The American Leopard Hound is an American breed of hunting dog. It is recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) as a scenthound and is in the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service. The American Leopard Hound is 21 to 27 inches tall and may weigh from 35 to 75 pounds. It comes in a leopard or spotted pattern and may be red, blue, merle, brindle, black or another color, with white making up less than a third of the coat. The American Leopard Hound has a dense, short coat, medium-length drop ears and may have yellow, brown, or blue eyes.
Like all breeds there may be some health issues. Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of American Leopard Hounds are healthy dogs. Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own as American Leopard Hounds can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies. American Leopard Hounds are a generally healthy breed of dog and do not suffer from a great number of hereditary ailments. An important point to note however is that two leopard patterned dogs are never bred together as this can result in certain genetic problems associated with the dog’s hearing and sight.
American Leopard Hounds get along well with other dogs. They can also get along with other pets but it is important that owners correct any unwanted behaviors resulting from their extremely high prey drives early on as they can sometimes start chasing smaller animals. The American Leopard Hound also has an independent streak. Therefore it is important that the owners of this dog be able to establish their status as the pack leader. When its owners fail to do so, these dogs can sometimes try to assume the role of the pack leader, which in turn can result in various behavioral problems.
Options for exercise include play time in the backyard, preferable fenced, or taken for walks several times a day. Exercise can also come in the form of indoor activities, like hide and seek, chasing a ball rolled along the floor, or teaching them new tricks. Depending on the breed, certain outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, retrieving balls or flying discs can provide a good outlet for expending energy. If you live in an apartment even short walks in the hallways can give your dog some exercise, especially during inclement weather.
Training for dog sports like agility, obedience and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise. American Leopard Hounds are an intelligent breed of dog and are naturally eager to please their masters. This makes them a pleasure to train. Trainers of this breed often use positive reinforcement based training methods. The Leopard Hound however does have an independent streak and it is important that its handlers provide the dog with loving but firm leadership consistently.
Unlike most other hounds that are dignified and aloof, American Leopard Hounds are loving and affectionate towards their families. They will often form a strong bond with their masters and go to great lengths to please them. These dogs are extremely affectionate towards children and can become extremely protective over them. A highly intelligent breed of dog, American Leopard Hounds also have extremely strong tracking abilities. They are often able to track prey for miles upon miles. They are also reliable hunters that will never attack their prey and will manage to corner it until their masters are ready to make the kill.
Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep them clean and looking their best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
The American Leopard Hound is descended from crosses between dogs brought to the New World by Spanish conquistadors and native dogs of Mexico. It was later brought to the United States by settlers who used it to hunt hogs. It was recognized as the Leopard Cur by the UKC in 1998. The name was changed to American Leopard Hound in 2008. While the American Leopard Hound is not formally recognized by the AKC, it is in their Foundation Stock Service, and has been since 2012.