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Catahoula?

 
Stephen Dobek
Posts: 48
Location: Rutledge, GA
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Anyone have experience with Catahoula's running cows?

I'm open to any breed, but I've gravitated toward these and kind of have my heart set on one.

I know they're good with pigs but just want to make sure they're capable of working with bovines too.

Thanks!
Steve
 
Cedar Smith
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I don't have cattle but I have an awesome Catahoula and a friend who has been using them to herd his cows for years. Swears by them. Very smart and trainable dogs. And they have the best name too!
 
Stephen Dobek
Posts: 48
Location: Rutledge, GA
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Good to know. I've only seen them around pigs so far.

Thanks!
 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 233
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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I have owned 3 in my life. All had the instinct to work stock. One was a competitive pig wrangler (hawg dog) before he came to me.

Yes, they will work cattle and very well. In Texas they are generally referred to a cow dogs, generically. I am told the King Ranch keeps several on hand to break out rogue cows when they have brushed up in the mesquite thickets where a horse and a rope are ineffective.

http://www.jcrosscatahoulas.com/


One thing to watch for with cows is temperament. Catahoula's can be very assertive and will sometimes press a cow too hard. With experience and age they mellow a bit. But starting out they can be get over zealous, if you let them; and you can end up with a lot of this:



Too much pressure. Don't let 'em start a knife fight when a simple nip will do. This is more like it...




 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 233
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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This dog is not a Catahoula; but an excellent example of what a dog can do with stock. In mile after mile of open range, 1 dog, 50 head of cattle; and no worries. Doing it right...

 
Tracy Kuykendall
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If possible go watch the parent dogs while they work, finding a good working animal is getting harder and harder these days, from dogs to horses. I've came across a lot of so called hunting dogs that had little to no drive for what the breed was known for.
 
Stephen Dobek
Posts: 48
Location: Rutledge, GA
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Thanks everyone!

I'd love to be able to see the parents in action, but as of yet I've been unsuccessful in finding a breeder within a reasonable distance.

That scares me a little bit.
 
C. Hunter
Posts: 111
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Most of the working catahoulas I know who work cattle are not from 'breeders' per se- they're from guys who work cattle who have a dog that helps them that isn't neutered and an occasional litter of puppies happens. A few of them are purebred, but more of them are BMC/cat crosses. Great dogs, but finding one is, I think, going to be challenging.
 
Stephen Dobek
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Location: Rutledge, GA
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BMC is black mouth cur?

I've found several breeders online so that hasn't really been an issue. Challenging maybe, but probably comes down to how much money I want to spend.
 
C. Hunter
Posts: 111
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BMC is Black mouth cur, yes.

I think I should probably rephrase. The guys who are breeding the ones that I see working cattle are typically not selling dogs via the internet- their dogs go word of mouth. I know lots of wonderful catahoula people on the internet, but most of them have, at best, sport dogs, not so much working dogs. And the sports dogs are GREAT but if your'e really serious about a catahoula for working cattle, well... you need the right cathoula.
 
Stephen Dobek
Posts: 48
Location: Rutledge, GA
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Very confused how this breed was advanced and is now held in high regard when it comes to working livestock when the only meaningful breeding is taking place randomly and being done by a bunch of old, crusty, anti-internet farmers.

I'm gonna keep looking for one though.
 
C. Hunter
Posts: 111
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I don't think it's being done randomly at all. But I think it's going to take a lot of research to sort out the people who are breeding for livestock work vs the ones who are breeding for show and sports (including herding trials as a sport here- they're neat, they're fun, they're impressive, but they're not the same thing) vs the people who actually use their dogs as part of their livelihood. The hog doggers have more crossover, I suspect, because a lot of the farmers have dogs who hunt hogs as well as work cattle.

Anyway - good luck in your search!
 
Stephen Dobek
Posts: 48
Location: Rutledge, GA
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I'm gonna get into the underground world of working Catahoula breeding if it kills me.
 
Jack Edmondson
Posts: 233
Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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Stephen,

For clarification, are you looking for a Catahoula or are you looking for a finished animal that is fully trained how to work cattle that is a Catahoula?

I am not going to post names on an open web forum without their permission, but I think I can provide some resources that will lead you to what you are looking for. Send me a PM, if you would like more information. Although full disclosure, I am not part of the "underground world of working Catahoulas". ...but "I know a guy"... maybe, two.

As I have said, I have only met one Catahoula that had a low drive to herd. Most of them have the instincts and desire. However, like a good rope horse; to find a fully finished turn key mount you are going to pay for the time a trainer has in that animal. No different with a cow dog. Any breeder that sells finished dogs will be happy to show you "boots on the ground" demonstrations of his animals before he asks you to pay a cent. If he does, you have the wrong breeder.

If you are looking to do the work yourself, I have worked with a few people whom rescue Catahoulas; that own or live on working cattle ranches (One in Montana and the other in California.) They know what a working dogs is and what it is not. If you talk to them, (one is a breeder the other is long retired) and tell them what you want, they can keep an eye out for a dog that will make a good stock dog. They won't give you a dog that you will put on hogs. I have never asked about cow dogs, so don't know how they feel about that. But they will both be happy to talk the breed with you and answer any questions you have.
 
Stephen Dobek
Posts: 48
Location: Rutledge, GA
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I'm looking for an animal I can train myself. As long as it's got the instincts and is fun to hang out with I think I can work with it.
 
Ben Johansen
Posts: 88
Location: Door County, WI
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If you're looking for a dog with good tight spaces maneuverability, a little weight to throw around, and instincts, a catahoula or a mixed breed houla is the way to go. I helped run timbered hogs and beeves for three years with my catahoula/border collie mix (AKA Tazz), and he never ceased to amaze me with his foresight and loyalty. We were running 400 head of angus and Hereford overhalf-timbered lots in my native Iowa back in '12. The old boys would go in with atvs and move the better part of the herd off the open ground, and then it was me and Tazz's show in the oaks and hickories. We were making better time than usual one day in August, and I sent tazz running into a mulberry thicket after a few black steers. I turned, and saw a big red bastard trying to back himself into a little clearing against the corner of the fence line. Feelin cocky, I start towards him, yellin and waving my hat and smacking my staff against trees. All of a sudden, I find myself eye to eye with him, and I'm wondering, "Hey, where'd all the trees go?" I glance behind me, and theres a scrubby lil ash five yards back, then another ten yards of open ground before the perpendicular fence line presents a dip low enough for me to even try jumping over the rusty barbed wire. Red's butt is flush with the other fence line, and he lowers his head and paws the dirt. Freeze frame moment, trying to decide whether the ash tree is worth trying to rodeo clown around, or whether I've got enough of Hermes' favor to run to make the fence (which may or may not be strong enough to stop a 1600lb steer). Out of nowhere, like an errant white and black bottle rocket, Tazz whizzes between us, barks big red out of the corner, jumps up and snaps his jaws on reds tail, and digs his heels in as red runs for dear life down the hill past me, dragging my dog behind him. Did he save my life? Maybe. But I'll tellya this- he definitely kept me from dirtying a clean pair of Hanes that day. I lost him to an intestinal blockage a few winters back (FYI spread the word- rope chew toys kill THOUSANDS of dogs every year and they're still all over shelves somehow), and I still haven't had the heart to get another. But yah, when I do, you can bet it'll be a houla mix.
 
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