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The Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix: A Hardworking Beauty

The Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix: A Hardworking Beauty

Coming across the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is not that easy if we assume that this is a very rare dog breed. Still, those who have had a chance to meet this wonderful dog mix realize how unique the Aussie Catahoula is.

This crossbreed has all-American heritage as both the Australian Shepherd and the Catahoula dog come from the United States. Unlike many other mixed breeds, these puppies make excellent herding dogs, working dogs, and family dogs at the same time.

If you have a sporting character or you just prefer hikes, long walks, and outdoor activities – this is the perfect breed for you! But, let us give you a proper introduction of this amazing puppy first!

What Is The Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix?

catahoula australian shepherd dog
Photo from: @george_takepawsrescue

The Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix comes from two amazing purebred parents the Australian Shepherd dog and the Catahoula Leopard Dog

Both of these breeds have their roots in the United States, even though the word ‘’Australian’’ in the name ‘‘Australian Shepherd’’ doesn’t say so.

Both of these parents make excellent working dogs as they are smart, active, and agile. Still, the Aussie puppy is inclined more towards shepherd dog breeds while the Catahoula puppy belongs to the group of hunting dogs.

Just like their parents, Catahoula Aussie mixes are awarded with excellent stamina and a great working potential. Once socialized and properly trained – these canines make reliable family dogs that just love accompanying their owner.

As this is a very unique and rare hybrid dog, it is important to give you a little bit of perspective. That said, the best way to introduce the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is if we start with its parent breeds first.

Meet The Parent Breeds

While Aussie puppies are long-term members of the American Kennel Club, Catahoula canines are still waiting for their full AKC recognition.

Still, both of these purebred dogs are popular in American households, especially in the country. The reason for that lies in the fact that these canines are working and herding dogs by nature, which is why they naturally need a spacious home and a commodious back yard.

Both Aussies and Catahoulas are characterized by exquisite intelligence. However, their occasional stubbornness is the reason why they don’t rank high on the list of the smartest dogs in the world.

Unlike German Shepherds, these canines love to have their own way, but they do it with style, which is why you just cannot hold a grudge against them.

What they need is early socialization, and possibly obedience training. Properly-socialized and obedience-trained puppies make reliable family dogs that don’t display any undesirable behavioral outbursts. 

Additionally, they have a great way with children, and they get along with other pets just fine.

Catahoula Leopard Dog

catahoula sitting on stairs outside

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is the state dog of Louisiana, which is why these canines are also called Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dogs or Catahoula Curs.

The name derives from the Catahoula Parish in Louisiana, which got its name from the Catahoula Lake. However, the word ‘‘Catahoula’’ most likely has its roots in a native Indian language. It is believed that Catahoula comes from the word ‘‘Okkattahoula’’ (clear water).

Nowadays, these canines are used as multi-purpose dogs. They happen to be excellent working dogs, tree dogs, and hunting companions as well as decent herding dogs.

The average Catahoula stands up to 24 inches in height while the breed weighs between 50 and 90 pounds. That being said, this is a medium to large breed that fits into homes perfectly. However, the breed will need proper crate training first.

These canines have a short, smooth coat that sheds minimally. They are known to appear in various color patterns such as black, white merle, yellow, red, chocolate, brindle, blue merle, and yellow merle.

While they are mainly solid-colored, Catahoula puppies are known for their famous Leopard spots that appear anywhere on their body.

Catahoula breeders emphasize the importance of early socialization in these pooches as Catahoula canines can be aggressive and mischievous at times. While they may be wary of strangers, these pooches are extremely affectionate towards their owner.

Given their wide-awake nature, Catahoula puppies can be excellent guard dogs and watchdogs.

Australian Shepherd

australian shepherd photographed in nature

Even though the name itself will make you think that these puppies originally come from Australia, the truth is that Aussies are proud American dogs. 

They were originally designed in California by mixing sheepdogs with several collies, including the ones imported from New Zealand and Australia.

This furry friend of humans has been among families since the 19th century, and it has made a wonderful companion ever since. Generally, the main purpose of Aussie puppies, as well as of many Aussie mixes, is herding.

These canines have a long history of herding livestock in rural areas, which is why, to this day, Aussies can be found mostly in the country.

Over time, reputable breeders have made sure that these medium-sized pooches find their way to cities. Nowadays, the breed is popular among sportsmen and people with an active lifestyle.

The puppy stands between 20 and 23 inches in height while their female counterparts reach up to 21 inches. On the other hand, the average weight of this dog revolves between 50 and 65 pounds.

