For those not clear on the what the Catahoula is, and what the Leopard is, the ambiguity stops here.
Few things cause more confusion to the lay person then trying to understand if these are the same dog or two different dogs, and either way, what exactly is/are it/they?
A quick look to your right and you might notice that Catahoulas are in the "Wagon Hound" category, while the American Leopard is in the "Treeing Hound" Category. This is because in real 'every-day' 'on-the-ground-use', Catahoulas are spending more time in pursuit of big game then they are droving cattle. They are, in my opinion, much more accurately described (both historically and in modern use) as Wagon Hounds, then true pastoral dogs.
To understand the distinctions, one needs to understand the UKC group structure. As it relates to these breeds, you need to understand the following:
UKC HERDING GROUP - No sub-groups
UKC SCENTHOUND GROUP - Two sub-groups
-TREE HOUNDS - Two sub-groups
As of the 1994 revision the LOUISIANA CATAHOULA LEOPARD DOG was recognized by the United Kennel Club (the most recognizable -working- dog registry in the US) in the HERDING group.
The LEOPARD CUR was recognized by UKC on November 1, 1998. In recognition that the breed was becoming less of a Cur Dog and had essentially become a open trailing Treeing Hound... in no small part because Leopard Cur owners wanted to compete with the Coon Hounds (and not the Curs Dogs) at UKC night hunts, the name was changed to AMERICAN LEOPARD HOUND on May 1, 2008. When this happened, Leopards were moved from the Cur Dogs to the Coonhounds.
So as it stands as of today's date - Dec 12 2008 - these are two very distinct, very different breeds. Catahoulas are UKC Herding dogs, and the Leopards are UKC Coonhounds.
See http://www.catahoularescue.com/ to get one of your own!