All you need to know about Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

What do you get when you mix a German Shepherd and a Catahoula Leopard?

A Catahoula German Shepherd Mix.

This dog is a very loyal but aloof dog. It prefers the company of its owners and not so much of strangers.

German Shepherd Catahoula is a perfect guard dog with striking looks.

In this detailed article, we will take a comprehensive look at Catahoula German Shepherd mix. How to train them, how to groom them and what to feed them? How big do Catahoula German Shepherd mix get and where to buy them? Do they make good family dogs and are they reliable guard dogs? We will cover everything you need to know about this breed in this ultimate guide.

What is a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix?

When you cross a purebred German Shepherd and a Catahoula Leopard dog, you get a catahoula shepherd mix dog.

Catahoula is also known as Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog. It is itself a mixture of different dog breeds such as Mastiffs, Greyhounds, Bloodhounds, and even Wolves. They were owned by native Americans.

These dogs were classified into three types:

  • Wright

A man named Preston Wright owned these dogs. Their weight was usually around 90-110 lbs.

  • McMillan

The dogs owned by T.A McMillan had distinctive grass eyes and blue-colored coats. They were usually small weighing about 40-50 lbs.

  • Fairbanks

These dogs were owned by Lovie Fairbanks. His dogs were either yellow or brindle in color. They were medium-sized dogs weighing around 65-75 lbs.

These three Catahoula dog types have been interbred for a long time which diversified the breed. Now there are many variations of the Catahoula Leopard dog:

  • Red Leopard
  • Blue Leopard
  • Black Leopard
  • Tri-Color Leopard
  • Gray Leopard
  • Quad Color Leopard
  • Five-Color Leopard
  • Patchwork

One of the most striking features of the Catahoula Leopard is its eyes. They have Heterochromia which is the variation of color in the eyes. They can have gray, blue, marbled, or spotted eyes.

If we talk about their appearance, Catahoula have webbed feet which helps them in swimming. They have droopy ears and possess a curved tail.

Curious about Catahoula dog size? They are medium-to-large sized canines.

As you have learned about the Catahoula mix breed, now let’s have a look at the German Shepherd breed. They are one of the most popular and well-known dogs in the world.

GSDs tend to look similar to each other. They have a brown, black, or tan coat. German Shepherds are big dogs and are used in many fields like army and police work.

They are excellent guard dogs and also very easy to train. German Shepherds can weigh 50-90 lbs.

Short Facts about Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

Breed Type Mixed
Purpose Family pet, active companion, hunter, guard dog
Height Males stand 22 to 26 inches, females stand 20 to 22 inches
Weight 50 to 90 pounds
Average lifespan 10 to 14 years
Temperament Intelligent, loyal, protective, aloof, energetic
Shedding Moderate; requires moderate grooming
Common coat colors Black, brown, white, and tan
Activity level High; requires up to 60-120 minutes of exercise daily
Suitable for families Yes but not for first-time owners
Dietary needs High-protein diet; adults require feeding twice a day depending on activity level
Potential health issues Hip dysplasia, bloating, cancer, Canine Periodontitis, deafness

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix Characteristics

To better understand the Catahoula Shepherd, we should take a look at its characteristics.

Appearance of Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

Each Catahoula GSD mix puppy can look different from the other. Even pups from the same litter can look vastly different from each other.

They usually will have brown eyes and pointed ears. The mix pup can also have blue eyes and droopy ears.


The size of the Catahoula Leopard Shepherd mix depends on which the parent breed is dominant. If it takes after the GSD parent, then you can expect a fairly large dog.

Typically, GSD Catahoula mix is a medium to large dog. They weigh around 50-90 lbs. They can grow anywhere from 20 inches to 26 inches.


If the Catahoula GSD mix puppy takes after its GSD parent, then its coat will be dense and shed a lot.

However, if the Catahoula Shepherd mix puppies take after the Catahoula Leopard parent, then their coat will be light and won’t shed much.

The common coat colors are brown, tan and white, black.


