"A good houndsman does what is best for the pack always. A good houndsman never lets himself get attached to a hound, until it has proven itself. A good houndsman does whatever it takes to improve his pack and to improve the breed. A good houndsman does the hard stuff to improve the breed that others will not. A good houndsman knows when and what to breed to, to improve the pack and the breed. A good houndsman never puts his wants above the needs of the pack. A good houndsman has put the time and hard work into his pack...never forgets what it took to get there and what he learned along the way..." dd444 aka gunslinger
It is our belief at J Cross Catahoulas, that the first and foremost important consideration for a breeding prospect, is their innate sense of working drive. Basically, we choose our breeding pairs based upon their personal working drive and heart, then select for soundness, temperament and conformation.
Pretty is NOT what we're looking for, it is simply a bonus. But we will admit we DO like it.
Rumor has it:
You can't make a hog dog out of a cow dog.
You can't make a "pen dog" out of a "woods" dog.
You can't make a "show dog" out of a "using" dog.
You can't make a "woods dog" out of a "pen" dog.
You can't make a cow dog out of a hog dog.
Maybe you can't, but we never told Rambler he couldn't do it, and please don't tell any of the rest of our dogs, they're still dumb enough to think they can.
Today's Catahoula wears many faces, from whippet like to big, square bodied, blocky headed ones.
Our dog of choice is one that has above average angulation, nice back length, is deep chested, but not too wide, clean headed without being "bulldoggy" and a little leggy, with sufficient brain power to be laid-back and easy going while maintaining an extreme working drive. A dog that is capable of hunting or working cattle all day, then going to the trials and showing in anything from conformation to treeing, and doing it well, is what we strive for. We've found that the mid-sized Catahoula normally will have the all day stay that often times the bigger, heavier muscled dogs will not. The desire is possible in any of the body types, but the hindrance of over muscular frames, leads to many physical limitations.
There has been a good deal of research done based upon color genetics, not particularly in the Catahoula breed, but in other breeds that carry the merle or color pattern genetics, such as the Australian Shepard, Harlequin Great Danes and Dalmatians to name a few.
There has recently been further research done at Louisiana State University on color genetics and its effect on hearing. For more information, please contact Dr. George Strain PhD at LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Here is a paper recently published by Dr. Strain et al on the topic of the merle gene and deafness.
The Internet is a boundless source of information surrounding the color issues one can face in a breeding program. Again, pretty comes in to play, loud flashy color is aesthetically pleasing to the average dog purchaser. We would encourage any aspiring breeder to fully dedicate themselves to the "highs and lows" of breeding dogs WITH color.
Please, for the breed, don't fall into the trap of breeding FOR color.
Hips - They certainly are an integral part of a healthy dog.
It is our belief that hip formation is not only genetic, but environmentally influenced as well. The desire to provide "the best" for
our pets, we believe, is a common factor in hip dysplasia, coupled with genetic per-disposition. Super nutrition, as we like to call it, provides a puppy with excellent vitamin support, but it lacks general body support while encouraging a growth rate that is too rapid, causing bones, joints and muscles to receive a tremendous amount of distress.
"When the dress is too small, the seams will burst."
A growing puppy certainly needs constant and consistent care, but not the super nutrition that many quality kibbled feeds offer today. The encouraging rapid growth while the body is not physically stable nor strong enough to support it, puts the young joints under un-due pressure, therefore, causing permanent damage that could likely have been prevented.
Our breeding pairs are certified free of hip dysplasia, but we cannot guarantee every pup will be. We do everything within our power to prevent it, the rest IS up to genetics.
These dogs are not for everyone, while they make great pets, it takes extreme dedication and over the top exercise to keep them happy. They can survive in most any environment, but for them to thrive, they need an outlet for their boundless energy. Their natural instinct for working or "prey drive" as it's often called, needs constant exercise or it will be turned into bad habits.We would encourage anyone that aspires to own and especially breed Catahoulas to take the time to inform themselves to the wonders of the breed. It can be one of the most satisfying experiences, to see a litter of pups that you've poured yourself into, or a pup you've purchased and raised, become hard working, dedicated, beautiful additions to yours and/or others' homes. It also can be a journey that will lead you to some of the toughest decisions you'll ever have to make. There are many people involved with the breed, active today, some active in the past, with a wealth of knowledge they'd be happy to share, if asked. Find a friend, a mentor if you will, that you can trust and depend on for assistance "getting started" or maybe "keeping going".
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in testing our dogs for this malady or that disease, that somewhere along the line, we completely forget our dog. This truly extraordinary breed depends on US today, to continue being the exceptional breed it is, tomorrow.
