Catahoula Issues » Ownership  

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I am often asked why Catahoula breeders try to discourage new owners. The reason is simply that the Catahoula is not for everyone. It's not the type of dog that can be left alone to occupy itself and never need attention. We try to inform new owners of the problems that will occur with the breed if there is not enough exercise.

A Catahoula is the type of dog that needs a job. No matter what that job is, it needs something to occupy the gray matter inside its head. If left alone, the Catahoula will devise its own methods of occupying itself, and it is generally destructive.

For one reason or another, when new owners hear the words, "not for everyone" or "needs a pack leader" or "needs a job" they will answer instantly, "I've dealt with hard dogs before." What they don't understand is that this is not a hard dog. It is a very intelligent dog, and one that will try you to the very last nerve, if given the chance. It's not that the dog is stubborn, because these dogs are willing to please you. They will work their hearts out for you, but you must be willing to work for them. You have to keep that brain and muscle active.

The Catahoula was bred long ago for the purpose of hunting and working. These traits are alive and well in the dogs of today. It is a unique heritage of this breed, and there have been many breeders, owners, trainers, and judges of other breeds that are completely amazed at the intelligence of the Catahoula. It is because of this intelligence and the will to work that make this dog what he is. Making the decision to own a Catahoula is not just adding to the things you desire, it's a commitment. A commitment that some owners have found too great.

When dealing with new Catahoula owners I try to explain what they can expect from their new addition in this manner. If you manage to live with a Catahoula for two years, I promise you that at the end of the second year you will swear that your dog knows what you are thinking. You will make a move to do something and he will be in motion in the same direction with the idea that he is needed. As I've stated in my book, a Catahoula is a loving, dedicated dog that will do everything to please its master and sometime is a real pain in the neck.

There are enough dogs in shelters, and most breeders are not breeding Catahoulas because of the great amount of money to be made. On the contrary, if they can pay their feed bills at the end of the year, it's considered a successful year. Most breeders are breeding for a better dog and selling the dogs that they will not need. Need? That's Right. A lot of breeders only breed when they need another dog for themselves, and want to stay within their bloodlines. Most will not breed unless there are people ready to take the puppies.

Before you decide that you are strong enough, macho enough, smart enough, and have more willpower than any dog could possibly have, please speak to a few owners and breeders before you decide that the odd colored coat and the odd colored eyes of a Catahoula are something you just have to have. You may be looking for someone to take that spotted, glass eyed, demon from you before it is matured.

People have asked me about neutering and spaying a Catahoula. For some reason they think it's bad to do this to a dog that is still considered a Rare Breed. If you have no intentions of breeding the dog you own, then by all means spay or neuter it. I don't know of any breeder that would not agree to having a Catahoula spayed or neutered, unless they intended to breed to that particular dog.

Responsible Breeding begins with us. Responsible Ownership begins with you!

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