The Catahoula leopard dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is the official state dog of Louisiana and has been since it was adopted in 1979.
They were originally bred to find livestock in pretty much all kinds of terrain, swamps, canyons, forests, and even mountains. Out of all the cattle dogs bred, they are the largest and most aggressive, handling even wild cattle and hogs.
Agility and athleticism are two of the biggest qualities these dogs possess, they are incredibly loyal and protective too. Also, despite the name, they come in all different colors, with the most common being blue/gray with black spots, referred to as the “blue leopard”. It is common for this breed to have two different eye colors, typically a gray-blue eye and a brown eye.
They are certainly not great for living in inner cities as they require many acres and large open spaces to run around and exercise in.
Louisiana first began adopting its own official state symbols in 1990, the first symbol was the state flower. A couple of years after this, many other symbols were adopted, each having a role to play in the history of Louisiana and all intertwining together nicely.
State Dog of Louisiana
These incredible dogs are not just hugely popular today, in fact, they have a rich history that dates back all the way to the 1500s.
Spanish explorers in Florida and along the Gulf Coast started breeding the European mastiffs, greyhounds, and bloodhounds that they had brought with them with a wolf-like dog breed that had been domesticated by the local Native American tribes.
The tribes labeled these new mixed breeds “wolf dogs”. After a few centuries went by, the French began settling around Catahoula lake, situated in Northern Louisiana, they started to cross-breed “wolf dogs” with their own dogs, which resulted in the modern-day Catahoula Leopard Dog.
The Catahoula hounds started to build a solid reputation as brilliant deer, bobcat, and feral hog hunters, but it was when it was discovered that they were amazing at rounding up stray cattle that their popularity as a “working breed” really soared.
During the late 1970s, both the Louisiana Catahoula Cur Association and the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas were created to track and register the breed and ensure that the same standards are always being kept with this dog breed.
The United Kennel Club in England was the first national dog club to recognize the breed in 1996, classing it as a herding breed. Strangely enough, the American Kennel Club still does not recognize the dog as an official breed.
Interesting Facts and General Information About the Catahoula Leopard Dog
Now that we know about the history and also the historical significance of the Catahoula leopard dog in Louisiana, why not find out some of the facts and information regarding them? Who knows, you might be interested in owning one yourself.
1. They typically weigh between 50 and 95 lbs, which is 23 to 43 kg. Usually, it is the males that weigh the most, with the female dogs being lighter.
2. These Catahoulas are pretty tall dogs too, with the tallest reaching 24 inches, which is approximately 61 cm.
3. Despite already mentioning their appearance, they can have either blue, green, amber, or brown eyes.
4. Due to their size and energy levels, they certainly do need to be taken out for long walks more frequently than most dogs.
5. Typically, they will live between 10 to 14 years, which is brilliant for a larger dog species. Another awesome thing about them is that they do not drool very often, even when they grow older!
6. They are very good boys too, and are not known to be diggers, which is good for the health of your garden and grass.
7. They are friendly and sociable dogs by nature, so stimulating them by socializing is extremely important.
8. These dogs are considered to be very hardy, which means that they are not prone to diseases or common illnesses certain dogs suffer from.
9. If you are fortunate enough to own one of these dogs, they need to be taken out for a minimum of one hour per day, but try and take them out for longer if possible.
10. Their fur ranges from smooth to coarse and they naturally molt their hair.
Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, indicative of the state and its history, and the Pelican State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in the Louisiana state dog.
These interesting facts about Louisiana and a whole host of others are what make the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there or are researching the historical events or geological makeup of the state.