10 Best Dog Food for Catahoula Leopard Dogs in 2020

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

There aren’t many dogs out there as striking as the Catahoula Leopard Dog

Their dappled coats and athletic physiques are distinctive and eye-catching and they’re high-energy, spirited pups. 

The Leopard Dog, also known as the Catahoula Cur, is unique to the United States and was bred in the state of Louisiana as working dogs in a variety of disciplines. 

Interesting fact: the word “Catahoula” comes from a Chocktaw word meaning “sacred lake”. 

If you want your Cur to have the happiest, fittest life they can, you should be feeding them the best dog food for Catahoula Leopard Dogs. 

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Best Dog Food for Catahoula

Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete Recipe

Best Value For Money

Overall Rating93%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count95%
Omega Fatty Acids95%
Joint Supplements90%
Affordability95%

PROS

  • Extremely affordable for its fantastic quality 
  • High fat count which is awesome for an active working dog 
  • Contains superfood ingredients for added vitamins and minerals 
  • Some of the highest Omega fatty acid levels  

CONS

  • May not be suitable if dogs are sensitive to chicken or eggs 
  • Fat count may be too high for pups who aren’t very active

We love this offering from Diamond Naturals. If you’re on a budget, there’s no need to worry that you won’t be able to feed your dog the highest quality food, because this kibble is both affordable and superbly healthy. 

It’s loaded with high-quality ingredients, including chicken, chicken meal, rice, barley, and superfoods like kale, quinoa, chia seeds, blueberries, and kelp. Your Catahoula Leopard Dog will be getting a high dose of protein, as well as plenty of immune-boosting vitamins and minerals here. You won’t find a better quality food for this price anywhere. 

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High In Fat 

This kibble has one of the highest fat counts around, at 25%. This is superb if your pet is the typical high-energy Catahoula, and they will thrive on the easy-access energy. It also comes from healthy sources (chicken fat) and is preserved with mixed tocopherols, which is a natural preservative. 

If your fluff is a little less active, they may struggle to burn off that fat and start to get a little pudgy. You can remedy this by adding some more daily exercise into their routine, and watch how they start to flourish on this kibble. 

Extra Additions 

Not only does this food contain premium quality ingredients, but it’s also packed with helpful supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin help keep your bouncy dog’s joints strong and supple, L-carnitine helps with metabolism and energy regulation, and this recipe also has some of the highest Omega fatty acid numbers we’ve seen, making it a great choice to spruce up your pup’s distinctive coat. 

Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats

Top Training Treat

Overall Rating91.6%
Ingredient Quality95%
Fat Count90%
Omega Fatty Acids95%
Joint Supplements90%
Affordability90%

PROS

  • 450 or more treats in one bag 
  • Comes in three different flavours 
  • Low in calories, making it perfect during prolonged training sessions 
  • Limited ingredient and naturally preserved 

CONS

  • Some pieces might be a little too small for your pet to chew comfortably 

The Catahoula Leopard Dog does supremely well with a bit of training, and it’s a great idea to keep training treats handy so you can reward them when they do something right. These treats fit the bill perfectly. They’re made of just two or three ingredients (including the natural preservatives), which means they’re chock-full of protein (the meaty flavours, at least!), and have nothing artificial in them at all.

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Low In Calories 

Because these little health nuggets are made up of only one freeze-dried ingredient, they come in at less than one calorie per treat. This is fantastic if owners are doing a lot of training with their pet but don’t want him getting pudgy from the amount of good-boy treats you’re handing out! 

You can choose from two meat flavours (chicken and liver), and each contains around 35% protein. They’re also fairly high in fat, which is awesome to give your pet a little energy boost. The sweet potato option is much lower in both protein and fat (7% and 0%) but makes for a great-tasting alternative to the meaty ones. 

One of the greatest things about these treats is how many you get in one bag. 450 (or more) will last you a good while and allows you to reward your pup freely without adding extra calories to his diet and completely depleting his snack stash. 

Acana Singles Range 

Best Limited Ingredient

Overall Rating90%
Ingredient Quality95%
Fat Count90%
Omega Fatty Acids90%
Joint Supplements90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Variety of flavours, which is unusual for L.I.D foods 
  • Good levels of protein and fat for the average Catahoula 
  • Varying Omega levels, but all high 
  • Contains all the supplements a Catahoula would need 

CONS

  • Somewhat pricey, but not unusual for L.I.D kibble  

If your Catahoula Leopard Dog happens to have a sensitive tummy, a limited ingredient diet could be a good idea. You won’t find a better range than this, both in terms of flavours and quality.

