Named the Louisiana state dog in 1979, the lovely, spotted Catahoula Leopard Dog originated in the north central part of this state. Their name comes from a Choctaw word translating to "sacred lake," and the breed was originally found in the Catahoula Lake region by early settlers. Known primarily as hunting and working dogs, their original use was to pen and catch wild hogs and cows using the "canine fence" method to hold – and direct – herds for their owners. Although not officially an AKC-recognized dog, Catahoulas were assigned Herding Group designation and have been recorded since 1996 in the Foundation Stock Service, an optional record-keeping service for all purebred breeds not currently registrable with the Kennel Club.