The Cattawhatta? That’s the general response I get when people ask me what breed my dog is.
This gorgeous dog is not a breed for the faint of heart, the soft-hearted or the tender person. She needs dominance. She’s tough. She’s stubborn, hard-headed and aggressive. She’s also loving, loyal and playful. Of my varied experience with raising puppies, she has by far, been the most difficult to train.
The Catahoula Leopard dog is a southern states breed, and is the state dog of Louisiana. Bred as a working dog, they are highly intelligent and energetic. When my girl runs, she flies. When she sees animals wandering loose, she herds. These are not things I taught her, she knows to do them all on her own. They need monstrous amounts of exercise to be kept happy and love to run free. They have webbed feet and love to swim as well.
When properly socialized as a puppy, they play well with others and do great with children. If not properly socialized, aggressiveness sets in. Abby is a fierce protector. She has decided that my god-daughter is hers and will protect her with every fiber of her being. Sometimes Abby will only let people she knows near her, because she’s decided the child is hers to protect. It is cute, but it is scary sometimes too. On the other hand, she does very well with other dogs, most of the time. She plays to their size. If they are small, she’ll lie down and let them climb all over her. If they are large and shy, she’ll entice them into play. If they are large and tough, she plays tough with them. She just seems to know.
The breed ranges in sizes, colours, and coats. There are various lines throughout the years that my Catahoula may look nothing like your Catahoula. They are recognized by the United Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club but not the Canadian Kennel Club.
This breed is prone to deafness. A Catahoula that is mostly white has over an 80% chance of being deaf in one or both ears. The breed is also prone to hip dysplasia, an abnormal formation of the hip socket, that can be very painful, almost crippling.
To end this blog, again, I have to state that this breed is not for the first timer, the soft hearted, or faint of heart. The Catahoula is a strong, aggressive, stubborn breed that needs a dominant person to keep them in line.
Thanks for reading, Melanie