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Unusual Flavour Variety For Limited Ingredient 

Limited ingredient diets are often limited in terms of flavours too, but this range surprises us with their recipe choices. All recipes contain the same protein and fat counts, as well as joint supplements and great fatty acids. 

Choose from Beef & Pumpkin, Turkey & Greens, Duck & Pear, Pork & Squash, and Lamb & Apple to give your pet some tastebud-tingling food experiences. Limited ingredient doesn’t have to be boring and tasteless! 

Orijen Original Dry Dog Food

Premium Option

Overall Rating89%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count90%
Omega Fatty Acids90%
Joint Supplements90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Biologically appropriate ingredient list, great quality 
  • Super protein and fat counts for a Catahoula 
  • All the necessary supplements, including DHA and EPA 
  • Very nutrient-dense formula 

CONS

  • May not be suitable if dogs  have food allergies or intolerances 
  • Might not be affordable to every customer

We highly recommend this nutrient-packed, supplement-loaded recipe from Orijen for owners of a Catahoula Leopard Dog. Orijen are known to be “biologically-appropriate”, which means this is a formula made with all the things your dog would be eating if they were still roaming the plains. That means lots of meat, easy to digest vegetables, antioxidant-packed fruits, and some botanical inclusions which help boost the immune system. 

It’s one of the more pricey options, but we can recommend it if price isn’t a factor. Your dog will not only love the nutritional value of the pellets, but you’ll also be able to see a difference in their coat, joints, and energy levels. 

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Biologically Appropriate, With Supplements

You’ll find a multitude of proteins on this list, beginning with chicken, turkey, and flounder. There are also plenty of organ meats, such as chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, and chicken kidney. These are rich in amino acids, so you don’t need to worry – they add taste, texture, and an extra bit of immune strength. 

Everything your dog needs to boost its health is in this food. Joint supplements, high levels of Omega fatty acids, and the surprising but welcomed addition of DHA and EPA ensure that your pooch will stay both physically and mentally tough. 

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Hip & Joint Dinner Morsels 

Best Wet Food/Kibble Topper

Overall Rating89%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count90%
Omega Fatty Acids90%
Joint Supplements95%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Raw, nutrient-rich nutrition 
  • Adds extra taste and texture to your dog’s meal 
  • Contains joint supplements 
  • High in fat and Omega fatty acids 

CONS

  • A little pricey, especially in addition to normal kibble 

Feeding your Catahoula Leopard Dog dog a dry kibble is good for their teeth, but sometimes (especially if they’re a picky eater), you’ll need a tasty kibble topper to pique their interest. A kibble topper not only adds a dash more nutrition, it’s a little taste-bomb for your pooch as well. 

This raw kibble topper from Stella and Chewy ticks all the boxes—it’s healthy, nutrient-rich, and (unlike most others) contains a dose of hip and joint strengthening stuff, so your pooch will benefit in more than one way from eating it. 

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Stella’s Solutions Range 

This delicious addition to your pup’s food is part of a healthy range by Stella and Chewy, called Stella’s Solutions. Each flavour fulfills a different purpose, so keep that in mind when switching between recipes. 

Chicken is the hip and joint formula, Lamb is an immune-boosting recipe, and Lamb & Salmon is formulated to improve skin and coat health. Whichever you choose, your pet will get a lot of benefit from it! 

Freeze-Dried Raw Benefits 

These morsels are raw meat, which is great as they’re minimally processed and filled to the brim with nutrition. Be aware, they also contain liver, ground bone, and cartilage. While this may sound awful to us owners, dogs love it and will put it to good use in their bodies. 

They’re also freeze-dried, which means there’s no need for any artificial preservatives.

Orijen Puppy Large 

Best For Catahoula Puppies

Overall Rating89%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count90%
Omega Fatty Acids90%
Joint Supplements90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Nutrient-rich, wholesome kibble 
  • Good protein and fat levels for puppies 
  • Perfect calcium/phosphorus level for growing bones 
  • Puppy-specific supplements such as glucosamine and DHA 

CONS

  • Somewhat pricey 

Although the Catahoula Leopard Dog is classified as a medium-sized breed, this large-breed puppy formula works for them because of their high-energy, working dog lifestyles (even as puppies). 

