Featured image of leopard dog lying on the ground

Are you planning to get, or you are already a proud owner of Catahoula Leopard Dog? You’ll have to agree with us when we say that very few dogs possess such striking features as this breed.

Due to his particular origin, this canine is unique to the United States and was bred with a work ethic many humans lack. To support his active nature, pet parents are required to obtain the best dog food for Catahoula.

Today, we will compare a couple of brands and help you make the right choice, which will support your pet’s nutritional needs.

Top 5 Dog Food For Catahoula Leopard Dog

Best Overall

Small Product image of Merrick Grain Adult Natural Dry Food For Dogs
Merrick Grain-Free Dry Food
Best Overall
Deboned Beef
Lamb Meal
Sweet Potatoes
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Optimal Health

Small Product image of Earthborn Holistic with bison meal
Earthborn Holistic
Optimal Health
Bison Meal
Pea Protein
Dried Egg
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Adult Dogs

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Blue Buffalo Freedom
Adult Dogs
Deboned Lamb
Turkey Meal
Pea Starch
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Raw Food

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Primal Chicken Formula
Raw Food
Chicken Necks
Organic Kale
Chicken Gizzards
Organic Carrots
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Picky Eaters

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Picky Eaters
Salmon Meal
Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal
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Merrick Grain-Free Dry Food - Best Overall

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Beef
  • Lamb Meal
  • Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Potatoes

Merrick brand is a perfect example of a highly trusted and extremely popular dog food. Treat your canine with bites of real deboned beef combined with locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables.

Naturally, if your dog doesn’t prefer beef, you can try one of many Merrick’s recipes. However, we firmly believe he can hardly resist this set of ingredients.

It’s important to point out that this formula is densely packed with nutrients, to promote a healthy and balanced diet. Additionally, stomach-friendly probiotics and prebiotics stimulate digestion and provide an optimal balance of bowels.

Considering that Catahoula dogs are quite active canines, they will benefit from numerous minerals which ensure healthy bones and joints.

To conclude, if you require a premium canine food, then there is no better choice than Merrick Texas Beef and Sweet Potato Recipe.

For our top ratings overall, see our highest rated dog food list.

Earthborn Holistic - Best For Optimal Health

First Five Ingredients:

  • Bison Meal
  • Peas
  • Tapioca
  • Pea Protein
  • Dried Egg

Prepare your dog for a real meal that is guaranteed to make him crazy for all the right reasons. The Earthborn Holistic features the best ingredients mother nature has to offer. This recipe is enriched with some of the leanest red meats in dog’s food.

The exceptional blend of veggies and fruits will provide your pet with the meal similar to a good traditional cousin. A very few brands manage to put bison into their formulation, instead of choosing beef as a traditional ingredient.

Due to its protein and caloric content, Great Plains Feats is excellent nutrition for active and working dogs such as Catahoula.

Overall, it a great joy to give your pet a well-balanced composition because he will be able to absorb the healthiest protein sources and omega fatty acids in one recipe.

Blue Buffalo Freedom - Fit For Adults

First Five Ingredients:

  • Deboned Lamb
  • Turkey Meal
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pea Starch

If gluten poses a problem for your canine, then Blue Buffalo Freedom is an excellent selection for him. It offers all balanced nutrients your pet requires, while free of gluten-based grains.

Lamb comes as a primary protein source, followed by a wide range of fruits and vegetables. They will supply your pooch with much-needed vitamins and minerals, which are essential for mature dogs.

The formulation doesn’t contain artificial additives, soy, or poultry by-products. The Blue Buffalo brand is famous for its “LifeSource Bits” and Freedom line is no exception. This will provide your dog with plenty of vitamins B and C, to stay well and maintain healthy skin and shiny coat.

In summary, adult Catahoula canines require formulation that supports their active lifestyle and Blue Buffalo Freedom is one of them.

