The Catahoula Leopard Dog is an American-bred herding dog that, like many Americans, comes from a mixed and uncertain lineage. Competing theories as to the Catahoula’s precise origins have opened the way for Louisiana to claim it as their own. It is the official state dog of Louisiana. Some speculate that they were bred by Native Americans to become the superb hunters, trackers, and herders that they are.
The dog breed goes by several different names, including Leopard Dog, Catahoula Hound, and Catahoula Hog Dog. The name is derived from Catahoula Parish (pronounced coot-ha-oo-goo-la) in Louisiana and the “leopard” part is a call to their remarkable spotted coat. The appearance of the Catahoula Leopard Dog – which includes a wide variety of coat patterns and colors and “marbled glass” eyes – was an afterthought for this classic working dog. They are considered a rare breed by the AKC, which has not yet recognized them for conformation events.