Catahoula Leopard Dogs (also known as the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, Catahoula Cur, Catahoula Hound, or Catahoula Hog Dog) is a special hunting and herding dog breed that has been developed with special considerations. It gets its name from Lake Catahoula in Louisiana where it was developed. Today, these dogs make excellent guard dogs and companion dogs in addition to helping on farms and hunts.
The AKC hasn’t fully recognized the Catahoula Leopard Dog yet but it has assigned the breed to its herding dog group and Foundation Stock Service. Foundation Stock Service is AKC’s first step towards recognizing a breed. The UKC on the other hand does recognize the CLD – where it is known only as Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog. In 1979, the breed earned the status as Louisiana’s State Dog or official dog breed.
Are you planning to buy this special dog? Then it is indeed a wonderful decision. These highly energetic dogs are very smart and they make excellent farm dogs, watchdogs, and even rescue dogs. They are highly trainable and extremely loyal and protective. Once you have a Catahoula Leopard Dog on hand, you have a loyal loving companion for a long time.
Buying or adopting any dog is a big decision – one that you mustn’t take lightly. With a breed like the Catahoula Leopard Dog, you need to be even more careful. This certainly isn’t a dog meant for apartments. They need plenty of space to run and play and without exercise, they might even eat up your house!
Moreover, there are the finances to consider. In addition to buying a Catahoula Leopard Dog puppy (which in itself can be a huge expenditure), you need to consider all other costs of raising it. You must think about the monthly, annual, and even the lifetime costs you’d incur on food, medical bills, training, and other basic dog needs.
To give you an idea, here is a summary to help you budget:
How Much Does a Catahoula Leopard Puppy Cost? What Factors Affect the Price?
As mentioned before, the Louisiana Leopard dog from a professional, registered breeder will cost between $400 and $900. The price depends entirely on the breeder although factors like eye color and coat color can also come into play.
The Catahoula Leopard is blessed with beautiful blue or different color ‘crack glass’ eyes. This gives them a rather mysterious appearance. Some potential CLD owners demand puppies with blue eyes, green eyes, amber eyes, or different colored eyes and this too can drive the pup’s price up.
The Catahoula’s coat is known as the Leopard coat. It is spotted and comes in attractive colors like merle, brindle, red-merle, or blue-merle. You can also have yellow, solid black, and solid blue Catahoulas or coats in white with a sprinkling of a variety of the above colors. For a complete list of Catahoula coat colors, click here.
Where to Buy your Puppy From?
Do buy your Catahoula Leopard Dog from a reputed breeder. The National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas or NALC is a non-profit organization that is working towards the breed’s betterment. Please visit their official website to find reputed breeders of Catahoula Leopard dogs near you.
The following table shows the price range for Catahoula Leopard Dog puppies:
|The minimum price of Catahoula Leopard dog||$400|
|The maximum price of Catahoula Leopard dog||$900|
|Price bracket||$400 to $900|
|The national median price of CLD||$650|
Cost of Basic Supplies for Catahoula Leopard Dog Puppy
The CLD does not need much but a few basic supplies can make your puppy’s life easier and more comfortable in the first few days:
Many owners choose to keep their Catahoula Leopard dogs outdoors. However, do make sure it is comfortable and protected from the elements. If you plan to keep your pet indoors, then use a sturdy crate to house it. (Do select a sturdy crate that can withstand the CLD’s sharp chewing teeth!) The cost is between $50 and $75 for a medium-to-large crate.
Harnesses/leash/training collars and ID tags
Use a larger leash if you plan to tether your Catahoula Hound outdoors – this will give it more freedom of movement. You’d also need dog tags, collars/harnesses, and other training tools. Set aside about $50 for sturdy training accessories.
Food and water bowls
It is better to invest in sturdy stainless-steel food and water bowls instead of cheap plastic bowls. These are tip-resistant and skid-proof. Place anti-skid mats under the bowls to contain messes. Total cost – about $30.
