The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog (Catahoula), is a rare breed for Australia and is not recognized yet.
The Catahoula has its origin in the US & is the original state dog of Louisiana (being officially proclaimed on July 9th, 1979).
As with many breeds, the exact origin of the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is unknown. The Catahoula is probably a cross between American wild dogs and red wolves who often lived on the edge of the Indian settlements, in the Catahoula lake region. Further crossed into the breed were dogs brought by Spanish explorers (most likely Mastiff and Greyhound variants).
According to experts, when French Settlers later came to America with their dog, the Beauceron, it was also added to the mix, finally resulting in the Catahoula we have known for more than 40 years.
In earlier years Catahoulas had glassy eyes and a spotted pattern coat, but now you will find them in all varieties. They are patient with children, loyal to their family and assertive towards strangers, which make them an ideal house-protector and excellent guard dog.
When hunting, the Catahoula is diligent, reliable, efficient and very good at detecting deer, wild pigs, & other game. When herding it is often too tough for sheep, but on cattle they are very good. They will also teach stubborn cattle to behave. They love to be around horses also.
Most people think the name Leopard is from the spotted pattern, but actually it has its name because you can find a Catahoula in every color you can think of.
The Catahoula has some health problems, which is why it is very important to test the dogs before breeding them. Hip dysplasia is present in the Catahoula and as it can be very painful, it is not recommended to breed with Hip dysplastic dogs. Also Deafness and poor vision is present in the Catahoula. Most breeders breed Merle x Merle, and some dogs are even Double Merle bred to Merle – however this Merle gene can cause deafness.
Character is also very important. An unstable or aggressive character can be passed down to the pups, and is therefore to be avoided. Shyness also occurs in the Catahoula, but this can be overcome with socialization. If left unchecked however, shyness can turn into aggressiveness, and then the problems start!
They are very agile, highly intelligent and independent. Eager to learn but need a steady consistent owner. While the Catahoula is very intelligent and independent, you need to give it a job. Otherwise you will notice he will rule the household very soon.
The Catahoula NEED to run a minimum of 1-2 hrs a day to release their energy.
Remember, the Catahoula is a working breed, so a Catahoula is not for everyone.
Thanks to Fair Mate Catahoulas, Queensland for the information & images used on this page.