Primal Chicken Formula - Best Raw Food

First Five Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Necks
  • Organic Kale
  • Chicken Gizzards
  • Organic Carrots

Primal Pet Foods has a lot of things going on in the raw food department. For that reason, we tend to agree with some of their views, considering dogs actually need diet similar to ancestors.

Even though many pet owners are against raw nutrition, it can be quite beneficial for numerous dogs. Whether we like it or not, we have to agree on the fact that raw meat is, necessarily, the natural diet for canines.

Therefore, Primal Chicken Formula offers all the useful nutrients of a stable and wholesome raw food diet. The formula is packed with chicken meat, which is stomach-friendly and won’t cause digestive issues.

In all, the Primal Chicken Recipe will offer your pet the best protein source, combined with organic vegetables and oils for proper and balanced nutrition.

Zignature - Ideal For Picky Eaters/Allergies

First Five Ingredients:

  • Trout
  • Salmon Meal
  • Chickpeas
  • Peas
  • Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal

Allergies pose a severe threat to your pet’s health. Many pet parents have a hard time noticing the initial symptoms right away, which leads to further health issues.

However, with a proper diet, you can avoid this condition and provide your pet optimum digestion and comfortable life. For this purpose, we have chosen the Zignature trout and salmon recipe.

The first two ingredients, trout and salmon, freshly caught in the fertile waters of the American Northwestern, offer your Catahoula the appropriate levels of DHA and EPA.

They stimulate the immune, nervous, and cardiovascular system. Additionally, plenty of fresh fruits and veggies will supply your dog with fibers for healthy digestion.

The bottom line:

With Zignature’s recipe, your pooch will enjoy every bite, without risk of getting sick or suffering from an allergic reaction.

Image of leopard dog in the backyard

Catahoula Leopard Dog Information

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a medium-sized breed, known for its varied short coat and eye color patterns. The name Catahoula originates from Choctaw, meaning “secret lake” and comes from Louisiana. He is bred to track and hunt wild hogs.

  • Size: 22-26 inches tall at shoulder length
  • Weight: up to 90 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10-14 years
  • Personality: not aggressive, wary of strangers, not shy, loving, protective, and excellent watchdogs
  • Health: often suffering from hip dysplasia and deafness
  • Care: Catahoula thrives on companionship, and it’s not a dog you leave tied in your backyard
  • Training: he requires a firm hand, strict schedule since is quite confident and has a strong personality
  • Exercise: this breed is active by nature. Therefore, he needs space to release all that pin-up energy. Without proper experience and attention, he can go wild and start chewing your furniture or digging holes in the backyard.
  • Do Catahoula puppies eyes change color: No

Common Health Issues

Hip Dysplasia

Various musculoskeletal issues have been reported with Catahoula dogs. While these conditions may seem overwhelming, they can be diagnosed to minimize pain and discomfort.

You are probably aware of hip dysplasia, which is an inherited disease. It’s causing the hip joints to form improperly and often results in arthritis.

Initial symptoms:

  • Lameness
  • Difficulty in getting up and laying down
  • Pain

However, simple x-ray testing will determine the severity and further steps in treating the condition. Surgery is sometimes considered as an option to relieve pain and can help canines to resume an active and healthy life.


Another inherited disease in Catahoula dogs, deafness can affect one or both ears, due to the decay of the structure of the inner ear. It often happens within the first weeks of birth.

Some associate, this condition to colors, meaning merle puppies which have blue eye are more prone to deafness. If you are dealing with such pet, then you should pay attention to his behavior and perform hearing tests.

If your canine’s ears are healthy, and he’s still ignoring you, then an in-depth hearing workup is required, including brainwave analysis.

Image of brown and white leopard dog focus

Catahoula Feeding Guide

Dietary & Nutritional Needs

Catahoula dogs are bred to be hunters. Therefore, they thrive in energy, and proper nutrition is essential to provide them with enough strength to go through a day.

