A Catta Whatta Dog? – The Remarkable Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog

by c.

The Dog is a dog breed being considered by the AKC for inclusion as a registered breed. The following article describes the breed.

The Dog, also known as a , Cur, and/or Catahoula Hog Dog, is one of, if not the oldest breed found in the United States. First recorded in 1686, near , in , these amazingly handsome, fearless, tireless, hardworking with spotted leopard like spots and white/pale blue eyes, were immediately considered worth their weight in gold.

The word “Catahoula” is believed to be a corrupted version of the Choctaw Indian word for “beautiful, clear water”…aptly describing their striking white/pale blue “glass” eyes.

Believed to be descendents of Hernando de Sotos' Spanish war (Greyhounds and Mastiffs), abandoned 100 years earlier, the theory is; they were captured and bred with “dogs” thought to be domesticated red wolves; belonging to the Choctaw Indians in the Catahoula Lake region of . Later they were bred with dogs the early settlers brought with them to Louisiana. From that, three lines were derived.

The three lines from which they descend are: McMillan, Fairbanks and Wright; each with specific distinctiveness. Whatever their genealogy, they are dogs! Indians, hunters and settlers recognized the value of their untiring and courageous nature. Used to flush wild boar from the woods, they instinctively would incite the animal. The squeals of their target would attract other wild pigs in the area. The dogs would then draw not one, but several to chase them to trap the owners prepared. The wild pigs would follow the lead dog into the pen, at which point the dog would smoothly scale it to safety. The remaining dogs would shield the pen entrance as the owner closed the gate, leaving the wild pigs trapped. As dangerous as it was, it was all in a day's work for a Catahoula!

The Catahoula proved their worth in other valuable ways. Labeled as a “scent” hound, with their extraordinary nose and webbed feet, the Catahoula would easily “wind” and herd lost cattle by “heeling” them out of the alligator filled swamps.

Hunters and trappers appreciated their tenaciousness. They would not only “tree” opossum and raccoons, they would climb the tree to keep him there!

Things to know about a Catahoula Leopard Dog, before acquiring one:

1. Temperament: Loyal to their owners; they are not particularly friendly with strangers. They are stubborn, high energy, assertive, and persistent. Tremendously independent – they are natural pack leaders.
2. Guard dog capacity: Exceptionally protective of their family…human or animal.
3. With other dogs: Not dog friendly…can be aggressive, especially with same sex.
4. Children: Good with children they have “grown up” with and if socialized as a puppy. Due to their innate herding instinct, they should be attentively supervised with small children.
5. Small animals: Not good with small animals. High predator drive. Must be socialized while very young.
6. Activity level: Tireless – needs minimum of 2 hours of running exercise daily – this dog is bred to work…it needs a job!
7. Special skills: Superb hunting dog, can be aggressive with livestock.
8. Health – Generally healthy, with the exception of possible hip dysplasia and vision problems. The more white the dog has, the more likely the odds of hearing and/or vision problems.
9. Size: Medium – Height – 20-26 inches Weight varies according to which of the three lines they descend from.
McMillan – 50 – 60 pounds
Fairbanks – 65-70 pounds
Wright – 90-110 pounds
10. Lifespan: Average 10-14 years.
11. Learning capacity: Exceptionally high.
12. Problem solving ability: High
13. Grooming Care: Minimal – Short to medium coat.

It should be noted, a novice dog owner is no match for this incredible dog. They will run circles around them! To channel their energy is like trying to control lightning in a bottle! This is not a dog that will be happy in an apartment, condo or small fenced yard…remember, they effortlessly can scale a six-foot plus pen!

Bottom Line: A needs assertive, strong leaders, who will respect their dog's physical activity needs, challenge them mentally and command their attention. There is almost a sense of wildness with this breed.

They respond best to positive reinforcement, punishment-free training. They love to learn, and meet each new challenge with enthusiasm. They can be aggressive in dog parks. They can be undyingly loyal and affectionate with their owners.

