Catahoula German Shepherd Mix: An All-Around Working Dog

Are you looking for a true working dog? Do you need help with herding cows or managing a flock of sheep any time soon? Or are you looking for an amazing, loyal, and smart service dog? Are you looking for a watchdog and a family dog at the same time?

So many questions, and yet there is only one answer to all of them. It is our Catahoula German Shepherd mix an all-around working dog!

One dog to work them all, a crossbreed dog called Catahoula GSD mix is a versatile dog that will be the  answer to all your questions.

It is a strong-willed dog, so it is not for everyone. But, if you are looking for a true working dog that has natural instincts to protect its  family and keep everyone on the property safe, you’ve found your dog.

They are loyal, brave, hard-working dogs that fit into almost any type of a job. Because of the incredible gene pool made by two amazing purebred dogs, this mixed doggo will be an excellent helper whatever you need him to do.

Service dog, police dog, cattle dog… Catahoula German Shepherd mix dog can do it all. Let’s find out where they got  such amazing working instincts and take a look at our complete guide to this amazing crossbreed.

Meet The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix dog on grassCatahoula German Shepherd Mix dog on grass
Photo from: @jschilling418

As the name tells us, the Catahoula German Shepherd mix is a mixed breed or a crossbreed dog made by mixing (crossbreeding) two purebred dogs. These dogs are amazing dogs that come  from the US and Germany — Catahoula Leopard dog and German Shepherd dog.

This is an active dog that needs proper mental and physical stimulation. They are not for the people who have no time to go to the park, run, hike, or play for quite a long time every day.

If you know you won’t be able to satisfy the activity needs of this dog, you might consider getting some of the low-energy dog breeds.

The mixed dogs we are going to talk about here are definitely hard-working and ready to do their part of the job eagerly. But where does such behavior come from? Are there any specific genes involved? Perhaps a Sheperd gene? Or a Leopard gene?

Not a real Leopard, of course — a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog. That’s the full name of one of the dog parent breeds.

Can We See The Dog Parents?

Let’s greet a German Shepherd and a Catahoula Leopard. These are the parent dog breeds of our mixed doggo. I am certain you are familiar with both of these wonderful dog breeds.

And, if you know them, I am also certain you realize how different they are! Mixing these two breeds makes a truly extraordinary and beautiful-looking working dog. Most of us picture a black and rust or black and tan German Shepherd, but what about the Leopard dog?

The coat color and pattern of the Catahoula dogs are unique for every Catahoula puppy. And what does that tell us? It tells us that their mixed offspring can have hundreds of coat patterns and coat color possibilities.

That’s not all. There are other physical traits that make these two dog breeds so different. We’ll start with the German Shepherd first.

German Shepherd

german shepherd dog with a flowergerman shepherd dog with a flower

This is a dog known around the world, often portrayed in movies and TV shows as a police or military dog. And, for a very good reason. They are extremely intelligent, trainable, and obedient.

People have used this dog for  all kinds of jobs. We could stay all day long talking about the types of work this amazing dog can do. But, if we go back to the origin, they were bred as shepherd dogs. Their purpose was herding a flock of sheep and keeping them safe from predators at the same time.

The German Shepherd is used today by the Police, Military, and Search and Rescue organizations, and they also make excellent therapy and service dogs. Of course, they thrive as guard dogs all around the world.

All of these traits are important because the dog we are talking about here is a German Shepherd mix puppy. So, all the temperamental, mental, and physical traits a German Shepherd parent has, can be transferred to a mixed offspring.

That is not bad at all for our German Leopard mixed dog. The German Shepherd dog genes are strong and mighty, honed by professional breeders in Europe and the US over decades.

Catahoula Leopard Dog

Catahoula Leopard Dog on the beachCatahoula Leopard Dog on the beach
Photo from: @rip.the.catahoula

We’ve said a lot of nice things about the German Shepherd dog, but we also have words of praise for our American born and bred Catahoula Leopard dog.

Yes, this is an American dog breed, and their ancestors were Wolf dogs — companion and hunting dogs of the Native Americans. The dogs that helped Native Americans were crossed with Beaucerons, Bloodhounds, Greyhounds, Mastiffs, and maybe even Rottweilers that came on ships of the Spanish explorers.

The outcome was the brilliant, enduring, and strong Leopard dog from the state of Louisiana. The year 1979 was the year when this dog became the state dog of Louisiana, as well. Both parent breeds are accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and as such have to fulfill certain breed standards.

Dogs that are mixed cannot be a part of the AKC registry, so that means our doggo cannot be registered either.

But who needs the AKC and its Shows? We’ve got a mixed dog brave enough to face the coyote and wild dogs if needed. After all, the mixed Catahoula GSD has got some wild dog blood from the Catahoula Leopard dog gene pool.

