Catahoula Cur

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The Catahoula cur or Louisiana Catahoula leopard dog is an American dog breed. It is named after Catahoula Parish in the state of Louisiana in the United States. Of remaining dog breeds, the Catahoula is believed to have occupied North America the longest, aside from the dogs descended from Native American-created breeds. The breed is sometimes referred to as the "Catahoula Hound" or "Catahoula Leopard Hound", as it is not a true hound, but a cur. It is also called the Catahoula hog dog, reflecting its traditional use in hunting wild boar.

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History

One theory as to the origins of the breed states that the Catahoula is thought to have descended from mastiffs and greyhounds, brought to Louisiana by Hernando de Soto in the 16th century. Dogs left behind by the explorer's party were interbred by the local natives with their domestic dogs.

The idea that Native Americans bred their dogs with or from red wolves is not supported by recent DNA work. Several recent studies[1] have looked at the remains of prehistoric dogs from American archaeological sites and each has indicated that the genetics of prehistoric American dogs are similar to European and Asian domestic dogs rather than wild New World canids. In fact, these studies indicate that Native Americans brought several lines (breeds) of already domesticated dogs with them on their journeys from Asia to North America.[2]

There is a plethora of published sources detailing the domestic dogs found in prehistoric archaeological sites.[3] Clearly, the red wolf was not the only canid located in the Mississippi River Valley before the arrival of Europeans. There were also foxes and grey wolves as well as various domesticated Native American breeds.[4][5][6][7][8]

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