The Catahoula Leopard dog is an intelligent, energetic, hard working dog that has a long history in herding and hunting. Sometimes denounced as an aggressive dog, they are better described as aggressive workers, as they have a very strong work ethic and love to work, but it is also true that they are very wary of strangers. These independent, strong willed, territorial dogs are best owned by handlers with a lot of experience with dogs that are strong natured. Catahoula Leopard dogs are not considered to be good suburban pets and do better in a working atmosphere with lots of outdoor land.
Here are some more interesting facts about the Catahoula Leopard dog:
The Catahoula Leopard dog was developed in northern Louisiana. It is named for Catahoula Parish, which in turn takes its name from the Choctaw Indian word which means sacred lake. The area is well known for its marshy landscape.
In 1979, Governor Edwin Edwards signed a bill that named the Catahoula Leopard dog the State Dog of Louisiana.
The Catahoula Leopard dog has been known by a variety of names over the years, including the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog, the Catahoula Cur, the Catahoula Hog Dog and the Catahoula Hound.
While the actual origins of the Catahoula Leopard dog have been lost to history, it is thought that their ancestors include the domesticated dogs of Native Americans that lived in what we call today northern Louisiana, the war dogs of Hernando De Soto, who explored the region in the 16th century, and the Beauceron dogs of the French settlers in the 17th century.
The Catahoula Leopard dog also gets its name from its coat. The merle coat, also sometimes called leopard, because of the mottled colors on the coat.
Catahoula Leopard dogs are generally considered to be healthy dogs, but they do run the risk in deafness, particularly in those that inherit a double merle coat, or a white coat. Some experts claim that double merle Catahoula Leopard dogs have an eighty percent chance of being deaf in one or both ears.
Another interesting physical feature of the Catahoula Leopard dog is its webbed feet. While many breeds have webbing between the toes, The Catahoula Leopard dog's paws are unique because the webbing usually goes all the way to the end of the toes.
Catahoula Leopard dogs are very versatile and today are used for hunting, herding, search and rescue, and even handicapped services.
Catahoula Leopard dogs have been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service of the American Kennel Club since 1996.
Catahoula Leopard dogs are not yet registered through the American Kennel Club but are welcome in the United Kennel Club, the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas, and the National Kennel Club.