Do you like the thought of a smart, sociable Labrador Retriever but would also want a canine companion with a stronger guarding sense and less shedding coat, like, for example, a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog?
Well, then you’re in luck!
Meet the Labahoula, a Lab Catahoula mix that combines the best of both worlds, and could be just what you’re looking for.
The Labahoula is a fantastic dog that has gained popularity recently, mostly because it is highly clever, sociable, and protective.
Although they make wonderful, active family companions, these very large dogs also require a lot of love and care. This breed guide will bring you all the facts that you need to be familiar with in case you’re thinking of getting a Lab Catahoula mix puppy for yourself.
Is The Lab Catahoula Mix A Real Dog Breed?
It most certainly is!
The Labahoula, sometimes also known as the Catahoula Lab, is a hybrid dog breed created when Catahoula Leopard is crossbred with a Labrador Retriever.
It combines the Lab‘s calm temperament with the Catahoula’s athleticism.
It is distinguished by the leopard-like patterning on its coat and bright, occasionally heterochromatic eyes that you can’t help but fall in love with.
However, the Labahoula is not a dog breed for the sedentary type of person; they are powerful, high-energy dogs that need constant training and activity. Ideally, these dogs are best suited to suburban or rural settings with large backyards.
If you’re looking for a calmer, more chilled-out dog, take a look at our list of 17 low-energy, medium-sized dog breeds.
Origin Of The Lab Catahoula Mix
The history of the Labahoula, the mix between the Catahoula and the Lab, is actually pretty unclear, partly because these designer dogs are so recent.
However, what we do know about it is that it’s a truly all-American breed. Not only was it first created in the United States, but it was also the result of crossbreeding two dog breeds that are so beloved in this country.
That’s especially the case for the Labrador Retriever, who routinely tops AKC’s lists of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.
So, in order to talk about the origin and the history of the Lab Catahoula Mix, it would be best to explain the history of each of its parent breeds.
Labrador Retriever History And Traits
While it’s true that Labrador Retrievers originated in Canada and traveled to the United States via Britain, that didn’t stop them from becoming a household name in the US.
In fact, although they are both members of the same breed, the Labrador today appears in two different varieties, the English one and the American one. Originally the archetypal gundog breed, Labrador Retrievers can now be seen as family dogs, companion animals, or functioning as service dogs.
One of the key reasons labs have become one of the most popular household dogs worldwide is because they are naturally affable canines.
The American Kennel Club lists them as a part of their sporting group and ranks them as the top dog breed in the country, in terms of popularity.
These lovely canines love their family very much and get along well with children and other dogs. They also rank well for being lively, versatile, and trainable, as well as being open to strangers.
They measure 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall and weigh 55 to 80 pounds, which makes them a medium to large-sized breed. Their trademark shiny coat is most commonly available in black, brown, or yellow colors, although there are also some rare colors.
When it comes to life expectancy, their average lifespan is between ten and 12 years.
The American Kennel Club cautions, however, that we should not mistake the Lab’s easygoing nature for low energy. They are, in fact, eager athletes that require loads of exercise, including walking, swimming, and playing games of fetch, to remain physically and mentally fit.
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog History And Traits
The Catahoula leopard dog has an intriguing past and a highly distinctive appearance.
According to the American Kennel Club, Louisiana‘s wild canines that looked like wolves yet barked like dogs were the ancestors of modern Catahoula Leopard dogs.
The bloodhounds, mastiffs, and greyhounds that the Spanish explorers brought with them were crossed with these indigenous canines.
Native Americans in northern Louisiana gave these new dogs the name “Wolf Dogs.” The French hounds brought by the French were crossed once more, giving rise to the Catahoula Leopard dog of today.
These cute canines have a single coat that can be any color, often bicolor or multicolored, with various spots and speckles spread out across. They also often have heterochromatic eyes, which means that one eye is blue, and the other is brown, for example.
Catahoula leopard dogs are undoubtedly working dogs because of their innate propensity for herding and their incredible work ethic. They were frequently employed to build “canine fences” around wild cows and hogs while their owners controlled the herd.
They are typically 50 to 95 pounds in weight, 22 to 24 inches tall, and have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years.
They are good with kids and other dogs, and they are loving with their family. However, because they are such fierce watchdogs, they require a considerable amount of training and socialization from a young age.
Simply put, these dogs require a purpose and a task. The Catahoula Leopard dog would make an excellent farm dog and would also make a fantastic fitness companion for walks or hikes through the woods.
Lab Catahoula Mix Appearance
It is difficult to predict which characteristics the Catahoula Lab mix will acquire from one of its two parent breeds. Therefore, you should be ready for both.
