Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog – an American breed, is the Louisiana State Dog and is just as unique as that state. The breed’s ancestry is not known for certain, but experts think that Native American dogs, red wolves, Spanish explorers’ mastiffs, and probably even the French Beauceron all contributed genetics to the breed. This versatile breed is used for guarding the home and farm, herding livestock, and hunting. Breed experts stress that the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is first and foremost a working dog, and her body conformation should reflect this focus.
The roots of the Catahoula leopard dog ( Louisiana State Dog ) are unclear, but the following breeds are believed to be part of its ancestry: Xoloitzcuintli, pronounced “show-low-eats-queent-lee” (also called Mexican hairless) – found in Mexico 3300 years prior to Spanish exploration. Peruvian Inca orchid (resembles a small deer in structure and movement), also called Peruvian hairless). Beauceron (a French herding dog colored black with rust stockings or merle / leopard). Carolina dog (most likely the “Indian dog” base stock which interbred with european immigrant breeds), also called the “American dingo.” The original Carolina dog is directly related to the Australian dingo and African jackal and was recently discovered surviving in uninhabited areas of the American southeast.
Most Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dogs stand between 20 and 26 inches tall and weigh between 50 and 85 pounds. The head is strong, and the eyes are medium in size and may be any color or combination of colors. The body is slightly longer than tall and is strong without being bulky. The tail extends to the hock. The single short coat may be leopard-colored, brindle, or solid. The coat is easy to care for and needs only weekly brushing.
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is an active dog breed with strong working instincts. The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog needs daily exercise and will run alongside a bicycle, play on the agility course, or enjoy herding. She is calm in the house but is not a couch potato. Early training and socialization are very important. Structured, firm, yet fair and fun training can help establish the owner as the dog’s leader, and socialization can help the dog adjust to a variety of people.
Although affectionate with their owners, Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dogs are aloof, wary, and sometimes even intolerant of strangers. Catahoula Leopard Dogs need a job to do, whether it’s herding cattle, keeping rats out of the barn, or doing search-and-rescue work. This breed needs an experienced dog owner who has a plan for the dog. When kept as pets with no occupation, Catahoulas can become frustrated and will get into trouble.
They are good with the family’s children but will not like rough play from visitors. The primary health concerns include deafness, eye disorders, and hip dysplasia.
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