Other Names: N/A
Country Of Origin: USA
Dog Group: Hound
Recommended For: Couples, single owners, families
Maintenance Level: Moderate
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Temperament: Sociable, clever, independent, energetic
Good For First-Time Owner? Yes
Good With Children? Yes
Good With Other Animals? Yes
Good With Strangers? No
Good For Apartments? No
Exercise Requirements? Daily walking
Can Live In Hot Weather? Yes
Can Live In Cold Weather? Yes
Can Tolerate Being Left Alone? Yes
Grooming? Weekly brushing
American Leopard Hounds were bred as hunting dogs, and so are very intelligent and curious.
They’re a reasonably large breed, and are known to be very energetic. They love going for walks, and need much more exercise than many breeds their size.
They’re currently not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, and so are considered Foundation Stock.
Color: Brindle, black, tan, white, blue, red, yellow, or some combination of these colors
Coat: Short, smooth
Height: 21-27” (both males and females)
Weight: 35-70lbs (both males and females)
Personality and Temperament:
American Leopard Hounds are naturally very intelligent and curious, and they love to be outside.
They were bred as hunting dogs, and so are used to running all day. Without plenty of regular exercise, the breed can become very bored, which can possibly lead to destructive behavior or depression.
They’re also very affectionate animals, and love to please their owners.
When it comes to training, the breed is capable of learning very complicated commands, and can pick up basic ones very easily.
However, their intelligence can make them stubborn, so owners should learn to be firm in their commands. Training should be started at a young age to ensure chances of success.
Their independent nature also means they like to be pack leader, so owners should be aware of any dominating behavior around other dogs.
Again, because of their hunting past, American Leopard Hounds are very used to being around other dogs, meaning they’re fine to be kept with other pets.
Owners also shouldn’t have a problem with strange dogs while out walking, although you should always be wary just in case.
You should also be careful keeping them around small pets (cats included) because their hunting and prey instincts are still very strong.
With the right training, there will be little chance of anything bad happening, but this is never guaranteed.
American Leopard Hounds make a good choice for first-time owners because they’re generally a healthy and easygoing breed.
The only thing new owners should be conscious of is the level of exercise they need. Providing a new owner is willing to deal with this, they make a perfect training dog.
The breed is also an ideal family pet, as they get along very well with children.
They’re incredibly friendly and love to play, and their desire for human interaction makes them perfect around all members of the family.
Larger breeds are also better suited for children because they can tolerate playful (and potentially harmful) behavior much better than smaller breeds can.
Obviously, owners should always be present when introducing a new dog to children, and should avoid leaving the dog alone around children whenever possible.
You should also try and socialize the dog with children from an early age to make sure they know how to behave.
Although they’re very sociable animals by nature, they can be very wary of strangers coming into what they consider their property.
For this reason, they make good guard dogs, but might have a tendency to lick an intruder, rather than attacking them. However, their size and stature make them quite intimidating.
When it comes to exercise, American Leopard Hounds should be given plenty. They need, at the very minimum, long daily walks of at least a few miles.
This is because the breed was developed for running all day, and so they don’t get tired easily.
Owners should be prepared for multiple daily walks if necessary, and also provide the dog with plenty of toys and stimulation around the house.
Because of their size and energy levels, the breed isn’t suited for apartment living. They can also be prone to barking, which is a very antisocial behavior in such close quarters.
Ideally, owners should have a large, enclosed back yard that the dog can have access to. They love to run around, and so the more they can do at home, the less you’ll have to walk them.
The breed is generally low maintenance, and is suitable for working families. They can tolerate being left alone for longer periods of time, although this will be much easier if they’re left with other dogs.
Again, as with all behavior training, this should be started from a young age to make sure the dog is familiar with such routines.
The American Leopard Hound’s short coat means they’re suitable to be kept in both warm and cold climates.
They don’t have a tendency to overheat, but owners should obviously be careful about exercise during warm months.
Also, if you live somewhere particularly cold, you might have to invest in a doggy coat, as their fur isn’t very long, and so doesn’t retain heat very well.
Grooming is reasonably low maintenance for the breed, mainly because their coat is so short.
It is double-layered, and so they are known to shed, although no more than any other breed. To deal with this properly, weekly brushing should be appropriate.
This should be done with a soft bristled brush, as this will be best for removing loose hair. Bathing shouldn’t be done too regularly, and ideally only when the dog gets smelly.
Other typical grooming habits involve brushing their teeth, checking their ears, and clipping nails.
Tooth brushing should be done several times a week, or more regularly if needed. You should check your dog’s ears almost daily, as buildup of wax can lead to ear infections.
A damp paper towel is best for cleaning, but you can buy disposable ear wipes from many pet stores.
Nail clipping should be done as and when needed, but if the dog gets plenty of exercise there should be very little need.
Common Diseases And Conditions:
As a general rule, American Leopard Hounds are quite a healthy breed, and aren’t known to suffer from any genetic conditions.
However, because the breed isn’t recognized by kennel clubs, there’s less information available about genetics and conditions.
This also means that breeders aren’t required to screen for health conditions at birth, but as a potential owner, you should look to get this done before committing to a purchase.
One thing that is known about the genetics of the breed is that two leopard-print dogs (referring to their pattern) should never be bred together because it can result in sight and hearing problems.
This is caused by recessive genes specific to this color pattern, but as and when the breed is recognized by kennel clubs, more research will be done into this issue.
In terms of breed history, the American Leopard Hound is an incredibly recent breed.
They’re descended from dogs brought over by the Spanish during the initial settling of America, and were eventually bred with native Mexican dogs.
The breed has always been used for hunting, but was always considered a crossbreed, rather than a purebred dog. At some unknown point, the breed was brought from Mexico to the USA specifically for its ability at hunting.
In 1998, the breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club, but at this point was known as the Leopard Cur.
This name gives an indication of its perceived status in kennel societies, as a cur is a word (often offensively) used to refer to a dog with no recognized breed status.
The breed’s name was changed in 2008 to the American Leopard Hound, and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2012.
However, this was only as Foundation Stock status. This status provides the breed with a level of protection and maintenance, in terms of its appearance and standards, but also means it’s not yet recognized as a fully purebred breed.
This is the reason why there’s so much variation in weight, size, and color for the breed, but these rules with tighten up as it receives proper recognition.
American Leopard Hound Facts & Figures:
Did You Know?
- The breed is what’s known as a “treeing” hunter“. This means that it was specifically bred to chase prey up a tree, and then to wait until its owners arrived. This is one of the reasons why they were bred to be large dogs.
- American Leopard Hounds have an amazing bark, which can be heard for miles once they get going. This obviously makes them unsuitable for urban living.
- Although the breed’s ancestors were brought over from Mexico, the first American Leopard Hounds are thought to originate in North Carolina, from where they spread across southern USA.
- They are a very rare breed within the USA, and practically unknown throughout the rest of the world.
You can find more United States Dog Breeds in the links below: