United Kennel Club members may already know this because their club accepted the breed twenty years ago, but when the American Leopard Hound gains full AKC acceptance, people just learning about these dogs will be treated to a breed with a wide array of possibilities. The ALH comes in nine different official colors, three patterns (solid, leopard and brindle, though 60% of all American Leopards are solid colored), a variety of markings, black, brown or liver colored noses (depending on the coat color), eyes that come in shades of yellow or brown (though a dog may also have one or two blue or wall eyes), and low-set tail of any length. About the only thing that isn’t open to variety is the coat which always smooth.
American Leopard Hounds have been in existence for several hundreds of years, and while breed origin remain unclear, cynologists have their theories. Some suspect they were brought to the North America by Spanish conquistadors, some theorize that the dogs were crossed with Mexican dogs before appearing in America, and others put the breed’s development in the southern part of the United States where they were created by crossing hounds and herding dogs.
In the mid 1950s, few purebred ALHs could be found as breed numbers were dwindling. Hoping to reverse this, Leroy E. Smith, J. Richard McDuffie, and A.W. Carter began to independently search for dogs to save the breed, and in 1960, the three men established the American Leopard Cur Breeders Association to protect and promote the breed. Fast forward to the 21st century. When the UKC recognized the ALH, it was as the Leopard Cur. The breed name was changed by the breed club members to American Leopard Hound in 2008 so that the dogs could compete in events involving coonhounds. For the moment, they are part of the AKC’s FSS.
Image of an American Leopard Hound from the AKC’s breed page.