problems. Otherwise, these dogs are usually considered healthy.

Life Expectancy: The average Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog life expectancy is generally 12 to 13 years.
Litter Size: 8 to 12 puppies

Grooming Requirements

The short, dense and single hair coat of these dogs is easy to maintain. The light to moderate constant shedding hair coat needs to be brushed on a weekly basis. Other Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog grooming responsibilities include trimming the toenails, brushing the teeth etc. These dogs need to be bathed only about a few times in a year.


Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog temperament is quick, energetic, faithful, affectionate, inquisitive, protective, assertive and extremely intelligent. These dogs are usually gentle and friendly with kids. However, they are usually wary of strangers and can be aggressive with other dogs, especially the ones belonging to the same gender.

Firm obedience training is a must to control these dogs that tend to exhibit independent and territorial behavior at times. These dogs also require proper socialization right from the beginning. They are best matched with experienced and dominant dog owners capable of establishing strong leadership for their dogs. Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dogs make excellent watchdogs and guard dogs.

Key Points

These agile and athletic working dogs do best when engaged in some job or the other. When not engaged in activities like hunting, they need to be taken for daily walks, jogs or runs. They love to run freely in open areas. These dogs crave human companionship and enjoying playing with their owners.

However, while playing, you will have to be careful and control your Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog to avoid rough play. Lack of physical exercise and mental stimulation can give rise to problem behaviors like digging, barking, chewing and so on.

They are usually considered better for rural and suburban settings but do well in apartment situation as well, as long as they are sufficiently exercised. Although, the dog can tolerate cold weather, keeping a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog outside in extremely cold weather for long is not recommended.