Working & Guarding

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are very versatile dogs and can be used for a variety of purposes.  We have included some of these below including working and herding, guarding, search and rescue, and treeing.


Gold Star CatahoulasWorking and Herding

Catahoulas are natural workers and herders and have long been used to herd cattle, sheep and other livestock.  They have also been used to protect rodeo clowns from bucking bulls and as turn-back dogs for horse trainers (8). Eldorado Catahoulas

They use a method of teasing and annoyance to encourage the livestock to follow them, thereby leading them to the desired location (7). (Photos courtesy of Eldorado Catahoulas 5 and Gold Star Catahoulas 6).




Red guardingCatahoulas are working dogs at heart and need something to keep them occupied because they were bred to work.  Guarding is one way that they can put their energy and skills to good use. 

This picture is of my best mate, Red.  When Red isnt following me around the farm, he is guarding our family’s mulch business which is in front of our main shed.  No-one can come near our place without Red letting us know about it.  He is also a very good deterrant to anybody considering entering the house while they are there.



Search and Rescue

Gunner searchingIn the United States, Catahoulas are used for Search and Rescue (SAR) and narcotics detection.  These skills were pioneered by Don Abney of Abney Catahoulas and Abney Canine Training (ABCANTRA).

The most popular and first registered Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog to be certified in Search and Rescue was Abney’s Ladyhawke who served from 1989 to 1999.  Ladyhawke was certified in Wilderness 1, 2, and 3; water, cadaver, building, articles, urban and narcotic searches (1).  Ladyhawke received the “Service Champion Award” from the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas (NALC) (2).

Gunner restingAnother Catahoula to excel in this field is Abney’s Blue Gunner, owned and trained by Stephanie Walsh-Bunny of Jetta Catahoulas.  Gunner is certified in trailing, land cadaver, water recovery, and building searches (3 & 4).  Gunner can be seen in the photos here (Photos courtesy/written permission of Jetta Catahoulas 4).








TreeingCatahoula Leopard Dogs have an uncanny ability to jump over much higher objects than the average dog can.  We have experienced this ourselves when you think that your dog is securely behind a gate only to find him or her on the wrong side of it!  We have also had pups show climbing tendencies as early as 4 months old and once one Catahoula catches the sight of another Catahoula climbing a fence…well they are quick learners and follow suit if they can manage it.  However, not all Catahoulas possess this ability.  The key to controlling this ability to proper training on behalf of the individual caring for the dog.

TreeingIn the United States, this skill is utilised through Treeing competitions.  These competitions are judged on the dogs dedication to the racoon, its baying technique, and the handlers ability to call the dog out (3).  It is important to note that the racoons are caged during this activity and do not make physical contact with the dog. (Left is DBL CH J Cross’ Checkers.  Right is DBL J Cross’ Checkers & J Cross’ Slinky.  Photos courtesy of J Cross Catahoulas, 9).







(1) Abney Catahoulas

(2) Abney Catahoulas

(3) Tumbling Run Catahoulas

(4) Jetta Catahoulas

(5) Eldorado Catahoulas 

(6) Gold Star / Sweetwater Catahoulas

(7) Bertrand, R.J. The Catahoula: Where did they come from? What is their origin? How did they get here? Article obtained through URL:

(8) Stodghill, T.D. History of the Catahoula Leopard Cowdogs.  Article obtained from URL:

(9) J Cross Catahoulas