Leopard Hound.jpg
Breed Group Group 7: Scenthounds and Related Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country United States
Weight Males: 50-70 pounds. Females: 45-65 pounds.
Height Males: 22-26 inches. Females: 21-25 inches.
Other Name(s) American Leopard Hound
Breed Type Pure
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Leopard Hound

Breed Group Group 7: Scenthounds and Related Breeds
Sub-group :
Origin Country United States
Weight Males: 50-70 pounds. Females: 45-65 pounds.
Height Males: 22-26 inches. Females: 21-25 inches.
Other Name(s) American Leopard Hound
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

The American Leopard Hound is not named after his quarry, but after his coloration, which describes the merle pattern in both the Leopard Cur and the Catahoula Leopard Dog.

It is believed that the Leopard Hound's ancestors were first brought to the Southeastern United States on the ships of Spanish conquistadors and French explorers, in the mid-1500s, which brought with them their Spanish and French guard dogs, hounds, and herding dogs, including those ancestors shared by the merle-colored Beauceron. These dogs provided settlers and explorers protection and food by serving as sentries and alerting their owners to oncoming native tribes. They also served as hunting partners, locating various types of game from rabbit to bear.

As early Americans began to colonize, settlers from all over the world also brought their dogs, which added to the genes and talents of these dogs. The Irish, English, and Scottish brought with them tenacious hounds and fierce herding dogs, such as the ancestors of the Kerry Beagle and Scotch Collie.

These dogs eventually made their way towards the Mason-Dixon line, where they were included with coon hound breeding programs due to their preference for tree game. Following the Civil War, the dogs were then taken westward throughout Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, where they proved to be invaluable to the homestead. Their noses are excellent enough to trail, and they are gritty enough to engage, making them ideal hunting candidates of large and dangerous game.

In the 1950s, a trio of old-American-hound breeders decided to help the breed distinguish itself from other curs and hounds, and set out to establish a standard and association of all their own. From there, pure strains were preserved and continue to thrive throughout America’s rural parts.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Somewhat mesaticephalic skull type, moderately large in size, and in proportion with the rest of the body. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle. The head is of sufficient bone and muscle to denote strength and power. The topskull is broad, being equal in width (measured across the top of the skull in front of the ears) as it is long, giving the head breadth. A median furrow, starting at the stop and disappearing toward the occiput, may be accentuated by well-developed temporal muscles, although the temporal muscles should never be overly prominent. The head and skull should never appear overly narrow or lacking in substance. The head is flat to slightly arched when viewed in profile.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and ranging from hazel or amber to medium or dark brown in color. The eye rims are well fitted and well pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull, and drop. The ears are broad across the base. Preferable ear carriage results in an inner edge that lies close to the head. The ears should never be overly long and pendulous, semi-erect, or fully erect. They should never extend beyond the nose.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad throughout, tapering only slightly from the broad base toward the nose. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length allows for good head carriage, it is powerfully muscled with a good arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well developed.
Body: Compact, solid, deep, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined, but capable of stamina, agility, and power. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads. Toes may be webbed. Single or double dewclaws may be present.
Tail: May be set just slightly below the level of the topline, or neither high nor low on the croup, but always as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, often above the level of the topline or higher, but never tucked. The tail is of a moderate length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be sabered, sickled, or gently curved.
Movement: Smooth, effortless, efficient, and energetic, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: To this day, Leopard Curs are primarily utilized as working dogs. They are bred to be exceptional hunters and catch dogs. Consequently, they tend to be highly driven to perform these duties, which can become problematic if matched to non-working or non-hunting families that do not allow the breed to exercise its natural instincts, drives, and energy. With a history that includes guard work as well as engaging prey and quarry as a catch-dog, these are not typical hound dogs. They are known to be stubborn and independent, as well as stand-offish and somewhat territorial. They can become aggressive towards other animals, and even other dogs. They are known to bond strongly to one person and are therefore referred to as “one-person dogs.” For these reasons, strict obedience and socialization should be implemented from puppyhood. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 7: Scenthounds and Related Breeds

Proportions: Off-square to slightly rectangular, with the length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The length-to-height ratio is between 5:4 and 10:9. Females may be slightly longer. The body is well put together, with sturdy substance and moderate (yet sturdy) bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type. The Plott is not a dog of extremes. A large, heavy, giant-sized dog lacks agility and stamina. A light and weedy dog lacks power. This breed draws its strength from balance.

