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Lio: A Tail of an Amazing, Adoptable, Misunderstood Dog Part 3 — So, What’s a Catahoula Dog Anyway?

Our guy Lio’s intake paperwork from 2014 indicates that his breed is “Catahoula Leopard Dog.” We as a rescue organization that accepted Lio into our care without say, official AKC paperwork, cannot determine for 100% sure that this is indeed Lio’s true breed. Most of our adoptable dogs and cats come to us with zero history, so breed is vet’s best guess. For Lio, many physical and personality traits point to Catahoula Leopard Dog, so we’ll stick with it. We’ll unquestionably go into what a Catahoula Leopard Dog is, but as a disclaimer, our blog series on and attitude towards Lio shall focus on him as an individual. This principle is applicable to all dogs and cats, although the guessed or known breed’s history and personality is to be considered and is relevant in many cases.

A Catahoula Leopard Dog, as shown on the American Kennel Club website

The Catahoula Leopard Dog (also known as the Catahoula Cur, Catahoula Hound, or Catahoula Hog Dog) originated in the land of Mardi Gras, crawfish, and jazz: the southern state of Louisiana. They are loyal, driven, intuitive, highly intelligent, and they’re really clowns at heart. They need strong leadership, consistent exercise, and a balance of bonding time with their human and independence. The name “Catahoula” is of Choctaw origin and means “sacred lake.” (Whoa, fancy!) They’re in hardly any sense of the word “lazy,” having been developed to catch and drive wild hogs and cattle to market. So Catahoula Leopard Dogs are technically in the herding group.  When “off duty” they’re protective yet affectionate in the home.

Photo credit: Vet Street Incorporated

If you’ve seen a Catahoula Leopard Dog before, he or she might’ve donned a merle coat. Merle is not a color, but rather a “marble” pattern of a dog’s coat, with darker patches and spots of the specified color (blue, red, etc.). See also: many Australian Shepherds, some Dachshunds, some Great Danes, etc. Some Catahoulas are single-colored or even spotted or brindled. The hair is normally short to medium length. The gene causing merle can also impact eye color. These dogs might have icy blue, mysterious green, chocolately brown, striking amber, or even two-colored “cracked” eyes.

Catahoula Leopard Dogs have a strong build, and are in the large breed category. The lifespan is generally 10-12 years. They, like any dog, should be seen by a vet regularly and be examined for potential signs of hip dysplasia or sight or hearing issues. Let it be known that Lio has been a markedly healthy dog compared to some his age, fortunately. He’s on Galliprant (NSAID) for management of some joint discomfort, but he is heartworm negative, he has no special diet, his vision is exceptional, his hearing is top-notch, he has teeth that are in great condition, and his weight is where it should be. As of about a year ago, he takes a medication to help anxiety, but this also has been curbed immensely since he’s been in a foster home (and not confined to a kennel). Lio’s mobility is also incredible! Seriously, he’s no stranger to a big leap straight into the water hose stream.

Well, do you know more about the Catahoula Leopard Dog breed than you did before? The name’s certainly thought-provoking. Catahoula? Ah, Native American origin. Leopard? Oh, got it, like spots or patches of a leopard.

Lio? One in a milLIOn.

— Lio’s Foster Mom

Lio is now 7.5-years-old and still in search of a permanent furever home.

Check out all of Lio’s special blog posts in his series:

Check out Lio’s very own Facebook album:

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