A Catahoula Leopard dog tends to be aloof and shy. However, a GSD is very sociable, agile, and loves to play.

A Catahoula Shepherd mix is a very intelligent and strong dog. They like to work a lot since it’s a working dog.

Catahoula Shepherds don’t do well in crowded places and stay away from strangers. They need socialization from a very young age.

The German Shepherd Catahoula mix is a very intelligent dog. They are also very clever and can solve problems easily.

You may notice that the Catahoula protection dog may have herding tendencies. It may look strange but the dog can herd little children.

They are great protectors and will protect you from any danger. They will lay their own lives to guard you.

However, you should not leave them alone with small children as they can tend to be aggressive.

Regarding mingling with other animals, the Catahoula German Shepherd mix may not get along with them at the start.

However, with proper training, you can get them to socialize with other dogs and cats. That’s why training them when they are in the puppy phase is extremely important.


Catahoula Leopard dog is very easy to maintain whereas German Shepherd has more grooming needs.

A Catahoula German Shepherd mix dog coat should be brushed every week.

Trim their nails regularly as their nails can grow quickly.

Give them bathes regularly and use only vet-approved dog shampoo.

Catahoula Shepherd dog spends a lot of time outside so check and clean their ears regularly too.

If you are unable to properly groom your dog, then hire a professional dog groomer.


A German Shepherd Catahoula mix is a working dog so they will need plenty of high-quality food.

Feed them high-calorie dog food twice a day. They work hard so they need a lot of food every day. Give them fruits, vegetables, proteins, and oils.

However, there are many foods that you should avoid giving them. The foods which should not be given to these dogs are Wheat, Soy, Onions, Grapes, Powdered Cellulose, Corn, Chocolate, caffeine, and Meat-by products.

Do not overfeed them as it can cause health concerns for your dog.


Catahoula Shepherd mix are working dogs. They are very energetic and active dogs.

They do not like to sit idle for the whole day. You need to exercise them for at least an hour every day.

If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, it can become aggressive and may develop destructive behavior like running the yard or furniture.

A well-exercised dog is a satisfied and calm dog.

Some of the recommended exercises include Frisbee toss, stair exercises, and puzzle toys. Give them toys so they can spend their time being entertained.

A bored dog is a depressed dog. If during exercise they show any weaknesses, take them to a veterinarian. Look for the following signs during the exercise:

Confusion, excessive panting, red gums, sore muscles, stiffness, and foaming at the mouth.

If they show any of the above signs, then you should take it easy on them and reduce the workout sessions.

Life Span

A Catahoula Shepherd dog can live up to 10-14 years.

How to Train a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix?

It’s not always easy to train a German Shepherd Catahoula mix dog. They can be stubborn but with persistence, they can be trained.

A first-time owner should not get this dog because it can be a headache to train them. Catahoula Leopard is a very independent dog so only season and experienced owners are recommended to get this breed.

It’s best to start their training from a very young age. Reward them with treats when they complete their tasks. Teach them new commands every day and you will have a well-behaved and rained Catahoula GSD mix dog on your hands.

Is Catahoula German Shepherd Mix Aggressive?

Catahoula and German Shepherd mix is an aggressive dog. They are aggressive in nature towards strangers so the puppy will also inherit these tendencies.

That’s why they are not a good choice for first-time owners. Only experienced owners should get this breed.

What are some of the most common Diseases among Catahoula German Shepherd Mix?

Just like any other mix breed, the Catahoula German Shepherd mix is also prone to many diseases and health concerns. Below are some of the diseases that can trouble your dog:

Hip Dysplasia

This disease is very common in big dogs like German Shepherds. It usually takes hold when the dog is in puppyhood. It can ultimately lead to arthritis.

Some of its symptoms include limping, not being able to keep up with you, sleeping too much or too little,  not climbing stairs, stiffness, only using front legs, pain after exercise, and tossing and turning.


