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Old 01-01-2012, 04:58 PM
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Romy Romy is offline
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Default catahoulas and other curs

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.
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Romy View Post
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.

I have seen DA in some of the lines, which could definitely pose a problem unchecked. All of the 'houlas on my team are fine with each other and the other dogs in their homes. But I have also met some 'houlas that were not. So the potential for it is there. Finding a good breeder will help a lot, but mostly you just need to be prepared to catch it early and nip it in the bud if you do start seeing signs of it. Just as an example, Linds can tell you about how Boone was with Traveler. Boone doesn't back down from a fight. He just flat out ignores dogs when they try to push him around. As if they were completely beneath him and not worthy of his time.

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.

Hahaha, just ask Linds about this one. Her dad, who Boone is fine with normally, tried to approach me while I was still asleep. Boone very loudly let him know that was not allowed. Good thing is he calmed down immediately when I woke up and said it was okay. Intruders would get the same greeting. He is not afraid to let someone know they should steer clear of my house. Which, given my past issues, was exactly what I needed. As for other 'houlas, they are almost all like that. I've met a few females that weren't quite as vocal, but they would still let you know if someone was where they shouldn't be. As for the bonus thing, you've got it with a Catahoula. They bond very tightly to their handlers, and they will put themselves between you and danger every time. Period. Boone is a complete goof but when the need for him to grow up very quickly has arisen, he stepped up to the plate without hesitation. I will also warn you, though. I'm not sure how much this part holds true to the rest of the breed but when it comes to me... Boone holds a grudge. Someone or something hurts me, Boone will never forget it. And I have to be on guard constantly when Boone gets around them again because he's looking for a reason to start and most importantly end a fight with them. But like I said, I don't know how true that part holds with the rest of the breed.

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?

A LOT. Their energy would be right up there with a pointer/malinois. They don't move as quickly as them, but don't mistake that for a lack of energy. 'Houlas can and will go all day long. They NEED a job. I don't mean your life will be easier if they have one. You have to give them one if you want to keep your sanity and house intact. They need physical exercise, but they will go insane if you don't give them a LOT of mental exercise, as well. And as for an off switch, that's up to you. You need to teach them that early on. Boone and most of the other 'houlas on my team have solid off switches. Heck, you've probably seen the pictures. When Boone isn't working, he's dozing. Because that's what I wanted, and I started teaching him that as soon as I got him.

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.

Yes. If you get them from good lines, 'houlas can and will do just about anything. We have six of them on my SAR team right now.

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.

There are a ton of terrible breeders out there. If you want, pm me and I'll send you a link to the breeder that our SAR dogs have come from, as well as another couple of breeders that I like.
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.
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:45 PM
Pops2 Pops2 is offline
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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 by Pops2; 01-01-2012 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:23 PM
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Sweet72947 Sweet72947 is offline
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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).
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!
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:36 PM
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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.

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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).
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.
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:38 AM
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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.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:45 AM
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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.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:33 AM
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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.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:22 PM
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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.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:25 PM
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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.
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