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Who has Catahoulas?

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  • Who has Catahoulas?

    My SO and I are looking to add a puppy to the family. We're going to rescue so in all likelihood whatever we get will be a mix. But we're looking at catahoulas and catahoula mixes.

    We do agility with our current dog and also hike and backpack. My dog goes to work with me and I'm fairly sure we can handle the energy level.

    So, does anyone have any experience with the breed? Based on what I've been reading, it seems people either love them or hate them. I'm just looking for general opinions.


  • #2
    My ex's grandparents had one. She was a lunatic. Sweet and probably would have been a good dog in a home more like your's, but there she was a nut I assume due to boredom. If you do agility and hike and can deal with a dog with a excessive amount of energy, they'd probably make great dogs. Callie was sweet and wanted to be good, but she had no real outlet for her intense energy so was just hyper and obnoxious all the time.


    • #3
      We have one at the barn. Having only been exposed to a sample of one, I don't know if the whole breed is like this or just this one.

      1) Not the most outgoing dog. Very loyal to the owner, but it took a few years before the dog really warmed up to me.
      2) Regards farm work as a Very Serious Matter. Enjoys being around livestock. Reminds me of my Quarter Horse: doesn't waste a lot of energy on pointless activities, and moves like lightning when something needs attending to.
      3) Somewhat dominant and territorial. Not over the top aggressive, but definitely enjoys the opportunity to tell another animal where it's not allowed to go. Patrols the perimeter.


      • #4
        Originally posted by carp View Post
        We have one at the barn. Having only been exposed to a sample of one, I don't know if the whole breed is like this or just this one.

        1) Not the most outgoing dog. Very loyal to the owner, but it took a few years before the dog really warmed up to me.
        2) Regards farm work as a Very Serious Matter. Enjoys being around livestock. Reminds me of my Quarter Horse: doesn't waste a lot of energy on pointless activities, and moves like lightning when something needs attending to.
        3) Somewhat dominant and territorial. Not over the top aggressive, but definitely enjoys the opportunity to tell another animal where it's not allowed to go. Patrols the perimeter.

        All of the above. I have one here at our farm. Takes farm work extremely seriously. Have had to get after her a few times for nipping at horses hind heels (she's too agile to get kicked, was more worried about puncture wounds on the horses). When we adopted this dog, she had been at the shelter for a year. One person tried to adopt her and they lived in an apartment (NOTE - these dogs need LOTS of room to run), and returned her within a week. Not really her fault in my book, she was locked up all the time and chewed on everything, hasnt done anything wrong since being here as far as chewing. When we got her here to our farm.......she literally ran laps around the barn for an hour. Literally one hour. she was overjoyed to be free of that kennel.

        They are very farm oriented. She'll herd anything that she can. she can keep 15 horses in a straight walking line through a gate by herself. We've never trained her to do any of this lol.

        I will say they are prone to chase smaller things. in my case that was my two rat terriers. When we went to see her at the adoption place - they warned us she would give chase to small animals - she never hurt them intentionally, would just chase and play (and typically roll them accidentally from what the lady said). We brought my 2 opinionated, napoleon complexed terriers up there to visit her and see if they mesh. She tried to give chase like they said, and I just smirked. Adoption lady was scared to death she'd hurt them....... my terriers whipped around and gave her a piece of their mind. My catahoula was shocked to death and scared straight - she's never attempted it again.

        She is around other large and small dogs, cats, horses, a goat, calves and sheep and doesn't have any problem with any of them.

        I have toyed with teaching her agility, you just won't believe how friggin' agile and quick they can be....

        She's my bat eared, ADHD, slightly neurotic (in a good way lol) baby and you couldn't pry her out of my cold dead hands. In the right environment (LOTS of space), they are a blast!


        • #5
          We have two aussie/catahoula crosses from the same littler. They are completely different from each other. One is lean, fast, intense kind of dog and the other is a happy go lucky roly poly bundle of fur. The only thing they have in common is that they are the smartest pair I have ever owned. I love them both dearly but the breed is not for everyone. As with all breeds they can vary in personality. Maybe you could work a trial to make sure you are right for each other and the newcomer has a good family fit.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for the input everyone. We've got some thinking to do. We don't really have a ton of space. We just have a regular fenced yard. I need to think about whether our daily activity level will be enough to keep one happy.