Bloat is a life-threatening disease that can occur in the Catahoula Leopard Shepherd mix. Among the affected dogs, it kills 30% of the dogs.

Its symptoms include rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive saliva, enlarged abdomen, difficulty in breathing, and pain when pressing on the dog’s stomach.

If you suspect that your dog has bloat, take them to a vet immediately. A dog can die from bloat within an hour.

Canine Periodontitis

The most common problem in dogs, it affects about 80% of the dogs. It is a bacterial infection.

Some of the symptoms include weight loss, yellow teeth, brown teeth, loss of appetite, foul breath, and swollen gums.

This disease can shorten a dog’s life by 3 years so it is vital to take care of your dog’s teeth. Canine Periodontitis can also lead to kidney, liver, and heart problems.


Catahoula Leopard dogs are prone to deafness so it may affect the mixed puppy as well.

If the Catahoula GSD mix puppy is white, then there is an 80% chance that the puppy is deaf.

Dogs that are deaf from an early age can be easily identified and diagnosed. When you call them, they don’t respond.

However, a dog that becomes deaf in later life is not easy to diagnose.

If your dog is deaf, you will have to take extra special care of it. Keep it on a leash, train them differently and consult an experienced veterinarian.


Cancer affects many dogs which are above 10 years old. A Catahoula Leopard Shepherd mix can develop cancer at the later stages of life.

Its symptoms include Diarrhea, Vomiting, Lethargy, Masses, Stiffness, Weigh Loss, Excess Panting, Foul Smell, and difficulty going to the bathroom.

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, you must take them to a vet immediately.

Is German Shepherd Catahoula Mix a good guard dog?

Yes, the Catahoula Leopard Shepherd mix is a strong and fierce dog. It is a great guard dog.

They are very protective of their owners and will fight off any intruder in your home.

They can bark very loud which is helpful if any burglar invades your home.

With German Shepherd Catahoula mix, you can sleep easy knowing that your home is being watched by an intelligent guard dog.

Is Catahoula GSD mix a good family dog?

Catahoula Leopard dog German Shepherd mix is an excellent family dog. It loves to play and run around.

It may be a little aloof and wary of strangers but with proper socialization, Catahoula GSD mix can mingle with other pets and people.

They are also good with children and may even show some herding tendencies. But we would suggest not leaving them alone with small children.

Due to their large size and some aggressive behavior, they are not a good fit for a family with small children.

How much does a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix puppy cost?

Depending on the breeder, a Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppy can cost you $400 – $1000 (€350 – €875).

This mix is quite rare that’s why the price can be high. Always buy a dog from a reputable breeder.

Where to get a German Shepherd Catahoula mix?

You can get a Catahoula GSD mix puppy from a reputed and ethical breeder. Although this mix breed is not very popular, you can still find some breeders selling them.

Do not buy any puppy from questionable or illegitimate places like Craigslist. It can ultimately cost you more in the long run than to buy from a serious breeder.

You can also look at your local shelters. Some shelters may have GSD Catahoula mix dogs. However, before adopting the dog, you should spend some time with it and check its temperament.

Is Catahoula and German Shepherd mix good for you?

If you are looking for a smart and strong dog, then the Catahoula German Shepherd mix is an ideal choice.

This breed does not like to mingle with strangers a lot so be prepared for that. Also, they like to work a lot so you need to provide them with a lot of space.

Catahoula Shepherd dog is not a good fit to live in apartments. However, if you live in a house and have ample space, then this dog will be very happy with you.

Take care of their health, groom them regularly and feed them high-quality food. In return, you will be rewarded with their companionship and loyalty.


So here you have it! A complete guide to the German Shepherd Catahoula Mix dog. Now, if you want to get this dog, go ahead and take care of it.

However, we must state again that this breed is not an ideal choice for first-time owners. They can be problematic in training so only an experienced owner should get this dog.

Groom them properly and train them from a very young age. Catahoula GSD mix are intelligent and loyal dogs.

Shower them with love and affection and you get yourself an amazing companion for over ten years.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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