The Catahoula Lines

In another post, we discussed that in the history of some breeds, different “strains,” or lines develop, and the Catahoula Leopard Dog (sometimes called the Catahoula Cur) has a similar past. There were early individual lines that no longer exist today in large part because the three best known lines were crossed back and forth over time, and this is why some believe there is a rich tapestry of variation within the breed.

Each of these three lines had a distinct look:

  • Founded by Preston Wright, the Wright line traced directly back to the descendents of local Indian dogs that bred with the dogs that Spaniards had with them in the 18th century. One might say it was Wright’s line that represented the dogs originally produced by the dogs left behind by the explorer, Hernando DeSoto. Weighing in at a range of 90 to 110 pounds, Wright’s dogs were the heaviest of the three lines;
  • The McMillin line was developed by T. A. McMillin, who lived in the central Catahoula Parish of Louisiana in Sandy Lake. His dogs were largely blue merles with glass eyes who, at 55 pounds, were the smallest of the three lines;
  • And finally, in the middle the pack at around 70 pounds was the Fairbanks Line established by Mr. Lovie Fairbanks. These dogs were typically were yellow or brindle.

Over time, it seemed that ranchers preferred a slighter build and smaller dog, while some hunters preferred sturdier and larger dogs, and some long time owners believe they’ve been able to detect the different lines behind their dogs.

Image: Catahoula Leopard Dog by Matt of PrintStall 


6 thoughts on “The Catahoula Lines”

  1. Our family just lost our beloved American bulldog Mia we are definitely dog people Mia was my service dog for anxiety I don’t work and we’re thinking about getting a Catahoula Leopard Dog I’m interested in the Wright line. I can’t seem to find a breeder. I would be grateful for any help that you could give it seems our family needs a new life again.

    • Laura, we’re sorry for your loss. We’ll ask around, see what we can find out. Stay tuned.

  2. I have a Catahoula service dog. Best service dog I have ever had. I don’t know his lint but I think it Is Wright. Bigger boned huskier than some Catahoulas.

  3. Any idea we could find a breeder that has the smaller McMillin line. We already have a small catahoula that we rescued as a puppy. We are looking for a male “brother” for her.

    • We don’t, personally, Elizabetta. Perhaps one of our readers knows?

    • We have a 60 pound Catahoula stud. But we live in South Dakota. He’s an awesome dog.

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