The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is an American dog breed named after Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, United States. Also known as the Catahoula Leopard Dog or Louisiana Catahoula, it became the state dog of Louisiana in 1979. The breed is sometimes referred to as the “Catahoula Hound” or “Catahoula Leopard Hound” because of its spots, although it is not a true hound but a cur. It is also called the “Catahoula Hog Dog”, reflecting its traditional use in hunting wild boar.
Both the Catahoula lineage and the origins of the name “Catahoula” are uncertain, but there are various theories.
One theory posits that the Catahoula is the result of Native Americans having bred their own dogs with molossers and greyhounds brought to Louisiana by Hernando de Soto in the 16th century. As for the aforementioned Native American dog breeds, for a time it was believed that they were bred with or from red wolves, but this idea is not supported by modern DNA analysis. Several recent studies have looked at the remains of prehistoric dogs from American archaeological sites and each has indicated that the genetics of prehistoric American dogs are similar to European and Asian domestic dogs rather than wild New World canids. In fact, these studies indicate that Native Americans brought several lines (breeds) of already domesticated dogs with them on their journeys from Asia to North America.
Another theory suggests that the breed originated three centuries later, some time in the 19th century, after French settlers introduced the Beauceron to the North American continent. The French told of strange-looking dogs with haunting glass eyes that were used by the Indians to hunt game in the swamp, and the theory states that the Beauceron and the Red Wolf/war dog were interbred to produce the Catahoula.
There are two theories regarding the origin of the word ‘Catahoula.’ One theory is that the word is a combination of two Choctaw words ‘okhata’, meaning lake, and ‘hullo’, meaning beloved. Another possibility is that the word is a French transformation of the Choctaw Indian word for their own nation, ‘Couthaougoula’ pronounced ‘Coot-ha-oo-goo-la’. (Don Abney)
In 1979, Governor Edwin Edwards signed a bill making the Catahoula the official state dog of Louisiana in recognition of their importance in the history of the region.
Tasso Catahoulas located in the California’s Central Valley has some amazing Catahoulas Leopard dogs. The breed originated in Louisiana but has found a healthy home in California with Tasso. Cindy and her husband discovered the breed some forty years ago on their honey moon. It’s been love affair for the couple with each other, as well as with the dogs.
The Catahoulas is a baying dog, used for hunting, herding, and all around farm dog. This breed has put meat on many plates. They are a mix of Red Wolf, Dogs of War (Mastiffs), Beauceron, and Greyhound. [Source: Dogumentary TV via YouTube, 9 Apr 2017]