The Catahoula and American Leopard Hound are two similarly looking dog breeds and it is easy to confuse one to another. But they are two different dog breeds with different history, utilization, temperament and appearance.
Both breeds are hard working dogs. The AKC classifies the American Leopard Hound into hunting group while the Catahoula is put into Herding group, which is not exactly correct. While it is true, that the American Leopard Hound was mainly used for hunting feral hogs or even bears using his amazing strength, strong eye contact and body language, the Catahoula Leopard dog is definitely not only a herding dog.
It is a multipurpose dog breed that was used for almost anything, starting from hunting, to herding the livestock to guarding utilization. And they are very versatile and skilled at all those jobs.
Both breeds are very protective, alert of strangers and territorial and both can be good protectors, but the Catahoula is more commonly used for this purpose. Catahoula is known to be extremely alert and reserved with strangers. American Leopard Hound is known to be little bit friendlier and relaxed around strangers.
The American Leopard Hounds on the other hand has higher prey drive and chasing instinct and they are naturally better for hunting various prey. Their speciality is treeing the game. This makes more difficult to socialize with household pets like, for example, cats.
Of course, even the Catahoula has prey drive, as they were also used to hunt, but it is reported that it is easier to socialize them with other household animals. But many of them will still try to chase any moving object on your walks.
On the other, American Leopard Hounds typically behave better around other dogs. Catahoulas can be reserved with other dogs and it can take them longer time to accept them.
Catahoulas also have natural herding tendencies, which you will not see in American Leopard Hound. They can try to herd other animals or even kids. AKC desribes their herding ability as creating a “canine fence” around the herd which allows the dog's master to work the herd within that circle.
Both dogs are typically very gentle with its own family and they are absolutely loyal to it. Both are known to be very protective, especially towards kids in the family and they will defend them. Many of them are known as clownish, playful, energetic and lively, kind of independent but extremely loyal, hardworking and intelligent.
It is also important to say that all the temperamental characteristics are of course vastly influenced by early training and socialization.
And what about the appearance of those two breeds? Well, both dogs are very strong and muscular and they have similar size and body type. You can see the size comparsion on the screen right now.
Both breeds are named after their leopard like coat. The American Leopard Hound comes in a leopard or spotted pattern and may be red, blue, merle, brindle, black or another color, with white making up less than a third of the coat.
Catahoula Leopard dog can also be in leopard like color, but they can also be in solid color. Typical colors of these dogs are blue merle, red merle, brindle and almost all the solid colors. Very often they also have white spots on their face, chest or legs.
The American Leopard Hound always has short and very dense coat. The Catahoula can either have smooth short or coarse medium coat, which can have extended feathering on hind legs, chest and tail.
Now lets talk briefly about the maintenance, which is almost the same for both dogs. Both are very energetic dogs that need a lot of daily physical and mental exercise. Daily long walks, hikes, jogs, fun training sessions or vigorous playtime is a must with these breeds. Exercising these dogs can be little bit challenging, on the other hand, grooming, can not be simplier. Regular brushing which will remove the dead and loose hair is enough for both dogs, no other grooming is required.