Catahoula German Shepherd Mix (A Complete Guide To The Breed)

There are hundreds of different dog breeds and even more dog breed mixes, but have you ever heard of a Catahoula German Shepherd? It is not necessarily the most common mix, but they do exist, and they are becoming more popular! If you are curious about this interesting breed mix, you have come to the right place! 

Before you consider getting a mix between a Catahoula and a German Shepherd, it is important to understand what to expect, and that’s what we are going to cover in this article.

What Is a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix’ Temperament?

The Catahoula and GSD mix tends to be a sharp and intelligent dog, ideal for a working dog-type lifestyle and days full of mental and physical challenges.

The combination of the alert, confident and task-focused German Shepherd and the shyer Catahoula creates an excellent guard dog that is very in tune with its handlers.

It is a loyal dog breed mix that makes a natural guardian, but as is the case with most intelligent dogs – they require a firm hand and guidance from dog owners that know what they’re doing.

Failing to meet the requirements and needs of a Catahoula/GSD mix could lead to a dog that is prone to destructive behaviors like barking, digging, or even more severe issues like aggression.

How Much Does a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix Cost?

While many mixed breed dogs are free or available for adoption with a moderate rehoming fee, Catahoula German Shepherd dogs tend to be sold for a price. The reason is most likely their rising popularity. Also, these dogs tend to be reasonably rare. You don’t bump into these breed mixes too often.

If the dogs are sold by someone who consciously breeds them, the price often ranges from $400 to approximately $1,000 dollars. The price differs depending on your area, the breeder, whether the parent animals are health tested, and more.

The best option is always to ask around to see what prices and options are available and to choose a reputable breeder that breeds with the intention of producing healthy and balanced dogs. Opting for the cheapest option is not a great idea when it comes to this type of dog.

How Can you Spot A Catahoula German Shepherd Mix?

Not all Catahoula and German Shepherds Look the same, which is why they can be somewhat difficult to spot, and especially for the untrained eye. There are, however, a few things you can keep an eye out for if you are out and about! 

To provide a better feel for what a Catahoula German Shepherd dog looks like, we are going to start by having a look at the physical aspects of each breed separately. By correctly identifying each of the two breeds, it becomes easier to recognize signs that a dog is a mix between a German Shepherd and a Catahoula.

Physical Traits Of The Catahoula

Catahoula Cur and Catahoula Leopard Dog are two alternative names for the Catahoula, and it is a breed that descends from wild dogs, Beaucerons, and a few different mastiffs. It is a beautiful dog breed with a very distinct face and pattern, and there are three different breed varieties.

  • Fairbanks. The main difference between the three varieties is their size, and the Fairbanks would be considered the medium version of the breed, weighing around 65-75 lbs. Fairbank Catahoulas are usually brindle.
  • Wrights. With an average weight of 90-110 lbs, these are the biggest Catahoula dogs out of the three.
  • McMillins. McMillin Catahoula dogs are smaller than the other two and tend to weigh between 50-60 lbs. Their blue color and characteristic eyes are their most distinctive physical features.

The name “Catahoula Leopard Dog” comes from its leopard-like spots, which directly result from the merle gene. Not all Catahoulas carry merle patterns, and they can be both single-merle, double-merle, and non-merle.

When looking at Catahoula/german shepherd crosses, a giveaway can often be that the dog is merle as well, but it is not necessarily a given.

German Shepherd Physical Traits

German Shepherd mixes are often easy to recognize due to the breed’s strong genes. The German Shepherd, or GSD, is a large dog with perked ears, a long back (the breed is often longer than it is) tall, and a medium to long coat. 

They carry the long-haired gene, which a Catahoula generally does not, which means that a 50/50 cross between a German Shepherd and a Catahoula is likely to produce short-haired puppies. 

For a puppy to be born with long hair, both parents need to carry the long-hair gene, but a German Shepherd and Catahoula mix could still be born long-haired if there was another breed in the mix as well or if the Catahoula parent was a carrier of the long-hair gene. This, however, is not the norm which is why most Catahoula/GSD mixes tend to be short-haired.

