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Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog


Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog Facts

  • Group
  • Herding
  • Affiliations
  • UKC
  • Height
  • 20" - 26"
  • Weight
  • 50-85 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Easy
  • Colors
    • Tri-color (white/tan/black)
    • Black
    • Silver / Grey
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Good with children
    • Rescue heritage
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Catahoula, Catahaula cur, Catahaula hog dog, Catahoula leopard dog.


The Catahoula originated in North Central Louisiana in the geographic area around the Catahoula Lake from which it got its name.

Date Of Origin

It is unknown when this breed originated.


It was once said that this dog lived alongside the Native Americans before the first settlers came to America, however recent DNA work does not support this theory.
Now most experts believe that the Catahoula is thought to have descended from "war dogs" (Mastiffs and Greyhounds) brought to Louisiana by Hernando de Soto in the 16th century. Dogs left behind by the explorer's party were interbred by the local natives with their domestic dogs.
In the 1800s, French settlers arrived in Louisiana with their Beauceron. They told of strange looking dogs with haunting glass eyes that were used by the Indians to hunt game in the swamp. It is thought the Beauceron and Red Wolf/war dog were interbred to produce the Catahoula. The word 'Catahoula' is actually a combination of two Choctaw words 'okhata', meaning lake, and 'hullo', meaning beloved... or a French transformation of the Choctaw Indian word for their own nation, 'Couthaougoula' pronounced 'Coot-ha-oo-goo-la'.


This is a large, agile and muscular dog. Catahoulas Leopards have a single, short, dense coat in a variety of colors though they are mostly black, grey and white. These dogs are actually solid colored dogs that have been affected by the merle gene which dilutes a normally dark coat. This merle gene combines with solid colors to create merle patterns in patches of white and colored hairs intermingled with patches of solid colors. The coat may be coarse, silky or wooly.
The tail of the Catahoula may be long and whip-like reaching past the hocks of the back legs or bobtail which is a tail that is one vertebra shorter than full length to only one vertebra in total length. The question mark tail is a common tail trait often with a white tip. The bobtail is a rare but natural part of the Catahoula Heritage.
Though most dogs have webbing between the toes, Catahoulas' feet have more prominent webbing which extends almost to the ends of the toes. This foot gives the Catahoula the ability to work marshy areas and gives them great swimming ability.


Catahoulas are highly intelligent and energetic. They are assertive but not aggressive by nature. They have a need to take charge of their pack whether other dogs or humans. Catahoulas make a very good family dog and are excellent with children. It has been noted that breed individuals have often taken it upon themselves to look after children without any training. A high energy dog, they need a minimum of one hour of exercise a day. They do not tolerate isolation and thrive on interaction. Having a chore or job helps occupy their time. Introducing a Catahoula to another animal should be done in the same manner as with any other dog. In fact, many owners will say that the Catahoula owns them. Catahoulas have been trained for personal protection, but this breed is a natural alarm dog. He will alert you to anything out of the ordinary.


This breed is used in herding, ratting, search and rescue and in the home as a companion.

Health Concerns

Deafness, hip dysplasia,

Additional Information

This dog must be well exercised and requires a lot of attention.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein


Publisher: WikiMedia Foundation, On Going

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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