By Henry Chappell | Photography by Dawn Jones
The world’s grittiest dog? The Catahoula.
The boar weighed at least 300 pounds. Guthrie, a two year-old Catahoula, weighed about 60 pounds. The two collided with predictable results. Guthrie, flattened and addled but far from finished, righted himself and pursued. A few minutes later, he and his three pack-mates brought the boar to bay.
I witnessed the collision from 15 yards away. As I huffed toward the squealing and baying, I declared the Catahoula the world’s grittiest dog. Generations of “cracker” cowboys who counted on their Catahoulas to roust wild cattle from palmetto flats would not argue with that appraisal.
Don’t turn a Catahoula loose on your flock of sheep; he’ll eat them up getting them into the pen. Save him for the mad mama Hereford that just ran through your three border collies. Or the boar that cuts up Plott hounds for sport.
Early settlers found versatile hunting and herding dogs among Indians in Louisiana’s Catahoula Lake area. They may have been pure native stock, but they probably shared blood with hunting, herding, and war dogs brought by European explorers. Catahoulas are fierce toward game and rough with livestock but friendly toward humans. Most run about 55 to 80 pounds. Dog lovers are drawn to the Catahoula’s striking coat, athleticism, and ghostly blue or “glass” eyes.
– Select only from working stock.
– Seek training tips from experienced hunters and herdsmen.
– Worry about eye color. A good dog looks good.
– Get too much white in your dog’s coat.