The Aussie puppy has a medium-sized double coat that protects it from coldness and severe climate conditions. These puppies are moderate shedders, which makes the overall grooming process higher maintenance in comparison to Catahoula pooches.

There are four AKC-recognized color patterns in Aussie puppies: blue merle, black, red, and red merle.

Even though the breed’s lifespan revolves between twelve and fifteen years, these canines are prone to several major health problems such as hip dysplasia, cataracts, and epilepsy.

That’s why it is important to research reputable breeders prior to the purchase as those breeders will make sure the puppy gets its first vaccination and deworming, as well as its early health examination.

Spaying or neutering these puppies before they turn twelve months of age is of crucial importance as puppies that don’t undergo these procedures can display stubbornness in the latter stages of their life.

The History Of The Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix

The history of the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is quite vague as there is no evidence on their exact birth date. However, it is believed that this is a relatively new breed that came into life by accidental breeding in rural areas.

Both of their parents happen to be native American breeds, and they hail from similar geographic areas. In fact, both Aussies and Catahoulas have been used for the same purposes as both breeds make excellent working dogs as well as herding dogs.

These spotted dog breeds are sometimes hard to tell apart as they have a lot in common in terms of their physical appearance. One of the things that separates them is their coat, which is short in Catahoulas, and medium-long in Aussies.

The Catahoula Aussie is mostly a country dog that has an impeccable work ethic and good athletic potential. Despite their occasional unpredictability, these mixed breed dogs make reliable family additions as they inherited the affectionate nature of their parents.

Physical Appearance

catahoula australian shepherd mix
Photo from: @mindfuldewdrops

Writing a complete guide in terms of the Aussie Catahoula’s physical appearance is almost impossible. That’s because the look of this crossbreed exclusively depends on its parent breeds.

Some Aussie Catahoulas may look more like their Catahoula parents, which means that they will have a short, smooth coat and the temperament of a hunter.

Catahoulas are known to be excellent wild hog hunters as well as respectable tree dogs. On the other hand, puppies with more than 50 percent of the Aussie’s DNA are more likely to be double-coated and better at herding.

These pooches are known to have both Catahoula and Australian Shepherd colors. That said, you can expect to find these dogs in black and white, brindle, brindle and white, blue, and yellow color patterns.

They have triangular, floppy ears, and pale-blue eyes, which make them look adorable. This mix puppy has high physical exercise needs, which is why the Aussie Catahoula is ideal for families that have a spacious home and a big back yard.

The Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix Size

The size of these pooches generally revolves between 20 and 24 inches, while they can weigh anywhere between 50 and 90 pounds.

Even though these pooches are active by nature, you need to take into consideration the fact that they are prone to weight gain. This is the trait of their Aussie parents, which is why the Aussie feeding chart needs to be well-organized and supervised daily.

The same goes for the Aussie Catahoula. Make sure these pooches are fed with high-quality dog food as well as with healthy supplements. 

Feeding Aussie Catahoulas with unreliable dog food brands and junk food is never a good option as obesity can be a trigger for many diseases, such as diabetes and heart failure.

On the other hand, obese Aussie Curs lack mobility, which has a positive correlation with self-destructive and aggressive behavior.

The fact that this is a medium-sized dog makes these puppies favorable for an indoor life as they don’t need as much space as Great Danes or GSDs. Still, the puppy will need a proper adaptation process, and a more spacious home as these pooches are active by nature.

Coat Type And Coat Color

Depending on their DNA, these pooches can have both a smooth, short coat, and a coarse, medium-long, double coat, with a dense undercoat.

Either way, they will be low to moderate shedders, which means that you will need to brush them at least once or twice on a weekly basis in order to avoid hair trails all over the house.

Puppies that inherit over 70 percent of the Aussie bloodline will be harder to maintain as Aussie shedding is moderate off season, but they are excessive shedders during seasonal changes.

These pooches will need a bath every three months or so, especially if you take them out on a regular basis. Before getting a dog shampoo, the recommendation is to subject your puppy to allergy testing as some dogs can be allergic to certain shampoo ingredients.

When it comes to their coat colors, they can either have a solid-colored coat with a yellow, brindle, red, white, or black pattern, or a parti-colored coat that comes mostly in black and white, and brindle and white variants.

The Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix’s Temperament

catahoula australian shepherd mix dog
Photo from: @lokithecatahoulaleopard

The temperament of this crossbreed is an interesting piece to study. Both Aussies and Curs have a strong, independent temperament that meets affection and loyalty towards their owner.

One thing is for sure – these pooches will need early socialization training. The best way to do this is right after you pick them up from the breeder. 

Early socialization is an important part of their upbringing, especially if you are planning to have this dog next to small children or other house pets.

