Catahoula Leopard Dog Temperament – You Can’t Touch This…

The Catahoula Leopard dog temperament in the field and its abilities were the focus of this dog's breeding rather than its looks.

Catahoula Leopard DogThis does not mean that the Catahoula is not a beauty, just that, there is significant variability in their physical characteristics.

Size and Weight

There size for example can vary by up to six inches in height, the average being a little over two feet; and by up to 50 pounds in weight, the average being around 70 pounds.

Catahoula Origin and Alias

There is some doubt about the origins of the Catahoula Leopard dog; some claim it occurred in the 16th century; others say that crossbreeding in the 19th century was the starting point. The There is no doubt, however, about the fact that it is the archetype of the working breed.

This breed is commonly associated with the state of Louisiana in the USA and also called the Louisiana Leopard Dog, Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, Catahoula Curr, or Louisiana Hog Dog

Catahoula Temperament

The Catahoula is quite unique; if you are planning to own one, you must familiarize yourself with the Catahoula Leopard dog temperament.

Intelligent and Energetic

The Catahoula Leopard dog was bred to hunt and herd wild pigs and cattle. Necessarily, it is intelligent and energetic.

You need to keep him physically and mentally stimulated. If, as likely, he is not with you in the capacity of a working dog, you can engage him in agility and obedience training. Regular walks or runs (on a leash) are essential.

Catahoula Leopard Dog Doing Agility

60 minutes of daily moderate-to-strenuous exercise is recommended. If you live in an apartment, the Catahoula is probably not your best choice; he is likely to do best in rural settings.

The Take Charge One

Your Catahoula’s genes are those of an independent hunter. He’d love to take charge of the household; needless to say, no dog should ever entertain that notion.

You need to clearly demonstrate to him that you are his boss.

The best way to do this is to commence training as early as possible. You can give in to their, often obsessive, need to maintain a schedule, but his obedience to your commands must never be in doubt.

He usually does well with existing pets, but a new pet may be a cause for concern, particularly if it is a dog of the same sex.

Even-tempered but Assertive

Your Catahoula Leopard is not a high-strung dog so his responses to emotional challenges tend to be quite predictable.

However, most Catahoulas have a tendency to assert themselves in the presence of other dogs.

You will need to ensure that he is on a leash when introducing him into a dog park or any other setting where he can expect to encounter strange dogs.

Assertive Catahoula Leopard Dog

Protective and Territorial

A Catahoula Leopard dog tends to be very protective of his family; additionally, Catahoulas tend to be quite territorial.

He may not react, per se, to strangers, but if he thinks someone in the family is threatened he will rush to get between that family member and the threat. In such a situation, his responsiveness to your commands will be of paramount importance.

Needs Company

Somewhat surprising for an “independent hunter”, the Catahoula Leopard dog does best with a lot of attention. He can be very vocal — read that as “bark his head off” — if he’s kept isolated for any length of time.

Health Concerns

The Catahoula Leopard dog comes in a number of colors, but the more white they have, the more likely they are to develop deafness. In fact, 80% of dogs that are predominantly white are likely to be deaf from birth; reputable breeders normally do not sell these puppies.

The Orthopedic Foundation of America’s (OFA) statistics show that of a little over 500 Catahoula Leopard dogs evaluated for hip dysplasia, over 100 displayed signs suggesting dysplasia. Within the OFAs database, the Catahoula Leopard was ranked 27th out of 164 breeds for hip dysplasia (the higher the rank, the more likely a finding of hip dysplasia).

Overall, the Catahoula Leopard is an agile healthy breed.

Strong Healthy Catahoula Leopard Dog Jumping in Park

Finally …

Do remember that this description of the Catahoula Leopard dog temperament is a generalized one. Your dog is an individual and you should expect his individuality to manifest in variability from this norm.

Be sure to tailor his conditions and treatment to his very own temperament.

Other Breeds

If reading this got you concerned that you may not be able to provide the right environment for the Catahoula Leopard dog, here is a list of breeds that are similar in some respects:

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