By: Steve Evans
Hernando DeSoto, apparently (it is recorded) had traveled from Florida into Louisiana, bringing with him the /”War Dogs/” that had made the journey to the New World. The breeds that were referred to as War Dogs were the Greyhound and the Mastiff.
Research has shown that the Mastiff type of dog that accompanied him was probably those known as the “Alano Mastiff” of Spain, which are now extinct. These Mastiffs had a reputation of being able to pull down very large game with ease. DeSoto utilized their abilities to persuade the Indians to provide information on the whereabouts of Gold and Treasure. Mostly those already owned by the Indians.
After suffering defeat in battle, DeSoto abandoned his War Dogs which were allowed to roam freely. They bred and interbreed with each other along with the Red Wolf. The offspring of the various breedings were then used by the Indians, and became known as the “Wolf Dog.” The Wolf Dog, which is mentioned in Louisiana History, as well as most history books covering this era, was the name given to them by Henri Tonti during one of his visits to Louisiana.
The Catahoula Bulldog has been around for over 100 years. They are a crossbreed between the American Bulldog and the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog. In order to understand what this cross exactly means, first read my article about the Catahoula Leopard dog.
Breeders of the ‘Catahoula Bulldog” say it was bred for two reasons. First, ranchers and hog-hunters have used “Catahoulas” for many years to herd cattle and hunt hogs, but, to catch hogs, they had to carry a “catch-dog” with them. According to the Catahoula Bulldog fanciers, most “Catahoulas” were neither big enough, nor tough enough, to catch. The “American Bulldog” has an impeccable reputation as a catch-dog. Therefore, they say, when the “American Bulldog” is crossed with a “Catahoula”, you get a bigger, tougher dog which will work cattle and also catch hogs when needed.
The Catahoula Leopard dog is also said in many places on the web to have originated from the Nordic wolfhound. In 1979 the Catahoula dog was made the state dog of Louisiana.
There typical features are white and black further that is rather spotty. They have a sleek form, with plenty of muscle. These dogs have a long tail, thin legs, and droopy ears.
They can be white and tan as well. The coat is short, coarse, and usually tight to their bodies. You may mistake them for a mixed Labrador based on their appearance and frame.
Like most herders the Catahoula leopard dog offers a wonderful temperament for families. They are independent, protective, and territorial, but extremely affectionate with their family. Their characteristics make them good for herding and watch dogging. You will find they are aloof with strangers.
They are best with an active master they can get respect from. You will also want to check with a dog breeder regarding children and other pets with the Catahoula leopard.