Due to their Catahoula DNA, these pooches are naturally aggressive and task-oriented. Catahoula puppies make excellent bird-hunting dogs as well as working dogs. However, their nature is manageable as long as you mentally stimulate them on a regular basis.

On the other hand, some Cur Aussies can be stubborn at times, which is not a surprise, considering their parents’ occasional mischievous behavior. Still, these pooches are quite trainable as they possess exquisite intelligence and high task orientation.

The puppy is not recommended for first-time dog owners nor to owners who love keeping their lifestyle low-key. On the contrary, these puppies require an active owner who won’t mind coming up with new, creative ways of entertainment.

That’s why their best fits are sporting owners as well as owners who happen to enjoy outdoor activities such as walks, jogging, or hikes.


Early socialization is an important part of the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix’s upbringing. Even though these pooches create a strong bond with their owner, they are not exactly the friendliest breed towards strangers or other animals.

In fact, these pooches may be aloof with strangers, especially the first time they meet them. On the other hand, due to their high prey-drive, the breed is not recommended to have next to small pets such as cats, birds, or hamsters.

That’s why it is highly recommended to have as many friends as possible in your house during your dog’s puppyhood stage. That way, your puppy will easily learn the difference between a friend and an enemy.

However, the breed is highly trainable as long as you are prepared for commitment and hard work. 

These pooches respond well to positive reinforcement, which is why the use of interactive dog toys, healthy snacks, or other methods, such as praise and petting, show excellent results in the long run.

The socialization process can be an exhaustive process in the later stages of this puppy’s life, which is why it is recommended to start this training as soon as you pick up the puppy from the breeder.

If, by chance, you are not an experienced dog owner, you can always look for a professional dog trainer to help you in this regard.


Having this dog in a small apartment or in a studio is never a good option. Despite the fact that this is a medium-sized dog breed, these pooches need a spacious home and regular outdoor activity.

That’s why these puppies are recommended for families who live in the country as they generally have a spacious back yard where Aussie Curs can move freely.

Still, if you proceed with the idea of having this dog in a smaller house, make sure you take it out on a regular basis. The breed requires at least one to two hours of exercise during the day, and daily walks are excellent in this regard.

When it comes to their indoor life, these pooches will be decent family members. Aussie puppies are known to be among the easiest dogs to potty train as they are intelligent and highly trainable. Luckily, the Aussie’s offspring, the Cur Aussie, is most likely to have the same traits.

Are Catahoula Aussies Aggressive

Even though neither of its parent breeds belongs to the club of aggressive dog breeds, Cur Aussies, due to their high prey drive, can be aggressive at times.

That’s why the best thing is to keep them away from smaller pets and small children.

Unsocialized Aussie Curs can be extremely dangerous to have next to smaller dogs as they are fiercely competitive, independent, and territorial.

Furthermore, puppies that are subjected to improper parenting can respond in a reciprocal manner. This breed doesn’t stand yelling, punching, or neglecting. On the contrary, they require a devoted owner who will show them love and respect.

That brings us to the next potential root of aggression in Cur Aussies – separation anxiety. 

Despite the fact that these pooches are independent and mischievous at times, they can suffer from severe separation anxiety. Consequently, separation anxiety can lead to self-destructive and aggressive behavior.

If you have a much too busy business schedule to follow – don’t get a Cur Aussie dog. Rather, go with a less demanding dog breed or don’t get a dog at all.

These pooches require attention and companionship, especially in the outdoor activities. That’s why the breed is recommended for owners with flexible schedules.

The Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix Around Children

This isn’t exactly a lap dog breed, which is why you need to be careful when having an Aussie Catahoula around children.

Even though the breed doesn’t show open hostility towards children, there may be times when these pooches like to play roughly. Furthermore, due to the fact that these pooches are extremely territorial, they may have a low-tolerance towards children in their space.

However, early socialization turns these pooches into wonderful companions. In fact, their Aussie dog parent is known to be excellent with children of all ages, which is why there is a good chance that your Aussie Cur will be child-friendly, too.

Still, make sure their relationship is always supervised.

Health Issues Of A Catahoula Aussie

catahoula australian shepherd mix wearing a harness
Photo from: @lokithecatahoulaleopard

The Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is known to be a quite healthy breed, taking into consideration that their parents the Aussies, are among the healthiest breeds in the world.

However, how you treat your dog, and what you feed it will always be the two most important determinants of your puppy’s health. These pooches will need a well-organized feeding chart with the highest-quality dog food.

Otherwise, the puppy might face obesity, which is a trigger for further diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes.