Origin Of The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix outdoorCatahoula German Shepherd Mix outdoor
Photo from: @hanahharvey

As with most mixed dog breeds, the origin of a Catahoula German Shepherd mix is unknown. They are not AKC-accepted and there are no official rules and regulations considering the breeding program of this crossbreed dog.

That means the origin could have happened anytime and anywhere. But, because the Catahoula Leopard dog is born and bred in the States, and it is not as famous in Europe and other parts of the world as some other breeds are, chances are this mix happened in the US.

Even though the Catahoula dog is an old dog breed, dating back to the 16th century, the German Shepherd did not appear until the 19th century. Also, the popularity of the GSD in the United States increased after World War II.

Putting all the pieces together, we can assume the Catahoula German Shepherd mix happened in the late 20th century. Once again, this is just a guess. We do not know when or where this crossbreed dog came to life.

Appearance Of The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix looking upCatahoula German Shepherd Mix looking up
Photo from:@pinegar_farm

When the dog parents have an amazing appearance, it is only natural for their mixed puppy to have an equally amazing appearance too. I do have to be honest and say that you might confuse a Catahoula Leopard dog with some other dog breeds, but you won’t make that mistake with a German Shepherd.

I want to believe that there is no person in the world that will point a finger at a German Shepherd and say — I’ve never seen this type of a dog! But Catahoula can cause  some confusion, especially if they are bi-colored. They might look like some kind of a hunting dog breed.

Not to be harsh on the Catahoula, but I am just trying to look through the eyes of a person that does not know a lot about dogs and dog breeds. But let’s shine some light on the looks of these two dogs.

German Shepherd Appearance

This is a large dog that can weigh up to 90 pounds. They are usually up to 26 inches tall, but female German Shepherd dogs are a bit smaller than males.

The German Shepherd has a double and medium-length coat. Even though German Shepherds shed a lot, they do not require special grooming techniques. All it takes is a weekly brush and a daily brush during the shedding season. There are no special pampering techniques. They are working dogs that have a resilient coat type that is easily brushed.

What is unique about the German Shepherd is the coat color and the unique “saddle” on the back. The original and the most famous coat color of the GSD is the black saddle on the back and tan or rust coloring on the rest of the body. 

There are other coat colors too, for example, the silver German Shepherd, Isabella, black, etc.

Other specific physical traits of the GSDs are their pointy ears, long muzzle, and bushy wolf-like tail. They have an intelligent and confident look while they walk, sit, or simply do anything at all!

Catahoula Leopard Dog Appearance

There are six names for this breed we’ve heard so far. Some of the names are Catahoula Cur, Hog dog, Bay, dog, and Treeing dog.

Those names might sound a bit confusing. Why would a herding dog be called a hod or bay dog? Well, it’s all in the original purpose of these versatile dogs. They were originally used to hunt wild boars or other types of prey.

That’s why they have a unique “hunter dog” look even though they are herders. Their ears are floppy, and they have a muscular body with a short coat. The body is proportionate, and they are usually 20 to 24 inches and can weigh from 70 to 85 pounds, sometimes more. As you can see, these are large dogs.

The most famous coat color of the Catahoula Leopard dog is the merle coat color. Their merle coat color gave them a special spotted look, hence the Leopard in their name. They also come in brindle, and various bi-colors. As mentioned, their coat is short and smooth.

This dog breed also sheds a lot, but just like the GSDs, they do not require specific grooming techniques to keep their fur healthy and shiny.

What Looks To Expect From Catahoula GSD Mix?

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix dog thrillingCatahoula German Shepherd Mix dog thrilling
Photo from: @jschilling418

Close your eyes and try to picture a German Shepherd and a Catahoula Leopard inside your head. Now try to imagine what would it look like if you put the ears of the German Shepherd on the Catahoula, leave the coat length of the Catahoula, but add the GSD color.

That picture you made in your head is one version out of many other possible versions of how their mixed puppy might look. This happens to most puppies bred through crossbreeding. There is a dose of uncertainty when it comes to their appearance.

But there are traits that usually appear in mixed dog breeds. And, for our mixed doggo, we’ve highlighted the most important traits.


Depending on the genes, the head can be similar to the German Shepherd’s and be of triangular shape with a longer and more narrow muzzle. The ears can be pointy or floppy. Point ears come from the GSD parent and floppy ears come from the Catahoula Leopard.

If the mixed puppy inherits more traits from the Catahoula, they can have a broader face and broader muzzle as well. In both cases, the eyes are round, but the color can vary. If the German Shepherd gene is more dominant, the puppy will most often have brown eyes.

