The Catahoula Cur, a.k.a. the Catahoula Leopard Hound (which is not actually a hound), is an American breed and the official state dog of Louisiana. They’re not well-known outside of their home region, but they deserve to be! We Catahoula fans are a loyal bunch.
The term “cur,” by the way, refers to the lowest class of nameless or mixed-breed dogs, which means Catahoulas are a mutt of a breed, and therefore exhibit a range of sizes, fur textures, and colors. Though Catahoulas are hardly fancy, there’s nothing low-class about them.
Catahoulas were bred to hunt wild boar and have been used to herd cattle. They can range in size from 40 to 110 pounds and wear white, tan, black, chocolate, blue, and red colors in patches, brindle, and merle patterns. Their distinct and unique markings, coupled with their marbled eyes, make them quite stunning.
They’re a fun, energetic breed, and Catahoula owners end up with more than a pet. They’ve got a sidekick! Here’s what Catahoula owners are likely to tell you about their companions.
1. Catahoulas May Be Related to Children of the Forest
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If you’ve ever seen a Catahoula running through the woods, you understand what it looks like for a creature to achieve perfect alignment with its cosmic purpose.
Before moving our Catahoula to Austin, we regularly drove him into the dense southern woods of Tallahassee, where one sandy road cut through the trees (next to a pile of discarded furniture). While we ambled down the road at our human pace, Henry bounded deep through the trees, back across our trail, and off in the other direction, the white tip of his tail bobbing in the distance.
2. Plush Toys Are Fun Until They’re Destroyed in 15 Minutes
To a Catahoula, the squeaker in a plush toy is the beating heart of a delightfully soft enemy. An enemy that must be destroyed.
This makes for great entertainment, but meeting demand can cut into your recreation budget rather quickly.
3. The Catahoula ‘Lean’ Means I Love You
Catahoulas got moves, and one of their affectionate go-tos is The Lean, which looks like this: Catahoula walks up to you, places her side-body against your two legs, and leans her weight into you slightly, as if to say “you’re mine” and “pet me now” and “I love you” and “since we can’t hold hands…”
It melts the heart.
4. Leashes Are the Devil’s Work
See #1 above. The Catahoula’s love for roaming wild through thickets and trees makes leashed, sidewalk exercise a mild form of torture.
They’ll do it, and maybe they’ll do it in a respectable way here and there, but you can expect plenty of rebellious sniffing, lots of distractions, and a few squiggly flops in the grass.
5. Catahoula: A Police Department on Four Legs
Catahoulas are loyal and protective. They’re strong and sometimes forceful, but not aggressive. They do, however, intend to make sure you are safe at all times. So please don’t do anything with your body that doesn’t look normal. Hugging is frowned upon, and dancing is cause for panic.
Don’t climb ladders, swing on monkey bars, or take a dip in a watering hole while your Catahoula is watching. You might as well be dying, and a Catahoula won’t stand for it!
6. If Happy and Dopey Were a Single Dwarf…
The Catahoula is a happy soul, and it shows in his face, in his gorgeous eyes, in his super-strength wagging tail. It’s a delight that requires zero thought.
Sometimes the joy is so great it comes out in dopey ways — a gigantic, uncensored smile, or a slightly silly jog. But come home from a bad day at work, and a Catahoula can turn your mood around faster than she can destroy a plush toy.
7. The Rugged Good Looks of a Lumberjack
The “mutt” aspect of Catahoulas makes these dogs unique, distinct, and interesting. They’re robust, but sweet and fun-loving, like a handsome bearded guy who can fix your roof and charm your mom to death.