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american leopard hound dog breed picture 1 - American Leopard Hound

American Leopard Hound

The American Leopard Hound is a purebred dog whose ancestors came from Mexico by way of Spanish conquistadors who sailed to North America. They are energetic, sociable, and intelligent pooches who possess all-around great traits.

The American Leopard Hound goes by other names, such as the Leopard Cur, American Leopard, and American Leopard Cur. You can look for this pure breed by checking your local shelters or rescues. Remember it’s best to adopt and not shop!

These sweet pups are natural hunting dogs and have very high energy. That means they do best in homes with big yards to run around in. They’re able to bond strongly with humans, which makes them well-suited for households of all types, from single pet parents to families with children. If you want an energetic dog who loves to run and keep you on your toes, alerts you to any dangers, and adores you completely, then this may be the right dog breed for you!

Breed Characteristics:


Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.

Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.

If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!

Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.

Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.

Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.

All Around Friendliness

Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family

Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.

**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.

Health And Grooming Needs

If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool here!

Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.

Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.

Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.

If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.

Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.

Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!


Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.

Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.

Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.

Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.

Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.

Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.

Physical Needs

High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.

Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.

Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.

Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.

Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group:Hound DogsHeight:21 to 27 Inches.Weight:35 to 75 pounds. Life Span:12 to 15 years.

More About This Breed


  • The American Leopard Hound’s coat can be spotted. The main colors of this breed are yellow, black, brindle, red and blue, or mouse (grayish) color. Any of these may also include white points and a white collar.
  • Their outer coat is rough, and the undercoat is fine and woolly. They’re fairly easy to groom.
  • The UKC recognized this breed in 1998 as the Leopard Cur and, along with the breeder association, changed the breed’s name to American Leopard Hound in 2008 so that the dogs could compete in events involving coonhounds.
  • The American Leopard Hound is a gentle and easily sociable breed, which makes them great with children of all ages. However, you must still make sure younger children are able to play gently.
  • These dogs are capable of handling extreme hot or extreme cold weather, as they are a fairly tough breed.
  • American Leopard Hounds have high energy and would prefer a home with a large yard to run around.


The American Leopard Hound has been around the Americas for at least a hundred years. The origin of this specific breed is not clear, but researchers believe their ancestors were brought to the Americas from Spain during the Spanish inquisition. They were then crossed bred with Mexican dogs before appearing as the breed they are today in North America.

By the early 18th century, these adorable pups were brought to North Carolina and other states in the south where they were trained to be hunting dogs. Not much else is known about these great pooches.

In 1998, the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized this breed as the Leopard Cur. However, in 2008, the UKC and the breeder association changed the name of the breed from Leopard Cur to American Leopard Hound so the dogs could compete in coonhound events.

Later, in 2012, the American Kennel Club inducted the American Leopard Hound into its Foundation Stock Service, the first step in full breed recognition. Eventually, they are expected to include the breed in the Hound Group.

Always consider adoption when thinking about getting an American Leopard Hound. Make sure to check your local shelters and rescues so you can find these great pups a forever home.


There are a few standards when it comes to the breed of American Leopard Hounds. You can expect dogs of this pure breed to be medium to large in size. Most weight in at 35 to 75 pounds and range in height from 21 to 27 inches at the shoulder. That said, many can be smaller or larger.


American Leopard Hounds are great all-around dogs that get along with all types of personalities and households. They are energetic and love to run and play. They’re not much for cuddling but are affectionate with their pet parents. These dogs are highly active and, because of this, they are very agile.

Training them is fairly easy, as they are intelligent and always willing to please their humans. They have a great ability to assess whether a stranger is potential threat and will bark if they’re put off. They also have a strong prey drive due to their history of being hunting dogs.

American Leopard Hounds are great companions and can get along with children. They are very protective and can make great guard dogs at home. These dogs do best with early training to curb any unwanted behaviors. They are not stubborn at all and are easy to train.


The American Leopard Hound is predisposed to some of the same conditions that the Hound breeds also face. While most are generally very healthy, some may be prone to a few health issues, which is why it is important to maintain good care and regular veterinary checkups.

Some of the more common health problems the American Leopard Hound suffer from include hip dysplasia and deafness.


As with all dogs, you should keep up with your American Leopard Hound’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your dog healthy.

If overfed, your American Leopard Hound will gain weight. They have high energy levels. Make sure your dog gets at least one good hour of rigorous activity as they have a lot of energy to spend, especially if they’re left home all day.

Check their ears for debris and pests daily and clean them as recommended by your vet. Trim your pup’s nails before they get too long—usually once or twice a month. They should not be clicking against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.

Brush your dog’s teeth regularly to avoid any major oral health issues. Your veterinarian can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly.


An ideal American Leopard Hound diet should be formulated for a medium to large breed with high energy. They will gain weight if overfed so you should stick to a regular feeding schedule and not leave food out during the day. Limit their number of treats, as well.

As with all dogs, the American Leopard Hound’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your American Leopard Hound’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs—including weight, energy, and health—to make a specific recommendation.

Coat Color And Grooming

The American Leopard Hound’s coat can be spotted. The main colors of this breed are yellow, black, brindle, red and blue, or mouse (grayish) color. Any of these may also include white points and a white collar.

The breed has a dense double coat, with the outer coat feeling more rough to the touch, while the undercoat stays fine and feels more woolly. Their coats are well-suited for trekking through underbrush. They’re fairly easy to groom.

American Leopard Hounds are natural hunting dogs and can perform well in all kinds of conditions. They are capable of handling extreme hot or extreme cold weather, as they are a fairly tough breed.

Children And Other Pets

The American Leopard Hound is a gentle and easily sociable breed, which makes them great with children of all ages. However, you must still make sure younger children are able to play gently. For children who learn early how to properly approach and play with a medium to large dog, the American Leopard Hound is a great companion. Always supervise play time, even with a well-trained dog.

When it comes to other pets, the American Leopard Hound gets along great with other animals if they are introduced slowly and calmly, and early socialization will help this go smoothly. It’s best if they can get used to other pets early. It really all comes down to training, socialization, and the luck of the draw.

Due to the breed’s high prey drive, you’ll need to be extra careful with smaller animals. Early training and appropriate introductions are important.

Rescue Groups

Because the American Leopard Hound is a somewhat rare breed, it may be difficult to find a breed-specific rescue. However, you can always check with your local shelter, and you may want to try a rescue that caters to all types of dogs. You can take a look at the following:

  • Wright-Way Rescue
  • Angels Among Us Pet Rescue
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