            The dog would go to the office with me everyday and get two or three play breaks during the day.
            The dog would hopefully play with my current dog, who outlasts most other dogs on play dates.
            The dog would get one walk a day, two if that's what it takes. My boyfriend is willing to pick up running again. I hate running and am not, lol.
            Weekly class. Starting with obedience then hopefully agility.
            Daily practice for obedience or agility.
            Fortnightly hiking.
            Interactive play through fetch or other games.

            Our current dog does all this and lays on the couch a lot. My problem is I can't tell if she's a lazy dog or if we just do a good job of sapping her energy. When we hike she carries a five pound pack and NEVER gets tired.


            • #7
              I found a catahoula mix a few years back. Unfortunately I wasn't able to keep him, but I did have him for about a month.
              I really liked him. He was about a year old and did not have the best upbringing, so he was afraid of certain noises and places he wasn't used to. He was really focused on people, though, and I thought he would have been a good candidate for more training. He was good with people and not aggressive, but he was really primarily focused on people he knew, mostly ignoring strangers. If I hadn't already had a young dog that needed training at the time, I would have probably kept him. The only reason I did not was that he was young and really needed someone who could spend more time with him than I could.


              • #8
                I have an 18 mo. (approx) Catahoula & at least for my dog, your activity level sounds fine! Diesel needs exercise but he is much easier to tire out than my 15 lb terrier mix. We think he might be mixed with a bit of hound (which could account for his slightly more laid-back nature) but he certainly looks like other Catahoulas on the internet & is a powerful 70 lb boy.

                We take him for two 1/2 hour walks (sometimes a little jogging is my back is ok) twice a day and do more serious outdoor time on the weekends, lure coursing, dog-friendly hiking, swimming in the summer. He's a very friendly dog, which I understand is NOT breed-standard. He loves to put his head into your lap & is a CHAMPION couch snuggler. He is not at all dog aggressive & plays perfectly with my little mutt. All in all, he's a great dog!!

                He does like to herd things. I accidentially *taught* him to alert me when the house cat sneaks out. He won't really chase but does corner & hold.

                I'll try to link a facebook picture of him but I'm not sure of my privacy settings . . .

                Good luck on your puppy search!


                • #9
                  keep in mind that most, possibly ALL, of the "catahoula mixes" you'll find in shelters and rescues are actually just merle-colored mixes of much more common breeds. So if you get a "catahoula mix" from a rescue it's probably just a collie mix and will do wonderfully on your listed schedule of activities.

                  Purebred catahoulas are hard-core working/hunting dogs. If you don't have a real job in mind for one to do, I don't think you should actively seek one out. Doing agility and obedience is great, but it's not really a job. Lots of people get an active breed of dog and think, oh, we'll do agility! but really, how much time will you actually spend doing agility per week? not that much, most people spend less than two hours per week actually training agility-specific skills. Of course you'll need to spend a lot of time exercising the dog so the dog is sufficiently fit to do agility, but that doesn't work the dog's mind.


                  • Original Poster

                    @Wendy, that is true. I kind of get the feeling that anything lab sized and merle colored is labelled a Catahoula.

                    Well I just got a call back from a rescue today and they are going to do a home visit this weekend. I'm located near Northern Virginia, but this rescue trucks dogs from Texas. So the specific puppy I'm looking at is from the Texas area. The have the mama dog too and say her temperament is very even. So fingers crossed and hoping for the best!

                    Thanks for the input everyone.


                    • #11
                      c_d-sounds like you have a lot to offer to that lucky pup! Some friends have a Catahoula of the less formal persuasion, per Wendy's great description, and that dog is energetic out, laid back in, smart and affectionate even without free run of the property. Will look forward to hearing how it works out for you and the pup!


