catahoulas and other curs

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by Romy, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Just some questions about the breed, and if you've got knowledge of other curs that would be awesome too.

    Are they good with other dogs? I need a dog that gets along with dogs in its own family, it doesn't matter if it gets along with strange dogs or not.

    How are they about trespassers? I'd prefer a dog that will wake the dead and roar at people trespassing. Basically, if someone's in my yard that shouldn't be, I want a dog that will wake me up with its fury. The borzois have surprised me once in a while and gotten snarlyface at prowlers, but they don't bark or anything if a person is in the yard and I don't trust them to wake me up if someone broke in. If it's a dog that will try to put itself between an intruder and my family, that's a bonus but I definitely don't expect my dog to risk its life and I'm not going to gamble with our safety expecting that of a dog.

    How much activity does a catahoula require? From what I understand, they're very active. After raising Charlie I feel like I could handle one (lol). What is their activity level compared to a German shepherd? A pointer? A malinois? Do they have a good off switch?

    Are they really as versatile as the articles say? I'd love to do scent work, when we buy a place I'll have livestock (sheep and cattle) and I'll definitely need some help moving rams around at the very least, but I'm not at all interested in collies or traditional herding breeds. I like hunting, and will probably stay in this state where it's legal to hunt coons and coyotes with dogs.

    Also, what are the different lines and their strengths? How do you find a good working breeder? I'm worried about getting a mess of a dog from someone breeding for markings with them getting more popular.
     
  2. Answers in red. To sum it up, Catahoulas are the perfect breed for me. But they are NOT for the faint of heart. They will walk all over a soft handler. You tell them what to do, and they will carefully weigh their options and make their own decision. They are friendly but not social, and they are stubborn and very independent.

    ETA: Scratch that. Four 'houlas on the team. I forgot one retired a few months ago, and we have another one retiring this month.
     
  3. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    catahoulas & BMCs are about the same w/the leopards being a hair more stranger aggressive & a little less DA. lacys & the various mt curs & derivatives are MOSTLY noticably less overtly aggressive toward people & less DA. ALL BREEDS are very vocal about the presence of strangers. males raised mostly or entirely by women tend to be very man aggressive/reactive. they also tend to touchy about anything they percieve as a threat to THEIR children (which may or may not include EVERY child they lay eyes on).
    it's legal to hunt coon & coyote in most states (it is most threatened on the left coast), so don't let that be the sole or even the main reason for where you live.

    my preferred breeders are
    houlas- Doug Mason, http://www.txmasoncatahoulas.com/
    Jeff & Jeanne Treader, Sanglier catahoulas (903) 962-6368
    BMC-Randy Wright, http://www.wrightscurs.com/
    JD Howard's cousin Steve, http://www.blackmouthcur.com/sandridge_kennel.htm
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  4. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    This.

    There was a dog at FOHA who I am pretty certain was a purebred catahoula. He looked just like Gempress's Voodoo. He was adopted and returned once for being overly protective of the family's kids, even with the other children that came over to play. He was not aggressive with the family, got along well with other dogs, and his energy/mental stimulation requirements were reasonable, they just couldn't handle his guarding instinct. I'm rather glad they brought him back fairly quickly instead of waiting for him to hurt somebody's kid first. He's in another home now that knows how to provide for his needs.

    People don't really think of catahoulas (or australian cattle dogs) as guardian breeds, but don't underestimate that instinct!
     
  5. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Awesome. So, in the interest of harmony with the other dogs would it be best to get a bitch? Right now I have Strider (neutered male) and Kaia (intact female). Strider doesn't pick fights, but he also doesn't tolerate crap from other males.

    In the future I'll probably have mostly girls as I like borzoi bitches more than the dogs. The lines I work with get along well with other dogs. Kaia will probably be bred in 2-3 years and I plan to keep a daughter from her depending on what's born. There's another breeder in Texas I'd like to get a borzoi bitch from at some point too.

    The energy level in catahoulas is pretty intimidating. When I think of Charlie though, it was pretty intense but I did good with him. I wouldn't have picked that for myself but it worked out and when he finally grew up he turned into a good dog so I know I can do it (just need some acreage, lol). And when I'm set up with stock that'll help by giving it something of a job, along with coon hunting because raccoons are obnoxious and there are millions of them.

    Woo! Awesome. That's kind of what I'm hoping for. A nice, barky, compact dog that is suspicious of strangers. I was looking at tibetan mastiffs, filas, etc. but they're all so gigantic. And of them all, only filas do the herding/tracking/hunting stuff.

