If you do a search on top dog breeds trending for the past 4-5 years, chances are that the name ‘Catahoula Cur’ will come up number one in the list. There is a great deal of interest in this breed owing to its intelligence and versatility. Not only do Catahoula Leopard dogs have the coolest eyes and leopard-like markings on their coat; they also perform many tasks of difficulty owing to their intelligence and quick learning ability. If you are looking to adopt a Catahoula Leopard dog, this brief article can guide you.
Size and interesting characteristics
- The Catahoula leopard dog is also called Catahoula, Catahoula cur, Catahoula Leopard, or Louisiana leopard cur owing to the region in which it originated. The word Catahoula means sacred lake.
- Size– this is a medium sized dog breed. Ideal height at maturity for males is 24 inches and for females is 22 inches. Weight for males is 50-95 lbs depending on the dog’s height.
- It is one of the rarest dog breeds in the United States.
- The coat is short, medium and comes in different colors with white and distinct leopard like markings. Some are spotted; others have patches or even brindles on the coat.
- The Catahoula is characterized by beautiful blue, grey or hazel eyes known as ‘glass eyes’. Sometimes, each eye is of a different color.
- They are excellent working dogs and may be trained for cattle herding, police and rescue work, as stock dogs, bay dogs, tree dogs and companion dogs for families.
Where to find a Leopard Dog
Note that the Catahoula Cur is not a dog for an uncertain or inexperienced owner. So unless you are sure, you should not adopt this breed. You can find a list of Catahoula leopard dog breeders on the official website here. Breeders vary in their approach to welfare and health, so you need to choose carefully. All puppies should be at least 8 weeks old. This way, they can spend time with their mother and other pups. Observe the puppy carefully before you choose. Your pup should not appear grimy or have foul odor. If possible, observe the parents as well to ensure they are of mild temperament and not aggressive. Once you have shortlisted your puppy, ask the breeder for health care records, vaccination records etc. Get advice on their right nutrition as well as on training. Many breeders also offer training or obedience classes in which case, you can choose to attend them with your pet or leave the pet for a few more weeks with the breeder in order to get trained.
Catahoula Cur temperament
- Your Catahoula is an intelligent, willing and alert dog.
- He will need lots of exercise for this is an energetic breed.
- Your puppy will also need training from an early age. Make sure you provide training on an ongoing, patient and consistent basis.
- Catahoula leopard dogs will often test their owners. You must provide your pet with plenty of socialization to people, places and other animals in order to prevent unruly behavior.
- This is a tireless dog with tons of energy. Make him run or walk briskly for an hour daily, minimum. He will also need mental stimulation in the form of obedience training.
- Catahoulas are generally great with kids but can be extremely protective and show tendency to herd.
- They are good with other pets since they are used to working in pairs or packs. However, if untrained, they could try to show dominance.
- Catahoula leopards have a high prey drive and love to chase other dogs, cats or small animals. They tend to go out of control when chasing prey.
- These are catchers and biters-they have natural hunting and herding skills.
- Catahoula Curs are naturally alert and have excellent watchdog properties-they will bark at intruders or even confront them.
Whether you bring home a Catahoula leopard dog rescue or get one from a breeder; you must provide basic housebreaking training right from the start. Without training and mental stimulation, this breed tends to get destructive.
- Give adequate time and commit to training sessions daily, for at least 30 minutes to one hour.
- You can invest in clicker training and crate training. Be gentle as Catahoula Curs will not take kindly to abuse. Use plenty of rewards and praise.
As stated above, this is a highly energetic breed that needs to run or walk for an hour daily. Failure to provide adequate open space and daily exercise can lead to a host of health issues including depression, anxiety, weight gain etc. Many dog owners find out that it is too much work exercising their Catahoula cur dog. That is the main reason why so many end up in rescue homes. Catahoula curs also need an owner who is able to provide work or participation in dog sports. This versatile breed is known to handle many difficult tasks with ease.
This hardworking dog naturally needs the best nutrition to stay healthy. If your dog is working, herding or participating in sports, you must remember that he may be exposed to dangers and situations that other dogs normally do not face. Provide the best, vet approved dog food to your pet and always ensure a steady supply of clean, drinking water. Your Catahoula leopard dog breeder can also guide you regarding transitioning from puppy food to adult nutrition. A pet’s nutrition needs also change as he gets in his senior years. Here is a brief guide on selecting the right dog food for your geriatric dog.
Catahoula leopard dog has a short, medium coat that does not get matted or tangled. This is a dog bred to handle rough working conditions, so you will not have to groom or bathe it frequently. Having said so; you must still provide flea and tick protection and comb the coat from time to time. Bathe your dog at least once a month or as needed. This will prevent skin infections and other health issues. Trim your dog’s nails from time to time and brush its teeth once a week.
The Catahoula is a rare breed but having been in existence for quite a while, most health issues have been addressed. Most common genetic health issues include deafness, blindness, sterility, hip dysplasia, and a small gene pool. The merle gene and piebald gene are main ingredients that are known to cause deafness. The average life span of Catahoula leopard is about 12-14 years.