Official Breed Standard

The following official breed standard is according to the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas.


Country and state of origin:  Louisiana, United States of America.


General appearance:  A medium to large sized dog, well muscled, yet trim, powerful, but denoting agility and great endurance.


Temperament:  Independent, protective and territorial.  They may show aggressive behavior and signs of timidity on the leash which should not be taken as cowardice, but the intolerance for strangers.


Size:  Males should measure 22 – 26 inches or 55.8 – 66cm.  Females should measure 20 – 24 inches or 50.8 – 60.9cm.


Coat:  The coat should be short to medium in length.  Colour-leopards are to be proferred and may come in blue, grey, black, liver, red, white and patched.  Trim may be black, white, tan, red or buff.  Solid colours considered acceptable include black, yellow, red and chocolate.


Head: The head should be powerfully built with well developed cheeks.  The skull should have a broad top-skull with a well defined stop being moderate in length.  The muzzle should be strong, deep, and approximately equal in length to the top skull as measured from the stop to the occiput bone.  It should be broad at the base and taper towards the nose when viewed from the front.  The bite should be a strong scissor bite, with a level bite being acceptable.  Complete definition is greatly desired, however, broken teeth are not to be faulted.  Glass eyes are preferred although the eyes may be of any colour or combination of colours.  The eyes do not have to be the same colour and may have partial glass in one or both eyes, commonly called “cracks”.  Ears should be short to medium in length with the top of the ear being set level or slightly below the top of the head.  Properly hung ears, with the inner edge of the ear lying close to the cheek are preferred.  “Laid-back” ears are acceptable.


Neck: The neck should be muscular and of good length.


Forequarters: The length of the foreleg should be 50 – 60% of the total height of the dog as measured from the ground to the top of the withers.  The shoulders should be well laid back with an upper arm bone of ample length.  The forelegs should be set moderately far apart and the front feet should toe neither in or out.


Body: The croup should be medium to long in length and slightly sloping with the tail having a medium to high set.  The stifles should be well angulated and the hocks should be set low to the ground.  The hocks should turn neither in nor out when viewed from the rear.


Feet: The feet should be strong and moderate in length.  Good webbing between the toes should be evident.  Dew claws may be present or removed but if present, should be uniform.


Gait:  The gait should be smooth and effortless, denoting agility.  Single tracking at a trot is acceptable.


Faults:  Fly-away or houndish ears, animals either undersize or oversize, and cat-footed or coon-footed.


Serious faults: Dogs being either natural bobtail or having the tail docked; any malformed or acentric pupil formation of the eyes; and animals having either overshot or undershot bites.


Disqualifications: Long or fuzzy coated dogs, and cropped ears.



NALC. (1995). The official standard for the Louisiana Catahoula: The state dog of Louisiana.  Information brochure provided by the NALC.