Catahoula Leopard Dog – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
There aren't many dogs similar to Catahoula Leopard Dogs. Do you think that this spotted pooch is what your home needs? Read on and discover if this breed is for you.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
20 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder
50 to 90 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Catahoula Leopard Dog is a multi-purpose working dog known for his unique coat and overall appearance. These dogs are powerful and well-muscled with a strong sense of agility.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a working dog who loves being playful at home next to his humans.

This is a medium-large dog with a short coat, known for his many various coat colors, eye colors, and patterns.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is the only breed of dog to have historically originated in the state of Louisiana.

This breed is only for those who can provide proper guidance and early socialization and know their way around dogs.

Simply said, this breed isn’t for first time dog owners.

They can be independent, highly territorial, and extremely protective – demonstrating traits that only experienced dog owners can handle. However, once they integrate within the family they will show nothing but affection, loyalty, and a gentle side.

For a large dog, they are highly active and will demand a lot of exercise.

Catahoula Leopard Dogs will do their best in a home with a big and well-fenced yard, next to family members who are experienced with dogs.

If you are up for owning a bog dog with high-energy levels, think about welcoming the Catahoula Leopard Dog into your life.

Quick Facts

Real name: Catahoula Leopard Dog
Other names: Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, Catahoula Cur, Catahoula hog dog
Origin: States
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 50 to 90 pounds
Height: 20 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan:10 to 14 years
Litter Size: 4 – 12 puppies
Color: ‘Spotted-up’ coat
Coat: Short-to-medium smooth coat

Catahoula Leopard Dog History

Catahoula Leopard Dog is a dog of mysterious origin. Yet, more is to be discovered about this dog of unusual appearance.

Still, one is for sure when it comes to this breed – this dog has above average working instinct.

Catahoula Leopard Dog roots can be traced back to the 1500s when this breed spend his days helping Lousiana settlers and Native Americans with everyday duties.

These spotted dogs are actually a mix. Spanish explorers in Florida carried dogs with them and started breeding them with local Choctaws, bloodhounds, and European mastiffs, creating a wolf-like dog.

These wolf-like dogs were domesticated by the local Choctaws and other indigenous tribes. In fact, locals were the ones who named this breed the ‘wolf dogs.’

Many years, and centuries later, these dogs were crossed with hounds in Northern Lousiana, and that was the start of the modern Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Fun fact: Catahoula Leopard Dog was named Louisiana’s official state dog in 1979.

Residents of the New World appreciated Catahoula Leopard Dog’s skills, but they loved them for their talent for hemming in and rounding up wild hogs and star cats.

In no time, they were labeled as great working dogs.

The National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas was formed in the late 1970s.

England’s United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1996, while the American Kennel Club (AKC) placed the breed in Foundation Stock Service, which is usually the first step before full recognition.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Physical Appearance

Catahoula Leopard Dog is a multicolored breed with a spotted coat. They will commonly have short to medium coats of smooth texture and soft on touch.

They usually have 22 to 26 inches, and 65 to 90 pounds, with females being slightly smaller compared to males.

Females usually range 20 to 24 inches at the shoulder, and 50 to 65 pounds.

Some of the coat colors may include black, gray, white, silver, blue, buff, tan and red. They should have brown eyes, but it’s not uncommon to see two separate colors in one eye.

Overall, the body is muscular and very stocky.

Ears should be uncropped and set below the top of the head. The tail is always long, tapered, and carried high.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Personality

Catahoula Leopard Dog’s temperament can be described as intense.

These dogs are hard-working dogs, with serious and focused minds when outside. They are protective, often playful, and really affectionate when it comes to showing love and protection toward their family members.

Catahoula Leopard Dogs tend to be aloof around strangers, which is why proper training and socialization are mandatory.

With dogs of the same sex, they may show some signs of aggression. Their strong prey drive makes them unsafe around smaller pets, including cats.

Catahoula Leopard Dogs will always bark at strangers, which next to their superb protective instincts makes them excellent watchdogs.

Catahoulas will get along with children, especially older ones who know how to behave around dogs and follow house dog rules.

Living With Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dogs need a lot of space to run and explore.

In fact, if you miss satisfying these needs of their they might become heavily destructive.

Destructive behavior is often seen when dogs are unsatisfied and unhappy. This is, even more, the truth when it comes to larger and active breeds.

This breed needs a minimum of one hour of physical exercise a day.

That being said, this spotted dog is a great choice for those who have a more active and outdoor life.

No matter how much they love the outdoors, this breed shouldn’t be left outside. When the days are too hot, make sure that you keep a bowl with fresh water outdoor.

