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The Catahoula: The History and Mystery From Native American Wolfdogs to Modern-Day Mutts
Home Dog Breed Catahoula Dog Breed: Louisiana’s Multi-Colored Herders

Catahoula Dog Breed: Louisiana’s Multi-Colored Herders

by CareTips Dog
Catahoula Dog Breed: Louisiana's Multi-Colored Herders

The Catahoula dog breed hails from the state of Louisiana in the United States. Known for their distinctive coats and strong work ethic, Catahoulas make loyal companions.

Introduction Catahoula Dog Breed

Believed to have originated in the Catahoula Parish of Louisiana, Developed to be an all-purpose working dog. They were bred to herd hogs and cattle, hunt wild game, and protect homesteads. Their ancestry likely includes the Red Wolf, Greyhound, and Mastiff. This produced an agile, hardy dog able to work in hot, humid conditions.

Catahoulas are highly energetic and need a job to do. They are independent thinkers but responsive to firm, confident handling. Wary of strangers, they are affectionate and protective with their own family. Proper socialization makes them more outgoing.

Adaptability: ★★★

Apartment: ★★
Novice Owners: ★★
Sensitivity: ★★★
Alone Time: ★★
Cold Weather: ★★★★
Hot Weather: ★★★★

Friendliness: ★★★

Family: ★★★★
Kids: ★★★
Dogs: ★★★
Strangers: ★★

Grooming: ★★

Shedding: ★★
Bathing: ★★
Health: ★★★
Weight Gain: ★★
Size: ★★★

Trainability: ★★

Easy Training: ★★
Intelligence: ★★★
Prey Drive: ★★★
Barking: ★★
Wanderlust: ★★★

Exercise Needs: ★★★

Energy Level: ★★★
Intensity: ★★★
Exercise: ★★★
Playfulness: ★★★


The Catahoula is a medium-large breed ranging from 20-26 inches tall and 50-90 pounds. They have a sturdy, muscular build. Their short to medium length coat comes in varied colors like black, white, red, blue, gray, brown, yellow, or brindle.

Often have distinctive eyes – each eye may be a different color or shade. Eye colors include blue, brown, amber, or green. These unique eyes are thought to assist their vision when herding.


Smart and energetic, the Catahoula needs regular activity and a job to do. They are independent thinkers and perseverant workers. Should be trained with confident, firm leadership. They bond closely with their family.

Protective of their territory and wary of strangers. Early socialization makes them more outgoing. They generally get along with other pets when properly introduced. Their herding instincts may result in chasing or nipping.


The Catahoula is the state dog of Louisiana but is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. They are registered through the United Kennel Club and American Canine Association. Their popularity has grown beyond Louisiana, especially in the southern U.S.


Energetic, assertive and intelligent, needs an experienced owner providing structure and exercise. They are affectionate and loyal with their families but aloof with strangers unless well-socialized. They should be supervised with small children due to nipping tendencies.


10-14 years

Coat Color

Catahoulas are best known for their striking coats in varied colors and patterns like black, white, blue merle, red merle, brindle patches, or black/gray coats with white ticking. Some have small splashes of color on a white background.

Original Breed

The Catahoula is considered an original breed, purposefully developed in Louisiana from Red Wolf, Greyhound, and Mastiff bloodlines. They were bred specifically to create an agile herding dog able to work in hot, swampy environments.

Caring for a Catahoula


Active Catahoulas need a high-quality diet. Choose a commercial dog food formulated for working breeds. Avoid grain-free foods due to possible heart risks. Supplement with meat, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables.


Quite adaptable but need space to run. Acreage is ideal but they can thrive in urban areas with sufficient exercise. A fenced yard is a must to prevent chasing. Indoors, provide interactive toys and playtime.


In addition to physical exercise, Catahoulas need mental stimulation through training, interactive toys, and activities like agility, tracking, or flyball that tap into their natural skills. Train using positive reinforcement. Socialize extensively, especially when young.


Brush the wash-and-wear coat weekly to control shedding. Bathe only when necessary. Trim nails monthly. Check ears and teeth regularly. Wipe facial folds to prevent infections.

Preparing for a Catahoula

  • Puppy-proof your home by storing breakables and securing trash cans.
  • Stock up on chew toys to save your belongings.
  • Locate a vet, trainer, and groomer.
  • Buy food bowls, crate, collar, leash, bed, and puppy food.
  • Fence your yard securely.
  • Essential Equipment:
  • Leash and collar
  • ID tag
  • Food and water bowls
  • Dog crate
  • Dog bed
  • Chew toys
  • Grooming supplies

Common Health Issues

Hip dysplasia, eye diseases like PRA or cataracts, deafness, hypothyroidism. Select a responsible breeder who health screens breeding dogs.

Necessary Vaccines

Core vaccines including rabies, parvo, distemper and adenovirus. Leptospirosis vaccine. Bordetella for kennel cough protection. Influenza vaccine may be recommended in some areas.


Choose a short name with one or two syllables to get your dog’s attention during training. Some examples are Dixie, Scout, Jazz, Bayou, Gator.

Buying/Adopting a Catahoula

Catahoulas are most popular in the southern and southeastern U.S. Adopt through local or breed-specific rescues. Purchase from a responsible breeder doing health checks on breeding dogs. Expect to pay $800 to over $1000.

When adopting, confirm the dog’s health and temperament. Get full medical history. Sign an adoption contract and pay any required fee.

Buying a Puppy

Find a breeder doing health testing on the parents. Visit the facility in person. Meet puppies and parents. Get copies of health clearances. Secure paperwork like pedigree, health records, and sales contract. Expect to pay $800-1500.

In summary, the energetic Catahoula needs space to run, a job to do, and an active family committed to training and exercise. When provided proper leadership and activity, they make loyal companions. Their distinctive appearance and inquisitive nature make them a unique breed.

How to stop Catahoula bitting?

Ignore attention-seeking nips. Redirect to chew toys. Use “no bite” command.

How to do Socialisation and Raising Friendly for Catahoula?

Introduce new people, dogs, places, and sounds starting at 8 weeks old. Use positive reinforcement and treats for good behavior around strangers. Take puppy kindergarten classes.

How to train your Catahoula?

Motivate with praise and rewards. Be firm yet patient – Catahoulas are intelligent but willful. They excel at agility, tracking, dock diving, and related activities.

How long should we check for Catahoula’s health with vet?

Vet exam shortly after adoption/purchase. Follow your vet’s advice for vaccines and preventatives. Annual exams recommended.

Are Catahoula good family pets?

Yes, when properly socialized and trained. Supervise with small children due to nipping risk. Very loyal and affectionate with their own families.

Are Catahoula dogs good with children?

Generally good if raised with children, but always supervise due to chasing instinct. Proper handling is key.

Are Catahoula dogs good with other animals?

Can live with other dogs/pets when properly socialized and trained, but should not be trusted alone due to prey drive.

Is a Catahoula a Smart?

Yes, highly intelligent. However, they are independent thinkers requiring an experienced owner able to provide structure.

By following our website, you can find the perfect dog breeds for you and provide them with the best possible dog care. Remember that owning a dog is a lifelong commitment that requires time, money, and patience. But it is also a rewarding experience that will bring you joy and companionship. All information in Dog care tips.

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