Recognizing a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

There is no way you can spot one of these mixes for sure without asking the owner or getting a dog DNA test, as many breeds can mimic the features of these two when mixed.

Catahoulas aren’t the only dog breed with the characteristic merle pattern, and many dogs that are thought to be GSD mixes are, in fact, something else.

Keep an eye out for a dog that looks like a short-haired, merle German Shepherd, often with a slightly wider face and head than a German Shepherd, and see if you can find out more about the dog’s background.

A Catahoula German Shepherd mix could also look entirely different, and sometimes in a way that is completely unexpected for the mix, but once you become familiar with the two breeds, they often get significantly easier to spot.

Are Catahoula German Shepherd Mixes Good With Children?

A Catahoula/GSD mix has a tendency to be extremely loyal to its family members, including both children and adults. It is important to understand that a dog like this is not a toy and kids need to be taught how to act accordingly in the presence of a dog.

It is also not a dog that can be expected to be happy just hanging out with kids and spending time sleeping in a corner, and it may therefore not be the ideal type of dog for a busy household with small children. 

An active family, though, where each child has been properly trained to treat the dog well, could be the ideal living situation for a Catahoula/GSD. The one thing to keep an eye on is the potential herding tendencies of this mixed breed, as they may resort to trying to herd kids if they are not provided with other tasks.

Are Catahoula German Shepherd Mixes Good With Cats?

When looking at the breeds individually, German Shepherds are usually more likely to get along with cats than Catahoulas. Neither is known to have an extremely strong prey drive, but a Catahoula that isn’t used to cats might feel the desire to run after one and chase it up in a tree.

German Shepherds may also show aggression towards cats, but it is less common, and most get along great with cats when growing up in the same household. For a Catahoula and German Shepherd mix, just make sure it is properly introduced to the cat and monitored in the beginning, and there shouldn’t be any issues.

Are Catahoula German Shepherd Mixes Good With Other Dogs?

Socialization is extremely important with these types of mixes, mostly due to them being large and strong dogs that need to know how to safely interact with other dogs. Getting a Catahoula German Shepherd mix to like other dogs isn’t hard! They are social and generally friendly, but they should be taught from an early age to play nicely.

Great ways to socialize a Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppy is to set up playdates with other friendly dogs and to enroll the dog in doggy daycare, as this gives them a chance to play and interact with other dogs under supervision.

Do Catahoula German Shepherd Mixes Have Any Health Problems?

Almost all dog breeds come with some hereditary diseases, illnesses, and health problems, and while it can be harder to predict with mixed breeds, there are a few things you should be aware of, as it will help catch any issues early on. 

Degenerative Myelopathy

This disease is essentially painless, but as it affects the dog’s mobility in the back part of the body (eventually leading to an inability to walk), it could cause a strain on other parts of the body and cause secondary pain. It is an incurable condition, but medication can slow down its progress if discovered early.


Bloat is a life-threatening condition that can happen to any dog, but large breeds like German Shepherds and Catahoulas tend to be more at risk than small-breed dogs. When a dog gets bloated its stomach rotates and prevents blood from circulating properly, and it requires urgent veterinary care.


It is no secret that Catahoula dogs are prone to deafness, and it is often a cause of the unwise breeding of two merle parents. When breeding dogs that carry the merle gene, the breeder needs to have the knowledge to breed only suitable dogs to prevent double-merle breedings, which could cause deafness. 


The risk of obesity is not exclusive to Catahoula German Shepherd mixes, and it is something every dog owner needs to watch out for. Excess weight puts unnecessary strain on bones, joints, and organs and could eventually lead to arthritis and other health conditions.

Hip Dysplasia

There is a significant risk of hip dysplasia due to both Catahoulas and German Shepherds suffering from it. Hip dysplasia is essentially a malformation of the hip due to improper hip development. It is important to keep an eye on this if you have a Catahoula German Shepherd mix in case your dog is affected.

