10 Things to Consider Before Buying a Catahoula Leopard Dog


Making the decision to obtain a dog is a big one. It’s about more than just getting a dog; it’s about finding the right dog for your family. It’s about finding a dog that fits in with everyone in your house, with your actual house and your yard, with your schedule and with your personality. So many people make the mistake of choosing a dog that they think is cute or fun and they fail to consider the fact that a dog is not just a dog. Just like all people are different; all dogs are different. Each breed comes with its own set of needs and circumstances, wants and desires and behavioral traits. And then each dog from that breed has its own personality and needs. This is why it is so important that those looking for a dog take the time to really research each breed until they find one that works well with their family. Chances are good that the breed you want may not be the perfect breed for your family.

While the Catahoula Leopard dog is a beautiful dog, it’s not right for everyone. For those that this dog is right for, it makes a wonderful pet and a great companion. For those that it is not right for, however, it makes for more work than enjoyment, and it increases a family’s chances of surrendering their dog to the local shelter, increasing the number of dogs in need of a new family and increasing the chances that other dogs in the shelter will be killed off if more dogs are not adopted to make room for them. That’s why it’s important you know these 10 facts about the Catahoula Leopard Dog before you make the decision to bring one home for your own family.

It’s Territorial

This is a breed that is exceptionally territorial and can cause some issues if you are not careful with it. This is a dog that does not like other people or animals around its family or humans, and it can even be a bit standoffish and unhappy with strange children present. It’s important you do not allow this dog unsupervised around people it does not know, or even allow it to be loose around people you don’t know if it’s with you.

It’s Protective

This is a dog that’s going to do whatever it takes to protect the people it loves. This means it’s going to alert you to strangers. It’s going to keep other animals at bay and it’s going to protect. This is a good thing, and it’s one of the reasons so many people love the breed.

They Require Ample Socialization

If you want this dog to be near other people on a regular basis and befriend those in your family and your circle of friends, it is imperative that you begin to socialize this dog right away. It needs to be around people as often as possible and as regularly as possible from the day you bring it home so that it becomes accustomed to being around other people.

They are not Stranger Friendly

This is not a dog that does well with strangers. In fact, it is very suspicious by nature and does not want strangers around at all. This includes kids it does not know. Some dogs don’t care for strangers but can handle strange children; this breed cannot. It is not a child-friendly breed if it does not know the children in question.

You have to be the Alpha

This is a strong and able breed, and it requires an owner that will take over as the alpha. A smart breed, it does learn well and train easily, but it’s certainly not the kind of dog that does well with a timid owner. It needs someone firm and consistent that’s willing to take on the role of alpha to ensure that it will be in the best possible hands.

They do Have Health Issues

No dog is more prone to general health issues than others, but some breeds are more prone to breed-specific health issues, and this breed is one of those. The Catahoula Leopard dog is more likely to suffer from a few minor health issues than some of the other dogs in the same category, which might mean you should look into what you might expect.

They Prefer Larger Homes with Yards

It’s an adaptable dog, but it does prefer a larger home with a yard in which it can run freely. This is not to say that it won’t do well in a smaller home without a yard but with frequent walks and access to a park, but the breed generally prefers more space in which to roam and play.

They Require Ample Exercise

The CLD is a very active breed, which means it does require quite a bit of exercise. It’s needs are fairly excessive, and you’re going to need to carve out time several times a day to talk this breed on a long walk and to play outside. It’s happy to run freely in a fenced yard, but it does need something to do and it does like to interact.

Grooming Needs are Minimal

The CLD has a very short coat that requires very little grooming. You should brush its coat a few times a month to help remove some of the fur that’s falling out and prevent it from falling out all over your home to minimize shedding issues. It’s not too time-consuming, though, so it shouldn’t be an issue at all.

They’re Very Affectionate

This is a loving dog that wants your attention. It’s vital that anyone who chooses to own a CLD finds the time to interact with and enjoy this breed since it’s such a fun dog, and we recommend that you try to carve out a little time for some enjoyment each day with this breed. It needs your love and affection to maintain a happy disposition. But that’s what people love about the breed.

Photo by Getty Images

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  1. Good information, but you could at least have a photo of a REAL Catahoula, not an Australian Shepherd mix. Catahoulas do not have furry tails or thick coats.

  2. What kind of dog are you talking about here? I’m not sure what that is in the picture. How can people take your article seriously if you can’t even post a picture of a catahoula. How can you post about home size and yard size and not even discuss WORK. I suggest if you don’t know these dogs you takes down your post and stop giving advice on a breed you are clearly unfamiliar with.

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