Dog Breed Information

Catahoula Leopard Dog – Temperament ,History and Information

You clearly clicked on this article because you are interested or want to know more about this fascinating spotted dog known as the Catahoula leopard dog. Which is sometimes referred to as the “Canine of Louisiana.” 

As we like to please and hope not to disappoint, we’ve come up with the things you need to know, including temperament, personality, health problems, grooming, and training needs. 

So let’s get started.

What are Catahoula leopard dogs? An introduction for the unaware

Catahoula leopard dogs originated in Louisiana. Due to their hunting capabilitiesanother common name for them is the “Catahoula Leopard Hound.” They were and still are used for hunting wild boar. 

If you’re into that kind of adventure, this could be an excellent breed for the task. 

In a dog pack, the female tends to be the alpha.

The Catahoula Leopards are super athletic and energetic. They love to be with their owner in outdoor activities and possess a great work ethic

As an owner, you’ll need to be patient. Having expertise in living with dogs is a must. This breed requires an assertive yet gentle owner.

The main features and sizes of the male and female Catahoula Leopards

The Catahoula leopard dog is medium-sized with a smooth coat of short hair. 

As the name suggests, They are spotted and coat colors vary but include blue merle, red merle, brindle, and solid colors. 

The breed is also categorized based on their coat color

  • Red Leopard
  • Blue Leopard
  • Black Leopard
  • Gray or silver Leopard
  • Tri-color Leopard having patches of three colors on the body
  • Quad-color Leopard have different colorations on their coats

Male Catahoula leopards grow to 22 – 28 inches (56 to 71 cm), with females being slightly shorter at 22 – 27inches (56 to 69 cm)

The breed has a muscular and strong body. 

Their weight can vary, with male dogs weighing between 44 – 105 lbs (20 to 48 kg)and females weighing between 39 – 99 lbs (18 to 45 kg)

Catahoula Leopards have heterochromia, “cracked glass,” or “marbled glass” eyes. The standard colors are blue or blue-white eyes. They can also have a darker sensation or even one eye with two colors.

Catahoula Leopard Dog with blue eyes in leash training

More about the history and origin of the Catahoula Leopard dog:

These dogs are believed to be bred by Native Americans and French colonialists. Some say they originated in the 17 century. But another theory suggests them to be bred in 19 century after French settlers brought Beauceron, a working breed dog developed for rabbit hunting and herding. Hence according to this theory, Catahoula Leopard dogs resulted from crossbreeding between the Beauceron dog breed and the Red Wolf.

The characteristics of both these breeds are evident in the Catahoula Leopard, making them suitable for hunting and herding.

Catahoula Leopard dog temperament:

The breed has a confident and forceful personality. They are energetic, intelligent, and gentle, yet can show aggression toward other dogs and strange people. 

Given that they were bred to hunt hogs and herd cattle, this isn’t surprising. 

If not properly trained and socialized, they can attack even small animals like cats and chickens and continue to carry these traits through adulthood even with proper training.

Do Catahoula leopard dogs make good family pets?

They are less likely to be suitable for families and are more suited as working dogs. Leaving them to their own devices will generally cause them to get bored and display destructive behaviors.

Proper training and socialization from their puppyhood may change this behavior, but it is recommended not to leave them alone with young kids. Training these dogs requires expert-level skills and motivation, which can’t be understated.

After all, they share an ancestry with hunting breeds and show aggression to other dogs who they are unfamiliar.

How bad do Catahoula Leopard shed?

The Catahoula Leopard has a smooth and silky coat of small hairs. Seasonal shedding is normal and usually occurs twice a year. If your Catahoula Leopard sheds excessively, it may be because of a health problem.

Some fun facts about the Catahoula Leopard dogs

Catahoula Leopard dogs make funny sounds and are very vocal.

Some dog breeds are quiet, but this is not one of them. 

They are known for making strange and funny noises during their playtime. Catahoula Leopard dogs enjoy their playtime with full attention and in a passionate manner. They can’t stop themselves from making this funny noise when they are with other dogs. This is something that would be very hard to stop even with training. 

Catahoula Leopard dog climbing trees. It’s not a myth!

Every one of us has seen cats climbing up the trees, but very few know that some dogs breeds are very good at climbing trees. They do this to catch squirrels or escape the yard if a tree is standing near the fence. as The Louisiana Catahoula leopard is one of those breeds

Other dog breeds which can climb trees include:

They all have incredible claws, which help them grab the tree and pull themselves up. They use their mouth by biting into the branches as an anchor point while using their legs to propel them upwards.