Puppies tend to chew up their bedding – so consider cheaper options in its early days. A fully grown Catahoula Leopard Dog can benefit from chew-proof ballistic beds which can cost about $50.
Always supervise toy play with this breed – they are known to be chewers and blocked intestines could need expensive surgery. Invest in sturdy chew toys that your pet won’t destroy. The cost is around $20.
You can buy a ready-made canine first aid kit or make your own. It should have a tick remover, pet wipes, some antiseptic cream, gauge, cotton, styptic powder, sterile eyewash, adhesive tape, etc. The basic cost – about $20.
|Baby gates to limit your pet’s entry in parts of your house||$40|
|Chew-proof bed||From $40|
|Collapsible crate, crate pads||$50-$100|
|Mats for containing food messes||$10|
|Grooming tools – brush, comb, dental supplies, shampoo, nail clippers, etc.||$50|
|Potty pads for indoor training||$10|
Training Costs for Catahoula Leopard Dogs
Dog training can certainly ensure a lifetime of happiness with your CLD. These dogs are smart and highly trainable but, at times, this intelligence could be a hindrance to training. They tend to be stubborn and therefore need a firm handler. This is not a dog breed for first-time dog owners.
There are different types of dog training in the US and they are all priced differently. Your dog’s age can also affect the training price: the earlier you start training your Catahoula puppy, the better it will be.
The national average cost for doggy obedience school is between $500 to $1250 per week. If you choose private training, where an experienced dog trainer will come to your place or train your dog at a nearby dog park, then be prepared to spend between $50 and $120 per lesson.
If budget is a concern, you can enroll your Catahoula Leopard Dog in group training. These cost between $30 and $80 with the average being $50 if you pay for multiple classes upfront.
There is also a dog boot camp option. You can board your pet with the trainer for about a week. Your dog will learn everything from potty training to obedience to basic commands. This can cost between $500 and $1250 per week.
Puppy preschool or doggy kindergarten classes are also available for young dogs aged between 7 and 16 weeks. These dogs need to be vaccinated. The advantage of puppy kindergarten is that your CLD will learn to socialize with other dogs. This costs around $30 per day.
Here’s a table that summarizes these costs:
|Private lessons with a dog trainer||$50 and $120 per lesson|
|Group training||$30.00 to $80 per week|
|Private obedience school||$30 per day|
|Dog boarding and training||Weekly between $500 and $1250|
|YouTube videos/in-home training by the owner||$0.00|
|Minimum puppy basic training cost (total)||$50.00|
Catahoula Leopard Dog Food Costs
In your puppy’s early days at your home, it is best to bring back some food from the breeder’s. Avoid feeding anything new to the puppy as that could stress its digestive system.
Your adult Catahoula will need at least 2 meals per day while a pup will need 3-4 smaller meals daily. CLDs need high-quality, protein-rich food because they are a highly active, working dog breed. An adult grows to almost 50-65 lb. and measures around 25 inches at withers. Females are slightly smaller.
Here are some guidelines to follow when feeding your CLD:
- A fully-grown adult Catahoula Leopard Dog that works all day herding cattle will need to consume at least 1000 calories per day.
- Feed nearly 3 to 5 cups or 1lb. of high-quality dry dog food to your CLD per day. You can divide this into 2 smaller meals.
- If you choose to feed wet or semi-moist food, then feed about 4 oz. per 3lb. To a highly active CLD. Of body weight. This means a 50lb. CLD will need 60 ounces per day of canned or wet food.
- If you feed raw or BARF diet to your CLD, then feed 1.5 lb. of raw food per day.
- Change your dog’s diet based on its lifestyle: older, less active CLD, puppies, and lactating dams will need different food and have different calorie needs.
