Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Wrong Side of the Fence

You must be ready to teach and exercise a Catahoula.
If not, he will eat your house.
The Catahoula will not let you forget that you own a dog."
                                                                  -- Don Abney

Since the neighborhood college is being unfriendly towards the local dog population, we've had to alter our walk to include free play at the park instead of the pond. I'd rather the dogs get wet than muddy but at least we are learning to play well with others! This morning we met a nice black lab from Tate County. His person is from Jackson and we ended up having a lot of mutual friends - such a small world.


Top left: This is us starting out - it takes all their combined self-will power to actually sit still. Peps is excited to go for a walk for the joy of walking. Scout is looking forward to Pepe being tied to him for an hour. It's the only time of the day poor Scout gets any attention from Pepe. He really is a pest (see top right).

My wild blue-eyed dog. This is what I love about Catahoula Leopard dogs - you can't train the wild streak. It's best to just harness it into something usefully like catching rats. Scout almost died last fall when he jumped off a 30 foot ravine and since then I've been a little more careful about where he is allowed to run free. This picture demonstrates why - he just runs and doesn't really look where he is going. I think it's resulted in some tramatic brain injury.

Catahoula history lesson! Catahoula's hail from South Louisiana (Catahoula Parish) where they are direct descendests of Native American mixed-breed dogs. Cajuns use them to hunt wild boars in the swamps and more recently have breed them with hound dogs (mostly Curs) to make hunting dogs that will chase and eat just about anything that moves.

There are two main theories about their origin: One is that the Catahoula is the result of Native Americans breeding their dogs with molossers and greyhounds brought to Louisiana by Hernando de Soto in the 16th century. Some believe the Indians dogs were bred with or from red wolves. Recent studies examining prehistoric dog remains found that genetically the dogs are more genetically similar to European and Asian domestic dogs rather than wild New World canids. These studies indicate that the dogs travelled with their owners from Asia to North America.

Another theory suggests that the breed originated some time in the 19th century when French settlers introduced the Beauceron to the North American continent. Appartently, the French told of strange looking dogs with haunting glass eyes that were used by the Indians to hunt game in the swamps. When the French  Beauceron and the native Red Wolf/war dog were interbred a Catahoula was the product.

The coat comes from the mother and is the true sign of the Catahoula. Most (like Scout) have eyes that are almost white they are so blue. The dogs are named after Catahoula Parish which also has two meanings. In Choctaw 'okhata' means lake and 'hullo' means beloved. It's also the name Choctaw word for their own nation 'Couthaougoula' pronounced 'Coot-ha-oo-goo-la'.

Famous owners of Catahoulas include Jim Bowie and his brother Rezin Bowie, who spent much of their youth in Catahoula Parish are reported to have owned a pair of Catahoulas who slept at their feet. There's also some Hollywood people who have adopted Catahoulas after Katrina - I guess they didn't want to go all Bradangelia and adopt a person from NOLA.
 

Wild-child dog will always choose the wrong side of the fence. A few weeks ago he was chasing something and got his neck caught in our fence. He then hid behind the grill to wait it out in the shade - on 100 degree concrete. Pepe, of course, chose the right side of the fence and then kept looking from me to Scout like he was saying: Aren't you going to tie him up now? He is such a D.O.G.

No comments: