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American Leopard Hound Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Care Guide & Facts

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Dogster Team


American Leopard Hound Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Care Guide & Facts

The American Leopard Hound is a brave, fearsome, and devoted hunter used for hunting livestock and even wild bears. He will work tirelessly and is strong and fast. Any owners that intend to keep one as a pet must also meet these needs to ensure that the Leopard Hound remains happy and healthy.

When not hunting, the Leopard Hound makes a loyal, devoted pet. It bonds closely with humans, gets along well with people of all ages, and can be trained to be a sociable, respectful, and happy member of any family. This hunting breed usually gets along well with other dogs.

Breed Overview


20 – 28 inches


35 – 75 pounds


10 – 15 years


Black, tan, white, brown, blue, yellow

Suitable for:

Very active families, with children, seniors, and other pets


Loyal, Affectionate, Energetic, Playful

The breed does better in a house with a yard, giving him room to burn off extra energy. His size and energy mean that he is not likely to make the best apartment pet. Even with a yard, do not underestimate the amount of exercise that a breed like this requires. It will prefer running to walking, but will also enjoy long hikes, and it does well at agility and canine sports.

Early socialization is important with all dogs, including the American Leopard Hound, who can be reserved and even a little bashful around strangers without the practice. Read on to find out more about this incredible hunting breed.

American Leopard Hound Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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American Leopard Hound Puppies

Image By: Dee Dalasio, Shutterstock

Although the American Leopard Hound has been bred for its utility and function, rather than its looks, it has a very distinctive appearance.

When buying from a breeder, you should always ensure that you meet the dog before you agree to purchase. The American Leopard Hound is not considered an aggressive breed, but it can be shy and reserved around strangers. The breed may also become destructive and exhibit other antisocial behavior patterns if bored and left to its own devices. Meeting one or both parents of a puppy enables you to get some idea of how it is likely to grow up. Good socialization and training mean that any puppy should become well-adjusted, but at least for the first few months, the young dog will take social and training cues from its mother. If she is happy and well-adjusted, it gives the puppy a very good chance of growing up similarly sociable.

The distinctive look of the American Leopard Hound and their working pedigree, as well as their scarcity, means that they are rarely found in shelters. However, they do require a lot of exercise and may become destructive if they do not get enough, so you might be able to find one in a local rescue.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the American Leopard Hound

The American hunting breed is friendly and will form a close bond with its handlers. It is also energetic, and this does come across in its bounding behavior. And, while the Leopard Hound does get along with other dogs and will bond closely with human family members, it is a hunting dog and it does retain a relatively strong prey drive. Before you consider getting this breed or introducing it to your family, you should ensure that it has the right temperament and characteristics to fit into your home.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🧑‍🧑‍🧒

The Leopard Hound is very keen to please its human family, which makes ownership enjoyable and easy. Combined with keen intelligence, it also makes the breed easy to train, and other than the strong prey drive, this is considered a good breed for the novice and first-time owner.

In particular, the American Leopard will form a close bond with children and can become quite protective. This shouldn’t manifest as aggression, but the dog will watch over young children. You should be careful to ensure that any young children know how to behave around dogs before introducing them and remember that an energetic hunting dog like this can cause accidents and may knock young kids over accidentally.

The dog will get along with older children and will usually appreciate their willingness to play and run around.

The Leopard Hound will appreciate having the space to burn off energy. This means that it is not considered suitable for apartment living and will flourish if it is given the outdoor space of its own yard, although it should not be kept outdoors all the time because it will crave affection and human attention.

Keep it indoors, let it outdoors often, and ensure that you train your dog and young children how to behave responsibly around one another, and the American Leopard Hound makes an exceptional family pet.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The Leopard Hound gets along with other dogs. It will usually enjoy playing with other dogs down at the park, can live happily alongside one or more other dogs, and may benefit from the company and activity.

However, it is a hunting dog, and this means that it still has the prey-drive instinct. The Leopard Hound should not be trusted around small animals, although you may be able to introduce it to a cat when it is young and have them grow up happily together. When walking your dog, be prepared for the American Leopard to give chase to just about anything that darts away.

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Things to Know When Owning an American Leopard Hound:

The breed is energetic, loving, and will get along well with all family members, including other dogs. However, the Leopard Hound does require a lot of exercise and can be very energetic and lively, while also retaining a high prey drive.

This intelligent breed is easy to train and is considered an excellent choice of pet breed, but it is not suitable for all prospective owners. Read on to see whether this tree hound is suitable for a life in your home and with your family.

Image By: Dee Dalasio, Shutterstock

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

You should follow a feeding plan that is suitable for a high-energy dog of medium size. Stick to a feeding schedule and offer two or three meals a day rather than leaving food down for a free feeding regime. Feed a diet that is appropriate for your dog’s life stage and according to how much exercise they get each day. A dog that gets no exercise has very different requirements to one that is working the fields all day long. Many factors determine the amount you should feed, but expect to give approximately 3 cups of decent quality dry food per day. Follow manufacturer guidelines for wet food, and if you offer a combination of wet and dry food, adjust the amounts accordingly. Also, take into account any treats and training food you use when calculating how much to feed each day.

