Breed Standard

General Description:  The Louisiana Catahoula is a medium to large dog that is well muscled, powerful, yet trim and balanced in structure.  Its build indicates great agility and endurance.

Head:  The head should be powerfully built, with well-developed cheeks.

Skull:  The dog should have a broad top, with a defined width between the eyes and a balanced appearance between the snout and top of head.

Eyes:  While the breed is known for glass or blue eyes, the eyes may be of any color and/or combination of colors.  They do not have to be the same color and may have partial “glass” in one or both eyes.  Marbled or “cracked” is acceptable.  Faults:  Any malformed or acentric pupil formation of the eyes.

Ears:  The ears should be short to medium in length with the top of the ear being set level or slightly level or slightly below the top of the head.  A properly hung ear with the inner edge of the ear lying close to the cheek is preferred.  “Laid-back” ears are acceptable.  Faults:  Perked or fly away ears or houndish ears.  Disqualification: Cropped ears.

Muzzle:  The muzzle should be strong and deep.  It should be broad at the base and taper towards the nose when viewed from the front.

Bite:  The bite should be a strong scissor bite with a level bite being acceptable.  A dog with a complete set of teeth is desired, however, broken teeth and/or missing teeth are NOT to be faulted.  Fault:  Dogs having either an over or under bite exceeding ¼ inch.

Neck:  The neck should be muscular and of good length.

Body:  The back should be strong and well-muscled, level and of medium length.  The chest should be deep reaching below the elbow.  The chest should be fairly broad with well sprung ribs.  The underline should have a tuck-up in the loin area to a moderate degree.   Ideal height at maturity for males is 24 inches, females 22 inches, with a variation of 3 inches higher or lower is acceptable. The weight  may range 50-95 pounds and should be in proportion to the dog’s height.  A dog soft in appearance is not acceptable. Catahoulas should always be presented in hard working condition.   Fault:  Dog that is over and/or under sized.

Forequarters:  The length of the foreleg should be 50-60% of the total height of the dog.  The shoulders should be well laid back with an upper arm bone of ample length.  The forelegs should be set moderately far apart and the front feet should toe neither in nor out.

Hindquarters:  The croup should be medium to long in length, with a slight slope of the tail having a medium to high set.  The stifles should be well angulated and the hocks should set low to the ground.  The hocks should turn neither in nor out when viewed from the rear.

Feet:  The feet should be strong and of moderate length.  Webbing between the toes should be evident.  Dew claws may be present and/or removed, but if present should be uniform.  Fault:  Cat footed or coon footed dogs.

Tail:  The tail is a natural extension of the topline. It is thicker at the base, and tapers to the tip. Natural bob tails are permitted.   A full length tail may be carried upright with the tip curving forward when the dog is moving or alert. When the dog is relaxed, the tail hangs naturally, reaching to the hock joint.  Fault:  A dog with a tight curl or cork screw tail.  A dog that has been docked. It is not considered a fault if the result of an injury.  No feathers, feathering, neither fuzzy nor wooly tails.  (Also see Coat)

Gait:  A dog’s gait should be smooth and effortless with an appearance of great agility.

Coat & Color:  The coat should be short to medium in length.  While known for their leopard coat, they may come in patchwork and any solid color.  A dog may have a trim of black, white, tan, red, buff and brindle.  Solids and brindle are acceptable.  Fault and/or Disqualification:  A dog with long, feathered, wooly and/or fuzzy coat.  Excessive White or Excessive Ticking is considered a fault.  (A dog with a disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event and must be reported to WCA).

Temperament:  A Catahoula is independent, protective and territorial.  They may show aggressive behavior with strangers and/or strange dogs.  Signs of timidity should not be taken as cowardice but the intolerance for strangers and things they aren’t familiar with.