The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog once known as The Catahoula Cur is a medium to medium-large versatile, top rated working dog breed . It originated in a region of the Catahoula Lake in central Louisiana and is the official dog of Louisiana.  Catahoula Leopards are extremely agile and athletic, territorial, naturally protective of "their property". They are more primitive psychologically than most breeds and need consistent obedience reinforcement.  They are enthousiastic working dogs with a high energy level. 
Louisiana Catahoula
Leopard Dog
(Catahoula Leopard Dog, Catahoula Cur)
Catahoula owners say it is nearly impossible to describe this dog, unless you own one yourself.  Some call them "Catdogs" because of their intuitive behavior and sixth sense, and... their ability to climb trees.
The Catahoula Leopard dog's history begins in the year 1539 when a Spanish explorer named Hernando De Soto began his exploration for gold and treasure in what is now the southern United States.
The Catahoula Leopard dog is highly intelligent and very energetic. They need a lot of mental and physical stimulation in order to be happy. They are very enthusiastic about doing their job. They make excellent working dogs, excelling in herding, hunting, and guarding, but are also used for police work, protection, search and rescue, agility, or as companions and family pets. 
As a general rule, Catahoulas are not well-suited to novice owners. Experience with Catahoulas or other large and/or assertive breeds is a plus for prospective Catahoula owners.
If the dog is kept outdoors, this is not a problem, but, if he is an indoor dog, he must get this exercise. "The Catahoula will not let you forget that you own a dog. If you do not have the time and energy it takes to train and exercise an active dog, then the Catahoula is not the dog for you."
There are a lot of speculations among fanciers of this breed as to the origin of the word "Catahoula". Some say "Catahoula" is an indian word meaning "clear eyes", because some dogs have blue eyes.  Also, there have been references to Catahoula Indians by many people, but the truth is no tribe of Catahoula Indians ever existed. 
True is that after the onslaught of the Indians by the white man, four tribes of Indians settled together in an area know as the Catahoula Parish (county). These four tribes were the Avoyelle, Tunica, Ofo, and Choctaw. Because these four tribes remained in close proximity of each other, they were dubbed as the Catahoula Indians.

The word "Catahoula" is actually a French misprounounciation of the
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De Soto and his men were accompanied by "war dogs" believed to be Mastiffs and Greyhounds.  The Mastiffs were used during battles with the Indian tribes and dogs would be let loose to attack any Indian that resisted.  These Mastiffs had a reputation of being able to pull down very large game with ease. DeSoto utilized their abilities to persuade the Indians to provide information on the whereabouts of Gold and Treasure.
GrShCh Crane's Strike Two
Double Ott Catahoulas
Choctaw Indian word for their own tribe, "Couthaougoula" pronounced "Coot-ha-oo-goo-la", meaning "Big, clear lake" (Catahoula Lake, now located in La Salle Parish).
In 1700, with almost 150 years of breeding, this odd looking dog with a mottled coat and mysterious glass eyes was discovered by French settlers. Hearing the stories of Tonti of the abundance of game in Louisiana the French brought with them their Beauceron dog, a ferocious dog used for hunting wild boar and, it is the belief of some, that the Beauceron was bred to the" Indian wolf-dog"
The Catahoula is not an aggressive dog, but it is assertive. If mistreated or attacked, it will defend itself to whatever means necessary. The same goes for what it considers its territory and its family. They are naturally protective and territorial, fiercely guarding their home and family. For this reason, Catahoulas make excellent watch dogs.
and would explain why the Catahoula has a hound like appearance.
Photo courtesy of Don Abney, Abney Catahoulas, Nikki Ott, Double Ott Catahoulas
Lynn Jessmon, Facahatchee Catahoulas and Jim Casey, Casey Catahoulas
Bulldog Information Library 2003-2011 © All rights reserved.
The Greyhound was used for the hunting of game which fed De Soto's army. Right up until 1542 when De Soto died and his men retreated after losing many battles, the Indian tribes took in and cared for the sick and wounded dogs.  At that time, the Red Wolf, which then roamed Louisiana, was used by the Indians  to locate game, much in the same manner as hunters use their dogs today. All these dogs bred and interbreed with each other along with the Red Wolf. The offspring of the subsequent crosses between the Red Wolf and these "war dogs" became known as the "wolf-dog". The Wolf Dog, which is mentioned in Louisiana History, as well as most history books covering this era, was the name given to them by Henri Tonti during one of his visits to Louisiana.
They generally do not fare well in an urban setting, though. As a new owner you must be ready to train and exercise a Catahoula. If not, as one breeder states, "he will eat your house".
Since this dog has the inherent nature to herd and track game, he needs sufficient exercise to release some of that built up energy. A minimum of one hour of running exercise each day is necessary.


Strike's Airtime...15 ft up
Double Ott Catahoulas
Photo courtesy: Nikki Ott
Roux and Dixie
Double Ott Catahoulas
Photo courtesy: Nikki Ott
Casey Catahoulas
Lee's Jake
Photo Courtesy: Jim Casey
Facahatchee's Chili Twist
Facahatchee Catahoulas
Photo: Lynn Jessmon

Other dog breeds
De Soto's "entrada"
ancient Beauceron
Casey Catahoulas
Photo Courtesy: Jim Casey
Facahatchee's War Cloud   "Warcloud"
 Facahatchee Catahoulas
Photo courtesy: Lynn Jessmon

Double Ott's Roux
Photo courtesy: Nikki Ott
read more about the Catahoula Leopard Dog
CH. Abney's Blue Bear
Abney Catahoulas
Photo courtesy: Don Abney
Catahoula Bulldog
Japanese dog breeds
Bulldog breeds
Northern dog breeds

The Louisiana Catahoula
Leopard Dog
by Don Abney
more information

Desmond Morris
Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary
of over 1,000 Breeds
More information:

Dog breeds books featuring the Catahoula Leopard Dog:
As far as we know the following book is the only monograph published on the Catahoula Leopard Dog. 
The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World
by Bonnie Wilcox, Chris Walkowicz
More information:

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