Catahoula Characteristics

by Naomi Millburn
"Catahoula" is a Choctaw term that means "sacred lake."

"Catahoula" is a Choctaw term that means "sacred lake."

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Catahoula leopard dogs are herding animals who hail from the northeastern portion of Louisiana, specifically by Catahoula Lake of their naming. The breed actually has the distinction, as of 1979, of being the state dog. Catahoula leopard dogs are thought to be a combination of many different types of canines, and mastiffs might even be part of the varied mix.

Physical Characteristics

Catahoula leopard dogs are sizable, usually weighing anywhere between 50 and 95 pounds once mature. Females are slightly shorter than the males, with heights of around 22 inches from their shoulders. The males are usually about 2 feet tall. Catahoula leopard dogs run the gamut in terms of color. Some of them have mottled or leopard-style coats while others have coats in single colors, whether black, red, brownish or anything else. Their fur is simultaneously thick and short. Catahoula leopard dogs' eyes are noteworthy, often whitish-blue in color. Many of these dogs also have eyes that combine various colors, including yellowish-orange and brown. Some specimens even have eyes in two entirely different hues.

Temperament Characteristics

When Catahoula leopard dogs are with their families, they often are dedicated, faithful and tender. They tend to bond closely just to the people in their lives. When new people come around, they frequently behave in guarded and distant manners, usually in attempts to keep their loved ones safe against the possibility of danger. Some of these dogs can be a little turf-oriented in their actions, which is why sufficient socialization is so vital. Catahoula leopard dogs generally thrive in the company of older kids. Note, however, that young individuals of the breed may be a little boisterous around younger children. Also remember that all Catahoula dogs are different and no two of them have the exact same dispositions.

Working Characteristics

Individuals of this breed are usually extremely diligent. Working is their forte. In history, Catahoula leopard dogs have hunted after a wide array of different animals, from bears to deer. These sinewy and nimble pooches also are talented herders. Catahoula leopard dogs in Canada sometimes even participate in sled dog races.

Health Characteristics

With a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise and regular veterinary attention, Catahoula leopard dogs often can live happily and healthily for anywhere between 10 and 13 years. It's crucial to make sure that these doggies move their bodes every day. Brisk walking, running and hiking all make suitable forms of activity for these dogs. Daily running for an hour or more is imperative, as these dogs are extremely energetic by nature. Catahoula leopard dogs are, for the most part, robust. They are prone to a couple of medical ailments, however, which include hearing problems, eye issues and canine hip dysplasia.

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About the Author

Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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