Even though the American Kennel Club does not yet recognize them, the State of Louisiana, has shown their appreciation for this marvelous animal. In 1979, the was honored and recognized, as their state dog.

Karen A. Soukiasian, GOOD DOG! – DOG TRAINING – Owner/Trainer, St. Augustine, Florida – AKC CANINE GOOD CITIZEN Evaluator http://www.freewebs.com/gooddogsite

Casita Big Dog Rescue Leader of the Pack Rafael Cabrera talks about the Catahoula breed and his observations about Cleo. Support Casita Big Dog Rescue by Sho…

Click Here to Learn How to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy!

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    • Anonymous
    • May 12, 2013

    That's a nice looking dog. I loved the article. I have 3 dogs that I'm working with now. I also started a website that has a lot of good articles on training your dog and some cool secrets too at http://www.dogtrainingclasses101.publicnichesite.com.

    • Brandon Morse
    • May 10, 2013

    I have a Catahoula I found at the pound, by far the smartest dog Ive ever had. He loves to talk and LOVES watching TV/Movies, mostly action, his favorite movie Ive found so far is Top Gun. He sat on the couch with me and watched it from start to finish.

    • aidan rinaldi-young
    • May 10, 2013

    i have a black catahoula lepard dog its belly is spotted nothing else from alibama

    • aidan rinaldi-young
    • May 10, 2013

    p.s. my dog is EXTREMLY clumsy

    • aidan rinaldi-young
    • May 10, 2013

    pps he is sooo kind

    • jenny pawelka
    • May 10, 2013

    I have one too, he’s so pretty!! Also hard to train any tips? He pulls very hard on the leash when walking, and he doesn’t come when I call him.

    • marcus kristin
    • May 10, 2013

    catahoula’s are a pack dog. you have to force him to walk beside or behind you otherwise they will always pull. a quick harmless pop of the collar and a firm no after guiding them to where you want them to walk, over time he will catch on. i did this with my catahoula and her whole temperment changed when she realized i was pack leader.

    • FeelSoAlone
    • May 10, 2013

    I have a Cat cross. This is a beautiful dog btw! They are harder to find here in Canada, but I love these dogs. My next dog will be another Cat or a Redbone.

    • Isaias Sosa
    • May 10, 2013

    Look at my catahoulas! I need this for a project watch?v=9Gw06k4SNdU

    • Katie Katts
    • May 10, 2013

    I actually did find a catahoula here in Iowa at our local shelter. Its kind of a rare breed here, but we are very happy we found ours. Ours is named stewie. We love him very much, and our family would not be the same without him. Catahoulas are very smart, and gorgous dogs. Stewie is colored Blue Merle, and looks fairly similar to yours. Ever since I found stewie I dont want any other dog breed. Catahoulas are my absolute favorite. They are loyal, funny, loving, and protective.

    • PandaBeafr
    • May 10, 2013

    Two of our catahoulas were rescues. I’ve raised other breeds but Catahoulas are my favorites. Unfortunately, many people consider them “mutts” because of their non-standard coloring but that’s what I love about them. Their loyalty can’t be questioned and their intelligence shows in so many surprising ways. Thank you for the posting

    • kupigana
    • May 10, 2013

    Beautiful dog

    • PandaBeafr
    • May 10, 2013

    When they start pulling, abruptly turn around the other way and start walking. When they start pulling again, turn the opposite way again.  It may take some time but they’ll get it. Also keep your leash short so they do walk beside you. It’s a gentle way to make them use their intelligence instead of using brute force.

    • petewentz32
    • May 10, 2013

    I have a Catahoula. The rescue I got him from found him in Tennessee as a stray. He is the biggest lovebug ever. I am so happy he’s mine. It’s so wonderful that I was able to find him in the North East cause they’re so rare up here. I intend on getting more of these wonderful dogs in the future. They’re really smart, playful, and loving. I couldn’t be happier.

    • schum009
    • May 10, 2013

    I just got one from the local shelter. I had never even heard of them before. I already love her a ton.

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