Here are the monthly quantity and costs of food:
|Type of food||Monthly quantity||Monthly price (approx)|
|Dry food/kibble||30 lb.||$65 to $120|
|Wet or canned food||90 lb.||$150 – $200|
|Raw food||45 lb.||$50 to $100|
Dog Food Comparison for Catahoula Leopard Dog Breed
If you feed dry food or kibble to your Catahoula Leopard dog, then, look for a brand containing at least 28% crude protein. On the other hand, if you feed wet or canned food, then your CLD will need at least 7% crude protein. Protein sources like chicken, fish, beef, eggs, lamb, turkey, etc. are good for CLDs.
In any case, choose high-quality or premium dog food. Avoid cheap foods as they are only packed with fillers, ash, preservatives, by-products, and other poor-quality ingredients.
The market is filled with many great brands of commercial foods. If you choose premium foods, you will find a great deal of price difference from the cheaper dog food brands. However, that is because these foods are made with premium ingredients. Some are even manufactured in the USA in certified organic kitchens. These days, you can also choose a dog food containing human-grade materials. Always look for dog foods fortified with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and superfoods. This helps enhance your active dog’s immunity and prevent health issues.
Here are some of our top picks in premium dog food brands for the Catahoula Leopard Dog:
|Dog food name||Features||Price per lb.|
|Orijen Dry Dog Food||Contains 85% premium animal ingredients (free-run turkey/chicken, wild-caught fish, farm-raised/cage-free eggs)||$4.31/lb.|
|Purina Pro Plan Sports Vitality Active Dog Food||Fortified with live probiotics for digestion and immunity, contains 30% protein, high-protein formula with real beef.||$1.59/lb.|
|SPORT Dog Food for Highly Active Dogs||High-protein, low ash food with real whitefish, contains taurine for heart health||$2.30/lb.|
|Purina Beyond Wild Grain-Free High-Protein Canned Dog Food||No corn, wheat, soy, by-products. Real meat is the first ingredient. Grain-free food with real organ meats.||$2.29/lb.|
Medical Costs for Catahoula Leopard Dogs
During your Leopard dog’s first year, it will need several vaccinations to protect it from common canine diseases like parvovirus, canine distemper, and hepatitis. In the following years, it will also need booster shots for these diseases. Prices of vaccines differ from city to city but most vets charge between $75 and $100 for them. Some even include the price of flea and tick preventive treatments and deworming in these prices.
If you do not plan on breeding your Catahoula Hound, then get it spayed or neutered, preferably between 6 to 12 months. This procedure can cost between $100 and $300 and spaying surgery is more expensive than neutering.
Here are some tables showing the basic costs to budget for when you own a Catahoula Leopard dog:
Initial Vaccine Costs
|Recommended age of puppy||Type||Cost|
|6-8 weeks||Canine parvovirus – core vaccine|
Distemper – core vaccine
Canine hepatitis – core vaccine
|16 to 18 weeks and a booster at 12-16 months and repeat as per state law||Rabies – core vaccine||$15.00|
|6-8 weeks||Bordetella bronchiseptica – non-core vaccine||$25.00|
|9-12 weeks to be repeated 2 to 4 weeks later||Borrelia burgdorferi – non-core vaccine||$25.00|
|10-12 weeks to be repeated every 4 weeks until the puppy is 1 year old||Leptospira bacteria – non-core vaccine||$50.00|
Average Veterinary Price for Common Ailments
|Item||Average cost annually|
|Flea and tick prevention||$40 to $200|
|Heartworm test and prevention 7+ months||$70|
|Neutering||$50 to $100|
|Dental cleaning||$50 to $300|
|Allergy tests||$195 to $300 for a skin test and $80-$200 for a blood test|
|Ear infection||$40 to $150|
|Diarrhea/stomach upset||$100 to $300|
Inherited Diseases in Catahoula Leopard Dogs
Here are some common genetic diseases in the breed:
This is a genetic disease of the hip joint. It is passed on by parent dogs to the puppies and ethical breeders avoid breeding such dogs. The cost of treating this extremely painful condition is $3000 per hip, including diagnosis, surgery, and medication.
Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO)
This is another inherited defect in CLD puppies that causes painful swelling on the jaw, difficulty in opening the mouth, fever, and pain. There is no treatment for it and breeders should strictly avoid breeding such dogs.
Another common condition that is likely to impact Catahoula Leopard dogs is a spine defect called Hemivertebrae. Symptoms include fecal and urine incontinence and the weakness of hind limbs. The cost of treating this disease is hundreds of dollars mainly spent on anti-inflammatory medication.
Pet Insurance – Is it Worth Buying for your Catahoula Leopard Dog?
Your loyal Catahoula Leopard Dog will soon become an indispensable part of your family and naturally, you do not want to ever think of it contracting an illness or getting injured. However, if it does occur, you need to be capable of paying the huge bills one invariably incurs in such cases. With pet insurance, you can.
Many good pet insurance companies are available in the US today. Some of them have excellent plans including direct reimbursement to the vet, the choice of visiting any vet you like, and even wellness plan coverage. More and more pet owners are buying pet insurance and this is giving you several pocket-friendly options.
Some companies have plans only costing as low as $7 per month. Many even cover alternative therapies and treatments. With so many advantages, it is a great idea to purchase pet insurance.
Here are some top insurance companies with their pros and cons:
|Name of company||Pros||Cons||Cost|
|Pumpkin||Best in class insurance for illness and accidents||No customer service on weekends, some dog breed premiums are higher||Between $50 and $80|
|Many Pets||Get 100% reimbursement on most vet bills||Limited information on their website. Only available in certain states||$20/month|
|Lemonade||Just 2-day waiting period for accident claims, lower premiums than most companies||Isn’t available in 15 states.||Plans start at $10|
|Prudent Pet||Use any vet, flexible plans, attractive discounts||Prolonged waiting period for injuries||Start from $15|
|Embrace||Almost 90% back on vet bills||Plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions||$24|
Additional Costs of Owning a Catahoula Leopard Dog
In addition to food and treats, medical, and training costs, you may also want to consider the following costs that most dog owners incur:
Microchipping and registration
Some insurance companies cover these costs. Microchipping is a small procedure done by a vet. It involves the insertion of a tiny microchip that can help if your dog goes missing. Most vets charge around $45 for this procedure. You also need to register your pet and these fees may be separate at times from microchipping fees.
The hard dog does not need too much grooming as mostly they are outdoors and their coat is not too difficult to maintain. However, it is a good idea to brush your Catahoula Leopard as grooming is a great way of bonding with your pet. You can also capture ticks and fleas if any. The cost of grooming tools is around $40 – including shampoos, brushes, etc. If you do choose professional grooming, then the cost can be around $40 per basic session.
If you travel with your dog by air, then expect to pay between $125 and $250 one-way on airfare. Alternatively, you can board your dog at a hostel. This can cost about $50 per night in most cities.
Summary of Costs of Raising a Catahoula Leopard Dog
The initial cost of keeping a Catahoula Leopard Dog or any dog includes its purchase price, price of a crate, a sturdy bed, food and water bowls, toys, accessories, microchipping, vaccinations, and spay/neuter surgery. This can be nearly $1500 to $2000 since the purchase price of a CLD puppy is between $400 and $900.
The monthly cost of keeping a Catahoula Leopard Dog includes all of the recurring costs you’d incur per year or each month. This includes food and treats, grooming, flea and tick prevention, license renewal, and some veterinary costs. Expect this amount to be between $100 and $200.
Annual cost after the first-year
Based on the above, expect to pay almost $1200 to $2400 per year on food and treats, medical care, unexpected costs like replacing broken toys or collars, insurance, grooming, dog boarding/travel, flea and tick prevention, etc.
The hardy Catahoula Leopard Dog can live up to nearly 15 years with an average life expectancy of 10 years. So, over its lifetime, you can expect to shell out almost $12,000 to $15,000. This is assuming that your dog remains healthy throughout and does not need any major hospitalization or expensive treatment.
We hope this guide helps you plan a budget for your Catahoula Leopard Dog.