What Should You Feed A Catahoula German Shepherd Mix?

An active dog breed like this needs high-quality dog food, and it is time to learn a bit about dog nutrition if considering a GSD/Catahoula mix. Look for a dog food product that lists meat or meat meal as its first ingredient to ensure the food contains enough protein to keep a high-energy breed going all day.

You should also do your best to avoid products containing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and preferably also animal by-products, as these are considered low-quality ingredients with questionable protein content. 

Quality dog food will make sure your dog grows up strong and healthy, but it also helps prevent allergies, contributes to a thicker coat and less shedding, and essentially sets your pup up for a long life by your side.

How To Groom A Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

The grooming needs for a Catahoula/GSD mix depend on the type of coat it has inherited. In the case of a 50/50 mix, where both parents are purebred, the dog will most likely have a short coat that requires little to no grooming.

Regular baths are recommended, and once a month is fine as long as you use high-quality dog shampoos that do not dry out the coat. Other than that, weekly brushings to remove any loose hair (and lessen shedding) is always smart, along with regular checks for any ticks, fleas, or other uninvited “guests.”

Are Catahoula German Shepherd Mixes Easy To Train?

For the right person, a Catahoula German Shepherd mix can be incredibly easy to train. This is thanks to their intelligence. The catch is that you going to have to know what you are doing, and you need to be consistent in your training, as these mixed-breed dogs can be hard to manage if not properly trained.

The best thing you can do is to get your puppy into a training class for a certified instructor to guide you through all the basics of dog training. This is also important for those with dog training experience, as it gives the puppy an opportunity to socialize and meet both people and dogs.

Luckily, Catahoula German Shepherd mixes are very eager to learn and to please their handler, and once you get the basics down – these pups learn fast! It is a good idea to continue training throughout the dog’s life, as it also serves as excellent mental stimulation.

Want To Train Your Dog With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your dog properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

3The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your dog completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

What are the Pros And Cons of a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

Different dogs fit different people, and just there are pros and cons that come with all dog breeds. To help you decide if a Catahoula German Shepherd mix is the right option for you and your family – we have put together a list of the things that are great about the breed and those that aren’t so great.


  • Intelligence

Intelligent dogs are fun to own and are around, as it opens up the door to try different canine sports, train, and become your dog’s best friend through the experiences you can have together.

  • Loyalty

All dogs are loyal, but a Catahoula German Shepherd mix might take it to a new level! There is nothing they wouldn’t do to protect their family.

  • Looks

It should never be about the looks when you choose a dog breed, but this dog mix is as stunning as they come! It tends to get the best from both breeds in terms of physical aspects.


  • Health

Due to both Catahoula dogs and German Shepherds being prone to certain health issues, there is a risk that a mixed breed will also be at risk of a few health problems.

  • Exercise Requirements

This is not a dog breed for the lazy individual, as it will make both of you miserable. GSD/Catahoula mixes need plenty of physical exercises and mental stimulation.

How Big Do Catahoula German Shepherd Mixes Get?

The size of an adult Catahoula German Shepherd mix depends on multiple factors. The size of the parent animals gives you a good idea of how big your dog will become, but it isn’t a guarantee. They are generally bigger than a Catahoula and smaller than a German Shepherd – giving you a medium-sized and muscular dog.

As with all breed mixes, there is no way to know for sure how big it will be until it is fully grown, as some inherit their size from one parent and some from the other. 


The mix between a German Shepherd and a Catahoula Leopard Dog is a medium to large-sized dog that will often have the merle spotting of a Catahoula. It makes an excellent guard dog while also being sufficiently intelligent to successfully partake in any canine activity.

A mix like this is hyper-focused and sharp, and it requires a role within the household with a suitable job. An understimulated Catahoula German Shepherd could become very difficult to handle, but one that receives mental and physical exercise will thrive! It is a fantastic mix with plenty of potentials – perfect for an active handler or family.

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