    I'll probably stay in this state mostly because of family. Sadly they outlawed bear and cougar hunting with hounds in WA so that other stuff is what I'm limited to. Except bobcat, but I can't bring myself to hunt bobs. I like them too much. The one we had on the inlet was so nice, she never bothered my birds and kept the voles and rats in the field down really well. There are some feral Russian boar that are basically open season no bag limit no license required, but I'm scared to hunt boar by myself.
     
  6. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    just from the vibe i'm getting you would be best off w/ a dog (much more protective of you & the babies), although a gyp would be more consistant in the woods.
     
  7. From what I've seen, gyps are going to mature a lot faster and be a little easier to train and work with. But dogs sure are fun to work with and will typically be a little more protective of you.
     
  8. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

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    My parents have a lacy. My mom keeps telling me he's the best dog she's ever had. While I love the look of hounds, I'm not really a hound person, but if I had the room I'd take another lacy any day.

    I know, I'm not really helpful.
     
  9. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    Ditto what everyone else said. Houlas and curs can definitely be DA. From what I've seen, same-sex aggression seems to be the most common.

    In terms of protection, it depends on what you want. Both houlas and curs will bark (Zeus is a fluke who won't), but houlas are more likely to physically protect. Voodoo is an wonderful guard dog. He will not let anyone into our house unless we invite them in ourselves. But with that comes all the issues of having a dog willing to bite for protection: dogsitters, repairmen, emergency personnel, etc., can all be a problem.

    In terms of energy, houlas are RIDICULOUS. As in pull-your-hair-out-sob-in-the-corner-while-rocking-back-and-forth ridiculous, especially as puppies and adolescents. Just search some of my past threads on Voodoo and you'll see what I mean. They have the combination of being strong, drivey, stubborn, intelligent, and high energy, which means they will get into everything and anything when the mood strikes them. Voodoo has jumped through glass windows, broken through doors, cannonballed through wood fences, destroyed drywall, learned how to open doors, wrecked crates, and destroyed more household items than I care to count. The puppy stage on these dogs lasts several years, too. Voodoo did not start to mellow out until at least 4 years old.

    But if you can survive the puppy years, they grow into wonderful adults. Truly good, reliable, solid dogs.

    MHMR hit it right on the nose when it comes to the houa personality. Training houlas is a little different. They like working with their people, but on their own terms. You cannot bully these dogs into doing anything. They don't respond well to physical coersion. I couldn't even gently push or fold Voodoo into a sit. He'd resist just because he could. I had to guide him into it on his own. Also, clicker training didn't work too well. IMHO, they can be too high energy. Voodoo would work himself into a complete whirlwind frenzy of excitement, and offer me behaviors so rapidly that I couldn't even keep up. But once you figure out what works for your dog, they are fast learners and enjoy exercising their brain.

    As for obedience training curs....well, let's just say they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer. ;) They're drivey dogs, like to work with people, and overall are much less stubborn than houlas, but they're certainly no border collie or golden retriever. They're naturals when it comes to hunting, but any kind of learned obedience doesn't come too easily. Prepare for many sessions of practice before they get things figured out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  10. I wouldn't go quite as far as Gempress when saying they are high energy. Catahoulas are not for everyone, certainly not beginners. But I won't put my breed up on some pedestal of infamy like a lot of owners of a certain other breed. If you know what you're doing or have access to a decent trainer, they can be handled. Boone tore up one flip flop. That was it. And that was only when I left him with SailenAero and her SO while I went out of town, so I can't really blame him. It was his first time being away from me. I know most of the other 'houlas on our team have been about the same. Left to their own devices, they can and will get into everything. But if you keep an eye on them, keep them busy and tired, and start training from day one... You're going to be fine. The most important thing is getting one from good lines and starting to teach an off switch as soon as you get them home.

    I will say that they can be very stressful because they will start trying to give you a heart attack every day by finding danger and charging headlong into it. They have absolutely no fear.

    ETA: Oh, and I have also used marker training with 'houlas without any issues.
     
  11. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Buahaha! That sounds like Charlie. His nickname was Destructotron-5000. He ate so many garden hoses, randomly took bites out of the corners in our house, ran in his poo and jumped on us, ate our cell phones, and split my stupid lip so many times by headbutting me in the face with his leaps of joy...yeah. I loved that dog. lol. He did start to settle down by 2 years old though. I had to teach him how to have an off switch so that's not new.