If the Catahoula Leopard dog genes are dominant, then we can expect eye color to be blue or amber. But these are very unpredictable. There’s nothing else to do but wait for the puppy to be born to check the color of the eyes.


This trait also has a big question mark looming over it. But at least we can be sure where the mixed puppy got the looks. If you see a more sloped back and shorter hind legs — the puppy got it from the German Shepherd.

If the Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppy has a straight back, with proportionate front and hind legs — it is the Catahoula Leopard gene, y’all!

In both cases, the dog will be muscular and strong. They will definitely inherit the endurance trait from both dog parent breeds.

The tail can be bushy or smooth, depending on the type of coat. But in either case, it is not curly but slightly curved when the dog is alert.


There are two possibilities when it comes to the coat type:

  • Double-layer coat
  • Single-layer coat

As for the fur length, there are also two possibilities:

  • Medium-length
  • Short

There is also the option that a Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppy inherits a medium-length single-layered coat. But, this is rare. In most cases, if it’s medium-length it will be double-layered too.

Coat Color

The biggest influence on the future patterns and colors of your new Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppy is the Catahoula dog. This breed is the one with more variety in colors than the other one used to make this mix.

The new mixed puppy can inherit spots, patches, blotches, brindle type of coat color, and very rarely a German Shepherd coat color. If you have a merle Catahoula dog and a black and tan German Shepherd, there are high chances that their offspring will be merle or at least have some kinds of spots and dots on the fur.

With the merle type of coat color comes the blue color of the eyes, too. But, these traits can lead to some health issues that we will talk about a bit later.


Both dog parents are moderate to high shedders. That is a trait that will, unfortunately, be 100% present in their mixed offspring too.

But the shedding, length, and density of the coat have no influence on the grooming methods. Both types of coats require weekly grooming. During the shedding season, grooming should be done at least three times a week.

You can think about grooming as a special time for you and your doggo. It’s like a special bonding time, reserved just for you and your dog.

If the Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppy inherits the coat type of a GSD, then you can apply the same rules for bathing as you would for the German Shepherd. Otherwise, a bath from time to time is more than enough to keep the coat healthy and clean.

Temperament Of The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix dog laying outdoorCatahoula German Shepherd Mix dog laying outdoor
Photo from: @autumeprillaman

Both dog parent breeds are hard-working and excel in all kinds of job types. They are also great watchdogs, they are intelligent dogs (especially the German Shepherd), and they can make excellent family pets, as well.

So, let’s gather all the information and see what kind of temperament the new mixed puppy will have in the end.

High Energy

The mix of the Catahoula and a German Shepherd is going to be a very energetic dog. The mixed puppy will inherit high playfulness and high activity levels from both dog parent breeds.

That means, you will have to make time for your German Shepherd Catahoula mix to go for a long walk, run, hike, or more active playtime in order to keep the Catahoula GSD mix happy.

Dogs that were bred to work and have working dog bloodlines in their veins, will want to work! It doesn’t have to be herding cattle, it can be any type of interactive game you can play with your dog. Interactive dog toys are also an option, but they only work if you are not around and for a short period of time.

After all, solving a puzzle and running after a “prey” (ball) are not the same. They will need proper daily activity, and this is something you have to understand if you plan on getting this type of dog.


Dog training shouldn’t be a problem. But it might cause some problems for first time dog owners. This dog crossbreed can be stubborn and independent — traits inherited from a Catahoula Leopard dog.

When a person without a “firm hand” and confidence tries to train a stubborn, intelligent, and independent dog — things might not turn the way we want them to. So, it is better to ask for professional help than to train a dog yourself.


It is important to understand that our mixed doggo doesn’t have parents that are too open to other dogs. They are also not very open to strangers. Not to mention there is a high hunting instinct present in the Catahoula Leopard dog.

Because of all of these traits, the Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppy will need a proper form of socialization starting from an early age. They will need to be taught at a young age that other dogs, pets, and strangers are not a threat and that they should not behave aggressively toward them.

The German Shepherd is known as a great family pet that is  excellent with small children. On the other hand, the Catahoula Leopard is not as affectionate or  as patient with the youngest family members as GSDs.

This is another reason why it is important to socialize dogs at a young age. The socialization includes exposing puppies to all kinds of sounds, smells, and people.

When a dog is not adequately socialized during puppyhood, a dog might become aggressive. Trying to socialize an aggressive dog can be a hard task that requires lots of patience and skill.

Health Of The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix puppyCatahoula German Shepherd Mix puppy
Photo from: @kikotheperrito

In general, this is a healthy dog. The health of this dog comes from its parent dog breeds. Both dog parents are healthy dogs with few health issues.