Exercise 🐕

The breed has long been used as a tree hound and is a hunting dog of some skill. It has a very high energy level and will require a lot of daily exercise to ensure that your Leopard Hound is healthy and happy. Although the breed will enjoy walks, it will prefer going jogging or even taking part in some canine agility and canine sports activities. Expect to walk a minimum of 2 miles per day, ideally several more.

The breed is intelligent, has a lot of energy, and is keen to impress its family. It also enjoys fun, so this is one breed that tends to do very well in agility classes.

Training 🎾

This combination of intelligence, energy, and a desire to impress, also makes the breed easy to train and the American Leopard Hound is considered a good choice of pet for novice and first-time owners. Training is important. The breed is energetic and can become bored, and this can lead to destructive behavior. Training not only provides you with the tools to prevent unwanted behavior, but it keeps your dog’s brain active which can help to reduce boredom and prevent bad behavior.

Grooming ✂️

The breed’s short hair is dense but it requires very little in the way of grooming. It will be beneficial to give a weekly brushing because this will remove dead hairs and get rid of any tangles or knots that have formed.

You should not bathe your dog, except when absolutely necessary, and this breed does not require regular cutting or trimming.

You will have to help with dental hygiene. Start when your dog is a puppy to get used to the process, and ensure that you brush teeth at least two or three times a week, and ideally daily.

Nails will also need regular trimming, although how often will depend on factors such as how often you walk your dog on abrasive surfaces. When you can hear their nails clipping on wooden and laminate flooring, this is a good indication that it is time to give them a trim.

Health and Conditions

The American Leopard Hound is considered a hardy and resilient dog. It can live in hot or cold conditions. It is considered a reasonably healthy breed and has an average life expectancy of between 10 and 15 years.

The breed does not have too many illnesses and conditions that are common. However, when two merle dogs of this breed mate, it can result in hearing and vision problems. The merle pattern comes from a recessive gene, and this gene is also responsible for the conditions. Both parents must carry the gene for it to be passed on, so do consider this when looking at details of the parent dogs.

Minor Conditions
  • Deafness
Serious Conditions
  • None

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Male vs Female

There is very little difference between male and female Leopard Hounds. The male of the breed may grow a little larger than the female but there are no known behavioral differences.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the American Leopard Hound

1. They Are Good Pets for Children

The Leopard Hound has a somewhat intimidating name, but, in reality, the breed makes a friendly and loving pet: one that will get along with all family members, regardless of their age. Although they can be a little boisterous and energetic, the Leopard Hound is considered suitable for families with children. They will be gentle with young children, appreciate the affection of adults, and will enjoy the playfulness and energetic nature of teens.

As with any breed, you should ensure that young children know how to behave around dogs before leaving them together. This is an energetic breed, too, which means that accidents can happen and small children are easily knocked over. However, they will form a very close bond with all family members. They can become quite protective over the children in the family, although this rarely manifests as aggression.

2. They Are a Hardy Breed

The breed is generally considered to be quite healthy, although it does have some illnesses and health conditions that are common to this type of dog.

Whether you live in extreme hot or cold conditions, though, the American Leopard Hound will likely adjust to the conditions and is considered a hardy breed. This is likely because of the dog’s heritage and history. It will have spent long days in the field with its hunter owner, and it will have lived in cold mountains as well as on the hot plains. The modern Leopard Hound is equally at home in cold or hot conditions, and just as happy in front of the fire at home.

3. The American Leopard Hound Could Be Mexican

The American Leopard Hound is so-called because this specific iteration of the breed was intentionally bred in the US. However, its heritage is more likely Hispanic. Scientists believe that the breed was brought to the Americas by conquistadors during the Spanish inquisition. They were then bred with Mexican dogs before being introduced to North America. Once on US soil, they were trained to help with hunting and they were used to hunt livestock, deer, and even wild bears. They are referred to as tree dogs, which means that they can be used to hunt around trees and tree-lined wilderness, preferring their keen sense of smell to their eyesight or other senses.

Image By: Dee Dalasio, Shutterstock


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Final Thoughts

The American Leopard Hound is a tree hound, which means that it is a hunting dog that relies on its incredible sense of smell to track down and follow its quarry. As a working dog, the Leopard Hound would be used to hunt livestock, deer, and even bears.

In the home, it is a loving dog that will get along with all family members, including children of all ages and other dogs. You should introduce the dog to cats and small animals slowly, but the breed’s intelligence, ease of training, and its desire to please you mean that this breed really does make a good family pet, as long as you have the time and inclination to get out and provide it with the desired amount of daily exercise.

Grooming is easy and the Leopard Hound also boasts healthy genes. Overall, this is a good choice of pet for owners of any experience.

Featured Image Credit: Dee Dalasio, Shutterstock

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