Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dog by istock.

Quick Facts

  • Weight: 45 – 95 pounds
  • Height: 20 – 26 inches

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.


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

Ideal Human Companion

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

What They Are Like to Live With

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.

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.

2 thoughts on “Catahoula Leopard Dog”

  1. I rescued a 7-week-old pup from my local shelter, he along with a female pup were found on side of a country road.
    I did a DNA test on him, and the results were mostly Catahoula, with "hound" genes. He was a majestic dog.
    I lost him last year 2022 to Osteosarcoma of the skull; he was a rock star at The Oncology Center in VA.
    He was loyal, fierce, goofy, a great watchdog and a surrogate to 11 puppies my Plott Hound birth.
    I buried him in my heart.

  2. We have an adopted a dog from the humane society in Bay county. If he's not full-blooded I believe he is so close to this breed. He is super intelligent and extremely loving he is also high energy. In every way he resembles this breed with the exception of his ears that flop a tiny bit at the top. I would love to hear from an expert on his pedigree for I feel he is full-blooded! I wish I could include a picture I would if I could. If anybody would contact me it would be nice thank you.

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