What is a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog?

Catahoulas are a medium sized dog bred for working and hunting purposes.  Their most notable feature is the colour of their coat which may be leopard and their glass eyes.  However, not all Catahoulas have a leopard coat or glass eyes.


I keep hearing about Catahoula Curs.  What are they and how are they different to Catahoula Leopard Dogs?

Catahoula Curs are not any different to the Catahoula Leopard.  It is simply a different name that used to be used before the dog was accepted as the State Dog of Louisiana and is now officially considered to be the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog.


Where are they now?

Catahoulas can be found in many parts of the world.  They are the most common across America but can also be found in Australia, Finland, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, etc.

How many Catahoulas are there in Australia so far?

The actual figure is unknown but, based upon discussions with the NALC and knowledge of other breeders and their litters, it is estimated that there would be no more than 500 Catahoulas across Australia and New Zealand as of 2008.  There are so few here because Catahoulas only arrived in Australia less than 10 years ago and are only recently gaining popularity.



Physical Characteristics


How big do Catahoulas get?

Male Catahoulas average approximately 55-65cm at the shoulder and weigh 30-37kg.  Females average 55-60cm at the shoulder and weigh 22-30kg.  However, both sexes can vary considerably from these averages.


What colours do they come in?

Catahoulas can be very multicoloured dogs.  Leopard dogs have distinguishing leopard spots such as blue/grey leopards which are a combination of white or grey with black; or red leopards which are a combination of red, liver or brown colours.  They can also come in solid colours of brown or chocolate, black, red, or brindle or possess trim in these colours.  They may also come in a patch pattern of large patches/splotches of colour, or can possess anywhere up to five colours.


I see some of them have blue eyes.  What colour eyes do they have?

Catahoulas can have a variety of eye colours and they may possess more than one colour in each eye.  These colours can range between brown, green, amber or blue, also called glass eyes.  Glass eyes can be either a blue or white colour and sometimes they can be both.  Catahoulas can also get “cracked” eyes which are made of of two colours through half and half, chips, or sporadic markings.  Glass eyes are not rare.


Is it true that the blue leopards are considered the “Cadillac” of the breed.

Some individuals do desire to have the blue leopard although this is purely for aesthetic purposes.  The coat or eye colour of the dog is no indication of its temperament or working ability.





I have kids at home.  How will my Catahoula get along with my kids?

Catahoulas are a very loyal and affectionate dog and get along well with children as they have an intense desire to protect their master, family and territory.  It is preferable if Catahoulas are raised with children, however, they can be socialised to interact with children appropriately.  As with any dog, they should never be left alone with any children unless supervised.


I’ve got a different breed of dog at home at the moment?  Will a Catahoula get along with my dog?

Providing both the Catahoula and other breeds are socialised appropriately at the time, you should not have any problems between the breeds.  Typically, Catahoulas can be dominant dogs and will want to be the leader of their pack.  This may cause problems if you have another very dominant and territorial dog.  Our dogs regularly spend time with a Cattle dog, bull arab, Wolfhounds and a Border Collie with no problems at all.  It mostly comes down to the individual personality and temperament of all the dogs involved.


Is it true that Catahoulas are very aggressive, particularly because they are used to hunt animals such as pigs?

No, this is not true.  Catahoulas are very good at appearing aggressive and that is why they are such good guard, work and hunting dogs.  In reality, they are a very placed and affectionate dog.  There is a moderate level of agression in them which helps them to hunt and work more effectively, however, this is an easily trained trait with the breed.





What requirements do Catahoulas have?

Catahoulas have a tremendous amount of energy and need to be exercised for atleast one hour per day.  They also like a lot of human company.


Where are they registered through?

In Australia, Catahoulas are not yet a recognised and registered breed.  However, Currant Catahoulas have already begun this lengthy process and will keep you updated on the progress.  In Australia, it is recommended that you register with atleast the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas (NALC).

In America, Catahoulas may be registered with the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas (NALC), Animal Research Foundation (ARF), United Kennel Club (UKC) and the National Kennel Club (NKC).


What do Catahoulas cost and why are they so much more expensive in Australia than in the United States?

The price of Catahoulas in the United States can range anywhere from free to several thousand dollars depending on the breeding and ability of the dog.  In Australia, as it is such a rare breed, the price of a purebred Catahoula is frequently around $1000.  A few select breeders charge this to help with the cost of continuing to import new lines from the United States and into Australia to expand the blood lines that are here and reduce the amount of in-breeding.  The remainder of the breeders merely continue to charge that as the going price.  



Hunting, Guarding & Working


What animals will they “work”?


Catahoulas can work either cattle, pig or deer.  However, they are not suited to sheep due to the nature of the sheep itself.  In America, they are also used to hunt raccoons, squirrel and climb trees. 


Are they guaranteed to work?


This depends on how often you are willing to take your Catahoula out and train them accordingly.  If you very rarely take your dog out then you cant expect them to remember very much.  A Catahoulas instinct to bail will only get you part of the way there.  However, if you take them out frequently and regularly reinforce their training, you will get a guaranteed worker and hunter.  The Catahoulas ability is dependent upon its trainer.  


Are they a bailing or a hanging dog?


Traditionally, Catahoulas are finder-bailers and this is what they are best suited at doing.  Their nose is one of the Catahoulas best assets and helps them to find the pig.  However, they will learn to hang if they are taken out with other hangers.


I want a Catahoula to use for hunting but I am worried about getting a dark coloured dog in case I mistake it for the target or cant see it in the dark?  Should I get a light coloured dog?


You can choose to get a lighter coloured dog, however, it would be more effective to simply buy any of the flashing lights available to place around your dogs neck such as glow sticks.  For any of these or other pigging supplies see www.tuskproof.com.au