The Catahoula leopard dog and the blue Lacy dog are similar breeds who have been raised for a similar purpose. Both are tough, medium-sized dogs made for hard work. While their differences may make them best suited to slightly different jobs, both the Catahoula and blue Lacy are suited to most tasks a farm or hunting trail can throw at them.
History of the Breeds
Catahoulas originated from crossing Native American dogs with the bloodhounds, mastiffs and greyhounds brought by European settlers to Louisiana. The breed was used to capture and herd wild boar and cattle for the settlers. The blue Lacy was developed using English shepherd, greyhound and wolf stock by the Lacy brothers of Texas. These dogs were bred to herd free-range hogs and drive them to livestock markets. Both breeds were later expanded to become all-around working dogs for farmers, hunters and trappers.
While both breeds fall into the medium category, Catahoulas are the larger of the two, at 22 to 24 inches tall and weighing from 50 to 95 pounds. The blue Lacy is between 17 and 21 inches tall and weighs between 30 and 50 pounds. Both breeds have short coats, but the Catahoula comes in a variety of colors, including merle, brindle and solid, while the blue Lacy comes in only gray, red or tri-colored. Both breeds are primarily working dogs.
Temperament and Intelligence
As with many herding and hard-working breeds, both Lucys and Catahoulas are highly intelligent and courageous in the face of livestock and wild animals. The Lacy is bred to be easy to train and handle, although they can be a handful for first-time owners. The Catahoula is bred to work more independently and can be stubborn. Both are high energy and territorial toward strangers.
Their work with feral pigs and cattle have given Catahoulas a particular working style. They tend to herd cattle from the head rather than the heel, and will form a mobile fence around cattle until they are given direction. They are silent trackers and close-range hunters, baying only if prey is in sight. Catahoulas are bred to handle the most stubborn and lively cattle. Lucys are also silent trackers, although they are very loud at bay. They are comfortable working with challenging cattle and have a softer touch with more timid animals. Both breeds have a high work and prey drive and need stimulation beyond simple exercise to keep from becoming bored.
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images