The Catahoula Lab Mix is a mix between the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog and the Labrador Retriever. This mix is also known as Labahoula, and it is as unusual as it sounds!
To be honest, we’ve written about many mixed breeds. But we’ve never heard of this one. Well, we have never even heard of the Catahoula Leopard Dog. But, looking at their pictures our first thought was “Wow, they are beautiful”. So, we are very excited to introduce you to the Labahoula dog!
Let us say just one thing, you’ll love this mix. They have the kind nature of the Lab, and the fearlessness of the Catahoula. But let’s see their other traits.
Origin of the Catahoula Lab Mix
Before we dive into all the physical traits and characteristics of the Labahoula dog, let’s take a look at the origin of the Catahoula Lab mix.
As already mentioned, the Catahoula Lab mix is a mix between two American breeds, the Labrador retriever and the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog. You will read on some pages that this is a hybrid, but we’ll explain why that is wrong. A hybris is a combination of two entirely different entities, for example if we were to combine a horse and a donkey, the result would be a hybrid animal. But, both the Labrador Retriever and the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard belong to the family of dogs, canines, they are the same species, just different breeds. So, breeding two different breeds gives us a mix or designer dog, some also call them mutts. So, where does each parent breed come from?
We believe that Labrador Retrievers have originated in Canada and were brought to North America via the United Kingdom. There is no need to mention how popular this breed has become in the US. It’s enough to say that they have long topped the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular breeds. The Labrador Retriever was first used by fishermen in Newfoundland in the 19th century to haul nets, ropes, and fish. Today Labrador Retrievers are mostly used as service dogs, and they make great family pets and companion animals.
As their name suggests, the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog originated in Louisiana. Some believe they originated in the 16th century when Native Americans bred their own dogs with greyhounds and molossers brought over by a Spanish explorer. This breed isn’t very popular or known, in the rest of the world. In fact, they are even uncommon outside the southern United States. That´s the reason why the majority of Catahoula Lab mix dogs are also likely to be born there.
The reason why breeders developed this breed is because they wanted to create a dog capable of herding sheep and also hunting wild boar! Because it was historically employed to hunt wild boar, the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is also known as the Catahoula Hog Dog.
But, they also wanted a dog that will be calm in the house and friendly with children. The Labahoula is a true American cross and a rather new designer dog. It’s not exactly known when they appeared, but some believe that they originated in the 1980s as part of the designer dog craze. While others believe they appeared in the last 20 years. Even though this designer dog makes a remarkable pet, no breeder has claimed the Labahoula as their original creation.
So, we have no particular information regarding its origin. But how do we know that this is an American cross, an American creation? Well, because they are so uncommon and only seen in the US. In addition to that, they are usually just bred in the USA, so it’s safe to assume that the breed also originated there. Because both its parent breeds were used in hunting and are working dogs, the Labahoula can be used as a working dog and hunting dog as well.
Appearance of the Catahoula Lab mix and parent breeds
This is a designer dog, and with them, it’s not easy to say how they will be like. We can’t even tell you how they’ll look like. When breeders breed two dogs of the same breed, you’ll know how they will look like. When you have two dogs with the same looks and traits, there are no surprises. There is a standard to how they look and behave.
But, when breeders breed two different breeds, they don’t know how the puppies will look like. There are three possibilities:
- they will look like one parent breed
- the puppies will look like the other parent breed
- or they’ll look like a combination of both parent breeds.
That’s why with mixed breeds you always look at the parent breeds. That’s how you’ll get an idea of what the puppies will be like.
Catahoula Lab mix appearance
The Labahoula is a new breed, so take all of this info with a grain of salt. Don’t come after us if your puppy doesn’t look like in our description. This is only general info of how the Catahoula Lab Mix can look like.
Male Labhoulas are between 22 and 26 inches tall and weigh between 70 and 95 pounds. Females are between 21 and 24 inches tall and weigh between 55 and 65 pounds. As you can see female Labahoulas are a bit smaller than the males, but this hybrid breed is still a large dog.
The Catahoula is an eye-catching dog, so you can expect the Labhoula to be so too. One thing is for sure, you’ll have many people admiring your dog.
They have a broad wedge-shaped head and a long muzzle. Also, their ears flop down to the level of the jaw-line. But that’s not what makes the Labhoula so special. There are two features that set this dog apart from others.
Firstly, their eyes. Many Labhoulas have exes that are two different colors. This condition is called heterochromia. Of course, their eyes can also be the same color. Their eyes can be:
There are so many different coats that dogs can have. Short coat, long coat, thick coat, thin coat, wavy coat or straight coat. But what kind of coat does the Labahoula have?
