Catahoula Leopard Dog - Origins, character and photos!

Catahoula Leopard Dog: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The catahoula leopard dog does not receive this name by chance, because...

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The catahoula leopard dog does not get this name by accident, because it is certain that when you see a picture of him, you can see the similarities between him and wild leopards. But this breed does not stand out just for that, because it is a unique breed, source of a melting pot of canine breeds that came to America from different parts of Europe and Native American breeds.

Furthermore, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is a breed with a very mysterious history and origins, which is an enigma in itself.Likewise, there is such a variety of catahoula leopard dog specimens that each one is virtually unique. Do you want to know why? Read the rest of this sheet to discover on PlanèteAnimal all the characteristics of the catahoula leopard dog and much more!


  • America
  • United States

Physical Characteristics

  • Rustic
  • Muscular
  • Lying
  • Long ears


  • Large


  • 45-55

Adult Weight

  • 25-45

Life expectancy

  • 12-14

Recommended physical activity

  • High


  • Strong
  • Very loyal
  • Smart
  • Active
  • Dominant

Ideal for

  • House
  • The hunt
  • The guard

Recommended climate

  • Temperate

Hair type

  • Short
  • Medium
  • Smooth
  • Big

Origin of the Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a dog from the United States, specifically from the state of Louisiana, which is why it is also known as the Catahoula Louisiana.Exactly when the breed first appeared is unknown, although the more forceful theory seems to be that they were descended from crosses between mastiffs and dogs of European breeds brought to America by settlers in the 16th century. . Other theories advocate establishing the origin of the catahoula leopard dog at a more recent moment in our history, but the lack of hard evidence is a major obstacle that has not yet been avoided to know the exact moment at which the race made its first appearance.

" The catahoula leopard dog exercised functions as a hunting dog, participating in the hunting of prey such as wild boars, bears or reindeer. Its name is said to come from an Indian word choctaw, which was the name given to a tribe of Native Americans, which evolved into the word catahoula."

Despite the many enigmas posed by the Catahoula Leopard Dog breed, there is no doubt that over the years it has become the quintessential Louisiana breed, being decreed the official dog of the state of Louisiana in 1979.Also, the UKC developed its first official standard, or what is the same thing, official breed recognition, in 1994.

Characteristics of the Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a large breed of dog, weighing between 20 and 34 kilograms in males and 16 and 29 in females. There are also size differences by sex, with males having a height at the withers of between 56 and 58 centimeters, while that of females is between 53 and 63 centimeters.

The body of this dog is elongated, as well as its limbs, which have a good length. This, combined with its developed musculature, makes it an extremely agile dog, as well as flexible and resistant. Its tail, of low insertion, has different lengths for each specimen. Going back to the characteristics of the catahoula leopard dog, this dog has a head proportionally larger than the body, but without any disproportion.He has a flattened skull, with a seemingly long muzzle, the nose can have different colors or combinations of them. The ears are variable, as in some cases they appear folded, while in others they are much more erect or lying down. Their size also changes, as some are shorter and some are a bit longer. The eyes are medium sized, rounded and almost any color or tint possible.

The coat of these dogs is quite characteristic, because it is what makes them receive the name of leopard. The coat consists of a single layer, with a variable length between short and medium, always smooth and close to the body. It can also have different textures, more or less rough.

Colors of the Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dog coat colors include a wide range of colors, blends, and shades. Most specimens have spotted or mottled fur, giving them the name leopard, for its resemblance to this wild feline.However, there are also single-colored, solid-colored specimens. Any single color jumpsuit or dress in any shade of black, white, brown, blue and cinnamon is acceptable.

The Catahoula Leopard Puppy

One of the characteristics of these dogs is that catahoula leopard puppies generally maintain the coat they were born with throughout their lives. It is common for their coat to change neither in terms of pattern, in the case of spotting, nor in terms of the color and tone they exhibit.