When Catahoula Lab puppies are born, they may resemble one parent very significantly or exhibit characteristics of both Lab and Catahoula. Everything about them, including their color, profile, and body frame, could be quite similar to one breed or fall somewhere in between the two.
Beyond the medium-length muzzle and floppy ears, which are common for most of these pups, it can be challenging to determine which parent a Labahoula puppy will resemble more.
There can also be significant morphological variances between puppies even within a single litter.
The size of the Labahoula’s pups can be predicted fairly accurately because both of its parent breeds are of a similar size. Labrador Catahoula hybrids should be between 55 and 95 pounds and between 21 and 26 inches tall.
Looking at the parents of the puppies will give you the most accurate idea of how much they will grow in terms of both height and weight.
Large Labs and Catahoulas will produce large puppies, whilst the opposite is true for two smaller dogs. Furthermore, Catahoulas and Labs both exhibit sexual dimorphism, so you should expect it in Labahoulas, as well.
Sexual dimorphism means simply that female puppies in a litter typically grow to be smaller as adults than males.
Labradors often have a thick double coat, but Catahoulas typically have a single, short to medium-length coat. Although this shorter coat is typically passed down to their children, there are always exceptions.
So even while your Labahoula will likely have a coat similar to a Catahoula’s in terms of being low-shedding, it is possible that you end up with a puppy that is more Lab-like in that aspect, meaning that it sheds quite a lot.
The development of their coat takes a few months, so it’s impossible to know right away.
In more general terms, the Labahoula has a short, near-to-the-skin double coat that is dense and tight to the body. The coat may also be water-repellent in some cases, which is a feature inherited from their Labrador Retriever parents.
But let’s now talk about coat color, because that’s the really interesting part.
Traditionally, Labradors are either black, chocolate, or yellow, whereas Catahoulas come in a variety of hues and patterns. Because of this, it is quite difficult to forecast what hues and patterns their mixed-breed puppies would have.
What you can expect is that the Lab Catahoula mix will probably have some beautiful, crazy color patterns along its patchy, leopard coat, with occasional stripes in dark blue, black, or dark brown.
Is The Labahoula A Hypoallergenic Dog Breed?
Their parent breeds are on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to shedding and being hypoallergenic, so the way these pups will turn out depends entirely on which genes eventually prevail.
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dogs are a low-shedding, hypoallergenic dog breed, and if the Labahoula mix puppies inherit any of these genes, they will be too. This seems to be the case most times, as Catahoula genes appear to be more dominant than those of the Labrador Retriever.
Labs, on the other hand, are notorious shedders, and if that trait gets passed down to their Labahoula offspring, you’re going to be in for a lot of work in terms of grooming, but you will also have to be much warier of allergies.
Lab Catahoula Mix Temperament
Because they enjoy being around people and other animals, Labrador Retrievers have a tendency to be naturally social creatures who are more inclined to make friends than to act aggressively. On the other side, Catahoulas have stronger instincts for defense and protection.
They will immediately form a bond with their family, yet they can be wary of strangers and other animals.
Lab Catahoula mix dogs will fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
Are Labahoulas Good With Other Pets?
It is crucial to properly socialize your Catahoula Lab mix from a young age in order to teach them appropriate behavior around people and other animals.
Labahoula dogs normally don’t exhibit aggressive or overly territorial behavior as adults when training is done correctly early on, but they still make excellent guard dogs.
Prioritize socializing them with smaller animals first because they may have the propensity to hunt them because of their Catahoula ancestry. Fortunately, they can quickly learn to stop doing this.
Are Labahoulas Good With Children?
Due to their natural tendency to be loving and protective of small children, Labahoulas are safe to have around children of all ages. No matter how comfortable they are with one another, you should never leave young children unattended with a dog since mishaps can still occur.
In general, these dogs get along better with older kids because of their high energy levels, which can be a little too much for young children. They will appreciate playing with them more when they are a little older and more autonomous, and they can also help the dog burn off extra energy.
Are Labahoulas Aggressive?
Due to their Lab parent’s amiable disposition, Labahoulas don’t typically have an aggressive nature. However, their mixed-breed pups might be tempted to chase after your cat, since Catahoulas have a tendency to chase and hunt smaller creatures.
Early socialization and training are key to successfully controlling this impulse.
Do Labahoulas Bark A Lot?
Since Labahoulas rarely bark, you should only anticipate hearing them do so when they need to call your attention for something.
They may have an issue if they seem to start barking excessively without an obvious cause. When they are agitated from being left alone for too long or from not receiving enough exercise, they frequently bark.
