Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is a medium to medium-large, short-coated dog, with a broad head, small-to-medium drop ears, and an undocked tail set on as a natural extension of the topline. The Catahoula is well muscled and powerful, but not bulky, giving the impression of agility and endurance. The Catahoula is a moderate breed and should not resemble either a sighthound or a bulldog in appearance. Because of the breed’s name, many people assume that all Catahoulas have the so-called “leopard” markings and blue eyes. In fact, the breed is noted for its many and unusual coat colors and patterns, as well as varied eye color.1
The Catahoula is a multi-purpose working dog and is not recommended for the novice dog owner.
Catahoula temperament ranges from serious and business-like when working to clownish at home, with varying levels of energy. It is not uncommon for Catahoulas to be aloof with strangers, which often results in a lack of animation when showing and may cause some to draw away from judges when being examined. Catahoulas should never be excessively aggressive or shy. They can be independent, protective and territorial so they require consistent guidance and appropriate training.2
The American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) published its most recent statistics showing that of 13 Catahoula Leopard Dogs tested 10 passed and 3 failed resulting in an overall passing percentage of 76.9%. Comparatively, Golden Retrievers showed a passing percentage of 85.2% (a total of 776 dogs were tested), Australian Cattle Dogs showed a passing percentage of 79.3% (a total of 188 dogs were tested) and American Pit Bull Terriers showed a passing percentage of 86.8% (a total of 839 dogs were tested). The ATTS is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting uniform temperament evaluations of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs. Their motto is “A sound mind in a sound body”. You can read more breed temperament statistics on their website: www.atts.org.3
1 and 2 – Excerpts from the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog breed standard as described by the United Kennel Club (www.ukcdogs.com)
3 – American Temperament Test Society breed statistics as of February 2012. www.atts.org.