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Catahoula Bulldog (Catahoula Leopard Dog & American Bulldog Mix): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

catahoula bulldog

Height: 24–26 inches
Weight: 75–100 pounds
Lifespan: 10 to 14 years
Colors: White, black, brown, grey
Suitable for: Use as working dogs, as guard dogs
Temperament: Loyal, energetic, alert, protective, devoted

The Catahoula Bulldog is a hybrid breed, a mix between the Catahoula Leopard Dog and the American Bulldog. These dogs are fiercely loyal and protective, making them ideal choices for guard dogs. They have been, and still are, a popular breed in the Southern U.S.A. as herding and hunting dogs that were traditionally used to catch bears. This hybrid is well-known for their exemplary health; they are relatively disease-free and revered for their longevity.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is an American breed that originated in Louisiana near their namesake, Catahoula Lake. They have a strikingly unique appearance, usually with a patchwork coat that earned them the second half of their name. They were bred as driving dogs for hunting pigs, and they have stocky, muscular builds and webbed feet that help them tackle tough and marshy terrain.

The American Bulldog almost needs no introduction. These large and tough working dogs are descendants of the English Bulldog and have a firmly cemented place in American history and culture. These high-energy dogs need frequent exercise, but their abundant affection and loyalty make them a great family protector. They have a reputation for hog-hunting, and their skill at this may be one of the biggest reasons that the breed has still survived to this day.

Combining these two stocky, muscular, loyal, and iconic protectors is bound to enhance their long-revered characteristics. If both these parent breeds fit your description of an ideal pet, read on to learn more about this iconic animal.

divider 10Catahoula Bulldog Puppies

black and white Catahoula Bulldog puppy
Photo Credit: vojta, Shutterstock

If you have an active family with a large and spacious backyard, have the time and patience for training, and are up to the challenge of taking on such a powerful animal, the Catahoula Bulldog is not a difficult puppy to find. They are frequently bred with each other as opposed to being first-generation mixes, which makes them a healthy and robust breed with few genetic health issues.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Catahoula Bulldog

1. Catahoula Leopard Dogs Were Originally Bred to Hunt Pigs.

Also commonly known as the Leopard Cur, Catahoula Leopard Dogs have another, lesser-known nickname: The Hog Dog. This somewhat unflattering name was bestowed upon them by their original breeders due to their original purpose of hunting wild pigs. The story goes that when the first settlers came to what is now known as Louisiana, it was overrun by wild hogs.

The settlers swiftly set about developing a breed that was agile and adept enough to hunt the pigs down, and the “Hog-Dog” was born. The Catahoula Leopard Dog must have done their job well; they were so revered that they were named the official state dog of Louisiana in 1979.

American Bulldogs also have a history of pig-hunting, so if you’re a hunter, Catahoula Bulldogs may just be an ideal choice!

2. There Are Different Breed Lines.

Under the umbrella of “Catahoula Leopard Dog,” there are three distinct breed lines that make up the abundant variety. The biggest breed line is the “Wright Line,” developed by a Leopard Dog enthusiast named Preston Wright. These massive dogs can weigh in at up to 110 pounds.

The “Fairbanks Line” are medium-sized dogs weighing between 60 and 80 pounds. Lastly, the smallest dogs are relegated to the “McMillin line,” with weights between 45 and 60 pounds. The McMillin line, in particular, is known for stunning glass-blue eyes. These three lines have mixed back and forth over the years and caused a massive variation in the size and coloring of the Leopard Dog as it is today.

American Bulldogs were almost extinct at the end of World War II, and re-establishing the breed posed a challenge due to the wide array of different functions that the American Bulldogs were typically used for. In the end, two distinct bloodlines were established: the bulky, heavy, and large-headed “Johnson Line” and the smaller and more athletic “Scott Line.” Today, the American Bulldog is largely made up of these two different lines.

3. American Bulldogs Have Large Litters of Puppies

With most medium-sized dogs, you can expect a litter size of around five or six puppies, eight at the most. But American Bulldog females are known to routinely have nine or 10 puppies per litter and, in some cases, up to 16! An American Bulldog crossbreed clinched the Guinness World Record for the largest litter of puppies ever, giving birth to an incredible 21 puppies.

Parents Breeds of the Catahoula Bulldog
Image Credit: (L) otsphoto, Shutterstock | (R) Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Catahoula Bulldog 🧠

The Catahoula Bulldog has a somewhat intimidating appearance, with their muscular frame and spotted coat. Despite these intimidating looks and somewhat wild temperament, the dogs are rarely aggressive. They are gentle and sweet animals that are wary of strangers and are known to be fairly sensitive.

They are also highly intelligent dogs, which is what makes them such valued working and hunting dogs. In general, they are a loyal and playful breed that is often misunderstood due to their spotted coats and association with Pitbulls. They are highly attentive and alert dogs that are not easily distracted from their given directives.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Catahoula Bulldogs are family-friendly dogs that are incredibly loyal, calm, and friendly. They are gentle and sweet dogs that love children and are rarely, if ever, aggressive toward them. They are dogs you can count on and are loyal protectors of the family who will stay cool and calm unless absolutely necessary.

