If you’re at all familiar with Catahoulas, then you’ve probably noticed that this highly intelligent breed works hard and plays hard. As you might imagine, that also means they have a lot of energy to burn and require vigorous daily exercise. So, what better way to burn some of that energy than by playing in the water?
Most Catahoulas not only like water, but they’re also excellent swimmers. Catahoulas were bred originally by French settlers for the swampy terrain of the state of Louisiana in the American South. Their features are adapted for navigating through the wet, muddy environment.
We’re going to cover everything you need to know about what makes Catahoulas such great swimmers along with how you can set them up for success in the water.
For example, they have webbed feet. Some webbing on a canine foot is common, but a Catahoula dogs webbing extends much more prominently down the toes than normal. This trait would have allowed these dogs to more easily traipse through the soggy and boggy Louisiana marshland.
They Go by Several Names
Yes, you read it right. Catahoula Leopard Dog may be the most common name of this breed, but it is also called the Leopard Cur, Leopard Dog, Catahoula hog dog, Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, and Catahoula hound. It’s interesting to note that it took a while for dog enthusiasts to settle on a breed name for this dog.
No wonder why this dog is also called the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog. The history of this dog traces back to Louisiana, particularly in the northern part. In this region, you can even find the namesake parish of the breed.
Since the breed is tied closely with the area, and an important breed, then-governor Edwin Edwards named this breed of dog as the state dog of Louisiana in 1979.
When you look closely into this breed, you can actually see three lines of these dogs that differ in terms of appearance and size.
The biggest among the three is the Wright line, which was created by Preston Wright. This variety weighs about 100 pounds.
Another line is the Lovie Fairbanks’ Catahoulas which weigh about 70 pounds. They are also known for their distinct brindle or yellow color.
The third line is the McMillan line. They are considered the smallest dogs, weighing only about 55 pounds. They also feature a blue leopard color, and they are also known for their rare glass eyes.
Through the years, these three lines have been interbred frequently in order to create a variety of looks among these dogs.
Since these dogs are always associated with their origins in Louisiana, it seemed that they are not that well-known out of the United States. Still, they managed to cross borders.
Even though they may not be as thick-coated in appearances as the other sled dogs such as Huskies and Akitas, The Catahoula Leopard Dog has attracted attention among sled racers within Canada.
In fact, one even described the Catahoula Leopard Dog as having power and drive.
Perhaps because of the mysterious appearance of this breed, the Catahoula Leopard Dog has attracted the attention and attention of writers who are into crime fiction and mysteries.
In fact, this breed played a huge role in the plot of a 2005 episode of ‘Veronica Mars’. Several years after that, it also appeared in the crime drama entitled ‘Bones’.
This breed was also mentioned in the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, as the setting was in North Louisiana. In this novel, the character in the story, Terry Bellefleur, owns several of this breed, even though this character does not own dogs in the TV adaptation of the books entitled ‘True Blood’.
Aside from their alluring eyes and vivid fur, the Catahoula dogs are also known for having certain distinctive physical features that may go unnoticed at first sight. One of those unique features is their webbed feet.
Webbing in this style is commonly found on canine paws, however, the webbing that may be seen on this breed’s toes is more noticeable.
This design in their body allows them to traverse through the boggy and soggy marshland of Louisiana without much hassle.
Catahoula Leopard Dog Feeding & Nutrition
Like with any breed of dog, you should feed your Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog mix high-quality food to ensure they receive the proper amount of nutrients for development.
The most common types include dry kibble, which provides them with all their necessary vitamins and minerals, but make sure it’s one that doesn’t contain corn or wheat (to avoid allergies).
Treats are an important part of their nutrition and training but don’t overfeed them because that can lead to obesity.
To keep your pup healthy, you should measure out its daily portion by using a standard measuring cup then divide it into two meals each day. Always read the labels on your dog’s food carefully, and consult with a veterinary nutritionist if you are concerned about the meals.
Also, make sure to withhold water and food at least one hour after hard training and exercise in order to avoid bloating. After that, always keep clean and fresh water around.
The unique Catahoula leopard dog breed originated in the state of Louisiana, USA.
The exact history is unknown, but it’s believed that they descended from dogs brought over by Spanish settlers during their explorations into America (back then, these pups were known as “Catahoula Hunting Dogs”).
Their exotic name Catahoula is believed to refer to a Native American local tribe.
In 1979 Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog became an official state dog of state Louisiana. Later in 1995, it was recognized as a part of the Herding Group by the United Kennel Club (UKC).
Do Catahoulas have Webbed Feet?
Catahoula breed does have webbed feet which mark them different from others because there is an extra tissue or membrane that connects the toes. The webbing of the feet also extends to the toes. Their webbed feet allow them to have a greater surface power to walk or run on mountainous landscapes.
How do you tell if your dog is a Catahoula?
Are Catahoula dogs swimmers?