Separation Anxiety In Labahoulas
When left alone, Labrador Catahoula mixes frequently experience separation anxiety, so they won’t be thrilled to watch over the house while everyone is at work. They thrive in households where someone is there the majority of the time.
They feel more secure just knowing that someone is nearby, even if they aren’t actively playing with whoever happens to be at home.
Lab Catahoula Mix Training
Because they are clever dogs with two brilliant parents, Labrador Catahoulas can learn to pick up commands easily. They also have a gift for figuring out what is expected of them in unfamiliar circumstances.
But keep in mind that just because they are among the most obedient dogs doesn’t mean they don’t require appropriate training. Regardless of the breed, early socialization and obedience training are crucial for producing a happy and manageable adult dog.
How To Train Labahoulas
Given that these canines enjoy the water, teach them to swim at a young age. Although they will naturally know how to swim, you will need to teach them safety precautions and the behavior you want from them in the water.
Spend time teaching your dog a variety of tricks and other skills as well. They get both mental and physical stimulation from this, which considerably enhances their happiness. They won’t perceive learning to fetch for you as laborious work, but rather as a game.
Use The Carrot And Not The Stick
Train your dog through positive reinforcement to display the actions you want to see. Never reprimand your Labahoula or subject them to harsh training techniques because these dogs have a tendency to be extremely sensitive, which might result in undesirable behavior.
Overall, using harsh punishment to train a dog is not a smart idea because it can be challenging to make sure the dog understands why they are being punished.
Punishing your Labahoula puppy, for instance, if you find out it has urinated inside the house when you get home will make the puppy confused. It might be too far removed from the incident for it to remember that urinating on the floor led to the punishment.
Lab Catahoula Mix Health
Despite having generally good health, Labahoulas are nonetheless susceptible to inheriting some of their purebred parents’ health issues.
In the following part of the article, we will list some of the more common ones, in an attempt to educate you and give you a good idea of what to expect and how to prepare for it.
Despite the fact that this may seem like a lengthy list of potential medical issues for your dog, don’t feel disheartened and mistake propensity for the likelihood that they will experience any of these issues.
Although it is a good idea to be aware of these circumstances, it is also likely that your dog will have a long and healthy life free of any major health problems.
Hip Dysplasia And Elbow Dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia is a particularly prevalent medical condition. Your dog may experience pain and mobility problems as a result of this ailment, which manifests itself while they are still growing.
A balanced diet and the right amount of exercise while the dog is still developing, are the best method to completely avoid the issue.
Overworking puppies is one of the main risk factors for getting this illness. Despite having more energy than adults, Labahoula puppies should have less exercise because their bones are still growing.
As a general guideline, until they are completely grown, give them five minutes of exercise every day for every month of their age. So, for example, a six-month-old puppy will need roughly 30 minutes of activity each day.
Limber Tail Syndrome
Limber Tail syndrome, also known as cold tail syndrome, cold water tail, limp tail, broken wag, or broken tail, is another disorder that Catahoula Lab mixes are more susceptible to experiencing than some other dog breeds.
The dog’s tail appears to be broken at this point since it is hanging down from its base.
Once more, excessive exercise as a pup can increase the likelihood of this illness. This is especially true for activities that include a lot of tail activity, like swimming.
Eye And Ear Disorders
In Lab Catahoula mixes, sight and hearing issues are also fairly typical, and many dogs experience some loss of sight or hearing as they get older.
Night blindness is frequently the initial indicator of an issue with their vision. If you see this, send your dog to the vet to determine whether they have cataracts, retinal atrophy, or another eye condition so they can get the right care.
Your dog may behave poorly more frequently if hearing becomes an issue, both because they can’t hear you and because they are frustrated.
If this happens, teaching your dog hand signals from an early age can be helpful. More canines with white patches in their coats seem to have this problem.
Lab Catahoula Mix Lifespan
The Lab Catahoula mix dog has an average life expectancy of ten to 14 years.
That is nearly identical to their Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog ancestors and slightly longer than that of their Labrador Retriever parents.
This is due to their generally great health, and a high drive for physical and mental stimulation. These things keep their minds and bodies in good shape, which is the perfect foundation for a long and happy life.
Additionally, due to something called hybrid vigor, some mixed breeds tend to have longer lifespans than purebred dogs.
Lab Catahoula Mix Nutrition
These dogs require a lot of dog food to maintain their health and have large appetites to match their large amounts of energy.
Unfortunately, they struggle to recognize when they are full, which can lead to an urge to overeat or, in extreme cases, bloat.
Never leave kibble out in the open, available for a Lab Catahoula mix; instead, provide them with frequent but smaller meals that are calorically balanced.
Never give food from your plate or human food to dogs who have a tendency to overeat. This may make puppies more likely to overeat, make it harder to keep track of their caloric intake, and make them more likely to ask for food.
