Even though breeding designer dogs is highly frowned upon by many animal welfare organizations, a lot of hybrids are still developed and produced because there are pet owners who prefer them over purebreds.
One excellent example of this is the Catahoula Aussie mix.
The Catahoula Aussie mix, as their name suggests, is a cross between a Catahoula Leopard and an Australian Shepherd. They are quite hard to identify since they closely resemble other Aussie mixes.
That being said, their unpredictability when it comes to appearance and temperament is something you should be prepared for before getting one from a breeder.
I highly suggest that you read this guide all throughout since this offers all you need to know about the Catahoula Aussie mix.
What Is a Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix?
A Catahoula Leopard Dog Australian Shepherd mix or Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is a hybrid between the Catahoula Leopard Dog and the Australian Shepherd — two breeds native to the United States and are known for their hunting and herding abilities.
They are also known as the Catahoula Aussie mix and the Catahoula Shepherd mix, though the latter may also refer to a Catahoula German Shepherd mix, which is a different cross altogether.
As of this day, not much is known about the history and origin of this crossbreed. The lack of documentation about where and when they were exactly developed can be attributed to their rarity.
All we know is that they are a fairly new hybrid that gained popularity at the turn of the century.
Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix Appearance: What Does a Catahoula Aussie Mix Look Like?
The Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is said to have been bred for abilities over appearance, which is why their looks vary.
They may take after their Catahoula Leopard parent or they can also look like an Australian Shepherd which is often the case.
We can’t also rule out the probability that they may have an equal combination of their parents’ looks due to their genetics. If there is something predictable about them, that is surely their unpredictability.
To illustrate, if the Catahoula Leopard gene is more dominant, the mix may result in a single-coated, short-haired dog like the one below:
If the dog leans more towards its Australian Shepherd heritage, there are higher chances of it sporting longer hair and a double coat. Refer to the picture below to see how a long-haired Catahoula mix looks:
Regardless of these factors, they will usually be multi-colored, with common color combinations being brindle, black-and-white, and brindle-and-white.
Apart from their colors, another distinct characteristic of a Catahoula Aussie mix is the shade of their eyes and the shape of their ears.
Their eyes are commonly pale blue, light brown, or even both because of heterochromia or the lack of melanin cells. Meanwhile, their ears are triangular, which are either erect or flopped forward and down.
Here is a Catahoula Aussie mix puppy if you still haven’t seen one in action:
Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix Size and Weight: How Big Do Catahoula Aussie Mixes Get?
The Catahoula Aussie mix is a medium to large-sized canine. Their height ranges anywhere between 15 and 25 inches, with male dogs being on the taller end.
There is a significant size and weight disparity between males and females, which makes identifying their gender easy just by looking at them.
Males are larger and can weigh between 60 and 80 pounds, while a healthy female will only be as heavy as 40 to 55 pounds.
As compared to their parent dogs, the size of a Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix falls in between.
Catahoula Leopard Dogs usually weigh 50 to 95 pounds and are 22 to 24 inches tall. Meanwhile, the weight of an Australian Shepherd is 40 to 65 pounds, and they stand at 18 to 23 inches.
Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix History and Origin: Where Do Catahoula Aussie Mixes Come From?
The Catahoula Aussie mix is a relatively new hybrid and is thus currently considered rare. Its exact origins are difficult to trace, but some details are easy to determine, especially when looking at its parent dog breeds.
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is native to the United States and is the state dog of Louisiana. This canine breed was named after either the Catahoula Lake or the Catahoula Parish.
They were developed to hunt wild hogs and boars, but they are also great working dogs.
Meanwhile, the Australian Shepherd, despite its name, has very little association with the land down under. It is also an American dog breed.
Most Catahoula Aussie mixes seem to be a product of accidental breeding since their parent breeds hail from similar areas and have similar herding and hunting abilities.
This is supported by the fact that a lot of Catahoula Aussie mixes are adopted from animal shelters rather than bought from breeders. They are also not yet recognized by any kennel clubs in the world.
Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix Temperament: Do They Make Good Family Dogs?
Like most hybrid dogs, the temperament of the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix may also depend on which parent breed it takes after.
Generally, a more aggressive personality may be credited to the dominant traits of the Catahoula Leopard Dog, but if they are trained and socialized properly, this won’t be a problem.
Catahoula Aussie mixes are fiercely loyal, family-oriented, and intelligent dogs. They tend to develop emotional attachments to humans easily but still want to be independent.
While they would make ideal domestic companions, make sure to supervise these dogs when there are small children or other pets around as they still belong to the herding breeds.
Since they get very protective of their humans, they would also be great guard dogs for your home.
With parent breeds that have been developed to work, the Catahoula Leopard Dog Australian Shepherd mix is likewise a diligent dog breed and will flourish in a home where they will be put to work, especially when it involves herding or hunting.
They pack a lot of energy, so owners need to commit to taking them out on frequent walks, or else they can get destructive. Proper socialization at a young age is also highly suggested.
Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix Lifespan and Health Issues: Are They Healthy Dogs?
Interestingly, the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix has a slightly longer lifespan than either of its parent breeds.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Catahoula Leopard Dog lives between 10 and 14 years while the Australian Shepherd’s life expectancy is between 12 and 15 years.
Meanwhile, Catahoula Aussie mixes can live up to 16 years old barring any accidents.
Although they are generally a healthy breed, their lifespan is dependent on any health problems that they may inherit from their parents.
Here are some health problems that are common to both breeds that they may pass on to their offspring:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Hip and elbow dysplasia is a genetic condition often seen in bigger dog breeds and is said to be the leading cause of arthritis in canines. This occurs during growth in which the hip joint and elbow are not formed properly and leads to degenerative joint disease and lameness.