                      • #12
                        Did you end up adopting a 'houla? We adopted one from Louisiana back in November and MY GOD... I mean seriously, MY GOD she is insane. We have a farm, acreage, and four other permanent canine residents (in addition to the cats and the horses). I have fostered puppies/dogs for years and I have never, in my entire life, had a dog with this much energy, drive, intelligence, and chewing power. We got her as a tiny foster puppy and the ONLY reason we adopted her is because there is no way on earth anyone else would have.

                        Don't get me wrong - we have grown to love her but everything that everyone above said is correct... she takes her "jobs" seriously, and she makes her own jobs up. Her newest job is wanting to go outside around 11pm and stand on the front porch. Just stand there, staring into the darkness (we live in a rural area). Then when she gets bored, she runs around to the back of the property and sits next to the gate into the horse pasture and just sits there and guards the horses. You can't catch her to bring her inside so she gets to stay outside until she gets bored again, makes her way back to the front porch, and body slams herself against our bedroom windows while using her shrill whine/bark to wake us up.

                        We can't keep anything... ANYTHING... within reach. Counters, dressers, nightstands, coffee tables, etc. Every door to everywhere stays closed and it looks like our house is staged for a real estate listing because you won't find a single item out anywhere. Unless it's furniture that is too big to be shoved into a closed off room/closet.

                        She loves to herd the cats and the two smaller terriers but they are slowly starting to stand up for themselves. She's also DEFINITELY the alpha.

                        Would love to hear from other 'houla owners on what jobs you have given/taught that help with energy We are starting wagit games in September and hoping that will relieve some energy. She also goes to daycare once a week and that sort of helps - she sleeps for a few hours when she gets home before being re-energized.
                        "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                        Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


                        • Original Poster

                          Wow! She sounds intense! We didn't end up getting a Catahoula. We got some little feist, terrier mix thing haha. We were looking for a medium to large dog and somehow ended up with a little 25 pound terrorist, but he's a lot of fun. Here's a pic of him, it should work: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater He looks like a big dog, but in that pic he hasn't even hit 25 pounds.

                          I love using puzzle toys like tug-a-jugs to keep their minds busy. Honestly, your girl sounds way more drive-y than my two right now. They manage to keep each other pretty busy with rough housing. I feel for you!!


                          • #14
                            Haha! A terrorist eh? Isn't it funny how things work out He is REALLY attractive, what a cool looking dog.

                            In a moment of desperation I once purchased two "nearly indestructible" dog toys at a price tag of $29.99 each. Gave them to her, walked off to switch a load of laundry with an "I win!" grin on my face, and returned 10 minutes later to find her chewing apart my sonicare toothbrush (it was ON and vibrating against her teeth - ouch!). The toys? I found a small piece of ONE. I cried for like 10 minutes.

                            Have you ever heard someone say that catahoula's can climb trees? They aren't kidding. CLIMB TREES. When the rescue group brought her to our farm, they set her down and I called to her and she ran to me, sat in front of my feet and looked at me like "Yes? What are my instructions?" 8 weeks old. I should have known then.

                            t's been an adventure to say the least!

                            This is her at about 6 months old
                            "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                            Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


                            • #15
                              I have one, she's close to 11 now. She was around 5 when I got her and someone had actually put a lot of training into her before we got her. She has always been a pretty mellow, very smart girl. She developed systemic lupus within the first year I had her and has required VERY specialized medical care since then. She was always a favorite at her internist's office because of her sweet personality.

                              My in-laws in TX have a male. He's pretty chill too. Smart and very loyal to the family. Both of ours are really good with all other dogs, big and small.

                              That being said, our dogs are not typical of the breed. Ours are pretty low drive, easy going personalities. I'm pretty partial to the breed now, but I favor big working breeds- we had a rotti and have a GSD (though don't tell that to my sheltie and my chi-jackie). If you're used to working with higher drive, working dogs and you have a job for them to do, I say check into the breed. But I wouldn't recommend for a timid or first time dog owner or apartment dweller.

                              Kinda like with horses though, sometimes people fall for a pretty paint job instead of really thinking about the what's the best fit for them. They sure can be pretty dogs...which is why you can sometimes find quite a few needing new homes.
                              Ulysses- the most perfect all-terrain vehicle ever. Hencho en Mexico

                              Mr. Walter Bumblepants - Foster Dog Extraordinaire