Pet owner should focus on diet packed with healthy proteins, combined with fresh fruits and vegetables, of additional supplementation. In this case, we would opt for dry dog nutrition, since it’ more convenient than the wet one.

On top of that, dry food, will keep your pet’s gums and teeth healthy and minimize the issues with breath. The feeding schedule should involve two meals per day, for adult canines, as bloat can pose a problem for this breed.

Eating Habits

We would start by saying that not all dogs are the same and they all have various nutritional needs. Before choosing the food for your pooch, make sure to educate yourself about what food contains, by checking the ingredient list.

When it comes to commercial recipes, you have two choices, raw and dry nutrition. Again, your pet will decide which one prefers the most.

To improve your pet’s eating habits, you need to focus on the following ingredients:

  • Digestive enzymes – to boost up GI tract
  • Fruits and vegetable – to provide enough antioxidants and fibers
  • Oils – to enhance the immune system and prevent inflammatory conditions

With proper nutrition your pet will have cleaner teeth, have a healthier and shinier coat, be more energetic, live longer, and produce less waste.

For that reason, implementing healthy eating habits from an early age is imperative for the well-being of your canine.

Ingredients To Look For

  • Proteins

Protein should be the primary nutrient in any dog food you select. The Catahoula dogs draw necessary amino acids from proteins, which stimulate muscle development and allow their bodies to function properly.

Beef, lamb, fish, and chicken are excellent sources of proteins. They will not overly stress your pet’s digestive system while providing balanced nutrition. Moreover, when purchasing and reviewing recipes, pay attention to label because meat should be listed as the first ingredient.

  • Carbohydrates

Carbs represent another essential component in your dog’s diet. They can offer long-term and short-term sources of energy, without harming your pet. However, you have to consider the number of carbs in one formula because too many carbohydrates may cause obesity.

Therefore, choose correctly portioned quantities to avoid further health issues. Healthy carbs include potatoes, tapioca, sweet potatoes, and taro. Let’s not forget whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, oatmeal, rye, and millet, which can complement your pet’s nutrition.

  • Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are often neglected in dog’s food, but they benefit your canine in plenty of ways and usually go unseen. For instance, iron and sodium promote digestion and bone development, while vitamins A and E stimulate healthy skin and the immune system.

Every high-quality formulation should be enriched with vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients To Avoid

When you check the ingredient list and see the following components, put the bag down, and walk always!

  • Cornmeal, corn gluten, and corn – damages kidneys and liver
  • Soy and wheat – causes allergies
  • Powdered cellulose – used an insulation material for the attics 
  • Rice hulls – cheap filler, no nutrition
  • Powdered beet pulp – doesn’t contain red beets, made from sugar beets
  • Beef or chicken by-products – meat residue, what’s left after being processed for humans
  • Bone/meat meal – usually means stomach content, blood, horn, hair, and so on

For people who feed their pets with a raw diet, the following components can harmful:

For more information, you can follow our guide to find out what human foods dogs can and can’t eat.

How Much And How Often To Feed

The feeding plan will be influenced by numerous factors such as age, activity, and health issues. However, the majority of vets recommended the this feeding schedule:

  • 8 – 12 weeks old – four meals per day
  • 3 – 6 months old – three meals per day
  • 6 – 12 months old – two meals per day
  • After one year – one meal per day

The high-quality dry recipe should provide enough nutrients for a healthy and active life. Since Catahoula dogs are quite active and energetic, they require food rich in proteins and healthy carbs.

These days, you can choose to buy commercial food, or make one at home. However, with homemade meals, you are risking nutrient deficiency. Unless you are willing to explore and combine various ingredients to create a balanced and healthy diet, we will go for traditional formulations to avoid the hassle.

Tips In Choosing A Dog Food

  • Meat-Based

While canines may benefit from numerous nutrients found in pet’s recipes, their diet should heavily rely on meat. For that reason, almost all brands and pet care companies put protein source as the first ingredient on their labels.

