I'm a lover of all things 'dog' (particularly the exploration of cross breeds - and just like to write about man's best friend.
When choosing a dog breed to have at home, one of the biggest challenges often stems from picking a breed that you can enjoy spending time around.
That is why so many people choose to go for the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix.
Uniquely interesting but still quite new as a dog breed, you will be getting a dog that is very much different to the normal breeds that you might have had your eye on.
Why, then, should you think about getting such a hybrid cross breed?
What makes it the right breed of dog for you when you want something particular and unique?
What Exactly is this Hybrid Cross Breed?
The Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is a dog that is the product of a relationship between a Catahoula and a German Shepherd.
The end result is a very interesting dog breed; the kind that instantly makes a very interesting impression on you.
When we think of dog mix breeds like these, we often think of dogs that are quite energetic.
After all, both of the parent breeds are dogs with a really interesting kind of personality.
One thing to note about any of this type of mix is that it will need you to be there to train it and to handle its personality from the earliest days.
Making an early impression is so important, as dogs like this tend to only learn when they are put in a position whereby they are given constant training and assistance with socialisation.
It’s for this reason that so many might find this particular mix of dog quite hard to spend any time with at first.
However, you must: it’s those early phases in the relationship that do everything to form the bond and relationship that you should have together.
Appearace - What Do They Look Like?
For one, you get a very interesting looking dog. Both of the parents are broadly similar, with a size range of 18-23” and 20-24” for the two parent dogs respectively.
At the same time, the heavier of the dogs – the larger Catahoula – will often be as much as 82lbs in weight.
Meanwhile, the Australian Shepherd can often grow to around 35-75lbs in weight.
As such, you can see that both dog breeds are not a million miles away from one another.
It’s for this reason that a lot of people are happy to have a Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix around the house: they are not too big to cause a major issue, but not small enough that they become a pint-sized pain in the neck.
For many people, the looks of these types of hybrid dogs are going to be very much random.
They might have more styles and looks of the Australian Shepherd.
Or, they might retain more of the physical style of the large Catahoula.
Whatever the look that you get, though, you will get a medium-sized dog with a relative amount of physical power.
The variety in the looks will be very much dependent on the dog, though; you could easily have two or even more of these type of dogs standing next to each other and have no idea they are related or really even the same type of cross.
Since it can be dependent on what parent wins the gene race, you can find that it’s often down to just genetics.
There is no reason why your Aussie Catahoula might have more looks from one parent over the other: it is just how breeding with dogs like this will work.
Either way, though, you will be left with a dog that is cute, adorable, and very easy to spend time around – and with.
Personality, Traits & Temperament
First off, you have to be aware that this is a dog that is friendly almost to a fault.
Expect a dog that is going to be all over you from the minute that you walk in the door – and likely around anyone else you don’t show aggression towards.
They will be quite wary of a stranger, often sizing them up to determine what they are dealing with ahead of time.
However, at the same time, they are never going to show that kind of fear: they are not shy dogs by any means.
Expect that this particular cross breed that does not hold back and is very open about itself – as soon as it gets beyond the awkward starting place, you might find it hard to get the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix to calm down!
That is one of the many reasons why we recommend that you look to give this dog as much positive reinforcement as you can from a young age.
Like all dogs, they respond well to praise – they respond even better than most, though.
That is why we recommend that you spend as much time trying to build that positive feeling with your dog as much as you can.
One thing that you might notice about this kind of breed is that they tend to enjoy spending a lot of time with you personally.
This can make them quite hard to be around if they have not seen you much, as they can become more than a little aggravated at not having had enough attention recently.
However, this makes them a dog that is great for families who are in the house a lot.
While they much prefer to be outdoors, the Aussie Catahoula will just love to be with you as much as anything else!
Feeding & Diet
A dog as unique as the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is going to be a dog that you should have checked out by a vet as soon as you can.
They are going to need a very particular diet, in part due to the numerous health concerns that can exist around such a breed of dog.
One thing that you should do is look to try and feed them raw meat, but you should be very particular about the kind of meat that you should feed it – and how much.
Cross breed dogs like a these will have no issue eating more or less anything that you put down in front of them.
As such, you should be seriously watching how much it is consuming; a dog like this can put on a lot of weight in a very short space of time.
Try and get it as much fish oil in its diet as you can – even through supplements – as well.
That is very useful as it produces a dog that is less likely to suffer from various problems, such as elbow and hip dysplasia.
So, keep that in mind moving forward.
Exercising & Fitness
Exercise for a dog like a Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix is going to be very important.
As you might imagine, this is a dog with a lot of spare energy.
As such, you should be looking to make sure that you get all of that energy used up – otherwise, you might end up with a dog that is not too happy to go to bed at night!
When a dog has a lot of energy left over, they can get destructive and these are dogs that are certainly no different.
It’s not so much about the intensity of the exercise, but the length.
Try and find local walking paths that you can take, and go the full length.
The longer that you are out of the house with your Catahoula Shepherd cross, the more likely it is that you get a dog that is going to be able to look after itself and enjoy its days when you are not present.
To make up for any lost time during the week, take your dog for the best walk possible on your days off.
Reward their patience and calmness with a much longer walk, and you should get a dog that – in the end – is a lot easier to spend time around.
Potential Problematic Health Issues
Like any other dog bred, the Catahoula Australian Shepherd mix can suffer from a series of health issues.
The main health issues that could be brought along to this kind of dog would include, but are not limited to:
· Issues with senses, such as a loss of vision and/or hearing.
· Inflammation of the bones, as well as hip and elbow dysplasia.
· Abnormalities in the jawbone, leading to underbites and pain when eating.
· Liver-related issues which could drastically lower its quality of life.
· Weight gain issues caused in part due to a dysfunctional thyroid.
All of these conditions are hard to spot, and harder still to treat.
We recommend that you look to strike up a good relationship with a local doctor or vet; this should help you to raise your mix without any of the usual issues.
The above health problems, though, need your vigilance and care to find and discover accordingly.
When trying to work out the life expectancy of mixed breed dogs it can be somewhat difficult as there is less information to go on and there is a bigger component of genetic interplay occurring.
What we can do this is look at both the parents individually and analyse their average life expectancy and combine them to take make a reasonable estimate of what a Catahoula Australian Shepherd Mix's life might look at.
So firstly, we know that for an Australian Shepherd their life ranges from around 13 years to 15 years, so if we take the mid range of that it looks at around 14 for the average Aussie Shepherd.
Then when we contrast that to a Catahoula they have a wider range of between 10 to 14 years. The mid level at that is about 12 years.
When it comes to working out the mix breed's life expectancy we can see that it will likely range between 12-14 years with 13 being the middle of that.
The range should be expected between 10-15 years, with 12 and 13 being the most likely ages.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2019 Harry Sheen