Looking for an easy-going dog that doesn't know a stranger? The Catahoula Leopard Dog is not the breed for you. First-time owners may want to steer clear of this extremely protective and territorial breed. Meek owners should avoid them as well. This is a loving but strong breed with distinct personality traits.
Catahoula Leopard Dogs require special care and attention. They love their owners and their families. Unfortunately, they tend to shy away from strangers. They may be aggressive with strangers or with strange dogs, especially those of the same sex. This makes things difficult for owners living in heavily populated or suburban areas.
Catahoula Leopard Dogs are better off in rural areas, where they don't come across too many unfamiliar faces. As puppies, they are less timid but around age two, they develop a fondness for the familiar. They also become more physical. For this reason, they are often used as working or hunting dogs. They will stand by their owner's side with pride. Still, because the breed is stubborn, inexperienced owners are discouraged from the breed.
Catahoula Leopard Dogs are independent thinkers. So, they need strong owners who can dominate a dominant dog. If you decide to bring one home, there are few things you need to know. First off, be able to dedicate a lot of time to training. The dog will require obedience training. Reading books on training methods before hand may help. Group training isn't the best idea. Hire a dog trainer to come to your home or give it your best solo effort. Positive reinforcement is the best method.
Also, the dog will need a secure confined area on your property. An outside area where the dog can play freely is a necessity. The breed is extremely active, playful and energetic. Catahoula Leopard Dogs love to run. So, don't expect to keep them on a leash all the time.
Don't push the dog on strangers. They need to warm up to people, not the other way around. Introduce someone new slowly. Let the dog adjust in their own time. This may take some sniffing.
If mistreated, a Catahoula Leopard Dog will respond accordingly. The dog will also react if it feels its owner or family is being threatened. So, they are good watch dogs.
For an experienced owner, the breeds strong will and temperament may come as no surprise. In general, if properly trained and cared for, Catahoula Leopard Dogs can be great family dogs. They will adjust to children. They will also protect children. Like with any breed, it is important to socialize the dog early on. If you're looking for a strong-willed loving dog to stand by your side, a Catahoula Leopard Dog may be the right breed for you.