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are very sensative

Exercise requirements for the Catahoula Leopard dog:

These dogs will never be an apartment dog breed, as we have already established. If kept alone at home without activities, they’ll start destroying things and could possibly show aggression to their owners. They need physical exercise regularly to keep them fit, happy and healthy. 

If you own these dogs, it’s not optional. So if you’re not the type of person who likes exercising, you’ll need to live on a few acres so they can run and exert themselves.

Trainability and training of the Catahoula Leopard dog:

Their tendency is to be independent. Pleasing their owner isn’t their first priority by nature. You’re going to be very disappointed if you’re expecting an easy training program. We’re repeating ourselves here, but we want to clarify that they will require a lot of work. 

Therefore, before getting a Catahoula Leopard dog as your pet, make sure you have the experience, time, and patience to train them, or you at least know someone who can do that for you.

How to train Catahoula Leopard Dog?

These dogs are sensitive and intelligent and will sense punishment. 

Therefore positive reinforcement is the way to go. In fact, it’s the way to go with any type of training but very important in this case. 

Punishment will negatively impact the self-esteem of this breed, which will lead to depression and lack of motivation. 

Socialization training  

Socializing is a significant part of this breed’s training.

Taking them to every possible event and introducing them to different people and other dogs will significantly help make them calmer around people and other animals. 

Obedience training Catahoula Leopard dogs:

Being intelligent, they learn quickly if you can keep their motivation up.

As they are harder to train, their training must start as early as possible. 

Catahoula Leopards are good active learners, but they are independent. So without proper motivation, they won’t care what you want but will do what they want. 

Remain patient and stick to your plan.

Obedience training needs to start from the day your Catahoula Leopard puppy arrives. 

Routine and repetition from day one will get them used to a schedule which is essential for the long-term success of the obedience training.

Start with basic commands like “Sit”, “leave”,” Stop”, “come,” and so on. 

You won’t get a positive response initially. The Catahoula Leopard puppy may show a negative reaction to your commands, but you have to keep working at it. In a forceful yet gentle way. Once done, reward him with a treat and repeat the process. Keep doing so until you feel he completely knows what you want from him.

Leash training of Catahoula Leopard Dogs:

After Obedience training, the most important is leash training. Catahoula Leopards are more energetic and will definitely resist at first. This resistance may include aggression. But with time, your dog will be okay with a leash. While training your dog, put the leash on during his favorite times like eating and playing. 

Take it off as soon as you realize it’s causing them to panic. 

Make the experience postive.

Initially, put your dog on the leash for short intervals, which you can increase with time. 

Leash training is more critical for breeds like the Catahoula Leopard than for other dogs. Until they are socialized, they can chase and attack other dogs and animals.

this dog looks like it cold be a catahoula aussie mix

Crate training of Catahoula Leopard Dogs:

Crate training is essential to keep your dog safe when alone at home and at night when no one is watching them. 

It’s as difficult as it is important. 

Remaining calm and consistent is the key to success while crate training.

Crate training starts with the design of the crate

  • The crate needs to be larger than your dog but not that much larger.
  • It needs to have an entrance on one of the sides.
  •  Your dog needs to be able to fit in the create without touching the roof while standing upright.
  • It needs to be long enough for your dog to lie down fully stretched and wide enough to freely turn around without touching the sides. 
  • Summing up a square box that allows your dog the freedom of movement of the above two points.

Go easy with the training. 

  • Keep the door open during the initial days and make your dog familiar with the crate. 
  • When they get used to sitting and standing in the crate, place food inside as a treat. 
  • Try to close the door when you think your dog isn’t paying attention and open it when you think they are starting to panic. 
  • If you find him crying in the crate, calm them down with words. Opening once they have become quiet first otherwise, they will think the crying released them and cause this to become a habit.
  • Obviously, don’t be cruel, and this process takes time. Closing the door needs to occur after they have gotten used to it being partially shut.
  • Once used to the create, keep them there for longer periods at a time. Gradually increasing the intervals of time. Placing toys in there may encourage them to stay for longer.
  • Once they are used to it, try keeping them inside overnight.

Hot tip: if you place them in the create from when they are young puppies, they will just get used to it as the place they hang out and sleep in at night, making the process much simpler.


The Catahoula Leopard can be an ideal pet with the proper training and care. But patience and kindness are required to get the most out of this breed. With the insight provided. We hope you can make the appropriate decision on whether this spotted Leopard looking like dog, which can climb trees and makes funny noises, is the right breed for you.

Johni Barresto

Johni Barresto Is a father and animal lover. With a range of expertise in animal health, he decided to start Animal Heed. His passion is to share his knowledge to help animal owners worldwide. When not in front of his computer, he's out with his kids, teaching them the importance of animal care.

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