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Louisiana State Dog
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog
Adopted on July 9, 1979
The Catahoula Leopard Dog, Ursus familiaris, is the only breed of dog native to Louisiana and became the official state dog in 1979. This hound is a cross of a domestic dog the Indians of the Catahoula Lake region raised and a Spanish "war dog" that came through the area in the early 1500's. The dog has glassy eyes, webbed feet, and spotted coat and is gentle with children, loyal to family, and aggressive to strangers, making it a good pet and guard dog. As a hunting dog the animal is diligent, dependable, efficient and especially good at tracking deer, coons and squirrels.
Description of the Louisiana State Dog: Catahoula Leopard Dog
The origins of the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog are unknown but it is believed to be descended from crosses between Native American dogs, Red Wolves (some of whom lived as pariahs on the outskirts of Indian villages), and the dogs brought to the New World by Spanish conquistadors, probably mastiff-types and sighthounds. Some experts believe Beaucerons were added to the mix when the area was settled by the French. White settlers in Louisiana found the Native Americans using these unusual-looking dogs to hunt a variety of wild game, including deer, bobcat, wild hog, and bear. The new arrivals soon came to appreciate this versatile breed that was equally capable of scenting, trailing and treeing game, or baying and herding feral hogs and cattle.
Because of the breed's name, many people assume that all Catahoulas have the so-called "leopard" markings and blue eyes. In fact, the breed is noted for its many and unusual coat colors and patterns, as well as varied eye color.
Catahoula temperament ranges from serious and business-like when working to clownish at home, with varying levels of energy. It is not uncommon for Catahoulas to be aloof with strangers, which often results in a lack of animation when showing and may cause some to draw away from judges when being examined. Catahoulas should never be excessively aggressive or shy. They can be independent, protective and territorial so they require firm guidance and a clear understanding of their place in the family unit. Catahoulas are affectionate, gentle and loyal family companions.
Taxonomic Hierarchy of the Catahoula Leopard Dog
State Animals and Mammals
Mammals are vertebrates (backboned animals) that feed their young on mother's milk.
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