Just like their parent breed’s name suggests, this designer dog´s coat is patchy like a leopard’s coat. Their coat is patterned in dark blue, black, or dark brown. Besides that, the Labhoula has a water-repellent coat just like their Lab parent breed and it’s usually short and straight. Also, they have a thick double coat. But what does a double coat mean? Dogs that have a double coat have a coat that consists of a dense undercoat and a longer, protective topcoat. In general, the fluffier your dog’s outer coat is, the denser their undercoat is, and the more grooming is required to avoid matts and tangles.
Their coat color of the Labahoula can be:
Because their coat is so short, it doesn’t need regular brushing. And the upkeep is very simple. They are seasonal shedders, which means they will have to be brushed the most during the summer months. But generally, you can brush them once a week, just to keep their coat healthy and shiny.
Appearance of the parent breeds
But to get a better picture of what a Catahoula Lab mix puppy could look like, we need to take a look at both parent breeds and their physical characteristics. Let´s start with the rare Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog.
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog appearance
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog has a very unique appearance, it´s a spotty herding breed. This breed of dog has a broad head, small-to-medium drop ears, and an undocked tail put on as a natural extension of the topline. The Catahoula is muscular and powerful, but not bulky, and has the appearance of quickness and endurance.
Let´s talk about how large Catahoula dogs can get. The Catahoula is a medium-sized breed, males, are 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder tall and weigh 65 to 90 pounds; females, are 20 to 24 inches at the shoulder tall and weigh 50 to 65 pounds.
The dog’s body should be slightly longer than tall, with the distance between the elbow and the ground equaling 50-60% of the dog’s height from the withers to the ground. Many people believe that all Catahoulas have “leopard” markings and blue eyes because of the breed’s name. The breed is known for its unique coat colors and patterns, as well as a wide range of eye hues. Exaggerations or flaws should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog’s ability to work, and the Catahoula should be evaluated as a multi-purpose working dog.
Next, we´ll talk about the appearance of the Labrador Retriever. We believe everyone knows exactly what a Lab looks like, but still, let´s go over their physical traits one more time.
Labrador Retriever appearance
Labrador retrievers are strong and dependable canines. Because of that trait and their strength they are often used as service dogs. They are also a favorite of many dog lovers, along with the Golden Retriever. They have a muscular body and sturdy legs and are practically square.
Males can grow to be 24 inches tall, which places them in the medium-size dog category, although their robust physique can make them appear much larger. A huge adult size male’s weight ranges from 85 pounds to 55 pounds, whereas a smaller female’s weight is 55 pounds.
Fieldline-bred dogs are often taller and have a slimmer frame. The broad head, drop ears, and huge, expressive eyes of Labrador retrievers make them immediately identifiable. The thick but relatively short double coat, which is particularly water repellent, and the well-known “otter tail” are two trademarks of the Lab.
The tail is broad and sturdy, and it practically straightens out from the topline. To aid in swimming, the feet are described as “webbed,” with longer skin between the toes. The color ranges from black to chocolate, red/yellow, and virtually white. The Labrador retriever is a breed that matures reasonably quickly, achieving adult height between six and twelve months of age but perhaps filling out up to two years of age. Many Labs live to be 12 to 14 years old.
The Labhoula is a well-tempered dog. This means they are great with children and other pets. Of course, if you socialize them when they are still puppies. And, as with any large dog, you should never let the Catahoula Lab Mix play with your kid or other pets unsupervised. They might hurt them unintentionally.
They can also have a dominating nature, almost like they want you to know they are the alpha. So, you’ll have to stay firm and work a lot with them and train them properly.
Generally speaking, these dogs are loyal and loving, but if you leave them alone for too long they can act out. They can get wild and be a bit naughty. And you might find your shoes all chewed up.
The Labhoula is a very active dog. They are definitely not couch potatoes. Because their activity levels are so high, they need around 90 minutes of exercise every day.
Some activities they might enjoy are long runs, agility training, long hikes, play sessions at dog parks, swimming.
Also, because of their size, they aren’t for someone who lives in a small apartment in the city. They need a big house with a big yard. Somewhere where they can go out at all times and get rid of all that excess energy.
Now, let´s take a look at the personality of both parent breeds.
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog personaliy
A well-trained Catahoula is never hostile to humans. It is possible that strangers make him nervous, but this dog is never shy and there is no possible aggression generally. But, that also depends on how you treat your dog. When it comes to his family, he is both affectionate and protective. Catahoulas in general work aggressively, which is necessary when rounding up wayward hogs or livestock. Males can be violent toward other male dogs, and Catahoulas in general work fiercely.
Their natural tendency is to track and herd livestock, and if that isn’t possible, they must find another way to expend their energy. And you should know, labahoula exercise and activity levels are high! Catahoulas make excellent watchdogs and will bark a warning or go on high alert if outsiders approach. Treat them with firmness but fairness. Mistreatment or physical abuse is not tolerated by them.