Lab Catahoula Mix Exercise
Despite being medium-sized canines, Lab Catahoula hybrids still need a lot of space to thrive. This is due to their high energy levels and propensity to constantly be doing something. This presents a challenge to them if they are confined to an apartment.
If they have at least a small portion of outdoor space that they can call their own, they frequently flourish.
Due to their high levels of physical and mental energy, Labahoulas require constant training and exercise to be happy and balanced. If you don’t make tire them out with physical activity, they may develop insomnia and keep the rest of the family up all night with their destructive behavior.
Not only that, it will also help them keep their weight in check and stave off obesity.
The more active they are, the better. They should exercise for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day. Most likely, a leisurely stroll won’t exhaust them, but joining you for a jog or an intense game of fetch would. For a chance to run, look for dog parks that don’t require leashes.
Lab Catahoula Mix Grooming
In more cases than not, dogs from the Labahoula mixed breed are fairly straightforward to groom and maintain. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but you will learn about your individual dog’s grooming needs as time goes on and you get more experience.
Let’s go through some of the grooming essentials for Lab Catahoula mix dogs.
Typically, these dogs shed very little, so there isn’t much hassle when it comes to brushing them. There’s only about as much hassle as there is with most other dogs, to be fair.
Brushing them once a week, or even once every two weeks, with a brush that is designed for their particular type of coat is usually more than enough.
The breed does not require weekly cleaning and only requires bathing when absolutely necessary. The oils that maintain the Labahoula’s coat water-resistant will be removed by frequent bathing.
Brush your Labahoula’s teeth several times a week in order to keep its teeth clean and to prevent any potential dental diseases.
It will also make its breath much less stinky, so that’s a big bonus right there.
Their nails usually get worn down by exercise and physical activity, but even so, you should give them a thorough check every couple of weeks just to make sure that there aren’t any tears and splits.
If you need to trim them yourself, use a specialized dog nail trimmer or grinder. If your dog resists too much, there is always the option of sedating it.
A dog’s ears are a very sensitive place, which is partly why they can get so defensive when you try to inspect them.
However, since they can be fertile ground for bacteria, infections, and just general wax and debris buildup, you should check them every month or so to make sure everything is okay.
Give your Labahoula’s ears a gentle cleaning to avoid risking any risky infections.
Lab Catahoula Mix Price
Depending on where you live and the level of demand in your area, you should plan to pay between $500 and $1,200 for a Labahoula puppy if you purchase from a reputable breeder.
They are still a relatively new and young breed, thus there aren’t as many breeders working with them.
Prices may rise as a result of this, but they are still cheaper on average than, for example, purebred Labradors, who can fetch a price of $800 to $1,500, depending on their bloodline.
Is The Labahoula The Right Dog For Me?
Considering adding a Lab Catahoula mix puppy to your family? If so, think about whether you are a good match for this specific crossbreed by asking yourself some specific questions.
Is There Enough Space For A Labahoula?
These high-energy dogs have a tendency to be always active, thus a small apartment will make them feel cramped. They often function best when they have some room at home to keep themselves occupied with something.
They are not good apartment dogs, but if you have a house with a yard, they will feel like they’re in doggy heaven.
Can You Keep Up With A Labahoula?
Labahoulas are not just sociable dogs, they, in fact, need your company in order to thrive. If they are left alone for an extended amount of time, they may experience acute separation anxiety.
Furthermore, these active dogs require a lot of exercise. They have to have the opportunity to exercise for at least an hour every day, and they will be happiest if they can go on weekend outdoor adventures with you.
If your idea of a perfect weekend is laying on the couch and watching Netflix, Labahoulas may not be the best fit for you.
Do You Have Any Other Pets?
These canines may have the propensity to chase and hunt smaller animals because of their Catahoula ancestry. Keep in mind that this will need to be a priority in training from a young age if you have other pets in your home.
This is particularly the case if you have smaller animals, such as cats, bunnies, or hamsters.
Lab Catahoula mix dogs are intelligent and eager to learn, and they have the amiable demeanor of a Labrador. They can also possess the Catahoula’s guarding instinct and loyalty, which can give you the impression that your home is a little bit more secure.
No matter how their traits blend, you can count on these dogs to be very active and to love running, playing, and swimming. They flourish when kept mentally and physically occupied, and if left alone for extended periods of time, they are prone to become frustrated.
Although Lab Catahoula mixes require a lot of love and care, you will be rewarded with their friendly, devoted, and wise personalities.If you are considering getting yourself a family pet or just a companion dog for yourself, the Labahoula will not disappoint you, as they make absolutely great companions.