Catahoula Leopard Dog (Catahoula Cur)

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merle, black & tan
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The Catahoula Leopard dog is a Native American, exceptionally diligent worker that is equally a good-natured and affectionate companion in the family life. Bred to drive and catch hogs, this dog will impress you with great stamina and effective appearance. The state of Louisiana officially declared it as the State Dog.

The Catahoula Leopard dog is believed to have appeared in Northern Louisiana near Catahoula Lake in XVI century. Catahoula is a Choctaw Indian word and translates as «sacred lake». There is a version that the breed is a result of interbreeding the local red wolf with the Bloodhound, the Mastiff, and the Greyhound brought to Louisiana by Spanish adventures. At that time the Catahoula was used to drive and catch wild hogs as well as livestock that fled for from farmer’s dwelling.

In the XVII century the French settlement began to appear in the area of Louisiana. The French introduced the Beauceron to this region, which later was crossed with interbred dog that already exists there. The modern Catahoula Leopard dog is the result of these breeding experiments.

This breed is known under multiple names as the Catahoula Cur, the Catahoula Leopard Cur, or the Catahoula Hound. It was given its actual name when in 1979 governor Edwin Edwards proclaimed it the official state dog of Louisiana. The last few decades the breed increasingly acquires the reputation as being a multipurpose dog and serves in search-and-rescue operation, herding, therapy, and law enforcement. This powerful, tough and sporting breed is considered to be highly suitable for such dog sports as competitive obedience, agility, Frisbee, Fly ball and a few others.

The United Kennel Club (UKC) put the Catahoula Leopard dog on record in 1995. Since 1996 the breed is a member of the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service (FSS), which keeps track of rare breeds. It hasn’t yet satisfied all the stipulations of the AKC and isn’t allowed to take part in AKC conformation events.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog was bred for hunting and working purposes, so the breeders developed the dog’s temper and character to match these goals. On the whole the dog will be trustworthy and devoted family member. It shows different levels of affection ranging from being sweet, tender and loving to being pretty restrained in expressing its feelings.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog tends to have a mind of its own and won’t stand if you treat it like a servant rather than an equal companion and a friend. The well-socialised Catahoula will become a great companion in all kind of childrens’ game, including a rough one. Though its puppies may not yet realise the necessity of being more careful with young child and therefore can be too rambunctious.

Protective instinct is in blood of the Catahoula Leopard Dog therefore it’s aloof and alert with strangers. In most cases the dog will show good manners and won’t be aggressive. It is impressively watchful and defensive of its territory which makes it a superb watch dog. As far as it concerns its guarding qualities it’s impossible to draw any general conclusion as it solely depends on a concrete dog. But even the members with highest guarding drive will resort to violence only when it’s absolutely necessary.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog’s relation to the strange dogs varies greatly. This dog used to work in packs so generally it learned to supress aggressiveness towards other canine animals. However, there is a strong tendency to dominance in majority of members that sometimes may lead to conflicts between dogs.

Driving other animals usually means biting them in the process; therefore the Catahoula Leopard Dog represents a great threat for other animals. Under the condition that the dog and other pet have been brought up together they will likely get on afterwards in life but still no one can guarantee that. The breed is an infamous cat killer, so it should always be supervised and kept on a leash once outside the house.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• ear problems;
• skin allergies;
• demodex mange;
• eye problems;
• various cancers in old age.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is easy to take care for. Its master should brush the dog’s coat from time to time and will never have to visit a professional groomer. The common maintenance practices as nail clipping and ear cleaning should be conducted on a regular basis. The future owner of this breed should be aware that many members are heavy shedders and will loose hair constantly, so of this when choosing this breed.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a smart and talented learner and there is literally nothing that it can’t grasp with proper effort and commitment from its trainer. Nonetheless some members are hard to train due to the independent and masterful nature.

This breed requires a strong and self-assured leader, whose superior position can be doubted by no means. The authoritative trainer will shape the Catahoula Leopard Dog into a docile and diligent animal but it’s still going to show defiance and ignore the commands from time to time. Even the best-trained dog which is captivated by the rush of chasing a prey won’t get back to work by the first call. Therefore it should always be kept on leash.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is an incredibly untiring and work-driven breed, which can endure the most exhausting physical exercise and will ask for more. Hence the dog needs plenty of physical activity. An absolute minimum for this dog consists of an hour of exercise in form of running each and every day.

Without appropriate amount of exercise the dog will cause much trouble by its destructive behaviour, hyper activity, on-going barking, aggression and nervousness. The Catahoula Leopard Dog can become your willing jogging partner but what it will enjoy the most is the opportunity to run off-leash in a securely fenced territory.