On the other hand, keeping your dog busy and active is the key to a healthy pet. These dogs’ mental health is as equally important as their physical health. 

That’s why this breed is recommended for owners who don’t mind coming up with new ways of entertainment for their puppies.

Speaking of major health issues in an Aussie Cur, you must know that these puppies are occasionally prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, epilepsy, and patellar luxation. The important thing is to recognize the early symptoms and subject the dog to treatment as soon as possible.

Hip And Elbow Dysplasia

Both hip and elbow dysplasia in dogs are generally known as hereditary conditions. Luckily, neither of these conditions are fatal as puppies with hip and elbow dysplasia can live just as long as their healthy counterparts.

Hip dysplasia represents an abnormality of a hip joint, while elbow dysplasia represents the abnormal development of an elbow joint.

The most common symptoms of these conditions are bunny walk, lethargy, reluctance to go anywhere near stairs, reluctance to jump or run, severe pain in the groin, as well as pain in the hind legs.

Subjecting a puppy to treatment as soon as the first symptoms are manifested is crucial as untreated dysplasia can be a trigger for further injuries.

Generally, dogs bought from a reputable breeder will be hip- and elbow-dysplasia-free as all puppies there are subjected to early hip and elbow evaluation.

These conditions are treated surgically, but the treatment itself is not that cheap. The average cost of hip and elbow dysplasia surgery revolves between $1500 and $3000.


Bloat is known to be related to large breeds with a wider chest, but there are some medium-sized breeds that could be affected with this condition, too.

Bloat, or stomach torsion, is generally the result of either improper feeding or junk food. That’s why you always need to consider giving your dog high-quality food enriched with green fibers.

Furthermore, avoid late meals as well as giving your dog one big portion on a daily basis. Devouring food, as sweet as it looks at first, is one of the main triggers of bloat.

If not treated timely, this condition can be fatal. The first symptoms that you should pay attention to are: a swollen stomach, a lack of appetite, restlessness, panting or heavy breathing, lack of activity, lethargy.

Refusing to drink water during bloat is a common symptom in some dogs, too.

Some of the home remedies that you can do to avoid bloat are:

giving your dog smaller portions of food

elevating your dog’s feeding bowl

stop giving food right before bed time


Unfortunately, some Aussie Cur puppies can suffer from canine epilepsy. This is a hereditary condition that generally affects dogs after the first year of their life.

The most common symptoms that you can find in an epileptic dog are seizures, stiffening, twitching, drooling, tongue chewing, or even collapsing.

However, not all seizures are triggered by epilepsy as some dogs can experience seizures due to kidney failure, tumors, or brain traumas.

While almost fifty percent of dogs with cluster seizures die at the age of 7 or 8, puppies without constant epileptic seizures can live a longer life.

The treatment of epilepsy in dogs is mostly oral (Potassium Bromide syrup, or epilease capsules).

Patellar Luxation

Luxating patella in dogs represents a misalignment of a kneecap. This is not a fatal issue, but it can be extremely painful and unpleasant. Based on the severity of the condition, it is treated through physical therapy or surgery.

The recommendation for owners who have dogs with patellar luxation is to keep their weight within a normal ratio as well as to prevent them from excessive jumping or running.

Other symptoms related to luxating patella in dogs are skipping, bunny hopping, stiff gait, and dragging of the legs.


catahoula australian shepherd mix mutt dog
Photo from: @kayleigh.bc
1. How Big Does A Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix Get?

Generally, these dogs’ height revolves between 20 and 24 inches, while they weigh between 50 and 90 pounds.
Puppies with a dominant Catahoula gene tend to be bigger as Catahoula puppies can reach up to 90 pounds in weight. On the other hand, the Aussie growth chart is characterized by a 50 to 65 pound dog in weight.

2. Is A Catahoula Mix A Good Family Dog?

It depends on the mix. Generally, all Catahoula puppies are characterized by a certain dose of independence and stubbornness, which doesn’t put them on top of the list of the best family dogs in the world.

However, early-socialized and obedience-trained Catahoulas, as well as their mixes, can be extremely good companions as Catahoulas are generally known to be loyal and affectionate towards their owner.

Final Thoughts

The Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix, as rare as it is, is a great companion of sporting families and people with an active lifestyle. That said, you should avoid this breed if you’re looking for a lap dog or a lazier breed that enjoys laying around the house.

This is an extremely playful and active hybrid dog that enjoys being outside as well as having a spacious home. If you’re looking for an intuitive, playful, and working companion, then the Cur Aussie is the perfect puppy for you!

Read next: Is The Australian Shepherd Chihuahua Mix A Myth Or A Reality?