The Catahoula German Shepherd mix is a cross between two highly intelligent and energetic working dog breeds – the Catahoula Leopard Dog and the German Shepherd. This hybrid combines the best traits from both parent breeds, producing an excellent watchdog that thrives when given a job to do.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Catahoula German Shepherd mix, including their appearance, temperament, exercise needs, training tips, health concerns, and whether this hybrid dog could be the right pet for your family.
Overview of the Catahoula German Shepherd Mix
|22-26 inches tall at shoulder
|Short to medium double coat
|Black, brown, gray, brindle, merle with spots/patterns
|High energy, needs 60+ minutes exercise/day
Also nicknamed the Catahoula Shepherd or Catahoula Shepherd mix, this crossbreed is believed to have originated in the United States sometime in the last 20-30 years. They are considered a designer dog, meaning they were intentionally bred by crossing two purebred parents.
The Catahoula German Shepherd mix typically has a short to medium length double coat. Common coat colors include black, brown, gray, white, yellow, red, or a mix of these colors often in a spotted, brindle, or merle pattern.
These hybrids tend to have pointed ears like the German Shepherd, sometimes with mismatched eye colors – a trait seen in some Catahoula Leopard Dogs. On average, they reach 22-26 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 50-90 pounds.
Temperament & Personality
The Catahoula German Shepherd mix inherits its protective nature and loyalty from both parent breeds. They bond very closely with their family and may be initially wary around strangers. Early socialization and training are essential for this crossbreed.
When properly socialized, these hybrids are affectionate and gentle with children. Their herding instincts may cause them to try to “herd” kids by nudging or circling around them. Train them not to do this.
Catahoula German Shepherds are energetic working dogs that need mental stimulation and plenty of daily exercise. If bored, they may become destructive or develop other unwanted behaviors. Provide interactive toys and activities that engage their minds.
Though territorial and protective of their home and family, these mixes are not typically aggressive when correctly socialized. They may be dog aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex, so multiple dog homes should supervise carefully.
Overall, this loyal hybrid aims to please their owner. They are intelligent and highly trainable when handled with positive reinforcement techniques. Their protective nature makes them excellent watchdogs that will alert bark to anything unusual.
Exercise & Activity Levels
The Catahoula German Shepherd mix has a high energy level and needs 60+ minutes of vigorous exercise every day. These dogs thrive when given a job or purposeful activity such as dog sports, obedience training, agility, jogging, hiking, or swimming.
Without sufficient daily exercise, these mixes may become bored and destructive around the home. A securely fenced yard is recommended for this active hybrid dog. Apartment living is not well-suited for this crossbreed.
Mental stimulation is equally important for this intelligent crossbreed. Interactive dog toys, trick training, food puzzles, and other mind-engaging activities will help prevent problem behaviors. Owners should be prepared to provide their Catahoula German Shepherd with vigorous daily activity.
Training Tips for Catahoula German Shepherds
The Catahoula German Shepherd mix is an intelligent and trainable hybrid but they do best with an experienced dog owner. Early socialization and obedience training are strongly recommended starting from 8-12 weeks old.
Positive reinforcement training works very well for this crossbreed. Like most dogs, they respond better to rewards-based techniques rather than punishment or scolding.
Potential owners should be prepared to consistently reinforce commands, provide structure, and establish themselves as the pack leader. These hybrids need daily mental and physical exercise to prevent problem behaviors.
Crate training is highly recommended for housebreaking, preventing destruction, and managing separation anxiety in this mixed breed. Owners will need patience and consistency when training the strong-willed Catahoula German Shepherd mix.
Professional training may be beneficial for first-time owners of this hybrid dog. Their intelligence makes them quick learners when handled with an expert approach that provides adequate leadership, exercise, and mental stimulation.
Grooming & Care
The Catahoula German Shepherd mix has a double coat that sheds moderately year-round. They should be brushed at least 1-2 times per week to control shedding and prevent matting in the undercoat.
Bathing is only needed every 6-8 weeks for these dogs unless they get particularly dirty. Over-bathing can dry out their skin. Their nails should be trimmed regularly to avoid cracking or splitting.
Their floppy ears should be checked weekly for debris, moisture, and signs of infection. Only clean the outer ear and do not insert anything into the ear canal. Brush their teeth at least 2-3 times per week to maintain good oral health.