This formula is high in protein to help the little ones build strong muscle, and has a great calcium/phosphorus ratio to make sure their bones grow steadily. 

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Biologically Appropriate Nutrition From a Young Age 

The ingredient list is chock-full of wholesome stuff, and it contains things like liver, heart, and kidney which are packed with amino acids and healthy fats. 

Your little guy or girl will be off to a good nutritional start when eating this combo of ingredients—they’ll be getting high-quality proteins, a mix of slow and fast-burning carbs, and beneficial fats, with some supplements thrown in too. 

DHA is an important supplement for puppies. It’s a fatty acid that promotes healthy tissue growth in the brain, so it’s a super thing to see on a food for puppies. 

Joint-fortifying supplements are also great to start with at a young age, so your puppy’s joints are supported and strengthened from the first bite. 

Orijen Senior High-Protein Dry Dog Food

Best For Catahoula Seniors

Overall Rating89%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count90%
Omega Fatty Acids90%
Joint Supplements90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Formulated specifically for senior dogs’ dispositions 
  • Retains a decent fat count for still-active seniors 
  • Contains DHA and EPA, which helps keep aging brains sharp 
  • Premium quality ingredient list keeps your pooch healthy as they age

CONS

  • Seniors who have food sensitivities may struggle with this 
  • Somewhat pricey 

When your Catahoula Leopard Dog starts to get older, they still need a high-quality, nutrient-dense food that has a decent fat count to help them maintain their activity levels as best they can. 

This senior-specific kibble from Orijen looks much the same as our Premium Option, just with a slightly lowered fat count to help prevent less-active older pups from putting on weight. 

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Senior Dog Nutritional Requirements 

As dogs age, they naturally slow down a little. A reduced fat count is the norm in most senior dog foods, but when you have an aging working dog, sometimes they don’t slow down as much as expected! The fat content in this food is slightly reduced but remains decent for a fairly active senior, at 15%. 

Glucosamine will also become more important as your pet gets older, and this kibble contains a good dose of it. It also has the wonderful addition of DHA and EPA, which are fatty acids that help keep your pup’s brain firing like a young one. 

Merrick Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Recipes

Runner-Up Option

Overall Rating89%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count90%
Omega Fatty Acids95%
Joint Supplements90%
Affordability80%

PROS

  • Great nutritional values for Catahoulas 
  • A variety of flavours available 
  • Contains all the necessary supplements an active dog needs 
  • Free from grain, corn, and other allergens

CONS

  • Slightly pricey

The Merrick grain-free range comes a close second to our first choice, Orijen. They too are loaded with superior quality ingredients and contain just about perfect nutritional numbers to nourish an active Catahoula Leopard Dog. 

The lovely thing about this range is that you do have a choice of flavours, although the nutritional values vary by flavour. 

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High-Quality Ingredient List 

Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, and salmon meal are the proteins you’ll find in this kibble. These are complemented by super healthy ingredients like sweet potatoes, blueberries, and apples which add taste, texture, and vitamins and minerals. 

Flavour Range  

As well as the chicken flavour, you can choose from Texas Beef & Sweet Potato, and Real Salmon & Sweet Potato. The beef recipe is comparable to the chicken in terms of nutrition, while the salmon is slightly lower in both protein and fat (34 and 14%). 

Stella & Chewy’s Dinner Patties

Best Raw Food Option

Overall Rating88%
Ingredient Quality95%
Fat Count95%
Omega Fatty Acids85%
Joint Supplements80%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Very high in protein and fat, great for active working dogs 
  • High-quality proteins and organic fruits and veggies 
  • Variety of flavours to choose from 
  • Raw, minimally processed 

CONS

  • Can be expensive depending on how many patties are recommended per meal for your pup (based on weight) 

A raw diet is a brilliant option for highly active dogs. The ingredients are minimally processed, making them quicker and easier to digest. Also, the use of organ meats such as liver, kidney, and heart, as well as bone and cartilage, gives a very well-rounded amino acid profile, ensuring your pet gets everything they need.

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Flavours & Nutrients 

There are 11 flavour options for adult dogs, and two choices specifically for puppies (Beef & Salmon, and Chicken & Salmon).

