Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Belgian Malinois: What Are Their Differences?

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: May 14, 2022
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Have you wondered what differences exist between the Catahoula Leopard Dog and the Belgian Malinois? Both canines belong to the same herding group and have a number of similarities between them. 

However, there are some differences between the two animals, which we will explore in this article. 

Let’s begin. 

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Comparing Catahoula Leopard Dogs vs Belgian Malinois

Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Belgian Malinois differ in origin, appearance, lifespan, temperament, trainability, and grooming.


Catahoula Leopard DogBelgian Malinois
OriginUnited States Belgium
Height 20 – 26 inches22 – 26 inches
Weight50 – 90 pounds 40 – 80 pounds
Colour Red and blue merle, brindle, black, grey, and patchwork. Fawn with black tips on the hair, brown and red. 
TemperamentAffectionate, cheerful, alert, courageous, energetic, intelligent, loyal, protective, social, responsive, territorial, and stubborn. Affectionate, cheerful, alert, courageous, energetic, intelligent, loyal, playful, protective, territorial, and social. 
Life Expectancy 10 – 14 years10 – 14 years

The Key Differences Between Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Australian Shepherds

The key differences between Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Belgian Malinois are origin, appearance, lifespan, temperament, trainability, and grooming.

Let’s explore these differences in detail!

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Belgian Malinois: Origin

Belgian Malinois with orange collar and tongue out
The Belgian Malinois was born and raised in Belgium.


The Catahoula Leopard Dog, also known as the Louisiana Catahoula, the Catahoula Hound, or the Catahoula Cur, originates from the state of Louisiana in the United States of America. It is believed to have been a hunting dog. The earliest settlers in Louisiana wanted a strong dog to assist them in hunting wild hogs, so they crossed their dogs with local dogs. This provided them with a robust, durable canine capable of fighting wild pigs while protecting their livestock. 

The Belgian Malinois, on the other hand, is one of four breeds of the Belgian Shepherd. The dogs were born and raised in Belgium. The Belgian Malinois has a fawn-colored coat that is short and fluffy. It is considered a distinct breed from the other three variations by the American Kennel Club. Professor Reul published the first Belgian Shepherd Dog standard in 1892, distinguishing three types of dogs: short-coated, long-coated, and rough-coated.

Adrien Janssens’ mating couple gave birth to today’s Malinois. In 1885, he purchased a fawn, rough-haired dog and crossed it with Lise de Laeken, a short-haired dog. After further breeding, the two dogs were identified as progenitors of current Belgian Shepherd Dogs.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Belgian Malinois: Appearance

Catahoula leopard close up
The Catahoula Cur’s ears are medium-sized, floppy, and fall toward the head.


Catahoula Leopard Dogs come in a variety of sizes, with an average height of 20 – 26 inches and a weight of 50 – 90 pounds. While this breed has different colors, the leopard-like fur is the most prominent. Solid colors are available, but you can also get red and blue merle, brindle, black, grey, and patchwork. While most Catahoulas have a short, sleek coat, some have a longer, coarser coat.

The Catahoula Hound’s eyes are another fascinating feature. The two eyes might be of the same color, but in some cases, one eye may be green, blue, or gray while the other is brown. 

The Catahoula Cur’s ears are medium-sized, floppy, and fall toward the head.

On the other hand, the Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized canine. Because they have a similar appearance, they are frequently confused with German Shepherds. The Belgian Malinois, however, is a smaller, lighter-boned dog with naturally standing ears and a black-masked face. They have short hair that is fawn in color with black tips, but other hues such as brown or red are also possible. They have always been employed for rescue, herding, and as police dogs.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Belgian Malinois: Lifespan

Without a doubt, the standard of care offered to the dog is one of the most relevant factors in the duration of the dog’s life, but there are many other variables, particularly the dog’s breed.

Belgian Malinois have a greater life expectancy than Catahoula Leopard Dogs, ranging from 12 to 14 years. The life expectancy of a Catahoula Leopard Dog is 10 to 14 years.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Belgian Malinois: Temperament

Catahoula leopard playing ball in the water
The Catahoula Leopard is an intelligent dog that is also lively and athletic.


The Louisiana Catahoula is an intelligent dog that is also lively and athletic. This dog is not violent but rather forceful and strong-willed. They are also warm and friendly and enjoy spending quality time with their human family. The Catahoula Leopard Dog makes excellent family pets, especially when taught and groomed. They are vibrant and alert, making them good guard dogs. Catahoula Leopard Dogs come with many personalities, according to those who have owned them.

The Belgian Malinois, however, is not known for being a good family and companion dog. Some Malinois are outgoing and confident, while others are hesitant and introverted around strangers. This dog enjoys being with his humans, but training and socialization sessions will be required to bring out the best in it. Children and other pets do not bother well-socialized Malinois, especially if they have been brought up with them.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Belgian Malinois: Trainability

Types of heeler dogs - Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois are easier to handle compared to Catahoula Leopard Dogs.


Every dog needs training, but some dogs are more straightforward to train than others.

Belgian Malinois are a better choice for new owners than Catahoula Leopard Dogs since they are easier to handle and are not as stubborn. Still, pay close attention and remember that you need to be consistent and patient to train your dog well.

This isn’t to say that Catahoula Leopard Dogs can’t be trained, but you might want to seek professional assistance.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Belgian Malinois: Grooming

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is a low-maintenance dog, so brushing him twice a week will keep the leopard coat shining and free of loose hairs. Catahoula Leopard Dogs have healthy teeth, and you should clean them at least twice a week to avoid tooth decay and other health problems.

Because the Malinois constantly sheds throughout the year, you’ll need to brush it a minimum of two times every week to remove stray hairs and give the thick coat a shiny, healthy appearance. To prevent the build-up of tartar, you must brush their teeth at least twice a week. Infected gums, unpleasant odor, pus, and tooth loss are all symptoms of excessive plague.

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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