Catahoula German Shepherd Mix: Complete Guide

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix
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If you’re having a hard time deciding between getting a German Shepherd or a Catahoula Leopard Dog, now you can have both for the price of one. In recent years, breeders have started breeding the two to produce a designer breed called the Catahoula German Shepherd Mix.

While these two dog breeds may physically appear quite different from one another, they actually have tons in common too. Many also often confused this mixed breed with the Catahoula Blue Heeler Mix due to similar physical features and temperament.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss in detail the similarities and differences between the Catahoula Leopard Dog and the German Shepherd and what you can expect of their pups when it comes to their temperament, lifespan, training, dietary needs, grooming requirements, and more.

Let us first begin with a general overview of the Catahoula German Shepherd Mix before diving into the nitty-gritty detail.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix: Breed overview 

The world of hybrid canines is full of unique and interesting mixtures. One such fascinating mix is the Catahoula Leopard Dog and German Shepherd Mix. This hybrid combines two of the most popular breeds in the US. 

The German Shepherd is one of the most recognizable dogs in America. Canine owners everywhere love this dog breed for its intelligence and loyalty.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is especially well-known for his ability to work as a herding dog, an invaluable trait that has helped early North American settlers a great deal.

This mix exhibits many of these traits and can make a well-rounded pet that excels in almost any situation. But before we read about this breed in detail, let’s have a quick overview.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix
Other NamesCatahoula Shepherd Dog, Catahoula Shepherd Mix, Catahoula German Shepherd, Germanhoula, Catahoula GSD Mix, German Shepherd Catahoula Leopard Dog Mix
Purity Crossbred
AKC RecognitionNo
Weight50-90 pounds
Height20-26 inches
ColorsBlack, brown, white, tan, blue, sable, bicolor, spotted, merle
Child friendlinessModerate
Canine friendlinessLow
Training difficultyHigh
Grooming upkeepMedium-high
Exercise needsHigh
Lifespan7-15 years
Puppy cost$400-$1,000

What is a Catahoula and German Shepherd Mix?

The Catahoula Leopard Dog German Shepherd Mix or Catahoula cur German Shepherd Mix is a cross between a purebred Catahoula Leopard Dog and a purebred German Shepherd.

Like most hybrids, this dog will vary in terms of physical appearance, size, behavior, and temperament depending upon which parent it takes most of its genes.

So, what is a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix? And why did breeders produce this interesting mixed breed?

Hybrid canine enthusiasts are always looking for new and improved versions of preexisting breeds. The purpose of crossbreeding is usually to:

  • Mix the best traits of two equally well-behaved canines.
  • Negate the bad qualities by partnering two different breeds or;
  • Enhance the preexisting qualities by breeding two similar breeds.

The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix falls in the third category. When it comes to hard work, versatility, stamina, intelligence, and vigilance, few can match the German Shepherd and Catahoula Cur.

Related Article: Catahoula Pit Mix (Complete Guide)

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix: Parent breeds 

The Catahoula Leopard Dog mixed with German Shepherd is the progeny of two highly intelligent, versatile, and agile canine breeds that have served humans for centuries.

The Catahoula Leopard Dog has been a reliable companion for North American sheep and cattle herders.

In contrast, the GSD has served in various roles, from herding and guarding to therapy and police work.

Let’s go through the parent breeds individually.

Catahoula Leopard Dog history

Catahoula German Shepherd
Catahoula Leopard Dog in the snow

The Catahoula Leopard Dog, Catahoula Hog Dog, or Catahoula Cur is a dependable, hardworking, loyal canine. The breed originated in Louisiana and is also their state dog.

The French immigrants bred the pets they brought along with native wolf dogs to create the ideal herding pooch. Experimenting with several breeds resulted in the Catahoula Leopard Dog we know today. These pups excel at guard work, herding, and hunting.

People sometimes mistake Catahoula Curs as crossbred canines and ask, “what two breeds make a Catahoula?”

While it’s true that Catahoulas are now considered a pure breed, that wasn’t always the case. The modern Catahoula Leopard Dog is a mixture of Native American Wolf dogs and French Beaucerons. They also have greyhounds, bloodhounds, and mastiffs in their blood.

