National Catahoula Day is April 8th! The Catahoula is the official Louisiana state dog, and is a much-beloved member of the AKC herding category. A veterinarian discusses these wonderful pooches below.
The Catahoula breed originated in Louisiana, specifically around the Catahoula Lake area. The word ‘Catahoula’ is derived from a Choctaw Indian word that means ‘sacred lake.’ Although nobody knows for sure, these dogs may be the result of interbreeding between local pups and dogs Spanish and French explorers brought over. Either way, we do know that Fido’s first job was to track and herd wild hogs. (This earned him the nickname ‘Hog Dog.’) In the 1800’s, breeders started really focusing their efforts on developing a pooch that was a great work dog, hunter, and guardian, but was also good with kids. Mission accomplished!
Catahoulas are loving and loyal watchdogs, and they make absolutely wonderful family pets. They can get along well with cats, though it’s probably best if Fido grows up with Fluffy. However, they do have a pretty strong prey drive, and don’t always play nice with other dogs. They can also be a bit reactive at times, such as when youngsters are being loud or rough. We recommend erring on the side of caution here: supervise all interactions between Fido and children, and don’t let him run around off-leash.
These lovable pups are extremely energetic, and need lots of exercise. Fido can get destructive if he feels restless or bored. Daily walks and play sessions are both musts!
Like any other pet, Catahoulas need proper veterinary care to thrive. They’re usually healthy. However, like any other purebred, they can be prone to a few specific problems. Deafness is fairly common in Catahoulas, as is hip dysplasia. Ask your vet for specific advice.
The Catahoula is very smart and loyal, but he must be taught how to be a ‘good boy.’ This training should start when you bring little Fido home. Be firm and consistent, and focus on positive reinforcement.
Catahoulas come in many different colors and patterns. Fido is fairly low maintenance on grooming: he’ll only need to be brushed about once a week, and bathed a few times a year. As with any other pooch, you’ll need to keep your pet’s cute ears clean, and keep up with his nail trims and dental care.
Do you have questions about Catahoulas? Contact us, your local veterinary clinic!