The Catahoula Leopard breed is believed to have descended from "war dogs" such as Mastiff and Greyhound. Catahoula Leopard's are considered to be the ultimate working dog and the most versatile. They excel at herding cattle as well as hunting wild game that includes squirrel, deer, bear, raccoon, and wild boar. Catahoula Leopard's were given the distinction of being named the State dog of Louisiana in 1979.
The Catahoula Leopard breed is athletic, territorial, and agile. They possess extreme energy and enthusiasm. The Catahoula Leopard is medium to large in size and very muscular. The most unique characteristic is prominent webbing of the paws which gives them the ability to work in marshy areas as well as greater swimming ability.
The Catahoula Leopard is not recommended for inexperienced or first time dog owners. They do not do well with other dogs or household pets. They are not recommended for homes with young children. The Catahoula Leopard breed is highly protective of their family and territory and is aggressive toward strangers. They are affectionate and playful with their owners.
Catahoula Leopard's require minimal grooming. Bathing should be done when necessary; brushing should be done occasionally. It is important to regularly check the ears and paws for debris. They are generally healthy although those with primarily white coats have an 80% chance of being deaf in one or both ears, and/or blindness. There also may be problems with hip dysplasia, abnormal pupils, and tunnel vision.
A single coat breed, the Catahoula Leopard's coat is of medium length. The coat is dense, smooth, and short.
The Catahoula Leopard is highly assertive, strong-willed, and dominant. They require a strong, dominant, and active owner. Early obedience is essential. Training must be done with firmness, fairness, and consistency.
The Catahoula Leopard breed is highly energetic and requires an inordinate amount of exercise. They are not recommended for city or apartment living. The Catahoula Leopard must be given the opportunity to hunt or work. If they become bored they will become destructive. They excel at agility.