Health & Lifespan
Crossbreed dogs have a better chance at good health compared to their purebred parents. However, the Catahoula German Shepherd mix may still be susceptible to certain issues affecting their parent breeds:
- Hip & Elbow Dysplasia – malformed joints that can cause arthritis
- Bloat – life-threatening stomach condition
- Ear Infections – clean & check ears regularly
- Eye Issues – cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy
- Allergies & Skin Problems – use a gentle shampoo if needed
With early health screening, proper preventative care, a quality diet, and lots of exercise, the Catahoula German Shepherd mix generally lives 10-14 years. Reputable breeders should screen for hip/elbow dysplasia.
Finding a Catahoula German Shepherd Mix Puppy
Demand for designer dogs like the Catahoula German Shepherd mix has increased in recent years. Never purchase puppies from puppy mills, pet stores, or irresponsible breeders. Seek out reputable breeders that health screen their breeding dogs.
Expect to pay $500-$1500 USD or more for a Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppy from a responsible breeder. Adoption is another great option if you want to give an adult dog a second chance at a forever home.
The best way to find Catahoula German Shepherd mix puppies or rescue dogs available for adoption is through breed-specific shelters or general dog rescue organizations. Be extremely cautious of cheap puppies sold on online classified sites.
Is the Catahoula German Shepherd Mix the Right Dog For Me?
The Catahoula German Shepherd mix needs committed owners who can provide thorough training, plenty of daily exercise, mental stimulation, a secure yard, and proper socialization. They thrive when given a job and purpose.
This loyal hybrid bonds very closely with their family. They are better suited for active owners, ideally with dog experience. Their protective nature makes them excellent watchdogs.
Homes with small children should supervise carefully due to their herding tendencies. Multi-pet households will need proper socialization and training. Consider if you can meet the exercise needs of this energetic crossbreed.
In the right home environment, the Catahoula German Shepherd mix can make a wonderful companion for active owners looking for a loyal and intelligent hybrid dog. They need plenty of activity and training but will reward you with life-long devotion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Catahoula German Shepherd mixes good family dogs?
Yes, Catahoula German Shepherd mixes can make excellent family companions when properly trained and socialized. They are very loyal and bond strongly with their owners. Their herding instincts mean they should be supervised around small children.
How big do Catahoula German Shepherd mixes get?
These crossbreed dogs typically range from 22-26 inches tall at the shoulder and 50-90 pounds in weight. They are a medium to large-sized dog.
Do Catahoula German Shepherd mixes shed?
Yes, the Catahoula German Shepherd mix is a moderate shedder. They have a double coat that needs weekly brushing to control loose hairs. Extra shedding is typical during seasonal changes.
Are Catahoula German Shepherds easy to train?
This hybrid dog is highly intelligent and trainable, especially when positive reinforcement is used consistently. Their strong will means training requires patience and expertise. Early socialization and obedience classes are highly recommended.
How much exercise does a Catahoula German Shepherd mix need?
As energetic working dogs, Catahoula German Shepherd mixes require 60+ minutes of vigorous daily exercise such as running, hiking, swimming, agility, or other active play. Interactive toys and mental stimulation are also important.
What health problems do Catahoula German Shepherds have?
Catahoula German Shepherds may be prone to hip/elbow dysplasia, eye disease, ear infections, bloat, allergies, and other concerns affecting their parent breeds. Reputable breeders screen for hip/elbow dysplasia.
Are Catahoula German Shepherd mixes good apartment dogs?
No, apartment living is not ideal for this active hybrid that needs plenty of daily exercise and access to a yard. They are better suited for active owners with houses and securely fenced yards.
Do Catahoula German Shepherd mixes get along with other dogs?
When well socialized from a young age, Catahoula German Shepherds can get along with other household dogs. However, they may have dog aggression towards same-sex dogs so supervision is recommended.
What colors do Catahoula German Shepherd mixes come in?
Common coat colors for this crossbreed include black, brown, gray, red, white, yellow and merle combinations of these colors often with leopard-like spots or brindle patterns. Their eyes may be mismatched.
For the right owner, the Catahoula German Shepherd mix can be a loving and devoted companion. Their protective temperament and energetic nature means they thrive when given plenty of activity, training, and quality time with their family.
While not suited for novice owners or those with limited space, these hybrid dogs can excel in active homes able to provide their exercise, training, and socialization needs. Their loyalty and versatility certainly make the Catahoula German Shepherd mix a winning crossbreed!