German Shepherd history

Catahoula Leopard Dog German Shepherd Mix
German Shepherd with a big smile

The German Shepherd is a highly versatile and intelligent working breed that originated in Germany during the early 1900s. Captain Max von Stephanitz was the creator of this breed. Originally meant for herding, the GSD has also proved an excellent guard, hunter, soldier, and tracker.

In addition to being a great worker, the GSD also proved its worth as a combatant during World War I, where they served as messengers, guard dogs, and supply carriers. During World War II, the GSD took on the roles of explosive detection units and search and rescue dogs.

Today, the GSD is arguably the most popular working dog in the world. You can see them in various working roles including serving the army, police, search and rescue workers, security personnel, and family pets.

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Catahoula German Shepherd Mix physical appearance

The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix dog has a rectangular body with well-defined musculature, which may be visible under a smooth single coat or hidden under a thick double coat.

They have broad, elongated heads with pointy ears and brown eyes. While their appearance can vary greatly depending on which parent they take after, certain characteristics are more likely to occur depending on dominant genes.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix size, height, and weight 

When you have a Catahoula mixed with German Shepherd, it’s easy to predict their adult size as both his parents are almost equal in terms of heft.

Here’s how big you can expect them to get.

Full Grown Catahoula German Shepherd Mix size

Size groupMedium-largeMedium-large
Height22-26 inches20-24 inches
Weight50-110 pounds40-90 pounds

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix coat colors and types

The Catahoula Leopard German Shepherd mix comes in various combinations of black, brown, white, tan, blue, and sable colors. Possible patterns include bicolor, tricolor, merle.

The coat color depends on the parents’ color, but some genes like merle are more dominant and likely to affect the offspring’s color.

The coat length and type also depend on which parent’s genes dominate in the pup. The pup will have a smooth, single coat if the Catahoula influence is greater.

On the other hand, your puppy can have a thick, medium-length, double coat akin to a German Shepherd. This can be random, and you can get a mixture of coat types within the same litter. 

Related Article: Short Haired German Shepherds (Complete Guide)

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix temperament and personality 

Catahoula and GSD hybrids are highly intelligent, loyal, and obedient. They make for attentive and dependable watchdogs.

The Catahoula leopard Shepherd mix will be just as active and hardworking canine as his parents and constantly require a job. These abilities make them excellent service pups, but it also means you’ll have to keep them engaged to prevent them from getting bored.

Does Catahoula German Shepherd Mix make great family pets?

To make the Catahoula GSD the ideal family pet, you’ll need to iron out a few of their personality kinks. These pups inherit their parents’ strong work drive, intensity, and herding instincts, and they may try their herding skills on people or children. 

They’re also wary of strangers and won’t be too welcoming towards guests or neighbors. Getting them along with other pets will be a challenge due to their strong predatory instincts.

A Catahoula GSP mix — a cross between the Catahoula Cur and the German Shorthaired Pointer — would be a better choice for a family pet.

Other German Shepherd Mixes: German Shepherd Poodle Mix (Shepadoodle Complete Guide)

Do Catahoula German Shepherd Mix dogs bark a lot?

Since both the GSD and Catahoula Cur are high-barking breeds, your Catahoula German Shepherd mix will be a barker himself. Their barking can get pretty annoying for your neighbors, but the same habit also makes them effective guard dogs.

Are Catahoula German Shepherd Mixes aggressive dogs?

Unfortunately, the Catahoula German Shepherd Mix isn’t the politest canine breed. They inherit their parents’ no-nonsense attitude and high guarding instinct, and you shouldn’t expect them to get along with everyone.

They’re brave and don’t back away from a conflict whether they’re up against a person, another canine, or an animal several times their size. This attitude makes the Catahoula German Shepherd Mix good at their job; however, their inherent aggression means they aren’t suitable for inexperienced owners.

Question of the day: Check out Sable German Shepherd (Complete Guide) to find out if this dog breed is aggressive and if it barks a lot.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix training

The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix shares their parents’ high intelligence and the need for an active job. He requires a lot of mental and physical stimulation and would love training sessions. 

