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The Catahoula Leopard Dog
April 15, 2021

Did you know that the Catahoula is the Louisiana state dog? This sweet pooch is a much-beloved member of the AKC herding category. A veterinarian discusses these wonderful pups below.


The Catahoula originated around the Catahoula Lake area in Louisiana. The word ‘Catahoula’ is from a Choctaw Indian word, which means ‘sacred lake.’ Although nobody knows for sure, the Catahoula is likely 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 hogs. (This earned him the prestigious nickname ‘Hog Dog.’) Then, in the 1800’s, breeders focused their efforts on developing a pooch that was a great work dog, guardian, and hunter, but was also good with kids. Mission accomplished!


Catahoulas are extremely loving and loyal, and 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 play well with other dogs. They can also be reactive, especially when youngsters are being loud or rough around them. We recommend erring on the side of caution here: supervise all interactions between Fido and his tiny humans, and don’t let your canine buddy run free.


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


Just like any other pet, Catahoulas need regular veterinary care. They’re usually pretty healthy, but, as is common with purebreds, can be prone to a few specific problems. Deafness is common in Catahoulas, as is hip dysplasia. Ask your vet for more information.


The Catahoula is very smart and loyal, but he needs a lot of training to learn how to be a ‘good boy.’ Training should start when you bring little Fido home. Be firm and consistent, and focus on positive reinforcement.


Catahoulas come in many different coat colors and patterns. Fido is pretty low maintenance on grooming: he’ll only need to be brushed about once a week, and bathed a couple times a year. As with any other pup, you’ll need to keep his ears clean, and keep up with his dental care and nail trims.

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