Most health problems they can suffer from are related to their size. The Catahoula German Shepherd mix is a mix of two large dog breeds, which means it can be prone to some health problems typical for large dog breeds, for example, joint problems.

These are some of the health problems that can affect the Catahoula GSD mix:

  • Bloat
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Deafness

These health problems can be avoided if you get a puppy from a reputable breeder that tests his dogs for various genetic diseases. A reputable and responsible breeder shouldn’t breed dogs that have some genetically inheritable diseases.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of a Catahoula German Shepherd mix dog depends on various factors including genes. A Catahoula Leopard has a longer average lifespan than a German Shepherd.

On average, German Shepherds rarely live longer than 11 years, and Catahoulas live up to 14 to 16 years. That means their mixed offspring can have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. The life of any dog can be prolonged if we treat the dog well.

That means cuddles and affection, but also regular vet checks and high-quality dog food. A dog can live a long life filled with happiness if we pay more attention to our dog’s diet.


As we’ve already mentioned — a proper diet can mean a longer life for our doggo. If we want to make sure our dogs have proper nutrition, we should pay attention to dog food that has:

  • High proteins percentage
  • Low Carbohydrates percentage
  • Has necessary minerals
  • Has necessary vitamins

You shouldn’t give your dog types of dog food that contain meat by-products, a high percentage of carbohydrates, soy, artificial preservatives, etc.

If you have time, you can try to cook food for your dog. There are numerous ways to make delicious, cooked meals for your dog. You can boil a chicken, add some vegetables, cook beef, etc.

Also, it is a good thing to give your dog some kind of a bone treat to help him with his teeth, or you can try and brush your dog’s teeth yourself.

The Average Price Of The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix

cute Catahoula German Shepherd Mix puppycute Catahoula German Shepherd Mix puppy
Photo from: @kikotheperrito

The price of the Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppy depends on the German Shepherd a lot. The GSD is a popular dog, but there are many highly reputable and professional breeders that sell their puppies for more than $5000!

But, in most cases, these Champion bloodlines are not used for creating crossbreeds. The reason for that is that they tend to keep the bloodline “pure” so that they can preserve the breed standards according to the American Kennel Club.

On the other hand, a Catahoula Leopard dog puppy is much cheaper than a German Shepherd. Their price is usually around $1000. But it can be lower than that — around $500.

So, on average, the price of the Catahoula German Shepherd puppy goes from $700 to $1500.

If you find a reputable breeder that has a pedigree line of German Shepherd dogs and has proof of all the health tests done on both dog parents, clearing them from genetically transmittable diseases, this price can be higher than $1500.

The Catahoula German Shepherd Mix As A Family Dog

Catahoula German Shepherd Mix dog sitting with his ownerCatahoula German Shepherd Mix dog sitting with his owner
Photo from: @catamastiffy

If you plan on getting a Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppy, you’ve certainly wondered if they are good as family dogs. We covered this topic a bit, but it is very important to say it once again — this dog can be a great dog for your family!

This is a loyal and affectionate dog that will dedicate its life to protecting its family. And, you and your children are its family, too. But there is  another side to this story.

The Catahoula German Shepherd mix dog can be an amazing family pet if you take some steps first. This is the same with any other more independent dog breed. This mixed dog needs adequate socialization at an early age.

What does that mean? It means the Catahoula GSD puppy needs to be introduced to children when they are very young — just small puppies. The puppies need to learn how children (and especially small children) behave, smell, and sound.

This will prepare them for life in a  family when they grow up. If this dog is not socialized and trained properly, it can be a problem for young children and strangers.

No dog is aggressive by nature. We are responsible for making them aggressive. It’s the way we treat them that makes them behave in a certain way.

So, treat your dog well, give him lots of love and affection, and socialize your dog when they are puppies, and you will have a wonderful family pet for a long time!

The Conclusion

We have come to the end of our story about the Catahoula German Shepherd mix — an all-around working dog. They are great as watchdogs, guard dogs, and as working dogs.

This mixed type of dog can also be an amazing family dog, as well. But, in order to keep them and others safe, they need a firm hand during training sessions. Also, it is absolutely necessary for these dogs to get proper and early socialization.

If failed to socialize at an early age, these dogs can become closed to strangers or impatient toward children. That, unfortunately, also means that these dogs are not the best choice for people who have no experience with dogs.

Another very important fact about these mixed dogs is that they are very active dogs. They will need daily exercise and mental stimulation. They also thrive and shine the best with the family that has a yard for them to guard and sniff around.

Read Next:

 The Black Mouth Cur German Shepherd Mix Complete Guide

• The Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix: A Hardworking Beauty