The ideal age for training your Catahoula GSD is when they turn 3 to 5 months old. It’s best to start them right away with housebreaking since it can be challenging with these pups.

Also, make sure to work on their socialization skills to prevent them from becoming troublemakers later on.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix exercise requirement

Your Catahoula German Shepherd mix will likely inherit the high energy level from both parents. This makes him an active and hardworking canine who’d constantly need a job, so you’ll have to keep him engaged by making him work for you.

You should take your Catahoula German Shepherd Mix out for an hour of walks or runs, along with daily play sessions. They were bred for herding and hunting, so they need a lot of physical and mental stimulation to be happy in everyday life.

If you can’t give them enough playtime, they may develop destructive behaviors like chewing, digging, or excessive barking.

RELATED: German Shepherd Teething Stages, Age & Timeline of Baby Teeth

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix living conditions

This pup’s size and energy levels make him unfit for apartments or condos. He needs a large yard to play around and run and would appreciate having access to long walks around the neighborhood.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix grooming and cleaning 

The Catahoula GSD isn’t very high-maintenance, but you’ll still have to brush and wash his coat for good hygiene. The ideal time for this is after he has spent an hour romping around the backyard or neighborhood.

Here’s how often you’d need to perform his grooming:

Hair brushing

  • 2 to 3 times a week during shedding season, otherwise once a week.


  • Monthly or as needed.

Handy Hint: When it’s time to bathe your canine companion, be sure to use a shampoo that is specifically designed for your dog’s skin and coat. Check out some of the Best Dog Shampoos for your furry friend that will leave their skin and coat clean, moisturized, and smelling fresh!

Ear cleaning

  • Every two weeks.

Tooth cleaning

  • Every other day.

Handy Hint: With the right doggy toothpaste, it can help to reduce plaque, control tartar formation, freshen your dog’s breath, and leave them with clean teeth. Check out the Best Dog Toothpaste for your four-legged friends.


  • Not necessary.

Nail trimming

  • Monthly.

Handy Hint: If your dogs hate the loud sound of the nail clipper or are easily startled by the clipping noise, it’s a good idea to switch over to dog nail grinders. They feature whisper-quiet motors and prevent bleeding during the nail trimming process.

Is a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix hypoallergenic?

No, the Catahoula GSD does not have hypoallergenic qualities. Neither of their parents is hypoallergenic, and the mix isn’t suitable for allergy sufferers.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix food and diet

Since both their parents are working dogs, the Catahoula German Shepherd mix will also need a diet rich in proteins. Thus, you’ll want to stick to high-quality kibble or plain boiled meat for your pup’s meals.

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You should feed your Catahoula GSD two or three times a day; just make sure he doesn’t eat a lot.

Also, keep a close watch on your pup’s eating habits to prevent bloat from developing. Bloat is common in large and deep-chested breeds, so you’ll have to be extra careful about feeding him during or just before playtime.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix common health issues 

Hybrid pups usually enjoy a healthy life. However, we can’t rule out the possibility of health risks in the Catahoula German Shepherd mix.

Below are eight health issues that the Catahoula German Shepherd Mix could inherit from either of his parent breeds.

It’s always a good idea to identify and confirm your dog’s breed information through your reputable breeder, veterinarian, or through a dog DNA test. This will give you a better idea of what health issues your mixed dog breed is susceptible to.

1. Degenerative Myelopathy

Also known as Canine Degenerative Myelopathy, this neurological disease usually develops in older canines. Your fur buddy may end up experiencing partial or total paralysis, which will make him lose control of his limbs.

2. Bloat

Pet parents of large canines should prevent eating habits that can lead to bloat. If your pup has a deep chest, he may be at risk for this condition. Bloat is dangerous because it causes the stomach to twist after eating too fast or too much. 

3. Ear Infections

A deep ear canal makes your pup more prone to ear issues like infections, which may lead to more severe problems. If the infection spreads to the inner ear, it can lead to balance issues for your pooch. If you notice your pup walking in circles or shaking his head too often, take him to the vet for treatment.

