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The Catahoula Leopard Dog

April 1, 2022

April 8th is National Catahoula Day! The Catahoula may not be the most well-known breed, but they do have some devoted fans. Fido is the Louisiana state dog, and is a much-beloved member of the AKC herding category. A veterinarian discusses these wonderful pooches below.


The Catahoula is a Louisiana dog: the breed originated near the Catahoula Lake area. In fact, the word ‘Catahoula’ translates to ‘sacred lake’ in the Choctaw language. These pups are likely the result of interbreeding between local pups and the dogs brought over by French and Spanish explorers, though nobody knows for sure. Either way, we do know that these smart pups were bred for tracking and herding wild hogs. (This earned Fido the nickname ‘Hog Dog.’) In the 1800’s, breeders sought to develop a breed that was a great work dog, hunter, and guardian, but was also good with kids. Mission accomplished!


The Catahoula is an extremely smart pooch, but he must be taught how to be a ‘good boy.’ Training should start the day that you bring little Fido home. Be patient, firm, and consistent, and focus on positive reinforcement.


Catahoulas are extremely loving and loyal, and they can make absolutely wonderful family pets. They can get along well with cats, though this works out best when Fido grows up with Fluffy. However, these dogs do have a strong prey drive, and they don’t always play nice with other dogs. They can also be a bit reactive, especially with loud or rambunctious children. Err on the side of caution here: supervise all interactions between Fido and his tiny humans, and don’t let your canine buddy run around off-leash.


Catahoulas are usually healthy, but, as is common with purebreds, they can be prone to a few specific problems, such as deafness and hip dysplasia. Keep up with your pet’s veterinary care needs! 


These lovable pups are very active, and need lots of exercise. Fido often gets the zoomies, and he can get destructive if he feels restless or bored. Daily walks and vigorous play sessions are definitely a must!


Catahoulas can sport many different colors and patterns. They are pretty low maintenance, as far as grooming goes. Fido will only need to be brushed about once a week, and bathed a few times a year. As with any other pup, you’ll need to keep your pup’s ears clean, and keep up with his nail trims and dental care.

Do you have questions about Catahoulas? Contact us, your pet hospital, today!

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