Catahoula Leopard Dog 101: Ultimate Guide + FAQs

If you want a new pet and are looking for a dog with a strong work ethic and a striking appearance, one of your best options is the Catahoula Leopard Dog.

What is a Catahoula Leopard Dog? The Catahoula Leopard Dog is an amazing dog breed that originated from Louisiana. The Catahoula Leopard Dog is the product of crossbreeding American wolf dogs with Spanish Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, and Greyhounds. This breed is the official state dog of Louisiana.

Before adopting this medium-size dog as a pet, it’s a good idea to learn more about them and know what to expect once you bring one home. In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about the Catahoula Leopard Dog, including their dietary requirements, life expectancy, shedding levels, grooming requirements, exercise requirements, as well as their personality and suitability for families. But first, let’s start by understanding what these canines look like.

What Does A Catahoula Leopard Dog Look Like?

Image from Instagram:@colt_blue_the_catahoula

Appearance

Catahoula Leopard Dogs have a large head with a strong muzzle and folded ears. The Catahoula’s eyes can be blue, amber, brown, or green. Sometimes, they will have a different color in each eye or “cracked” eyes where the same eye has two different colors.

They also have a muscular body and strong legs that allow the Catahoula Leopard Dog to run very fast. Catahoula Leopard Dogs also have webbed feet, making them very good swimmers.

Size

The Catahoula Leopard Dog came from Spanish Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, and Greyhounds being crossbred with local dogs, and as a result, the Catahoula is a medium to large size dog. Catahoula Leopard Dogs were bred to hunt wild hogs and cows.

So, how big is a Catahoula? The average weight of a Catahoula Leopard Dog is 70 lbs, with some weighing up to 90 lbs, and others weighing as little as 50 lbs. The Catahoula Leopard Dog stands between 20 to 26 inches tall.

Coat

Their coat color is the most striking feature of the Catahoula. Most Catahoulas are born with spots on their coat, especially around the chest, cheeks, and on the legs, hence the name “leopard” dog.

However, not all Catahoulas are born with spots. It is possible for Catahoulas to have a single-colored coat, a brindle coat, or a patched coat with multiple colors.

Some Catahoulas are double-coated, but most have a single coat. Their coat can have a smooth or coarse texture, with short to medium-length hair.

How Long Do Catahoula Leopard Dogs Live?

Image from Instagram:@rhea_sunshine111

Lifespan

Being a mashup of multiple dog breeds, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is a generally healthy pooch, and with proper care, you can expect your Catahoula to have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years.

Still, no dog breed is perfectly healthy, and therefore, the Catahoula can still be affected by some of the common health problems that affect other dog breeds, such as…

Hip Dysplasia

Like most medium to large size dogs, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is at an increased risk of suffering from hip dysplasia, a condition resulting from a malformed hip joint.

In mild cases, this condition can pass unnoticed. In extreme cases, however, it will eventually lead to arthritis or lameness.

Deafness

Catahoula Leopard Dogs have the merle recessive gene, which has also been associated with deafness in dogs. Therefore, there is a possibility that your Catahoula could develop deafness, either in both ears or in one ear.

As a precaution, it is good to have a doggie’s hearing tested before you decide to buy or adopt the dog.

Hypothyroidism

The Catahoula Leopard Dog has also been found to be at a high risk of suffering from hypothyroidism, a condition that is caused by less-than-adequate production of thyroid hormone.

Some signs that your pooch could be suffering from hypothyroidism include hair loss, dry skin, increase in skin infections, increased aggression or fearfulness, and sudden increase in weight. Fortunately, the condition can be managed through medication.

Other Health Issues

Catahoulas are also susceptible to dental problems, obesity, diabetes, eosinophilic panosteitisand cancer.

How To Take Care Of Catahoula Leopard Dogs?

Image from Instagram:@catahouladogs

If you intend to adopt a Catahoula, you are definitely wondering, how do you take care of a Catahoula Leopard Dog? Here are the things you should watch out for:

Diet

To keep your Catahoula strong and healthy, you should ensure that they get high quality, and high nutrition food every day.

Catahoula puppies should be fed 3 to 4 times in a day, while mature Catahoulas will be fine with two meals in a day. 

We recommend feeding your Catahoula with Pet Plate’s Barkin’ Beef, which will provide your pooch with the required amount of protein to build their muscles and provide them with energy.

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are prone to bloat, therefore, you should avoid giving your canine buddy food or water immediately after intense exercise.