Head

General Appearance: Somewhat mesaticephalic skull type, moderately large in size, and in proportion with the rest of the body. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle. The head is of sufficient bone and muscle to denote strength and power. The topskull is broad, being equal in width (measured across the top of the skull in front of the ears) as it is long, giving the head breadth. A median furrow, starting at the stop and disappearing toward the occiput, may be accentuated by well-developed temporal muscles, although the temporal muscles should never be overly prominent. The head and skull should never appear overly narrow or lacking in substance. The head is flat to slightly arched when viewed in profile.
Expression: Confident, intelligent, inquisitive, alert, watchful, and determined.
Stop: The stop is somewhat definite.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is between 4:5 and 1:1, with the topskull being equal to or just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel or may be just slightly convergent.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad throughout, tapering only slightly from the broad base toward the nose. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are fairly clean and fit rather well over the teeth and jaws. They are well-pigmented according to the coat. They are just sufficiently deep to give the muzzle a rectangular appearance, and should never appear pendulous or hang below the lower plane of the bottom jaw.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: The cheeks are well developed and well muscled. They add breadth to the face and head. The cheeks should not appear flat or chiseled.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized. The gums and soft tissue of the mouth (except for the tongue) are often well-pigmented according to the coat. The pigmentation can range from black to dark brown and blue to gray.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and ranging from hazel or amber to medium or dark brown in color. The eye rims are well fitted and well pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull, and drop. The ears are broad across the base. Preferable ear carriage results in an inner edge that lies close to the head. The ears should never be overly long and pendulous, semi-erect, or fully erect. They should never extend beyond the nose.

Body and Tail

General Description: Compact, solid, deep, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined, but capable of stamina, agility, and power. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length allows for good head carriage, it is powerfully muscled with a good arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well developed.
Topline: May be level or gently sloped from slightly prominent withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never swayed or roached.
Croup: Broad, powerful, and gently sloped.
Underline: Slight to moderate tuck-up present. The underline is taut and firm without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: May be set just slightly below the level of the topline, or neither high nor low on the croup, but always as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. The tail is carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, often above the level of the topline or higher, but never tucked. The tail is of a moderate length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be sabered, sickled, or gently curved.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are fairly long and approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, of moderate (yet sturdy) bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are fairly long and equal in length with strong and moderate (yet sturdy) bone. They are well muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads. Toes may be webbed. Single or double dewclaws may be present.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The coat is short, smooth, and close to the body throughout. The texture is rough to fine and glossy. The undercoat is dense and soft. The coat may be slightly longer on the neck, forming a light ruff, and on the tail, may form a light brush, although a smooth tail is equally acceptable.
Coat Color or Pattern: Any shade of brindle ranging from and including yellow, tan, red, brown, black, gray, blue or slate, liver, Isabella (mouse), gold, or orange, all with or without a black or gray muzzle. May also have a corresponding saddle, creeping tan, or blanket with tan points, brindled tan, or brindle points. Non-brindles do sometimes occur and can appear black, liver, Isabella (mouse), cream, gold, tan, sandy, yellow, red, ochre, and with varying shades of fawn or buckskin (tan with melanistic mask). Leopard of any eumelanistic based color, including black leopard, blue leopard, liver leopard, silver leopard, Isabella (mouse) leopard, or with saddle, tricolors, creeping tan, running tan). All with or without white markings. Large patches or amounts of white indicating homogenous merle genotype/phenotype are undesirable and should be avoided in breeding programs.

Movement

Smooth, effortless, efficient, and energetic, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

To this day, Leopard Curs are primarily utilized as working dogs. They are bred to be exceptional hunters and catch dogs. Consequently, they tend to be highly driven to perform these duties, which can become problematic if matched to non-working or non-hunting families that do not allow the breed to exercise its natural instincts, drives, and energy. With a history that includes guard work as well as engaging prey and quarry as a catch-dog, these are not typical hound dogs. They are known to be stubborn and independent, as well as stand-offish and somewhat territorial. They can become aggressive towards other animals, and even other dogs. They are known to bond strongly to one person and are therefore referred to as “one-person dogs.” For these reasons, strict obedience and socialization should be implemented from puppyhood. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.