Both the Catahoula Leopard Dog and the American Bulldog have traits that will translate well into family life, so you can be sure the hybrid descendant will be a firm favorite in the family.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Catahoula Bulldogs are generally non-aggressive dogs and will make fast friends with other dogs and pets, provided they are trained and socialized at a young age. Due to their hunting heritage, they have a strong prey drive and may see smaller dogs and family pets as prey. But the right training is sure to keep this instinct at bay, as these dogs are highly intelligent and obedient.

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Catahoula Bulldog

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

These active dogs have a fast metabolism and will burn off energy swiftly. Considering that they are also large and muscular animals, they need a large amount of high-quality food to keep their engines running properly. Catahoula Bulldogs will do well on a diet high in protein since they are muscular and energetic dogs.

Most commercial formulas have high amounts of protein, but they are usually plant-based, which may not be sufficient for your Catahoula Bulldog. Supplement kibble with high-quality lean-meats and canned food occasionally. We recommend the best quality dry kibble you can afford since many cheap commercial dog foods include filler ingredients like soy, corn, and wheat.

Fatty meats, dairy, and sugar are also off-limits to Bulldogs and most dogs in general. These foods can cause digestive issues and allergies in your dog and lead to even worse conditions, like obesity and diabetes.

Most dogs need around 25-30 calories per pound per day on average to maintain a healthy weight. Depending on their age, size, and energy levels, Catahoula Bulldogs must get anywhere from 1,800 to 3,000 calories a day. Most commercial kibble will have a caloric guide on the packaging so you can accurately keep track of their intake.

Exercise 🐕

Due to the Catahoula Bulldog’s active hunting heritage, they require a great deal of daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. They will need at least 2 or 3 hours a day of mentally and physically stimulating exercise. This should ideally be broken up into two or three short sessions.

These dogs are highly accustomed to running miles and miles every day, and they can quickly start misbehaving and ripping up furniture when they have too much pent-up energy.

Training 🦮

American Bulldogs have a stubborn streak, which can make them a challenge to train. Catahoula Leopard Dogs, on the other hand, are eager-to-please pets that love training and take to commands like a fish to water. The combination of these two breeds results in a dog that is generally enthusiastic about training but can sometimes have a stubborn streak.

Getting started with training as early as possible will help your Catahoula get accustomed to and develop a love for training. Positive reinforcement will also foster trust between you and your animal and will turn training into an activity that your pup will look forward to rather than dread.

Grooming ✂️

The Catahoula Bulldog is a low-maintenance dog that will only need brushing once a week at most. They are medium shedders, and occasional brushing will keep hairs from your clothing and furniture. Their short and smooth coat will make this a quick and easy process, and your pup will love the attention.

They will need regular nail trimming to prevent breakage. Long nails can be painful for your dog and can change how they run and walk, leading to structural injuries in the future. If you feel nervous, take your dog to a groomer first, where you can see how it’s done. Occasional teeth-brushing is also recommended and will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

While it’s usually a good idea to only bathe your dog when it absolutely necessary, American Bulldogs are different. The folds and wrinkles in their skin can quickly build up dirt and bacteria. The folds need to be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent infections. To keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy, try to find the mildest shampoo possible, made specifically for dogs. This will help keep their natural oils intact.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Catahoula Bulldogs are revered for their robust health and lack of genetic predispositions to illness. They are more likely to overexert themselves rather than get ill, and the only mild illness they may suffer from is bloating and possibly allergies.

Of course, a healthy diet will go a long way in mitigating both these issues. Cancer is always possible in dogs, although it is extremely rare in Catahoula Bulldogs.

Minor Conditions
  • Bloat
  • Allergies
Serious Conditions
  • Cancer

Divider 5Male vs. Female

If you decide that a Catahoula Bulldog may just be the dog for you, the last question to consider is whether to get a male or female. It’s important to note that within any breed, personality and temperament can vary greatly. Their specific character is mainly caused by their upbringing and environment rather than sex. There are slight differences in male and female Catahoula Bulldog dogs, but they are most noticeable if they are not spayed or neutered.

The males are slightly bigger and heavier, are more even-tempered, and are less prone to mood swings than females. They are also more likely to be affectionate than females and more playful. However, females are also affectionate and playful, only on their terms. Many dog breeders will tell you to get a male if you want a dog that loves you and a female if you want a dog to love.

All things considered, spayed and neutered Catahoula Bulldogs are likely to have an almost indistinguishable temperament.

Divider 3Final Thoughts

The Catahoula Bulldog is an energetic, fun-loving dog that is no stranger to hard work. If you have an athletic family with a large outdoor space, the Catahoula Bulldog could be the perfect pet. They love people and children, are seldom aggressive, and are easy to groom. They are also incredibly healthy and will live a long and happy life without frequent visits to the vet.

If all these traits tick the boxes of what you deem as desirable characteristics in dogs, the Catahoula Bull Dog is a gentle, sweet, and loving dog that will not let you down.

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Featured Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock

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