In addition, you should also give your Catahoula vitamin supplements to boost their health and strengthen their bones and joints and reduce the risk of conditions like hip dysplasia.

Exercise

Regular exercise is also vital for your doggie’s health. So, how much exercise do Catahoulas need?

Catahoula Leopard dogs should get 60 minutes of strenuous exercise every day. I’m talking about exercises like long walks, hiking, swimming, agility sports, and so on. When you walk your Catahoula, always keep the doggie on a leash.

Playing a game of fetch is also a great way of keeping your Catahoula busy and mentally stimulated. Just get the iFetch Interactive Ball Launchers for Dogs, teach your Catahoula how to launch the balls by themselves, and leave them to have as much fun as they can.

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Are Catahoula Dogs Dangerous? Temperaments Of Catahoula Leopard Dogs

Since they were bred to hunt wild hogs and cows, most people want to know whether Catahoulas are aggressive. Here’s what you should expect with this breed.

Affectionate And Protective

Catahoulas are very affectionate with their owners and family. They are also very protective, and will be quick to warn strangers to keep their distance.

Catahoulas like to cuddle and will enjoy getting tons of affection from their owners. Catahoulas will get very vocal if left alone for long.

So, are Catahoulas good family dogs? Catahoulas are okay even for families with children, and will actually be protective of the kids in their family. That said, they are not as gentle as some other breeds, and therefore, you shouldn’t allow them to interact with kids unsupervised.

Catahoula Leopard Dogs can get aggressive towards other dogs and animals, and therefore, they are best suited for homes where they are the only pet.

Intelligent

Due to their above average intelligence, Catahoulas are not hard to train. For best results, training and socialization should be started from the moment you bring the pup home.

Catahoulas also need a patient, confident and firm trainer, so they are not very suitable for first time owners or timid owners.

High Energy

Catahoulas are a high energy breed who like being all over the place. This means they need owners with an active lifestyle. These dogs don’t do well in apartments. They require homes with large, fenced in yards where they can play and run around as they please.

Are Catahoula Leopards Hypoallergenic? Grooming Tips For Catahoula Leopard Dogs

Shedding

The Catahoula Leopard Dog sheds throughout the year, and will therefore need to be brushed about once a week to get rid of dead hairs and maintain the shine on their coat.

Brushing should be done using a proper brushing tool, such as the Furminator Undercoat Tool, which was made for medium to large size dogs with short to medium length hair, such as your Catahoula.

FURminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool for Large Dogs – Long Hair
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Having a dog means having to constantly deal with dead pet hairs, which is why you should get a good vacuum, such as the iRobot Roomba i3+. With voice activation and in-built smart navigation, this vacuum makes cleaning your house a breeze.

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Bathing

The Catahoula Leopard Dog doesn’t need excessive bathing. Catahoula doggies will get by with a few baths a year. The reason frequent bathing is not recommended for most dogs is because it messes up the natural oils in their skin.

When bathing your Catahoula Leopard Dog, use oatmeal-based products like the Mighty Petz 2-In-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo And Conditioner. This shampoo and conditioner is gentle on your doggie’s skin, and will help preserve the dog’s natural oils.

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To avoid having a fight every time you need to give your four legged buddy a bath, you should get your Catahoula used to bathing right from puppyhood.

Other Grooming Requirements

Some of the other things you’ll need to do to maintain your pooch’s hygiene include taking care of their nails and ears and ensuring proper dental hygiene.



Can Catahoula Dogs Climb Trees? Yes, Catahoulas are great at climbing trees. Catahoulas learned to climb trees as part of pursuing their prey. Catahoulas are also very good at jumping. So, how high can Catahoulas jump? Catahoulas can jump about 7 feet, which means you need a really high fence around your yard if you own a Catahoula.

How Much Is A Catahoula? The cost of Catahoula Leopard puppies will range between $400 and $900. The cost will depend on the pup’s bloodline, breeder’s experience, and whether the puppy has been trained and socialized. It is also possible to adopt a Catahoula Leopard Dog from a rescue shelter for as little as $100.

Do Catahoula Leopard Dogs Get Along With Cats? The Catahoula Leopard Dog can get along well with cats if they were raised together. If a Catahoula is not properly socialized, however, there is a high possibility that the Catahoula will show aggression towards cats. Even when a Catahoula has been brought up with a cat, the dog could still be aggressive towards other cats.

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Pete Decker