|Catahoula Leopard Dog|
|Country of origin|
|Catahoulas are not fully recognised by the AKC |
and AKC standards have not yet been published
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, also known as the Catahoula Cur and Catahoula Hog Dog, is named after Catahoula Parish, Louisiana. Of extant dog breeds, the Catahoula is thought to have been in North America the longest.
The Catahoula is thought to have descended from "war dogs" (Mastiffs[?] and Greyhounds) brought to Louisiana by Hernando de Soto in the 16th century. Dogs left behind by the explorers party were interbred by the local indians with a semi-domesticated Red Wolf.
In the 17th century, French settlers arrived in Lousiana. They brought with them the Beauceron[?], and mixed it with the local indian dogs.
The Catahoula is the working dog of the region. They are used for herding cattle and sheep, and tracking and hunting ferile pigs (as well as anything else huntable from squirrel to deer to bear...) In 1979, owing to their importance in the history of the region, they were named the official state dog of Louisiana.
Being a working dog Catahoulas were bred more for temperament and ability than for appearance. As a result, the physical characteristics of the Catahoula are somewhat varied. They typically range from 50 to 95 pounds in weight and have short to very short hair. They come in a variety of colors: blue, red and yellow, in both merles and solids --- the archetype, however, is the blue merle. They are known for having haunting light blue "glass eyes", or half blue, half brown "cracked" eyes --- though all brown is also an acceptable eye color for the breed.
Catahoulas are highly intelligent, energetic and quick, yet are generally very loving and gentle with children. They are inquisitive and have an independent streak.
The breed is not fully recognized by the American Kennel Club but can be recorded under the "foundation stock service" scheme.