They are also required to list the components in the descending orders so people will know the percentage of each nutrient. It means that the first ingredients are used in the highest quantities.

When purchasing dog recipes, look for proteins such as beef, lamb, fish, or chicken because they are the healthiest ones. Since canines are carnivores, they require a steady intake of meat every day to keep their bodies moving.

  • Natural Preservatives And Additives

The most significant convenience of purchasing commercial pet recipes is the ability to buy in large quantities, due to a long shelf life. While this may be a significant advantage for your and food manufacturer, your pooch may not think the same, once his GI tract has been compromised.

Many companies use harmful additives and preservatives to keep the dog’s food fresh. Instead of making a mistake and neglecting the ingredient list, look for formulations that use natural preservatives, such as vitamins C and E.  

They will preserve your pet’s nutrition while offering numerous nutritional benefits.

  • Avoid Grains

As mentioned before, grains are used heavily in many formulations, often as a cheap filler, without adding anything to food. Soy and corn are the most common harmful ingredients, and you should look out for them.

They often cause allergic reactions in canines and can disrupt his digestion. On top for that, manufacturing companies try to hide their presence by making them appear lower on the label.

Additionally, pay attention to dextrose, glucose, monoglycerides, and many others. For close attention follow our recommendation for Best No Grain Dog Food!

  • Avoid Canned Food

Canned food should be used as a special treat to award your pets for their excellent behavior, or to indulge their cravings. However, many pet parents make a mistake by making it as a primary form of nutrition, which should be avoided at all costs.

Canned food lacks a lot of healthy ingredients and usually contains around 75% of water, meaning that nutrient density is lesser than in dry formulas. Hard kibble will also promote dental health in your pet.

Frequently Asked Questions About Catahoula?

What are the pros and cons of owning one?

The Catahoula Leopard Dog also called as King of the Stock Dogs belongs on farmlands and ranches. He is a genuine work dog who has an impressive focus and alertness. However, if you are thinking of getting this breed, there are a couple of features you should consider.


  • Medium-size canine, lean and athletic
  • Friendly, family-oriented, excellent watchdog
  • Thrives on vigorous exercise and requires open space to wonder
  • Not a picky eater
  • Easy to groom and care for
  • Unusual eye color and coat patterns


  • You will need a house with a yard
  • He is rowdy, prone to jumping
  • Can be destructive when bored, or not excessed enough
  • Suspicious and wary if not socialized
  • Can show potential aggression toward other animals
  • Stubborn

Does food cause growth spurts?

The answer is NO. You will not stop your pet’s growth by changing his diet or switching to adult food too soon. Nutrition can only boost up specific aspect in your canines, by causing him to grow faster, which is not recommended. But, it doesn’t have the ability to stop his progress.

What are the best homemade recipes to give them?

Basically, anything that involves healthy meats, fresh fruits and vegetable, and whole grains can be considered as an excellent homemade meal. Therefore, we are going to share with you one of our favorite recipes that will satisfy your pet’s taste buds.

You will need:

  • Five lbs. of boiled potatoes with skin
  • Eight pounds. of chicken
  • One head broccoli
  • One lb. of carrots
  • Two smaller zucchinis
  • One bunch of spinach
  • One apple
  • Eight boiled or scrambled eggs
  • One cup of salmon oil
  • One cup of flaxseeds
  • One can of pumpkin puree

You can cook and combine all fruits and vegetable, while meat should be fried.


Breeding a Catahoula dog can be a wonderful experience, but it requires a bit of dedication and training. Since it’s a strong-willed and independent breed, you will have your hand full.

However, to raise a healthy and happy dog, training and socialization won’t be enough. You will need to utilize various resources, and the food is one of them. Even though may pet owners face multiple challenges when it comes to diet, we hope our selection will do the trick.

Your canine won’t be able to resist the delicious recipes we reviewed above!