Did you know that April 8th is National Catahoula Day? The Catahoula is the Louisiana state dog, and is officially part of the AKC herding’s category. A veterinarian discusses these very good boys below.
The Catahoula is from Louisiana. As the name suggests, the breed originated around the Catahoula Lake area. The word ‘Catahoula’ actually comes from the Choctaw word for ‘sacred lake.’ Although nobody knows for sure, they are likely descendants of both local dogs and the pups the French and Spanish brought to the area. One thing we do know is that Fido’s first job was tracking and herding wild hogs which earned him the nickname ‘Hog Dog.’) During the 1800’s, breeders in the region focused their efforts on developing a pooch that was a hard worker and a good hunter and guardian, but was also good with children. Mission accomplished!
Catahoulas are very energetic, and need lots of playtime and exercise. Fido can get destructive if he feels restless or bored. You’ll need plenty of walks and play sessions.
The Catahoula is very intelligent, but he must be taught how to be a ‘good boy.’ Training should start the day you bring your puppy home. Be firm and consistent, and focus on positive reinforcement.
Catahoulas are very loving and loyal. They are keen watchdogs, and can make great family pets. They can get along with cats, though it’s best if they grows up with them. (This of course also depends on the cat.) However, Fido does have a strong prey drive, and doesn’t always play nice with other pups. These dogs can also be reactive, especially with children that are being loud or rough. It’s best to err on the side of caution here: supervise all interactions between Fido and his tiny humans, and don’t let your canine buddy run around off-leash.
Like any other pooch, Catahoulas need regular veterinary care. They’re usually pretty healthy, but they can be prone to a few specific problems. Deafness is fairly common in these guys. Many of them also develop hip dysplasia. Ask your vet for specific advice.
These cute pooches come in many different colors and patterns. They are pretty low maintenance on grooming. Fido will only need to be brushed about once a week, and bathed a couple times a year. As with any other pup, you’ll need to keep his ears clean, and keep up with his nail trims and dental care.
Do you have questions about Catahoulas? Contact us, your local animal clinic!