This page is designed to illustrate what a Catahoula looks like and to provide general information about the breed. Proper breed identification is often a problem with Catahoulas. Many other breeds and crosses can superficially resemble Catahoulas and are frequently mistaken for Catahoulas or Catahoula mixes. Not all dogs with spotted coats and/or blue eyes are Catahoulas! Several breeds can exhibit the merle color pattern, including Australian Shepherds, Great Danes, Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Beaucerons, Leopard Curs, Corgis, and Dachshunds. Mixes involving one or more of the above breeds can also be merle. Blue eyes are prevalent in both merle coated breeds/crosses and white spotted breeds/crosses.

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Double Glass Eyes
One Glass Eye/One Brown Eye
Cracked Glass Eyes
Brown Eyes


Examples of Blue Leopard Coloration

Examples of Red Leopard Coloration

Examples of Patchwork Coloration

Examples of Solid Black Coloration

Examples of Solid Red Coloration

Examples of the Double Merle Pattern 

Photo Credits


The Catahoula is a medium-large dog. Typically, females are 20"-24" tall and males are 22"-26" tall at the withers. Weight may range from 40 to 100 lbs. The Catahoula has a very short, smooth, single coat which comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Common Catahoula colors include blue leopard, red leopard, patchwork, black, red, yellow, and brindle. Various amounts of tan, brindle, and/or white trim may also be present. The eyes may be any color or combination of colors.

The Catahoula is highly intelligent and very energetic. They need a lot of mental and physical stimulation in order to be happy. Catahoulas generally do not fare well in an urban setting. Catahoulas make excellent working dogs, excelling in herding, hunting, protection, and police work. They tend to be protective and territorial, guarding their home and family. For this reason, Catahoulas make excellent watch dogs. As a general rule, Catahoulas are not well-suited to novice owners. Experience with Catahoulas or other large and/or assertive breeds is a plus for prospective Catahoula owners.


Blue Leopard - Refers to the blue merle color pattern. Blue leopards are black dogs with the merle pattern. Blue leopards are some shade of grey with black patches scattered throughout the coat. Blue leopards may range from mostly grey to mostly black. Sometimes the terms "grey leopard" or "black leopard" are used.

Glass eyes - Refers to eyes which are blue or blue-white in color. Dogs with two glass eyes are often referred to as having "double glass eyes". Sometimes a glass eye will have darker colored sections in it and vice versa. When both colored and glass portions are present in the same eye, the eye is usually called "cracked glass" or "marbled glass".

Leopard - Refers to the merle color pattern. The merle pattern breaks up the dog's color, so that some hairs lack pigment. The overall effect is a dilution of color, with some unaffected patches of dense color scattered throughout the coat.

Patchwork - Refers to leopards with patches of several different shades in their coats. The background color may be white or very light, and the patches are usually large and scattered in such a way as to give a more torn or blotchy appearance than that of a typical leopard. This pattern is similar to the harlequin pattern seen in Great Danes. Patchworks may be blue/black based or red based.

Red Leopard - Refers to the red merle color pattern. Red leopards are red/liver/chocolate dogs with the merle pattern. Red leopards are some shade of light reddish-brown with darker red or brown patches scattered throughout the coat. Sometimes the terms "brown leopard" or "chocolate leopard" are used.

White - Usually, when a Catahoula is referred to as being "white", it means that the dog is primarily white with some areas of leopard coloration. White dogs are generally the result of being "double merle" (carrying two copies of the merle gene). White dogs often have hearing or vision problems.

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