PHOTOS OF REGISTRY
A CATA WHAT A?
The name Catahoula comes from an Indian
word meaning "clear water". They originated in a region of the Catahoula
Lakes in central Louisiana and are the official dog of Louisiana. In the
early days this area was the homeland of the "Catahoula Indians", a branch
of the Natchez tribe.
The earliest history of the Catahoula can
be linked to a Spanish explorer named DeSoto. When he came to the USA in
the 1540"s he brought with him his fierce Spanish Mastiff type war dogs
to use against the Indian Tribes that he encountered. Evidentially the
Indians cared for some of the wounded and sick war dogs, which is assumed
to have bred with the Red Wolf at some point. Research has showed that
the only dog like animal in the area of the Mississippi River Valley were
the Red Wolf. Because only the fittest survived and surely interbreeding
must have taken place, it would account for the strange and potent set
of genes the Catahoula still carries today. Later the French arrived with
their leopard spotted dogs known today as the Beauceron. To strengthen
this theory, a letter in 1958 was sent to the Animal Research Foundation
by a man in Louisiana with French ancestry. He claimed that his grandfather
had brought a pair of leopard spotted dogs to the Catahoula area of Louisiana
150 years earlier. Given the muscular shoulders, powerful jaws, silent
trailing, the ability to trail by wind, keen eyesight and wariness of strangers,
would lend itself to this theory because all these traits are associated
with wolf like behaviors. As they started to thrive in America, hound was
also introduced to the breed.
In 1686, it is recorded that Tonti The
Iron Hand told of seeing dogs with strange white eyes and patches and spots
of color. In the middle 1800's The Bowie brothers owned a pair of Catahoula
and in the early 1900"s President Teddy Roosevelt hunted with Catahoula
Leopard Dogs and famous others.
The appearance of today's Catahoula is
quite unique and striking. They are a medium to large size dog weighing
from 55-80 pounds standing 21-25" at the shoulder. His stature is muscular
and lean with a very short smooth coat that comes in an outrageous variety
of colors and patterns and some times solid. Leopard refers to the most
typical color which is a distinctive mottled pattern of blue and black
patches with or with out tan trim and white markings. He also come in shades
of red, yellow and liver either solid or patched with darker and lighter
shades. Solid black and tan or black with white markings is also common.
How striking the dog that is black with double glass eyes!
The Catahoula has button or rose type ears
and a long expressive tail. The eyes are like no other. Ice blue or "glass"
eyes are commonly seen, green, gold, brown, or in any combination. Sometimes
there is what is called a "crack" in the eye which shows a different color
in the same eye. He has a wedge shaped head with a moderate muzzle, a moderate
stop and a strong neck sloping downward to a straight back. They should
stand high up on their toes with moderate angulation on the hocks. An official
standard has yet to be written but their conformation is remarkably consistent.
The general character of the breed is very
intelligent and versatile, a multi-purpose breed par excellence. He can
be used as a working dog herding farm animals, protecting livestock and
also for hunting large or small game. He has a lot of stamina and perseverance
making him ideal for the jobs.
As a family pet he is extremely loyal and
as a home guardian, nothing will get by his keen hearing and will certainly
alert you to an intruder. Being weary of strangers, he will assess the
situation at hand and act appropriately. Catahoula's make great family
and children's companions because they seem to enjoy obedience training
and pleasing their owners. Catahoula owners affectionately call them "Cats".
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