Catahoula Information  

The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog once known as The Catahoula Cur is a medium to medium-large dog that is well muscled, and capable of performing a variety of tasks. A Catahoula female should stand 20-24 inches at the withers, and weigh between 50 and 65 lbs. Males should stand 22-26 inches at the withers and weigh between 65 and 90 lbs.

The feet of the Catahoula are webbed very similar to that of a duck. Most dogs have a webbing between their toes, but, the web of a Catahoula is very prominent and extends almost to the end of the toes. This fully webbed foot enables the Catahoula to work soft marshy areas very easily, and aids them in being great swimmers.

The eyes may be blue(glass), green, brown or amber. They may have two different colored eyes, or may have "cracked" eyes. An eye is considered cracked when two different colors appear within the same eye. This could be as much as half of the eye, or as little as a different colored streak running through the eye.

The Catahoula is very wary of strangers but is at home with children. If a child and pup are allowed to grow together, you will not have to worry about your child. You will have a built in baby-sitter. As with any dog, you must be cautious when introducing him to new people. Catahoulas know what and whom they like, and I've found them to be an excellent judge of character. You will not be able to force this dog to like someone if his instincts tell him otherwise. His family comes first and that's who will receive his loyalty.

The Catahoula is not an aggressive dog, but it is assertive. This dog will not tolerate being mishandled, mistreated, or attacked. It will defend itself to whatever means necessary. There are some breeders that refer to their dogs as aggressive dogs, but I have found that this is a reference to the manner in which they work. It is more likely meant that the dogs are very enthusiastic about doing their job. There are some dogs that are aggressive and will seek to bite, but the owner or breeder should be able to explain those actions, and the reason for breeding such dogs. The Catahoula is a dog that will take charge when it is necessary. It is naturally protective of what and whom it thinks it owns. My home is located 200 feet off of the main road with a gravel drive leading to the home. The kennel is located 100 feet behind my home. If you were to park your car on the road and walk on the gravel, I would know you were coming before you could get halfway up the driveway. If you were to drive into the driveway, I would know you were coming before you reached the house. Every dog in the kennel will alert me to the fact that something or someone that does not belong here has arrived. Each dog knows this property, and there isn't any way to approach my home without my knowing of your presence.

A Catahoula requires a minimum of one hour of running exercise each day, rain or shine. If the dog is kept outdoors, this is not a problem, but, if he is an indoor dog, he must get this exercise. Daily walks or runs in a yard are sufficient, but they are necessary. Since this dog has the inherent nature to herd and track game, he needs the exercise to release some of that pent up energy.

You must be ready to teach and exercise a Catahoula. If not, he will eat your house. The Catahoula will not let you forget that you own a dog. If you do not have the time and energy it takes to train and exercise an active dog, then the Catahoula is not the dog for you. To describe what a Catahoula is like is almost impossible. You really have to own one to understand these dogs. Once you own one, you will be amazed that this dog already knows what you want, and what you are going to do. You will swear that the dog can read your mind, and he will out-think you, if given the chance.

One of the major genetic flaws in this breed is the presence of deafness. A Catahoula that is predominantly white, or a white faced dog with glass eyes, has an 80% chance of being bi-laterally deaf or uni-laterally hearing. This means that the dog will either be deaf in both ears, or, have hearing in one of its ears. Uni-lateral hearing is often referred to as "directional deafness". Care should be taken when acquiring a Catahoula with these visible traits. Test the dog with noises and sounds such as squeakers, clickers, or tuning fork at the proper pitch before purchasing, or have the dog tested utilizing the Baer Test to ensure hearing. Your veterinarian can help you to locate a facility that employs this type of testing.

There has been a great deal of speculation as to where the "Bob-tailed" Catahoula came into existence. Some have questioned whether or not it is truly a Catahoula. There are naturally bob-tailed Catahoulas. In some show arenas this is considered a fault. In others it is not. Personally I feel that if the dog is a natural bob-tail specimen, then it should not be considered a fault. If the tail is bobbed by an individual for whatever reason, then it should be a fault. The difference can be felt in the bone of the tail. If you have a bob-tailed Catahoula, you must verify with the officials of the show you attend as to whether or not this is considered a fault. Personally, I like a dog with a tail.

If you intend to become a breeder, I urge you to study the genetics of this breed. It is important to keep the working abilities foremost in mind when breeding. By not keeping these traits alive in the breed, you will eventually end up with a lap-dog. One that is only enjoyable to look at without any of its best traits present. This breed has been allowed to evolve for over 400 years with very few changes. Today, we know from studies that some of these traits are directly inherited. For example: It is necessary to understand what the desirable traits are and to breed for those traits. Of course, this doesn't mean that any two dogs can be bred to produce the perfect specimen. It takes a whole lot more than that. You must study the line background of each of the dogs you intend to breed. Know where they came from, and what six generations of ancestors were like. When researching, check for colors, eyes, deafness, hips or lameness, bite(teeth formation), disease, temperament, ability, conformation, etc. All of their traits must be considered, not just a few. Understand and accept the Probability, not the Possibility, of what may result from the breeding. It takes more than just two dogs to produce that great dog. It takes Time, Knowledge, and Planning.

The Louisisana Catahoula Leopard dog may be registered with the United Kennel Club (UKC), Animal Research Foundation (ARF), National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas (NALC), and National Kennel Club (NKC).

Abney Catahoulas are registered with United Kennel Club and National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas

Below is part of a video that was taken by Backyard Wonders of Southeastern University, and is being shown in all of the Louisiana Visitor Centers. I'm sorry for the audio, it's the way I received the file. Please turn your volume up to full prior to viewing.

You may view all of the Louisiana State Emblems by visiting the The Southeastern Channel.
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