    Strider hasn't tried living with other males since he's been neutered so he may be more mellow about it now. I'll have to figure that out. It sounds like a male may be best for family protection, but if a gyp will do the job then that's an option too.

    Thanks for the breeder links pops! I may have to take a field trip to Texas when we're able to buy a place because all the sheep and cattle breeders I like happen to be Texas as well.
     
  12. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    i have a soft spot for corriente, brindles & black baldies, but WA screams for highlands or the irish breeds like dexters & kerrys.
    i LOVE lamb, but i'm not a sheep guy. only way i could have them would be the wild hair sheeps like TX barbado, mouflon, & barbary sheep (aoudad in TX).
    down the road i could see myself w/ a 1/2 dozen brindle corriente cows & a share in a beef bull. it'd sure keep the freezer full.
    yep, when i'm too old to go looking for trouble, i'd like to torture myself w/ a bit of stock & some old pot lickers.
     
  13. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    I really like the size and disposition of the old pineywoods cattle. There just aren't a lot of breeders of them around here, though I could see tossing a highland or two into the mix for fun. I don't foresee issues working cattle. We never had dogs to help and never had problems getting them to do what we wanted. Just had to be careful of the dairy bulls.

    The sheep I really want are a hair sheep called painted desert sheep. They're a corsican type outcrossed to mouflon and some other stuff. Supposedly the older sheep taste like venison instead of mutton, which would be awesome if it is true. I bet their winter pelts would make nice throws too.
     
  14. houlahoops

    houlahoops New Member

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    I've lurked on here for ages, but I grew up with Catahoulas, so I thought maybe it was time to throw my hat into the ring. =P

    All of my dogs growing up were very protective of me and mine. As a kid, my dogs killed many snakes, and one unfortunately met his maker going after a bear that had wandered onto our property where my father was working. I never met one that wouldn't raise Cain when somebody wandered into a place he shouldn't have been in.

    My current dog (picked up on the side of the road as a pup) is a fabulous hunting partner. He's open on trail, though, so depending on how you like to hunt, that could be a drawback. Something to be aware of if you intend to seriously hunt your dog: a coon is heavy opposition when cornered, and the natural fearlessness of the Catahoula can put him in danger in a hunting situation. I know with Mac I have to hunt right on top of him (for contrast, I had a Blue Tick that I could just wander on over to whenever I felt like it!).

    If you go for boar with a Cat, expect to invest in serious hunting equipment and--more than likely--lose a dog or two. Mac bays, but that's about it. I wouldn't ever put him on a hog because I am way too attached to him! Just too many things that can go wrong with a medium-sized, gritty, open dog alone on the trail.

    As for dog-dog issues, we've had some that were DA and some that weren't. My childhood Catahoula got along with just about everybody. Mac does not, but with extensive training he has come to tolerate most other dogs (though I can't hunt him with hounds).

    Stock-wise, Catahoulas are exceptional cow dogs (and sturdier than a lot of herding breeds). They are not as responsive as, say a Border Collie, but for sheer muscle, they just can't be beat.

    Unfortunately, I have found them to be almost unilaterally rough on cattle. Very mouthy. And every single Catahoula that I have ever worked with has created (inadvertently) a dangerous situation for a handler on foot by riling everybody. Because I don't work from horseback, I no longer use dogs to move cattle unless absolutely necessary (for example, I will pull Mac in if I have a downed animal and need to make myself a bubble, or if I'm in trouble with a bull).

    I would hesitate to put a Cat on sheep unless he were older and had a serious off switch. Especially early on in training, I've had dogs that would lose their fool minds completely around stock until they got thumped a time or two, and I would be concerned about the well-being of my animals (especially if you are raising them for fiber or meat).

    To be honest, if you want to move your animals, I would recommend a feed bucket and/or a four-wheeler =)

    In terms of energy level, Catahoulas need a solid combination of mental and physical exercise. They are stubborn and hard-headed, but not unintelligent. You often have to train differently. I don't do specific behaviors until they are a little older, but from day one I give them puzzles to work out on their own (ie: lay a coon trail to dinner, hide food in strange places).

    Don't get me wrong, they are an extremely active breed! But not impossible to live with, especially if they have other dogs that they enjoy playing with.

    Your dog will be an individual. Especially in the case of breeds like the Catahoula, there is a lot of variation in each animal. I know if I went up to PA to pick up a dog, or out to CA (where Cats are becoming more popular), I would find a totally different set of characteristics that I've had with the dogs I grew up with.

    Take a little while to get to know the breed, for sure. But I will tell you, having had them for ages, I would never keep another dog!
     

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