Choose from Beef (44% protein, 35% fat), Chicken (48% protein, 28% fat), Lamb (38% protein, 38% fat), Red Meat (39% protein, 38% fat), Salmon & Beef (45% protein, 34% fat), Venison (36% protein, 30% fat), Duck (38% protein, 38% fat), Rabbit (46% protein, 32% fat), Turkey (40% protein, 36% fat), Pork (40% protein, 37% fat), and Venison & Lamb (45% protein, 30% fat). 

The different nutrient values mean you can choose something suitable for your pet while still having a bit of choice in case they get bored. 

Acana Light & Fit Recipe

Best for Weight Management

Overall Rating87%
Ingredient Quality90%
Fat Count85%
Omega Fatty Acids85%
Joint Supplements90%
Affordability85%

PROS

  • Lower fat count to help shed weight 
  • Addition of glucosamine to support joints 
  • 60% quality animal ingredients, 40% veggies, fruit, & botanicals 
  • Contains DHA and EPA in addition to normal Omegas 

CONS

  • Fat count may be too low for some and result in fatigue 
  • Somewhat pricey 

If your Catahoula Leopard Dog has some pounds to lose, we recommend this dog food from Acana to help him or her along the way. It’s packed with wholesome ingredients and useful supplements to help your heavier pup’s joints stay strong, and the mix of fast and slow-burning carbohydrates will make your pet feel fuller for longer. 

60% of this kibble is made up of high-quality animal ingredients, making it protein-rich and full of healthy fats. The remaining 40% is packed with veggies, fruits, and healthy botanical inclusions for a well-rounded mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

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Lower Fat Count, Added Joint Supplements 

Don’t be fooled into thinking that carbs are what your dog needs to cut down on when losing weight. Fat is the most easily accessible source of energy, so when looking for a weight management food you’ll want to be looking at something lower in fat, rather than low in carbohydrates. 

This food has a fat level of 10%, which is quite low. The bonus is that it retains a high protein count, which helps keep your dog full. The low fat count should ensure that your pet burns their own body weight for energy, helping them to lose those extra pounds! 

When pups have a bit of extra weight on them, it can take a toll on their joints, especially for dogs who are already prone to hip dysplasia. The addition of glucosamine is wonderful to see, as it will keep those joints supported while your dog is working off their extra weight. 


Catahoula Leopard Dog

Testing Protocol & Criteria Used For Evaluation

Criteria 1 – Ingredient Quality

Although the Catahoula Leopard Dog doesn’t tend to suffer from food allergies or sensitivities, the quality of the ingredients in dog foods is still of huge importance. 

These pups are truly working dogs, and aren’t really happy unless they get to expend their energy on a daily basis. Giving them a sub-par dog food might give them the energy they need, but in the long-term, it won’t benefit them. 

You want to choose a dog food that has a premium quality animal protein as the first ingredient, great quality slow-burning carbs (grains are okay too, as long as they’re gluten-free, but starchy veggies are preferred), and natural preservatives. 

Criteria 2 – High Fat Count

Fat is the component of dog food that gives your pooch the energy they need for their day. Carbs provide sustained, long-term energy but fat is the first, most quickly accessed energy source that’s so important for active dogs such as these. 

A fat count of around 20% is super for a Catahoula Leopard Dog, although anything with 15% or more should be adequate. If your fluff is very energetic, he may need a couple of high-fat treats in between meals to see him through. 

We’ve made sure the dog food we’ve reviewed contain high-quality fat sources that are identifiable and easy to digest. 

Criteria 3 – Omega Fatty Acids

While the crude fat count in dog foods is what your pup uses as quick energy, Omega fatty acids do something a little different. Your pup’s body will use these to nourish their skin and coat, so they’re also an essential part of your dog’s diet. 

We’ve reviewed foods that contain great levels of Omega fatty acids. Your Catahoula Leopard Dog’s coat is one of his most striking features, and making sure he has a supply of high-grade Omega fatty acids in his diet will keep that coat shiny, soft, and healthy. 

Criteria 4 – Joint Supplements

Catahoulas are some of the healthiest, hardiest dogs around, but the one thing they are prone to are hip, knee, and elbow dysplasia. 

The best dog food for Catahoula Leopard Dogs should contain supplements that fortify their joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin are fantastic for this purpose and should be on every dog food label on this list. 

If the food you choose happens to have no glucosamine in it, it’s not the biggest deal—you can find separate glucosamine supplements just about anywhere. 

