American Leopard Hound

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
fast facts

About American Leopard Hound

35-75 lb
12-15 years
AKC Foundation Stock Service
Best Suited For
Families with children, active singles, hunters, houses with backyards and farms and rural areas
Intelligent, independent, loving, energetic
Comparable Breeds
Black and Tan Coonhound, Australian Cattle Dog
21-27 inches
American Leopard Hound Basics

The American Leopard Hound is an ancient breed of dog originating from Northern America. Although the breed’s history has never been officially documented, it has been used as a tree dog and an all-purpose hunting dog in America since the time of the Spanish conquistadors.

As a breed that was developed more for its temperament and capabilities, rather than physical appearance, the American Leopard Hound’s “look” can vary to a great degree. However, its one defining characteristic is its merle or splotched coat. That said, Leopard Hounds do come in solid coat varieties as well as a variety of colors including yellow, black, red, blue, brindle and mouse-grey. The Leopard Hound can also vary in size depending on its breeding line. For the most part though these dogs are medium sized and powerfully built. Their long legs and extremely strong hindquarters enable these dogs to traverse a variety of tough terrain and climb trees with relative ease.

As far as the American Leopard Hound’s temperament goes, it is an extremely intelligent dog that is also brave on the hunt. These dogs have been used for decades to hunt feral pigs and other escaped livestock. They are also capable of hunting much larger and more dangerous prey like wild boar and bear. When hunting game, these dogs are said to be able to corner even the most dangerous types of prey and hold them at bay using only their body language and eye contact. They are also extremely agile and vigilant and are able to escape any sudden rush attacks by their prey.

The American Leopard Hound is an ancient breed of dog originating from Northern America.


Although the exact history and origin of the American Leopard Hound is unknown, there is no doubt about their significance in American history. The early settlers of America were a farming people and would often keep hundreds of cows, pigs and chickens on their settlements. It was quite common for the settlers to build a wooden fence around their homes and to let their animals roam freely around the perimeter of this fence. It is believed that the Leopard Hound was charged with rounding up this livestock and herding back any that escaped.


Because not a lot is known about the exact history of the American Leopard Hound, tracing its pedigree is a somewhat impossible task. However, many Leopard Hound enthusiasts and experts believe that these dogs first came into existence around the time of the Spanish conquistadors. Another school of thought, however, believes that these dogs were bought to the Americas by the French, English and Irish settlers that traveled to the new world.


American Leopard Hounds are not picky eaters and will do well when fed on either dry or canned high-quality dog food.

American Leopard Hounds are an intelligent breed of dog and are naturally eager to please their masters.


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.


The weight of a full grown American Leopard Hound can vary from 35 to 70 pounds.

Temperament and Behavior

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.

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.

Common Health Problems

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.

Life Expectancy

American Leopard Hounds enjoy a fairly long lifespan of 12 to15 years.

Exercise Requirements

American Leopard Hounds are a working breed of dog and require at least an hour of rigorous exercise each day. As with other working breeds, they are at their happiest when they have a “meaningful” job to which they can apply themselves to each day.

Unlike most other hounds that are dignified and aloof, American Leopard Hounds are loving and affectionate towards their families.


The American Leopard Hound is included in the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service.


The American Leopard Hound is not a high maintenance dog in terms of its coat and grooming. Its double coat only needs to be brushed occasionally and washed when the dog is extremely dirty.


As a hunting breed it is of utmost importance that American Leopard Hound puppies be socialized with other animals from a young age.

Photo credit:; Boygobig/Wikimedia

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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