Breed Spotlight: Catahoula Leopard Dog | PetFirst
Breed Spotlight- Catahoula Leopard Dog
Breed Spotlights

Breed Spotlight: Catahoula Leopard Dog

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
2 weeks ago

Happy National Catahoula Day! Celebrated on April 8th, this national holiday is a time to recognize and learn about Catahoula Leopard Dogs. While this breed of dog is not well-known, Catahoulas can make great pets. 


Originally bred in the state of Louisiana, Catahoulas are now the state dog in LA6. While the exact origin of the Catahoula is unknown, some people speculate that French settlers who came to the area in the 1700s crossed their Beauceron dogs with the Native Americans’ wolf dogs.

Catahoulas have traditionally been bred to hunt boars. Theodore Roosevelt used a Catahoula when hunting. However, this breed is also used as watchdogs, guard dogs, and simply as family pets. According to legend, Jim Bowie and his brother slept with a Catahoula at their feet.

It’s clear that Catahoulas are a unique and special breed of dog. Read on for more information about the characteristics, personality, and care of this breed.


Catahoula Leopard Dogs are medium to large in size, weighing 50-95 pounds with a height of 22-24 inches7. Catahoulas are muscular, strong dogs with beautiful and unique coloring. 

These dogs are shorthaired and each one looks very different: Catahoulas come in a range of colors and patterns, from red merle to brindle to solid colors and more. Many Catahoulas also have two different colored eyes!

Behavior and Personality

Catahoulas are highly loyal. If you make a Catahoula Leopard Dog part of your family, he or she will be highly loving and devoted to everyone who lives in your home. Catahoulas are generally good with kids but are not always good with other dogs.

While Catahoulas have strong personalities, they are not aggressive. They make good guard dogs because they are reserved around strangers and can appear intimidating. 


Catahoulas are independent, tending toward stubbornness and are commonly high-energy. Because of these personality traits, they can be somewhat difficult to train. It’s important to assert yourself as the person in charge. A professional dog trainer can help if you don’t feel up to the job. Catahoulas are also very intelligent, so they’ll catch on quickly during your training sessions as long as they’re willing to focus and cooperate.


Catahoula Leopard Dogs are low-maintenance when it comes to grooming as the breed doesn’t have any special grooming needs or requirements. Weekly brushing and occasional baths are plenty of grooming to help keep your dog looking and feeling their best.  


Catahoula Leopard Dogs are generally healthy. However, there are a few health conditions that are common for this breed:

  • Deafness often occurs in Catahoulas8
  • Hip dysplasia can be common
  • Catahoulas are also prone to various types of eye problems

Your veterinarian can help you care for your Catahoula to keep your dog as strong and healthy as possible.

Taking Care of Your Catahoula

Make sure to give your Catahoula plenty of physical and intellectual stimulation. Catahoulas need to have something to occupy them so they don’t become destructive. They also need lots of exercise!

Catahoulas should not be kept in an apartment or a big city for long periods of time. This breed needs lots of space to run and exercise regularly. However, make sure you provide your dog with a fenced space, as this breed’s chase instinct could make them travel too far from home. Catahoula Leopard Dogs are also strong swimmers and could excel in organized sports like agility courses. 

Since this breed of dog has a strong personality, lots of energy, and more complex training requirements, Catahoulas are recommended for experienced pet parents9.

With proper care, you can expect your Catahoula to have a life expectancy of 10-14 years. 

Here at PetFirst1, we know accidents and illnesses can happen to all pets. PetFirst Pet Insurancecan help cover unexpected vet visits2 and can provide peace of mind. PetFirst Pet Insurance1  has cat and dog insurance policies2 to fit every budget. Consider getting pet insurance for your furry friend today.

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC.

2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force.  

6American Kennel Club: Catahoula Leopard Dog

7American Kennel Club: Catahoula Leopard Dog

8Lousiana State University: Breed-specific deafness prevalence in dogs

9Dogtime: Catahoula Leopard Dog

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