4. Heart Diseases

Certain heart diseases are common in German Shepherds, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for these risks. Make sure to go over health risks with a veterinarian and discuss the pup’s family history with the breeder before getting a new pet.

5. Heartworm Disease

The Heartworm parasite is carried by mosquitoes and can affect your pooch. The disease causes worms to fill your pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels, disrupting their function. It’s a major concern because it can be lethal if it doesn’t get timely treatment.

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6. Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common condition among large and heavy breeds. It occurs when the hip sockets don’t form fully or become loose, resulting in arthritis and pain. Many pedigree German Shepherds suffer from hip dysplasia due to their history of inbreeding.

7. Deafness

The merle gene in the Catahoula Leopard Dog also has strong links with deafness. The property of merle that causes discoloration on the skin also affects the internal lining of the ear canal, changing its properties and messing with its normal function. If your pup inherits this gene, he may be deaf in one or both ears. 

8. Blindness

Blindness is a possible risk in Catahoula GSDs with the merle gene. He may be partially or completely blind since birth or may develop vision issues later in his life. Some merle pups are born with missing eyes, while some have beautiful bright eyes that lose functionality over time.

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Catahoula German Shepherd Mix lifespan

The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix generally enjoys a long life despite his propensity for health issues. The usual lifespan for this mixed breed is 7 to 15 years.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix breeder

Finding a Catahoula German Shepherd breeder with a good track record can be difficult, given that this is a rare breed. If you’re keen on owning this hybrid, we suggest you check out GSD and Catahoula Leopard Dog breeders in your area and online. 

Reputable breeders should provide you with all the necessary information about their pets’ health and vet records. They should also be willing to answer all your questions about the pup’s origins, their parent’s health status, and the environment in which they raise their pets.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix puppy

Puppyhood is the best time to train your pet; this is when he is most open to learning new things and listening to their owners. You’ll want to socialize your Catahoula GSD at an early age, which means acclimating him to other animals, pups, and humans. 

It’s also crucial to be up to date on the pup’s vaccination schedule. Catahoula Shepherd mix puppies need vaccines for canine distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, coronavirus, and rabies.

Related Article: How To Cure Parvo Without A Vet For Your Dogs

How much does a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix cost?

Mix breed canines usually don’t cost a lot, so you should be able to get an adult Catahoula GSD for $400 to $1,000.

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix puppies for sale 

If you’re looking for Catahoula GSD puppies, you’ll need to prepare around $450 to $1,000 for a pet. The price usually depends on the breeder’s location and the pup’s color and size. You may also check out puppy sites like, which has a list of available pets in your area.

Finding a healthy Catahoula German Shepherd Mix for sale 

Finding reputable places with German Shepherd Catahoula mix for sale can be difficult, so we suggest you contact local GSD and Catahoula Leopard Dog breeders. 

You can also take the adoption route if you’re keen on rescuing a pup. Look for shelters and rescues in your area; this is where you can find ready-to-adopt pets that got abandoned when their owners couldn’t handle them. 

Is the Catahoula German Shepherd Mix right for me?

Is your household a busy one? Does everyone in the family like running and exercising? Do you have a large home with a big yard? Do you want a fur buddy that doubles as a brave protector? If the answer to all these questions is yes, this high-energy breed should fit right in.

The Catahoula GSD is an affectionate pup that loves spending time with his family. He can be wary of strangers and other animals, but he’ll warm up once he gets to know them. He loves romping around the house and playing fetch with his favorite toy. 

This hybrid is ideal for well-experienced owners who are familiar with breeds of challenging temperaments. If you don’t mind the extra training and need an excellent guard, hunter, or protector, then the Catahoula German Shepherd Mix is the perfect pet for you.

Related Questions

Are Catahoulas good house dogs?

Catahoulas are best suited to the outdoors. They’re herders who are used to long walks under the open sky.

Do Catahoulas bark alot?

Catahoulas bark when they need to alert you of something or when they have to round up their herd. They don’t bark needlessly.

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