As Per AMERICAN KENNEL ASSOCIATION (AKC): About the Catahoula Leopard DogThe Catahoula Leopard Dog is a medium-large, short-coated dog, known for its many varied coat and eye colors and patterns. The word catahoula is of Choctaw origin and is translated to mean “sacred lake.” Catahoulas are the only breed of dog to have historically originated in the state of Louisiana. The breed requires firm guidance and early socialization, as they can be independent, territorial, and protective. For the same reasons, they do not allow mistreatment and will assert themselves in self-defense. Once they know their place in the family unit, they are affectionate, loyal, and gentle. Also called the Catahoula Hog Dog, they are used as stock dogs, bay dogs, tree dogs, watchdogs, guard dogs, and of course as loyal companions.
HistoryIn 1539, when 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. How the Catahoula obtained his working instincts is another story: The early settlers of Central Louisiana, specifically the Catahoula Lake area, used these crossbred dogs to pen and catch the wild hogs and cows that were rampant in the area, and this practice turned into a planned method of managing the wild herds. The Catahoula developed a unique way of working the stock that sets them apart from other herding and working breeds; they create a “canine fence” around the herd, and within this “fence,” the wild herd is directed by the dog’s master. This natural working instinct is of the utmost importance to Catahoula Leopard Dog breeders. Regardless of appearance, he must have these working instincts to be a pure Catahoula.