With stunning bright eyes and a gorgeous leopard coat, the Catahoula leopard dog is every active family’s best companion.
Catahoulas are unique dogs in all aspects. They have coats that come in solid and spotty patterns.
Besides Catahoula’s special looks, their history is fascinating, too. They’re the only dogs to originate from Louisiana!
There are more things to find out about Catahoulas, like diet and training. So, keep reading!
Originally bred in Louisiana, gray Catahoula leopard dogs have a pretty unique history.
Although there have been some speculations about the credibility of their history, it’s still interesting to know about it.
During the 1500s, the indigenous tribes of Louisiana domesticated dogs that were said to have red wolf ancestry.
Eventually, the Native Americans called the cross-bred dog wolf dogs. Afterward, when the French settlers stayed in South America, they bred the wolf dogs with other dogs.
Finally, the French-bred wolf dogs became what we now know as Catahoula leopard dogs.
Interestingly, Catahoula means “sacred lake” in the Choctaw language. This is because Catahoulas are the only dogs that came from South America.
With glassy blue eyes and strong jaws, gray Catahoula leopard dogs are commonly known for their unique features.
Most Catahoula leopard dogs weigh around 50-95 pounds, according to AKC. They’re also pretty slender, with a height of 22-24 inches.
Additionally, Catahoula dogs resemble ducks with their webbed feet, making them fantastic swimmers.
Furthermore, Catahoula leopard dogs might seem intimidating because of their sharp jaws and broad heads, but they’re actually playful!
Initially bred to herd cattle, the gray Catahoula leopard dog loves challenging jobs, especially hunting animals.
The powerful bite of a Catahoula leopard dog (a force of around 200-400 PSI) accompanied by a muscular body, make him a great watchdog for protecting your home.
Despite Catahoula leopard dogs being excellent workers, they make lovely family companions too! Even if you have children, they’ll bond well with them.
However, if the children mistreat a Catahoula leopard dog, he might get aggressive.
So, supervise the dog until he gets along with the kids, but keep the dog away if you have babies. Adding to that, teach the children to play gently with the dog.
As for pets, Catahoula leopard dogs can get along well with cats. That’s not the case with small pets like birds, though. Since these dogs are hunters, they may kill or hurt these small pets.
Additionally, Catahoula leopard dogs get feisty and territorial around other dogs, particularly if they’re from the same sex.
Though, if you teach Catahoula leopard puppies early socialization, they might get along with the other dogs.
Conversely, Catahoula dogs can be a bit standoffish and wary around strangers.
Because Catahoulas are active, they thrive best in big houses—especially if the house has a big garden or yard.
Lastly, if your family likes to go on adventures, a Catahoula leopard dog is going to be a great fit.
Catahoula Leopard Training
Catahoula leopard dogs hate nothing more than getting bossed around. They’re naturally independent and stubborn, so you won’t easily be able to take the lead from the get-go.
Due to the gray Catahoula leopard dog’s innate stubbornness, coaching him isn’t suitable if you’re a beginner.
However, with adequate and consistent puppy lessons by an experienced dog owner, the dog will start to enjoy training. That’s simply because he loves pleasing his dog owner.
Additionally, you should focus on leash training for gray Catahoula leopard dogs early on. Since these dogs are predatory, they might pull the leash during walks.
Catahoula Leopard Exercise
Grey Catahoula leopard dogs aren’t well-fitted for a calm lifestyle because of their high energy. Instead, they need both physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis.
To keep these leopard dogs happy, give them at least one hour of vigorous exercise. You might have to get mentally stimulating toys like treat balls.
If Catahoula leopard dogs don’t get the stimulation they require, they’ll make their own “games” to play. By “games”, I mean scratching furniture, ruining your favorite carpet, and whatnot.
Grey Catahoula leopard dogs are generally healthy, but some can be prone to a couple of health issues.
Here are some common conditions in Catahoula leopard dogs:
- Hip dysplasia: Canine hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition where the hip joints are partially or fully dislocated, which eventually leads to arthritis.
- Diabetes: Catahoulas are predisposed to diabetes and obesity more than other dogs.
- Hypothyroidism: It’s a condition where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones.
- Deafness: This is an untreatable hereditary condition among some Catahoulas.
When you buy a Catahoula leopard puppy, make sure it’s from a reputable breeder. Additionally, ask for health clearances of both the puppy and his parents to prove that the puppy doesn’t have any genetic health conditions.
Lastly, most white-coated Catahoulas inherit a double merle, which leads to a health disease, namely cataracts.
Grey Catahoula leopards, by their name, have grayish and spotty short coats. However, other Catahoula coats come with various patterns and colors—white, black, red, yellow, or a mix of everything!
Catahoula dogs shed moderately, so they need brushing about once a week. To keep their oral hygiene healthy, brush their teeth daily or at least four times a week.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Diet
Catahoulas easily gain weight, so be careful with the quantities they eat. They require around 3-5 cups of dog food.
Obviously, the amount of food a Catahoula leopard dog needs may vary depending on his age, activity, and size.
As for the diet, a high-protein one is excellent for Catahoula leopards since they have a muscular build. Furthermore, try to feed the dog twice a day instead of feeding him the whole food portion at once.
Calvin is the co-founder and one of the main contributors to dogtemperament.com. He has been an avid dog lover all his life. He enjoys researching and sharing great ideas on how you can avoid common pitfalls of dog ownership and build the most loving and enjoyable relationship with your dog.