As I surf the Internet, I find more and more "breeders" that have become enamoured with the Catahoula because of it's unique appearance. I'm not sure where that will lead. The more we have in inappropriate homes, the more risk we run of our breed being deemed "aggressive" or "dangerous" or a myriad of other undesirable labels, when the truth is, it's dogs put in homes they don't belong, with people that have no idea how to handle their personalities that's the problem, not the breed.
An excellent article about breeding coefficients and genetics from Plott World
The following information was provided by the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas
The Louisiana Catahoula according to the NALC
THE LOUISIANA CATAHOULA
A big boned, glass eyed, white trimmed, blue leopard is the "Cadillac" of the Catahoulas. Many owners go squirrel or hog
hunting in the morning, pen a few cows that afternoon, and have a good coon hunt that night...all with the same pair of
Catahoulas! The Catahoula is useful in so many ways, and can be trained to individual needs. No wonder it is in such demand.
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog evolved in the swamps of central Louisiana, around the Catahoula Lakes. Legend
says their ancestors were the results of the Indian dogs, or red wolf found in the area at that time, mating with the surviving
"war dogs" or mastiff used by the Spaniards in battle and then left behind, either wounded or captured by the Indians. The first
settlers to the Catahoula Lakes area found this strange breed of dog with mottled spots and blue eyes, and called them
Catahoula, meaning "beautiful clear water". The dogs were used for hunting deer, bobcat, and wild hogs, and the settlers
appreciated their technique in trailing or winding, baying, herding and soon had the dogs working their cattle.
The Louisiana Catahoula is a medium to tall "rangy" dog, with broad chest, strong legs, and a wide head. It has slick, short
hair, and the average adult size ranges between 20-26 inches at the withers, and the average weight between 50 - 90
pounds. Most Catahoulas are spotted up, with 2 to 5 different colors in their coat, having a base color of black, blue, brown,
liver or white, with contrasting spots of any, or all, of these colors. A few may be almost solids but have a white spot on the
chest or trim on the legs and face. There are two types of ears : folded-over like a hound, but much shorter is preferred, or the
"crinkled", and laid back is permissible. The webbed toes of these dogs help them walk easily in swampland as well as over
snow, and make them excellent swimmers. The Catahoula keeps growing until about 2 years old, but work like an adult at 8 or
9 months. Females come in heat between 8 1/2 months to a year and wean their pups at 4 weeks.
A characteristic of the breed are the unusual eyes, the most striking and preferred eye color is the unique "double glass eyes"
(blue). Other colors can be brown, green, amber, or one colored eye with one glass eye; or eyes with "glass cracks", spots of
blue in one or both eyes.
This versatile dog can be trained for almost any purpose. Performance in obedience training, as well as the ability to master
and perform difficult tricks, amaze and amuse owners of this dog. Basically, the dog wants to please its master, and this,
together with their natural instincts, make training a matter of getting the pup's attention, then teaching them basic obedience.
They develop their own style of working and strive to help and defend their master. They work on both sight and sound signals
and are excellent obedience and field trial dogs. A kind word and a pat on the head will be enough for the Catahoula to try his
best for his master.
This dog is second to none as a stockdog, having the guts and inbred desire to work wild Brahma cows or hogs, but still
working well with gentle stock. Lead dogs bark to aggravate the cows from the front; herd or drive dogs circle, give voice and
keep the cows bunched; or there is a combination dog that works all positions. The Catahoula can out work and out last any
other breed. It is strong, active, and has natural instinct and working style all its own. A Catahoula is affectionate, intelligent
and faithful. It makes a wonderful pet or guard dog, a stock dog, hunting dog or show dog. They are fearless in nature and can
be fighters yet gentle with their family. They are a multi-purpose dog, good at home, on the farm or in the city.
Hog dogs work well in swampy areas, bark, snap and run, working in pairs or threes to circle and bunch. Cow dogs tease,
circle and bay until the herd calms and bunches, then they help pen. Coon hunters like the keen eyesight at night of these dogs
and a Catahoula-coon fight is something to see! Squirrel hunters use the sharp eyesight, keen sense of hearing and smell.
They are good deer hunters as they are short range dog, silent trailer and bay dogs.
The National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas Inc. is a non-profit organization. It began in 1977 to insure the continuing
line of certified purebred Louisiana Catahoulas, through a supervised program of breeding and registration. This act of
preservation for a unique part of Louisiana heritage, recognizes the Louisiana Catahoula as the only breed of dog which
historically originated in the State of Louisiana. On July 9, 1977, Governor Edwin Edwards signed a Bill passed by the
Louisiana Legislature, making NALC the propagator of the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, the Official State Dog of