A variety of factors influence temperament, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with good temperament are interested and lively, and they enjoy approaching people and being held. When a Catahoula is young, he needs early socialization—exposure to a variety of people, sights, noises, and experiences—and this should continue throughout his life.
Socialization is important for your Catahoula puppy’s development as a well-rounded canine. Enrolling him in puppy kindergarten is a terrific place to start. Regularly inviting visitors over and taking him to crowded parks, dog-friendly stores, and leisurely strolls to meet neighbors can all help him improve his social skills.
Labrador retriever personality
We all love Labrador Retrievers, just look at the fact that they are at the top of the most popular dog breeds in the US! One of the reasons why that is, well besides their adorable faces, is their personality. This breed has a well-deserved reputation as one of the sweetest-natured breeds.
They’re gregarious, ready to please and get along with both humans and animals. They have the intelligence and eagerness to please that make them easy to train, in addition to a winning personality. Because this breed has a lot of energy and excitement, it will require a lot of training. The working heritage of the Lab implies they are active. This breed needs both physical and mental stimulation to stay happy. Labs vary in their amount of activity: some are raucous, while others are more laid back. All flourish in an active environment. We also have to say that Labrador retrievers are good family dogs and are loyal to their human family.
But just like it is with any other breed, their behavior depends on how you behave as a dog owner. As long as you remember to exercise and train them regularly, you shouldn’t have any issues with this breed. These are dogs that have been bred to work hard and enjoy having chores to do, especially retrieving. As long as their natural energy has been toned down via training, labs are usually good with other dogs, other pets, and children.
They are powerful dogs that require early obedience training or they will drag their owners down the street at will. The field line dogs are particularly energetic, yet some show line dogs develop into excellent couch potatoes at a young age. Chewing can be an issue since they have an oral fixation because to the strong retrieve need. Durable chew toys, exercise, and training can all help.
Labradors who are left alone or not well exercised can become destructive, chewing, digging, and barking excessively due to their energetic disposition. All of this also applies to a mix of Lab.
Catahoula Lab mix health
After talking about all the characteristics and physical appearance of the unique designer dog, let´s talk a bit more about the Catahoula Lab mix health. Generally speaking, the Catahoula Lab Mix is a healthy dog. Their life expectancy is between 10 and 14 years. So, they live pretty long lives.
Designer dogs are usually always healthier than purebred dogs. But that doesn’t mean that mixed breed puppies are immune to all diseases and illnesses. The major health issue these dogs face is hip dysplasia. This is a hereditary disease that both of the Labhoula’s parent breeds have. Sadly, you can’t do much about it. Deafness is another common health issue among Catahoula Lab mix dogs. Besides this, they can experience progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts are another eye condition this mix can suffer from.
The most common health issues the Catahoula can suffer from:
- eye condition
- ear infections
- cold tail
- hip dysplasia
- elbow dysplasia
Many of the health issues these dogs face are hereditary. That´s why it´s important to meet up with your breeder even before the puppies are born. Ask lots of questions about the parents, ask to see them, to see their health clearances, vaccination documents and so on. Don´t just ask how much puppies will cost. But really dig in deep and try to find out as much as possible not only about the parents but the breeder too. See how they behave with the dogs. That will tell you a lot about the health of unborn puppies and breeding ethics.
Caring for your dog
There are health issues that you can’t avoid. But you can make sure your dog stays as healthy as possible by taking good care of them. But how do you do that?
Firstly, you should take them to the vet regularly. Your vet should do health checkups at least twice a year. There are also occasional tests your vet should do:
- X-ray imaging
- Regular Full Physical
- Hearing Tests
- Ophthalmic Examination
Also, make sure to feed them high-quality food. A healthy and well-balanced diet plays a big role in a dog’s health. Of course, a lot of exercise and mental stimulation are crucial to their health and wellbeing as well. With dogs, it´s important that they eat enough protein, carbs and fats. But you do need to be careful how much of what you feed your dog.
The number one ingredient in dog food should be protein or meat. You will find that many cheap dog food brands have carbs as the first ingredient, you want to avoid those foods. Carbs like corn or wheat aren´t bad for your dog, but they should never be the primary ingredient in your dog´s food.
Lastly, we have fats. Fats have been demonized in the last couple of years for apparently making us humand and our dogs obese. But the truth is that is completely wrong. Your dog needs healthy fats to function and stay healthy. Even though the Labahoula sounds like a high maintenance dog, they are not! Good news is they will fit in with all families and are low maintenance pets.
Despite having such a thick coat, surprisingly they don´t shed that much! But that doesn´t mean you should neglect your dog. Take care of their teeth, ears and cut their nails regularly. It´s also important to brush your dog´s fur at least every other day in order to prevent matting. The Labahouls might be low maintenance, but like any other dog breed they depend on you.
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