Catahoulas, being a Cur breed, have a very distinctive style of working cattle. Different from the other breeds that we think of when thinking of a cattle or stock dog -
Australian Cattle Dog
These breeds are “heelers”, they will move cattle in the general direction indicated, working from behind the cattle, “driving” them forward.
The Catahoula, being a “bay” dog, their natural instinct is to stop the cattle and hold them in a group or bunch. To keep them from moving, holding them at “bay”, until the owner arrives. In order to accomplish this, a Catahoula will work from the front, in “header” fashion, barking and moving in a semi-circle face to face with the animal. If there is a need to put pressure on an animal to stop, the dog may bite at the nose area quickly, for a split second, but should never “hang” on. The true Catahoula style is not that of a “catch” dog.
A Catahoula will naturally make a wide circle around any cattle in sight to gather them into a herd. After the cattle have settled, the owner can then start to push or move the cattle from behind, while the dogs cover the area in front of the herd to quell any thoughts of escape.
It’s truly amazing to watch a Catahoula work in this fashion and more amazing when they will do this by instinct with the only intervention from their owner being basic commands.
Although an excellant cattle dog, Catahoulas are not a herding breed. A Catahoula is a hunting dog at heart and their working ability is an offshoot of that instinct. For further explanation please see A True Hunting Dog..