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Dogwood Animal Hospital

2050 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045

The Catahoula Leopard Dog

April 1 2022

Did you know that April 8th is National Catahoula Day! The Catahoula is the Louisiana state dog. A member of the AKC herding group, these smart pups are very good boys that deserve some recognition. A veterinarian discusses these wonderful pups below.


Fido is from Louisiana, around the Catahoula Lake area. The word ‘Catahoula’ comes from a Choctaw Indian word, which translates to ‘sacred lake.’ Although nobody can say for sure, these pups may be the result of interbreeding between local dogs and pups that the French and Spanish explorers brought over from Europe. Either way, what we do know is that Fido’s first job was to track and herd wild hogs. (This earned him the nickname ‘Hog Dog.’) During the 1800’s, breeders in the area focused their efforts on developing a pooch that was a great hunter, guardian, and work dog, but was also good with kids. Mission accomplished!


Fido is very smart and loyal, but he has to be taught how to be a ‘good boy.’ Training should start when you bring little Fido home. Be firm and consistent, and always keep the focus on positive reinforcement.


Catahoulas can wear many different colors and patterns. Fido is pretty low maintenance on grooming: you’ll only need to brush him about once a week, and bathe him a few times a year. As with any other pooch, you’ll need to keep his ears clean, and keep up with his nail trims and dental care.


Catahoulas are loving and loyal, and they can make absolutely wonderful family pets. They can do well with cats, though it’s best if they grow up together. However, Fido does have a strong prey drive, and doesn’t always play nice with other dogs. He can also be a bit reactive, especially if youngsters are being loud or rough. It best to err on the side of caution here: supervise all interactions between your canine buddy and his tiny humans, and keep your pooch leashed.


Catahoulas are high-energy dogs, so they need lots of activity and stimulation. Fido can get destructive if he feels restless or bored. Daily walks and play sessions are very important with these guys!


Catahoulas tend to be pretty healthy, but, as is common with purebreds, they are prone to a few specific problems. Deafness is fairly common in Catahoulas, as is hip dysplasia. Be sure to keep up with your pet’s veterinary care needs..

Do you have questions about Catahoulas? Contact us, your local veterinary clinic!

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