Whichever option you select, these supplements are essential for your dog’s health, and we’ve checked out the glucosamine and chondroitin levels of each food on this list. 

Criteria 5 – Affordability

Part of having a happy dog is being a happy dog parent! Your pup picks up on your stress levels far more easily than you realize, and this criterion is meant to help alleviate the stress of the pet parent just a little. 

There’s something for every budget on this list, and we’ve made sure that all options are of the highest quality, no matter their price. 

Your dog deserves ta premium quality food, but that shouldn’t be at the expense of your financial security. Check out our Best Value For Money option to find the best for less, but if you’re cool to pay a little more, every choice here is going to be a fantastic option for your pooch.


Questions & Answers

What are the common health problems Catahoulas suffer from? 

These beautiful guys and girls are some of the healthiest dogs around. They don’t often struggle with allergies or food intolerances, and they’re tough hardy dogs. 

One of the health issues they do deal with, due to their very active lifestyles, is joint dislocation. Hip dysplasia, knees dislocating, and elbows popping out of place can happen when their owner is bouncy and busy, so that’s something you will need to watch out for, as a Catahoula owner. It can be helped by the addition of joint supplements in their diet, though. 

Deafness is another common health condition in Catahoula Curs. It’s an inherited condition, thought to be caused by something called the Merle gene, which also causes those beautiful blue eyes some pups have. 

Hearing loss often sets in within a few weeks of birth, but it can sometimes pop up later in life too. If your pooch suddenly starts ignoring you, it’s worth taking him to get a checkup! 

Lastly, a sneaky culprit in these dappled pups is bloat. This can be a deadly condition, so owners need to take precautions where you can to ensure your dog doesn’t encounter it at all. 

What are the characteristics of the best dog food for Catahoula Leopard Dogs?

These dogs were bred to do hard work in many disciplines, and have been used as herding dogs, watchdogs, and guard dogs. They’re active, alert, and ready to go at any moment, and as such, need a superior-quality dog food to help them keep up. 

The optimum dog food for Catahoulas should contain all-natural, wholesome ingredients. A named animal protein should be the first ingredient on the list, followed by slow-burning carbohydrates like potatoes, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin. 

Other veggies and fruits are awesome additions and will add vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Raw food is a great diet option.

You’ll want to see high levels of Omega fatty acids and a dose of glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your dog’s joints stable and supported. 

How much should I feed my Catahoula? 

It’s easiest to feed your Leopard Dog according to the guidelines on the back of the dog food packaging. You’ll be able to work out how much feed them according to how much they weigh. 

You should keep in mind, though, that these are just guidelines. If you feed your dog these numbers for a couple of weeks and they’re starting to look scrawny and seem to be lacking in energy, start feeding them a bit more. 

If they’re starting to look a little pudgy, you’ll want to decrease the amount of food they’re getting. 

The Catahoula Leopard Dog does well with two meals a day, morning and evening. 

Are there ingredients I should avoid feeding my Catahoula Leopard Dog? 

The Catahoula Leopard Dog doesn’t seem to have health issues with any particular ingredients, although this does vary from dog to dog. 

You should take note of how your dog reacts to their food. If they are reluctant to eat, there may be an ingredient that doesn’t agree with them. 

Common food allergens include chicken, beef, lamb, grains, and eggs. Experiment a little until you find something your dog enjoys scoffing! 

Of course, artificial ingredients and chemicals, meat by-products, and ingredients that are vaguely named should always be avoided. Also, have a look at this comprehensive list to make sure you aren’t accidentally feeding your dog something toxic if he gets a human snack every now and then! 

What can I do to help my Catahoula Leopard Dog get enough exercise? 

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is super energetic! They need a good bit of exercise every day, and they’ll be far happier getting that energy out in a constructive way. 

Taking your Leopard Dog for a daily run is a good start. It’s advisable to have more than one dog because Curs are super sociable and will be miserable (and possibly destructive) if left alone all day. 

These guys are also amazing swimmers, so playing some swimming games with him will help get rid of that energy and keep him cool at the same time. 

If you’re an avid outdoors person, taking your dog along on hikes and outings will make him the happiest Leopard Dog around! 

It’s also a great idea to take your Curto obedience training. They’re highly intelligent and this combined with their restlessness can be a recipe for disaster unless your dog is well-trained. 

Training will be great physical and mental stimulation and help him or her to become well-socialized as well!