One of the theories about the history of the origin of the Catahoula Leopard Dog is that these dogs partly descend from the “War Dogs” that were left behind by the troops of Hernando de Soto in the 16th century and mixed with the dogs of the indigenous people over the years .

The fact that the Native Americans crossed their dogs with red wolves is no longer supported since the latest excavations and DNA tests. Some recent studies examining the remains and skeletons of prehistoric dogs have suggested that their DNA is more similar to domesticated dogs from Asia and Europe than to that of the wild canids of America. Indeed, these studies indicate that the Native Americans brought several domesticated dog bloodlines with them on their way from Asia to North America.

There are already abundant published sources listing various archaeological sites where skeletons of domesticated dogs have been found. These clearly prove that the red wolf was NOT the only canide that was sedentary in the Mississippi River Valley before the Europeans got there. Foxes, gray wolves, and various other domesticated aboriginal dogs also lived there at this time.

French settlers arrived in Louisiana with their Beaucerons around 1800. There are records of “strange” blue-eyed dogs that Native Americans used to hunt game and to hunt in the swamps. Today it is assumed that the Beauceron and the “War Dogs” by Hernando de Soto were crossed into these dogs and so the Catahoula Leopard Dog was created.

It is incorrect that the word “Catahoula” is a combination of the two Choctaw words “okhata”, which means “lake”, and the word “hullo”, which means “much loved or loved”. On the contrary, the word Catahoula comes from the Teansa Indians! Couthaougoula originally meant “at the lake” or “lake people”. The French settlers adapted these two words to their own language and called the dogs ‘Couthaougoula’, which means ‘Coot-ha-oo-goo-la’ is pronounced.

Jim Bowie and his brother Rezin Bowie, who spent most of their youth in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, are the first to be known to have owned a couple of Catahoulas. The records say they “slept with a Catahoula at their feet”. By 1900 it was Teddy Roosevelt who used a Catahoula for hunting. Louisiana’s Governor Earl K. Long had a weakness for dogs of this breed and collected them. It was thanks to his interest in the Catahoula Leopard Dog that an annual competition was launched … known as Uncle Earl’s Hog Dog Trials.

In 1979, Governor Edwin Edwards named the Catahoula Leopard Dog the Official State Dog of Louisiana to underscore the importance of the breed to the region and its history.

In 2007, the Catahoula Leopard Dog was named the Central College of Lousisiana’s school mascot.

The Catahoula bloodlines:

* The Wright Line: The Wright Line produced the largest and heaviest Catahoulas – between 40 and 50kg per dog – and were bred by Mr. Preston Wright. This bloodline represents the line that descends from Hernando de Soto’s “War Dogs”.

* The Fairbanks Line: The Fairbanks Line produced slightly smaller and lighter Catahoula Leopard Dogs, weighing between 30 and 35kg. They were bred by Mr. Lovie Fairbanks, and most of these dogs had brindle and yellow-gold coats.

* The McMillin Line: The McMillin Line produced the narrowest and smallest Catahoulas, weighing around 25kg. These were bred by Mr. TA McMillin in Sandy Lake Louisiana. Most of these dogs were blue leopards with “glass” eyes.

All Catahoula Leopard Dogs that exist today come from these three bloodlines.

NALC & EALC registered breeder