Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dogs combine hard-working toughness with a gentle family spirit. Easily at home on the range, trudging through swamps and rivers, they are just as comfortable playing on the carpet with children. Gentle, wise and easygoing, they make an agreeable family dog and warm-hearted friend.

Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dog Pictures

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see Catahoula Leopard Dog pictures »

Quick Facts

  • 45 - 95 pounds
  • 20 - 26 inches

Ideal Human Companions

    • Outdoorsy types
    • Ranchers
    • Active Singles
    • Families with older children

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Trademark Traits

    • Gentle
    • High-energy
    • Loyal
    • Protective
    • Intelligent
    • Reserved

What They Are Like to Live With

Protective and loyal with their owners, they can be slightly reserved around strangers. They have a strong sense of territory, but they are more cautious than anything, keeping a watchful eye on strangers and new people until they feel comfortable. Catahoulas make excellent watchdogs, especially on ranches, farms and other wide-open spaces.

Things You Should Know

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are high-energy, independent creatures that need strong-willed owners for proper training and socialization. This is not to say they are willful. On the contrary, they are very adaptable. However, they are strong enough, smart enough and curious enough to get into trouble if left to their own devices.

Catahoulas will do fine in apartments as long as they get plenty of exercise and attention. If kept in the back yard, they still need daily walks and companionship to feel settled and centered. Otherwise, they can get lonely, depressed and sometimes destructive. Games of fetch, vigorous hikes and “tasks” will keep their minds healthy and alert.

A healthy Catahoula Leopard Dog can live as long as 13 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, deafness and eye problems. Catahoulas are fairly easy to groom, needing just the basics: weekly brushing, plus occasional nail trimming and bathing.

Catahoula Leopard Dog History

The Catahoula Leopard Dog originated in the Catahoula region of northern Louisiana. Though no breeding records exist, they are believed to be a cross between native American Indian dogs and various Mastiffs, Bloodhounds and Greyhounds brought over by Spanish settlers in the 16th century. When settlers arrived in the area, they found packs of wild hogs and cattle in the woods and swamps. Catahoula Leopard Dogs had the intelligence, organization and quickness to herd these animals and form a virtual “fence” to keep them contained until people arrived. The Catahoula Leopard Dog was named the state dog of Louisiana in 1979.

The Look of a Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dogs have sturdy, medium-sized frames covered in short, tight coats that come in a number of colors including brindle, yellow, chocolate and merle. Their heads are broad and flat with medium-length muzzles, “marbled” blue or blue & white eyes, and ears that hang close to the cheek. Their backs are strong, chests are deep and legs are solid. They have long tails that hang low or point out. Overall, Catahoula Leopard Dogs have a poised and powerful look.

Talk About Catahoula Leopard Dogs 

A great hunting dog

My favorite breed is the Catahoula. It's a great breed to own if hunting is part of your life. These dogs are loyal and offer the best protection. And they're great with little kids

~Medusa, owner of a Catahoula Leopard Dog

Regular short walks required

I love this breed because they are very loyal and not aggressive. Catahoulas need to be taken out every few hours for a short walk or they start acting up. Once they are about a year and a half they can be left inside for several hours and will not tear anything up. They need lots of toys and they love to eat everything.

~Erica G, owner of a Catahoula Leopard Dog

A loving family dog

My boyfriend has had his Catahoula for four years and she is one of the sweetest dogs I know. She is very protective but so very loving at the same time.

Since I've come to live with him she likes to stick close to me while he's at work, and while we already knew she'd be great with the baby we're expecting it's comforting to see the facts back this up.

~Maryah M, owner of a Catahoula Leopard Dog

Good watchdog who loves children

Our Catahoula/Bloodhound mix is the best of both worlds. She loves children and is an extremely good watchdog. She has the nose of a Bloodhound, and herds us like a Catahoula.

~Joan M., owner of a Catahoula Leopard Dog