They also stand out for the huge range of variants that occur even within the same litter, as the assortment is incredible in terms of factors such as colors, coat length, shape ears or tail length. This is why the breed has not yet been recognized by some international cynological organizations such as the FCI.

Character of Catahoula Leopard Dog

Despite the differences in appearance between some specimens and others of Catahoula Leopard Dogs, they generally differ little in character. In general, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is a dog with a strong, energetic and defiant temperament.

He is a very protective dog, so he is an excellent guard dog, very successfully protecting anything he wants or considers his own, such as his family or his territory. He is therefore suspicious of strangers, being able to present them with aggressive behavior on many occasions, especially if they associate them with any threat or danger.

They are extremely loyal and intelligent, and they learn very quickly. However, keep in mind that their strong temperament can cause coexistence problems, especially in households with more animals.

Caring for a Catahoula Leopard Dog

In the case of the catahoula leopard dog, one of the fundamental cares is to provide them with good quality food, as with all dogs, but some experts point out that for this particular breed it can be highly recommended to follow a diet based on homemade food.Of course, whatever the type of food, it must be accompanied by good hydration, ensuring that the animal always has fresh water at its disposal.

The coat of these dogs requires frequent brushing. Also, during the shedding period, their coat should be brushed at least once a day, although it may even be necessary to brush it twice a day to remove excess accumulated hair. As far as baths are concerned, it is recommended to perform them no more than once a month, limiting them to what is strictly necessary.

As mentioned, this is a fairly energetic dog, requiring daily exercise, requiring long walks and exercise such as running or playing ball. It is also often recommended to teach them to play disc or do agility circuits. In this breed of dog, canine sports and intelligence games at home are fully recommended, so do not hesitate and take the opportunity to exercise with your dog.

Catahoula leopard dog education

" The strong character of the catahoula leopard dog means that his training must be quite exhaustive to obtain the desired results. Early socialization is even more relevant than with other dog breeds due to their temperament and the fact that they are very territorial dogs. In this other article, you will find excellent advice on how to socialize them when they are still small: How to properly socialize your puppy?."

It is also very important to teach him to react in different ways in order to avoid aggressive reactions, which usually does not happen with his family, but with other people or animals, often with other dogs. In addition, being a very possessive dog, it is possible that it develops the habit of protecting its toys and food, so it is also practical to pay attention to this point to avoid it or know how to treat it.Of course, in the event of adopting an adult catahoula leopard dog and not knowing how to solve certain behavioral problems, we recommend that you contact an educator or a professional ethologist.

Finally, it should be noted that, as with all dogs, positive reinforcement is the most effective method of education and training, so punishment, shouting and never resorting to physical abuse.

Catahoula leopard dog he alth

Due to their large size, the Catahoula Leopard Dog can suffer from conditions such as hip dysplasia. This alteration affects the hip joint, since the head of the patella wears out, causing a high level of pain and discomfort in the animal, coming to completely prevent their mobility. To prevent hip dysplasia, there are certain measures, such as frequent X-rays to act at the slightest sign that something is wrong.In dogs with hip dysplasia, it is recommended to do special exercises or provide them with dietary supplements and medications such as chondroprotectors, which help the proper functioning of the joints.

Besides hip dysplasia, there is a high risk of gastric torsion, which, if not treated quickly, can be fatal to the animal. Some tips to avoid this are to make sure they don't eat large amounts of food all at once and don't exercise or run right after eating.

Where to adopt a catahoula leopard dog?

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a fairly rare dog outside of the southern United States, but even there it can be difficult to find one. However, we do not want to mention here only the difficulties of adopting one of these dogs, but also the importance of knowing their characteristics and specific needs before adopting it.

We must take into account that these are very strong-willed dogs, which can lead to complications when living with them if they are not properly educated and trained. This is something very important, because if you do not assess the needs of an animal before adopting it, it is unfortunately common that they end up in abandonment, another form of animal abuse. If, after evaluating all of this, you still decide to adopt a catahoula leopard dog, we recommend that you visit shelters, reception centers and animal associations.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Pictures

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