Since they have a strong prey drive and love chasing small animals, they may not be at their best behavior at dog parks or walking without the leash.

Catahoula Leopard Dogs shouldn’t be left alone for too long. Make sure that the entire family shares dog-related obligations, and that there is always someone with your Leopard at home.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Training

Catahoulas are highly intelligent dogs and as such, they are easy to train.

At least, that’s the case if you already have experience as a dog owner. Training should start as soon as you bring your Catahoula Leopard Dog home.

Make sure that you have enough toys on hand, that you know how to structure training sessions, and how often.

When it comes to successful training it all comes down to consistency.

Consistency is the key when you are shaping a well-behaved canine citizen.

Use the socialization window to teach your dog basic commands, master house dog rules, and learn how to behave around people.

Once your veterinarian gives you a green light, you can expose him to other dogs and let him explore.

These dogs aren’t fully matured until they are 2 years old, and this is something to bear in mind. Therefore, make sure that you don’t push your Leopard with workouts.

This is especially important when it comes to puppies because their joints are far more sensitive and prone to injuries.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Exercise

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are active canines, who need a large space and an enormous backyard to run.

Activity is what will keep this dog entertained and happy.

Plus, if you could always provide a job for this dog to do, he will appreciate it.

Apartment life isn’t for this breed, nor is the busy city life. Their energy levels are beyond average and they need large space to burn out that extra energy.

When bored, Leopard is most likely to dig holes and chew things.

To prevent any form of destructive behavior, you can try some of the following activities:

  • Swimming
  • Long hours in the backyard
  • Hiking
  • Retrieving balls
  • Flyign discs

Next to this, you should provide enough walks per day. Provide additional walks, next to mandatory bathroom walks.

This dog is a great swimmer, so anything water-related will make this dog super excited and happy.

Think about water sports for dogs, or training dog sports, such as agility or obedience.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Grooming

Weekly grooming is mandatory when once you get a dog. This doesn’t mean that brushing is the only practice that should be performed to keep your dog well-maintained.

No, grooming goes beyond that and includes:

  • Regular brushing as the first step
  • Weekly gums and eyes check
  • Trim or nails grinding monthly
  • Ocassional bath
  • Ear cleaning

Overall, this is a low-maintenance breed.

Still, if you feel like you need help with grooming, you can always think about a professional groomer.

It may be pricey, but it will save you time and a lot of energy.

Still, don’t ignore brushing completely, because it’s a great way to bond with your dog.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Health

One of the biggest issues in this breed is deafness.

Still, this condition is often linked with individuals and doesn’t mean that it will appear in your Catahoula.

Responsible breeders will put extra time to test puppies on their hearing status. Moreover, they will usually euthanize deaf pups.

In fact, puppies born from a litter where both parents have the merle color pattern are at the highest risk of being blind or deaf.

There are 25% chances for puppies to become blind or deaf. This is why you should only deal with responsible breeders.

They will present you with medical documentation on puppies, inform you of their health, and only give you the dog if they see you as a fitting choice.

Responsible breeders will also let you meet the bitch and show you the facilities.

If you aren’t experiencing this know that you are standing in the middle of a puppy mill.

Other than this, Catahoulas are considered to be healthy dogs. Like any other dog, representatives of this breed may develop certain conditions during their lifetime.

Again, this doesn’t mean that your dog will get any of the following conditions, but it means that you should inform better on these issues.

The following health issue may occur in this spotted breed:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Deafness
  • Eye problems

As long as you provide proper care, a safe environment, and enough exercise, your Leopard should be able to reach up to 14 years.

The average lifespan of this breed is 10 years, and that is if you provide regular veterinarian check-ups.

Regular check-ups are the best prevention and the most effective way to keep your dog both healthy and happy.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Nutrition

Catahoula Leopard Dogs should do more than fine on high-quality food and regular meals.

Before you get a dog learn about the dog’s nutritional needs, how often you should feed your dog, and how big portions should be.

Get more info on bloat, and learn how to avoid it. Serve food that is appropriate to the dog’s age, size, and activity level.

There isn’t much need on feeding a puppy with senior food and vice versa. Why? This way they won’t get any of the much-needed nutrients that can boost their health.

Is Catahoula Leopard Dog For You?

If you are a first time dog owner, then Catahoula Leopard Dog isn’t for you.

As a novice owner, you might choose to focus on choosing a breed that is more suitable for novice owners.

On the other hand, if you have experience as a dog owner, and you especially know how to behave around dogs that have above average energy, then this breed might be for you.

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