- Epilepsy: Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in dogs, though the exact cause is usually hard to determine. Possible reasons include genetics, liver disease, kidney failure, or brain trauma. Australian Shepherds are especially prone to attacks so you can expect a Catahoula Aussie dog mix to acquire this ailment as well.
- Obesity: Obesity, which accounts for 20% or more body fat in excess, can lead to a multitude of other problems for your Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix like heart failure, diabetes, and mobility problems.
- Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation is a dislocated kneecap, often obvious with a dog running on three legs for a while or having a skip in its step. It can be treated with weight management, anti-inflammatory medications, or surgery, depending on the severity of the problem.
- Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV): Also known as canine bloat, GDV affects a lot of medium to large-sized dogs, especially those with deep chests. It can quickly become fatal when not caught in time. One of the easiest ways to prevent bloat is to feed dogs smaller meals several times a day rather than one big meal.
These health problems can be prevented if you pay enough attention to your dog.
Make sure you give them enough physical exercise and monitor if they are still on the average weight. Once they exhibit any symptoms of the health issues discussed above, bring them to the vet immediately.
Catahoula Aussie Mix Puppy Prices and Expenses: How Much Does a Catahoula Aussie Mix Cost?
Unlike other crossbreeds that cost a thousand dollars or more, Catahoula Aussie mixes are relatively cheaper.
You can get a Catahoula Aussie mix puppy at around $400 to $600, while high-quality ones are only a few dollars more expensive.
Aside from the cost of buying Catahoula Aussie puppies, you will also spend on purchasing some initial items that they can benefit from as they take their place in your home.
These include dog food, leash and collar, food and water bowl, chew toys, treats, crate, bed, brush, shampoo, and others.
Cumulatively, these initial items may run you around $300 to $400, but consider them as investments for your pet’s welfare.
Places to Find Catahoula Aussie Mixes for Sale or Adoption
Since most Catahoula Australian Shepherd mixes are the result of accidental breeding, there are very few listings of this specific hybrid for sale.
You may check out reputable breeders of Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Australian Shepherds separately since these two dogs are popular options for mixing with other breeds.
Here are some places to look for Catahoula Australian Shepherd mixes for sale:
- AKC Marketplace – Even though the American Kennel Club does not recognize this cross and other mixed breed dogs, you can try your luck by contacting the Catahoula Leopard or Australian Shepherd breeders who have posted their litters on the AKC Marketplace. Chances are, they are also breeding this cross from time to time.
- PuppyFinder – PuppyFinder is a search engine where one can find or advertise dogs, both purebred and mixed, in the United States. Their website is quite easy to navigate so you’ll surely be connected to a reputable breeder in no time.
- Lancaster Puppies – This is an online marketplace for puppies in Ohio, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, and other states. Like PuppyFinder, it connects pet enthusiasts to local and out-of-state breeders who offer various breeds and mixes.
If you weren’t able to find a pup from the places above, your best bet for finding a Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is through adoption and rescue centers.
This will cost you anywhere between $100 and $1,000 depending on the shelter, though the processing fees will often include medical necessities such as initial vaccinations and spaying or neutering.
Here are a few places to find Catahoula Aussie mixes for adoption:
- Adopt-a-Pet – This is probably the largest non-profit pet adoption website in North America. It also serves several rescues and shelters by advertising their adoptable dogs. Since the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is rarely bred and often occurs accidentally, you have a high chance of finding one of them here.
- Rescue Me! – Rescue Me! is another animal rescue network meant to advertise dogs that require new homes. You can check out the map they feature on their website to see the number of Catahoula mixes available per state.
- Catahoula Rescue of New England – As evident in this organization’s name, their main goal is to rescue Catahoulas who are either abandoned, neglected, or abused. Apart from purebreds, they also save Catahoula mixes including the Aussie mixed pup.
Want to ace your adoption application? Check out our ultimate dog adoption guide for some great tips!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Catahoula Aussie Mixes Shed?
In general, Catahoula Australian Shepherd mixes are moderate shedders, but it highly depends on which parent dog reed it takes the most after.
If a dog leans more towards the Catahoula Leopard Dog, shedding is minimal.
However, if it inherits more characteristics from the Australian Shepherd, it may have a double coat that will blow over twice a year — once to prepare for the warm summer months and another to protect them from the cold in winter.
Either way, the Catahoula Aussie mix should be kept well-groomed with regular brushing to manage the shedding and maintain their coats.
Do Catahoula Aussie Mixes Bark a Lot?
Catahoula Aussie mixes take after their parents with barking tendencies. Australian Shepherds are known to be major barkers, while Catahoula Leopard Dogs are only slightly less so.
This crossbreed will bark for numerous reasons, such as to alert you to something or to express boredom, especially since they are naturally curious and high-energy canines.
Are Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mixes Easy to Train?
The Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is an intelligent dog, but they may also be very stubborn. Training them will require patience as well as a strong and firm hand.
They do love a great mental challenge and are eager to please, so once you pique their interest and attention, it will be easier to give them proper training.
Also, do not forget to use positive reinforcement as this technique excites them to follow you more.
Final Thoughts: Is the Catahoula Aussie Mix the Right Dog for You?
The Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is certainly a very interesting dog. Its current rarity will guarantee that you will have a one-of-a-kind pet, but since not much is known about this dog breed yet, it is highly unpredictable in terms of looks and temperament.
Training is a must to keep them in control, especially if they inherited the Catahoula Leopard Dog’s aggressive nature.
They may be family-oriented, but they also have an independent streak. If you want a dog that is loyal to you but is not overly clingy, then a Catahoula Aussie mix will be a great pet for you.