Catahoula Leopard Dog

Breed Summary

The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a medium to the medium-large, short-coated dog, with a broad head, small-to-medium drop ears, and an undocked tail set on as a natural extension of the topline. The Catahoula is well muscled and powerful, but not bulky, giving the impression of agility and endurance. The Catahoula is a moderate breed and should not resemble either a sighthound or a bulldog in appearance. The body is just slightly longer than tall and the distance from the elbow to the ground should equal 50-60 percent of the dog’s height from the withers to the ground. Because of the breed’s name, many people assume that all Catahoulas have the so-called “leopard” markings and blue eyes.

Country of Origin: Louisiana, USA

AKC Breed Popularity:

AKC Classification: Foundation Stock Service

UKC Classification: Herding Dog Group

Exercise Requirements: >40 minutes/day

Height: Female: 22-24 inches.; Male: 22-24 inches

Weight: Female: 50-95 lbs.; Male: 50-95 lbs.

Physical traits: Medium to large sized, Compact, Well-balanced

Coat: Length: Short to medium

Characteristics: Single coated

Colors: Black, Brindle, Red Merle, Black merle, Red, Yellow

Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate

Personality traits/Temperament: Loyal, Independent, Watchful

Energy Level: Average

Tendency to Drool: Low

Tendency to Snore: Low

Tendency to Bark: Low

Tendency to Dig: Low

Social/Attention Needs: Moderate


Although healthy dogs, Catahoula Leopard Dog occasionally face issues such as hip dysplasia, deafness, and eye problems. Their life expectancy is 10 to 14 years. Some dogs can develop itchy skin conditions where baths with a high-quality dog shampoo and conditioner is recommended. Flea control is also essential.Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Catahoula Leopard Dog can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders use genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.


The Catahoula Leopard Dog should do well on high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared. Add a high-quality dog multivitamin to complete the nutritional circle. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.


Without training and mental stimulation, this breed can become destructive in the home. Due to his independence and territorial instincts, becoming well-socialized is also very important for the Catahoula to be a gentle and affectionate companion in the home. Though working as an adult at the early age of 10 months, Catahoulas is not fully matured until they are 2 years old. Therefore, it is important to make all jobs and exercises fun so as not to cause burnout at too early an age.


The Catahoula Leopard Dog needs space to spend his copious amount of energy and always needs a job to do. He is not suited for the city or as an apartment dog. Without the proper amount of exercise and attention, he will cause trouble digging holes and chewing things. Options for exercise could include playtime in the backyard, preferably fenced, or taken for walks several times a day. Outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, and retrieving balls or flying discs can also provide a good outlet for expending energy. Use paw balm daily to protect their feet. Note: he is an excellent swimmer! Training for dog sports like agility, obedience, and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise.

Fun Fact

It is named after the Catahoula church located in Louisiana, United States.


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5. Dog Breeds | Types of Dogs | Purina. [accessed 2020 Nov 28].


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