Catahoula Leopard dog
Catahoula Leopard dog 0
Catahoula Leopard dog 1
Catahoula Leopard dog 2
Catahoula Leopard dog 3
Catahoula Leopard dog 0
Catahoula Leopard dog 1
Catahoula Leopard dog 2
Catahoula Leopard dog 3

Catahoula Leopard dog

Last updated: Aug 31 2023

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is an American dog breed that was bred primarily for hunting in tough swamp conditions in the southern parts of the United States of America. These dogs originated in the state of Louisiana near Catahoula Lake, which they have been named after. 

This is a rare dog breed that is an incredible hunter with a hunting dog character that goes with it. It will require a strong leader that will know how to raise this dog to its full potential. They can be stubborn and strong-willed so they might be a handful for novice and inexperienced owners that are not used to handling large hunting dogs.

Catahoula Leopard dog


20-24 in (51-61 cm)

Catahoula Leopard dog


50-95 lb (23-43 kg)

Catahoula Leopard dog



Catahoula Leopard dog

Life Expectancy:

10-14 years

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health


Like many other hunting breeds, the Catahoula Leopard Dog is also quite energetic. They need regular exercise and physical activity in order to be completely happy and satisfied. They will be the happiest in homes that have a large, fenced yard where they can play and roam. They may also become protective of their territory, so you will need to properly socialize them if you are planning on having guests over often.

These dogs have a natural distrust towards strangers and some owners have described them as being a great judge of character.  If you manage to fulfill most of their physical needs, they will be very affectionate and gentle with you as their owner and they will make great pets.

Catahoula Leopard dog


Catahoula Leopard Dog has a short coat that lies close to the body. These dogs shed moderately throughout the year and regular weekly brushing is required to keep the amount of hair under control.

According to the AKC standard, their coat can come in various colors and combinations of colors including brindled, spotted, or solid-colored. Some of their most distinct features are their webbed feet that helped them hunt and track prey in wetlands and marshes, and their eyes which can be green, blue, amber, or cracked (the cracked eye is a when one eye has two colors).

The rest is basic care; trim their nails when needed (if they don't wear them down naturally), brush their teeth weekly to prevent tartar buildup and bacteria development. Regularly check their ears for any sign of redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. You can wipe their ears with a cotton ball dipped into an ear cleaner.

The key for your dog to get used to all things mentioned above is to start early with them. Make a positive experience for the dog, full of praises and rewards, and you can be sure that your dog will enjoy all these things when they grow up.

Catahoula Leopard dog


If you are interested in getting one of these dogs, make sure you will know how to properly train them. They will need a firm owner but also an owner that will treat them fairly and absolutely never resort to negative training methods such as punishment or fear. The Catahoula Leopard dogs achieve the best results with positive reinforcement.

Like any other dog breed, these dogs too will need proper and early socialization. This breed might actually need it a bit more as they were raised and bred to work fairly aggressively so make sure your pup is exposed to many different situations, sights, sounds, and people so they can learn to adapt to any situation and react in a calm and peaceful manner.

They are also great watchdogs that will alarm you about anyone approaching your territory or house.

Catahoula Leopard dog


Like any other dog breed, the Catahoula Leopard dog should start the socialization process as soon as possible. Dogs that are not well socialized are prone to behavioral problems and might react badly to situations they are not familiar with. 

There are many ways you can socialize your Catahoula Leopard dog, and the most important thing to do is to get your dog familiar with the different situations they can find themselves in. Take your dog to dog parks where they can meet other dogs and people.

The Catahoula Leopard dog might be a hunting breed, but they can quickly adapt to family living and a beloved family pet’s role. These dogs have become a lot better adapted to house life through selective breeding, and their hunting instincts and working ability haven’t been promoted so strongly. 


Early socialization and proper training can teach them to behave even when children are around. These dogs are more suitable for older kids but only because of the fact that they could easily knock a small child over. If you train and socialize your dog well, your children will get a great playing partner that has plenty of energy. These dogs can play for hours upon hours without getting tired or bored.

Children should never be left alone with any dog, no matter what breed it might be. You should make sure that your children understand how to approach dogs of this breed and understand how to interact and play with them properly.

Catahoula Leopard dog

Other animals

These dogs can get along well with other dogs and can enjoy their company.

However, every dog, no matter what breed they are, should be socialized and properly introduced to other pets. Take your time and even if your dog doesn’t react well on your first try doesn’t mean they won’t get along. Some dogs require time but the Catahoula Leopard dog is generally very affectionate and gentle towards other pets, especially if they were raised together.

Health problems

Like any other dog breed, the Catahoula Leopard dog can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents. The health problems these dogs are associated with are: 

  • Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
  • deafness
  • eye infections

The Catahoula Leopard dog is generally considered a very healthy breed that can live 10-14 years


When getting a dog, the most important thing is to get it from a responsible and reputable Catahoula Leopard dog breeder. These dogs are energetic and protective, and getting a poorly bred dog can have catastrophic results. Responsible breeders will breed dogs that don’t only look good but have great characters as well. You must find a good Catahoula Leopard dog breeder that can help you learn about this breed and make an informed choice about getting a dog with these characteristics. 

Buying a dog from a responsible breeder will cost you more money, but you can be sure you will get a healthy puppy. If you are unable to buy a dog, we advise you to search for local animal shelters because there is a chance you can find a Catahoula Leopard dog in it.

When you bring your new puppy home start with the training and socialization immediately. By doing so, you will end up with a well-behaved dog whom you can trust.

If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.

World Dog Finder team


Updated at31.08.2023.

Breed History

Their exact history remains unclear but it is widely believed that these dogs are a product of crossbreeding native hound-type dogs with imported European breeds such as Mastiffs, Greyhounds, and Bloodhounds. This breed was mostly used to round up and chase wild hogs in the Louisiana marshlands and it was a job they performed with great passion and success. This breed is highly praised in their native state, and it became the state dog of Louisiana in 1979.