Catahoula Leopard Dog Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Catahoula Leopard Dog Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
One breeder says, "The Catahoula will not let you forget that you own a dog."
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, often called "King of the Stock Dogs," belongs on a farm or ranch. He is a serious working dog who goes about his business with tremendous focus and assertiveness.
This athletic, rugged dog requires at least an hour of running exercise each day. Without sufficient outlets for his high energy, he will become rambunctious and destructive.
Most Catahoula Leopard Dogs are reserved with strangers and naturally protective. Skittishness and sharpness can be problems in some lines, so you need to be careful about where you get your dog. Then you need to socialize extensively, right from puppyhood.
The Catahoula can be dominant and pushy with other animals, especially with other dogs of the same sex. He may or may not cohabit well in multi-pet homes. Catahoulas can be possessive of their food and belongings.
This is not a good breed for a novice owner. Catahoula Leopard Dogs are independent and like to be in charge. You must be a confident leader or they will walk all over you.
Overall, this is a capable, versatile companion when allowed to fulfill his working heritage. Otherwise, he may not be happy and can be too much dog to handle.
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium to large, tautly muscled, and athletic
- Has a short, easy-groom coat with an unusual color pattern
- Is a serious working dog who thrives on vigorous exercise
- Makes a keen watchdog
A Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Potential rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
- Potential destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
- Suspiciousness or shyness when not extensively socialized
- Potential aggression toward other animals – also strong chasing instincts
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
A Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Catahoulas have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Catahoula Leopard Dog to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog
If I was considering a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Catahoula Leopard Dogs are happiest living on a farm or ranch and allowed to hunt or work stock. If you simply want a pet for your family, and don't have the time or inclination to take your dog running or hiking or biking or swimming, I definitely don't recommend this breed. Bored Catahoula Leopard Dogs can bark up a storm and destroy your home and yard with their chewing.
- Providing enough socialization. Many Catahoula Leopard Dogs have protective instincts toward strangers. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, a Catahoula may be suspicious of everyone, which could lead to aggression or shyness.
- Animal aggression. Many Catahoula Leopard Dogs are dominant and pushy toward other dogs of the same sex. Many have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures. Keep in mind that this breed was (and is) used to hunt other animals, including aggressive wild boar.
- The strong temperament. Catahoula Leopard Dogs have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Some Catahoula Leopard Dogs are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Catahoula to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. Read more about Catahoula Leopard Dog Training.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.