Catahoula Leopard Dog: Why so Many of Them End Up in Shelters

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Many people here in Texas hit the animal shelters in advance of Christmas to make a pet purchase for their families. Among the various breeds to choose from, the Catahoula Leopard dog is one that’s long seen its numbers increase at area shelters. This is because, although it makes a great companion and a wonderful pet, it has several characteristics that pet owners may not be aware of in advance, which makes caring for that breed more difficult. Learning more about the type of dog you would like to adopt ahead of making that decision can help facilitate a stronger learning and loving relationship between that pet and your family.

Purebred Catahoulas (from Catahoula Parish, Louisiana) have been used as hunting as well as herding dogs. They are known for their herding abilities with cattle and their hunting abilities with feral hogs. They are easily provoked by visual stimuli and are quite mentally keen. Training them is easy, however, their owners should be aware that their bloodline goes back to Greyhounds. They’re both highly intelligent and energetic. The Catahoula Leopard dog requires a lot of socialization, however, it also doesn’t take kindly to strangers. As its owner, it’s best to introduce the dog to your immediate family and close circle of friends in order that it becomes aware of regular comings and goings in your lives. This animal is very suspicious of newcomers and will alert you to them. And you’ll be required to be the Alpha in your dog’s life. This type of pet is not for the timid, so you’ll need to be assertive in your training and direction.

Catahoula Leopard Dog: Why so Many of Them End Up in Shelters

Photo: Flickr/Krystal Hamlin

These animals are also considered quite territorial as well as protective. The Catahoula Leopard dog doesn’t like other dogs or people to come around its own family and friends. If strange children are near, sometimes the dogs can seem standoffish or aloof. Your best option with this type of pet is to keep a close eye on it and not allow it to be left unsupervised when its in the company of new people and kids. It will do what it sees fit to protect its family of humans. It will do what’s required to keep other animals away and will always alert its family to what it sees as new people coming around. As a family member, the Catahoula Leopard breed is as solid as they come. They are faithful and loving companions, however, potential owners will want to educate themselves on these characteristics we’ve noted, so as not to cause more work than they were anticipating when it comes to incorporating them into your daily lives and routines.