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The Catahoula Leopard Dog

April 15, 2021

Have you ever met a Catahoula Leopard Dog? This cute pooch is the Louisiana state dog, and is a much-beloved member of the AKC herding category. A local veterinarian discusses the Catahoula below.


H  istory

The Catahoula breed originated in Louisiana, or, more specifically, around the Catahoula Lake area. The word ‘Catahoula’ is a Choctaw Indian word for ‘sacred lake.’ Although no one knows for sure, these pups seem to be the result of interbreeding between local pups and the dogs French and Spanish explorers brought over to the area. Either way, we do know that Fido’s first job was tracking and herding wild pigs. (This earned him the nickname ‘Hog Dog.’) In the 1800’s, breeders began to focus their efforts on developing a pooch that was a great work dog, hunter, and guardian, but was also really good with children. Mission accomplished!


Personality

Catahoulas are extremely loving and loyal. They can make absolutely wonderful family pets. They can get along well with cats, though it’s always best if Fido grows up with Fluffy. However, they do have a strong prey drive, and don’t always get along with strange dogs. They can also be reactive, especially when youngsters are being loud or rough. We recommend erring on the side of caution here. Be sure to supervise all interactions between Fido and his tiny humans, and don’t let your canine pal run around off-leash.


Energy

These lovable pooches are very active, and need lots of exercise. Fido can get destructive if he feels confined, bored, or lonely. Daily walks and play sessions are definitely musts!


Health

Like any other pet, Catahoulas need regular veterinary care to thrive. They are usually healthy, but, as is common with purebreds, can be prone to a few specific problems. For instance, deafness is fairly common in Catahoulas, as is hip dysplasia. Ask your vet for specific advice.


Training

The Catahoula is very intelligent and loyal, but he does need guidance, and he must be taught how to be a ‘good boy.’ Training should start the day you bring little Fido home! Be firm and consistent, and focus on positive reinforcement.


Grooming

Catahoulas come in many different patterns, tones, and colors. This cute pup is pretty low maintenance on grooming: he’ll only need to be brushed every week, and bathed a few times a year. As with any other dog, you’ll need to keep your furry friend’s ears clean, and keep up with his nail trims and dental care.


Do you have questions about the Catahoula? Contact us, your local veterinary clinic!

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