Catahoula Leopard Dog

The hard-working Catahoula Leopard Dog, the official canine of Louisiana, was developed to catch and drive wild hogs and cattle to market.

Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Catahoula Leopard Dog’s coat, which sheds moderately, ranges from short and sleek to medium in length and coarse, with a little feathering on the hind legs, tail, and belly. In either case, brush him weekly to keep his coat gleaming, and give him a bath once or twice a year. The rest is routine care: regular nail trimming and ear cleaning, as well as tooth brushing with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear down the toenails naturally.

Exercise Tips

When not hunting, this breed needs to be taken on a daily walk, jog, hike or run. In addition, they will enjoy running free in a fenced-in yard or safe open area. When Catahoulas play they can be very noisy and physical. People need to be careful and teach the dog to control its play.
With this said, Catahoula Leopard puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs because this puts too much pressure on their still growing joints and limbs.

Feeding Tips

High-quality, dry dog food that is specifically designed for hunting or high-energy dogs is essential to the proper nutrition of a Catahoula Leopard Dog. Dry food will help to keep the dog’s teeth and gums healthy as well as cut down on dental issues and bad breath. Feeding the Catahoula Leopard Dog twice daily is recommended by many breeders as bloat can be a problem within the breed.
If you get a Catahoula Leopard Dog puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it’s important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy’s diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don’t develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it’s best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It’s best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it’s good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It’s also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog’s life by several years so it’s important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
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. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Like many large breeds, Saint Bernard can experience bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach distends and twists. The causes of bloat aren’t fully understood, but experts agree that multiple, small meals per day and preventing vigorous exercise around mealtimes may help reduce the chances of it happening.

Health Tips

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
The life expectancy for this breed is 10 to 14 years. These dogs do face a few hereditary issues: hip dysplasia and deafness are the most common; eye issues occur occasionally. These dogs can suffer from bloat as well – do not feed this dog immediately before or after vigorous exercise to avoid this problem.


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 like an adult at the early age of 10 months, Catahoulas are 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.
Puppies should be properly socialized to develop the amiable, outgoing personality that is characteristic of the breed. They’re successful in performance and companion events such as earthdog, barn hunt, obedience, and agility.


In 1539, when the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto landed in Florida and began his expedition through the Southeastern United States, his scribes noted there was only one species of domestic animal in North America: the Native American’s dog, who looked like a wolf but barked like a dog. These native dogs were crossed with the “bloodhounds, mastiffs, and greyhounds” brought by the Spanish explorers. In Northern Louisiana, the Native Americans called these new dogs “Wolf Dogs.” Once the French arrived with their hounds, they were crossbred again, resulting in today’s Catahoula Leopard Dog.
In 1979, the breed was designated the state dog of Louisiana. The Catahoula was named after a Parish in northeastern Louisiana and after the mottled spots on its coat. At one time this breed was used to round up feral pigs and cattle—livestock that had escaped and was living in woods and swamps. It involved team effort that is highly coordinated and organized, fast-paced, dangerous and a marvel to watch. The ideal dog team usually numbers three, and they must work together.
Otherwise, one pig can kill all three in a matter of minutes. Each dog has to be aware of what the pig and the other two dogs are doing and react accordingly. Hunters sometimes used the Catahoula to trail and tree raccoons, but this dominant breed is more at home acting the thug with obstinate boars. This dog is used particularly on the difficult task of driving and rounding hogs and unruly cattle.