A Catahoula Leopard Dog rests on leaf-covered steps.

Catahoula Leopard Dog

20 - 24"
55 - 80 lbs
Life Expectancy
10 - 14 years
Area of Origin
United States
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is one of the most distinctive-looking breeds in the world because of their hair color and patterns, which resemble the spotting of a leopard. They are also known for having a strong work ethic and dedication to their jobs. The Cat, as they're often known, is the state dog of Louisiana. They received their name from the Northeast Louisiana parish of Catahoula. They are also known as the Leopard Stock dog, the Black Mouth Cur, the Yellow Cur, the East Texas Cow or Hog dog, the Red Cur, the Old Brindle Cur, the Leopard Cur, and the Louisiana Cur. The name often depends on the color and appearance of the dog. They're an intelligent and energetic breed that can make great pets for a experienced owner. Loyalty is part of their DNA, which makes them very cautious around strangers, to the point of aggression. Catahoulas are not yet registered with the AKC, but are registered with many other associations.
Energy Level
Friendliness to dogs
Friendliness to strangers
exercise requirements
affection level
friendliness to other pets
Grooming Requirements

Where Are Catahoula Leopard Dogs From?

There are many different theories about how the Catahoula dog came to be. One of the most common is that Spanish settlers on their way to the Golf Coast brought Mastiff war dogs along with them. They then traded these dogs for food and supplies with the Native Americans that lived in the area now known as Louisiana. These Mastiffs were then bred with red wolves, creating a hound-like dog that had webbed feet.

In the 1600s, French settlers traveled to this part of the United States and started breeding a wolf-like dog with the French Beauceron, which begat the Catahoula Leopard Dog. They were bred to herd feral pigs and cattle that had escaped from the farmers’ herds into the woods. Cats are now used to herd cattle, pigs, and sheep.

Caring for a Catahoula Leopard Dog

What Kind of Diet Does a Catahoula Leopard Dog Need?

What Kind of Diet Does a Catahoula Leopard Dog Need?

The Catahoula requires a high-quality and well-balanced diet to ensure proper bone and muscle development. Due to their energy level, they will have a higher calorie intake than other breeds of the same size. Make sure to feed them enough to account for their energy level, but never overfeed them.

Always consult your veterinarian to develop a proper meal plan.

How Much Grooming Does a Catahoula Leopard Dog Need?

How Much Grooming Does a Catahoula Leopard Dog Need?

This breed typically has a short hair coat, so they will only require weekly brushing to keep the coat neat and remove dead hairs.

Bathing should only be done as needed to avoid drying out their hair coat.

Are Catahoula Leopard Dogs Healthy?

Are Catahoula Leopard Dogs Healthy?

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a relatively healthy breed, but like all dogs, they have health conditions and inherited diseases.

They should be screened for hip dysplasia, which is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness, and arthritis. This condition will cause chronic pain and difficultly walking for the dog, and ultimately develop into arthritis.

The condition often results in total hip replacement or femoral head osteotomy (FHO). An FHO is a procedure that removes the top portion of the femoral bone to restore mobility to the hip and prevent chronic pain. Scar tissue will form, and the leg muscles will hold the femur in place. These procedures should be performed by a board-certified veterinarian surgeon.

The life expectancy for this breed is about 10 to 14 years.

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are predisposed to: gastric dilatation volvulus, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and deafness.

How Much Training Does a Catahoula Leopard Dog Need?

How Much Training Does a Catahoula Leopard Dog Need?

These dogs are very intelligent and highly trainable. Their dominant personalities require a firm hand and an abundance of patience. Ideally, a Cat should be trained at a very early age. They are good with obedience and agility, as long as their owner does not waver on discipline. Cats are particularly talented in Schutzhund training and Search and Rescue training.

How Much Exercise Does a Catahoula Leopard Dog Need?

How Much Exercise Does a Catahoula Leopard Dog Need?

This breed is not your average couch potato and will require loads of exercise to keep them happy, healthy, and out of trouble. Ideally, you would need to have a large piece of property that is fenced in to be able to give this breed an adequate amount of exercise.

Remember that they were bred to hunt and herd wild hogs and cattle, so they love to play catch with toys and sticks for hours at a time. If left alone without regular exercise, they may become destructive.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of a Catahoula Leopard Dog?

Do Catahoula Leopard Dogs Have Webbed Feet?
Yes, the Catahoula Leopard Dog has webbed feet. Other breeds may have a portion of the foot that is webbed, but the Catahoula has webbing similar to a duck, covering most of the paw.
What Colors Eyes Do Catahoula Leopard Dogs Have?
Eye colors can be glass (blue), brown, green, or amber. Cats frequently have eyes that are two different colors, and many have multiple colors on the same eye. The eye and coat colors of the Catahoula are similar to that of the Australian Shepherd Dog.
How Big Are Catahoula Leopard Dogs?
Catahoulas are medium-to-large in size, weighing anywhere between 55 and 80 pounds. They are very well-muscled, with a deep barrow chest and slim waist.
Do Catahoula Leopard Dogs Have Docked Tails?
No, Catahoula tails should not be docked. They should remain in their natural state, which is long, held high, and slightly curved when alert.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Front Legs
Their front legs are straight, muscular, and parallel with each other. They have large paws with webbed feet and broad shoulders.
What Colors Are Common for Catahoula Leopard Dogs?
The most common colors for the Catahoula are black, brindle, red merle, red, and yellow. Some may have black fur covering the body with brindle legs and white spots on just the head. Others may have a white head, neck, chest, and front legs with a brindle body and black fur on the hind legs.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Back Legs
Cats have strong, sturdy, and athletic hind legs.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Facts

It is believed that the Catahoula Leopard Dog is a mix of the Red Wolf, Bloodhound, Greyhound, Mastiff, and French Beauceron.
In Canada, the Catahoula has developed into a successful sled dog. They don’t have the necessary hair coat for the job, but succeed because of their strong work ethic and strength.
The breed has appeared in several popular TV shows, including Veronica Mars, Bones, and True Blood.

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