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Catahoula Pitbull Mix – All You Need To Know

It seems that new dog breeds are popping up all the time, particularly designer breeds. The Catahoula Pitbull mix is a great example. In fact, you may have never heard of the breed before. Once you learn about them, you may fall in love with the unique mixed breed. 

History and Where the Catahoula Pitbull Mix comes from

Photo of a Catahoula Pitbull Mix
Photo of a Catahoula Pitbull Mix

The Catahoula Pitbull mix is a designer dog breed. The term designer breed is new, but the practice is as old as domesticated canines. In fact, many of today’s pure breeds were created through this process.  A designer dog is a mix of two pure breed dogs, which creates a new breed. 

The Catahoula Pitbull is  a mix of the Cathoula Leopard Dog and the American Pitull Terrier. It’s unclear exactly when and where the mix originated, which is common for designer breeds. 

However, the history of the parent breeds can tell us a lot about the breed. 

Catahoula Leopard Dog History 

The Catahoula Leopard Dog originated partly by chance, and partly through intentional breeding. Hernando DeSoto traveled to Louisiana, and brought “war dogs” with him. These war dogs were Greyhounds and Mastiffs. 

Eventually, he was defeated in his conquest, and left his dogs behind. It’s thought that Native Americans used red wolves as hunting companions during this time. However, they may have also used breeds from Asia or Europe. 

The dogs left by Desoto bred with the Native American canines. These dogs became known as “wolf dogs”. In the 1700s, the French came to the New World. They heard about the wealth of game in Louisiana, and brought their hunting dogs as well. This dog is what we know today as the Beauceron.

The French bred the Beauceron with the Native American wolf dog, and the Catahoula was born. The Catahoula is the only breed that originated in Louisiana.

There were originally 3 lines of the dog, each with their own size and coat colors. Today, these lines have been erased due to interbreeding. The former 3 lines are why the modern Catahoula can vary so much in color and size. 

They are also known as the Hog Dog, because they are used to hunt wild hogs. They are popular as ranch hands, because they are excellent herding dogs. They also function as watch dogs and guard dogs, as well as companion animals. 

The breed is well known in the deep south, and is the state dog of Louisiana. However, it’s not very common or well known in other areas of the U.S. 

Pitbull History 

The Pitbull has an unfortunate history. In the 1700-1800s, bull baiting was popular in England. An English Bulldog would take on a bull, and the event ended when the dog brought the bull down due to injury or exhaustion. 

In 1835, England outlawed the practice. Unfortunately, participants simply adjusted the game. They turned to ratting. A pit was dug, and rats were placed inside. Then dogs would be placed into the pit to kill the rats. Dog fighting also became popular during this time. 

The English Bulldog wasn’t well suited to these blood sports. A smaller, more agile dog was needed. The Bulldog was bred with Terriers. The resulting dog was muscular and agile, making it the perfect dog for ratting. 

Eventually, ratting and dog fighting were outlawed. However, dog fighting still occurs underground. The Pitbull found other diversions. It became a farm hand, guard dog, and even a nanny dog. Just like the Catahoula, it found its way into the hearts of many dog lovers. 

Catahoula Pitbull Mix Facts

The Catahoula Pitbull is also known as the Catahoula Pit, and Pithoula.  Catahoulas are a very intense breed. Pitbulls are energetic, but they have a more laid back personality. 

Both breeds are very protective and loyal to their family, and require a strong leader to be well behaved. 

Catahoula Pitbull Mix Appearance

Image of a Catahoula Pitbull Mix
Image of a Catahoula Pitbull Mix

The Catahoula Pit can vary greatly in appearance. Both parent breeds can range widely in size and coat colors. This is even more true for the Catahoula Pit. 

Even littermates can look very different from one another. the Pithoula is like a snowflake, no two look just alike. 

Mixed breeds will always have features from both parents. Generally, they will inherit more physical characteristics from one parent than the other. So, your dog may look more like a Catahoula, or more like a Pitbull, with some features of both breeds. 

There are some physical features common to both parent breeds. These will be common in all Pithoulas as well.  Both have a short smooth coat. Both have muscular bodies, and are sleekly shaped. These breeds have a large head, with the Pitbull being more square shaped. Both have a strong muzzle, and prominent floppy ears. 

Catahoula Pit Coat Colors

Both parent breeds come in a dazzling array of colors. Both parent breeds can be black, blue, chocolate, red, white, and tan or yellow. 

They can also have different patterns of colors. Both breeds can be brindle, which means they have a striped pattern. Both can be bi-color or tri-color, which means they have patches of two or three different colors. 

The Catahoula Leopard dog gets the leopard aspect of its name because it often has a merle coat. Merle means there are spots of one color, over a coat of a different color, similar to leopard spots. 

Pitbulls can be merle as well, but breeders do their best to avoid the pattern. They are stunning, but they are much more prone to deafness and blindness if they have the merle gene mutation. This is also a concern with the Catahoula. However, the AKC recognizes merle coloring in the Catahoula, so it’s an acceptable color. 

A Catahoula Pit can inherit any of these colors or patterns from their parents. Like the Catahoula, they can even have different color eyes.  

Catahoula Pitbull Mix Price and Expenses

Catahoula Pitbulls typically range between $400-$1,000. If you can find one at a shelter, you can expect to pay between $100-$500 for an adoption fee.

Pitbulls typically cost $500-$2,000. However, those with rare colors or prestigious bloodlines can cost from $5,000 to $20,000.  

Surprisingly, the Catahoula is very inexpensive, particularly for a pure breed. The average Catahoula price is $600 to $900, with those with a prestigious pedigree costing about $1,000. 

They are a rare breed outside of the deep south, but are common in Louisiana. One reason they are less expensive than other pure breeds is because hunters often breed the dogs, as well as use them while hunting. 

Pitahoula Ownership Expenses 

Purchasing a pup is only the first step. There are lots of costs that all dog owners will face. These include food, toys, bedding, and veterinary expenses. 

The average cost of dog ownership is $1,400-$2,000 for the first year. After that, you can expect to pay $1,000-$10,000 per year to keep your pooch happy and healthy. 

Catahoula Pitbull Mix Rarity

Picture of a Catahoula Pitbull Mix
Picture of a Catahoula Pitbull Mix

It’s difficult to say for certain how rare the Catahoula Pitbull mix is. It’s certainly rare outside of the deep south. In places like Lousidana, where Pitbulls and Catahoualas are common, the Catahoula Pit is more common as well. 

It’s also a new breed, which contributes to its rarity. It’s not very well known in most places. If it becomes more popular, it will be less rare as well. 

Catahoula Pitbull Mix Life Expectancy

The Pitahoula lives for an average of 10-15 years.  The Catahoula has an average life expectancy of 10-14 years. Pitbulls typically live 8-15 years, with more than a few exceeding 20 years old. 

The longevity of their parent breeds gives the Catahoula a fairly lengthy lifespan. 

Catahoula Pitbull Mix Size and weight

The Pitahoula is a medium to large size dog. They grow to 35-85 pounds, and 18-23 inches in height. 

The Catahoula weighs 40-90 pounds, and 20-24 inches in height. Pitbulls weigh 30-60 pounds, and reach 18-21 inches tall. 

These ranges give the Catahoula Pit a wide range of potential sizes. Both parent breeds can vary widely, so their offspring does as well. 

Catahoula Pitbull Mix Health

Mixed breeds are believed to have hybrid vigor, which can make them healthier than pure breed dogs. It’s thought that there is some truth to this, although all dogs can develop or inherit health problems. 

Some health issues must be inherited from both parents, while others can be inherited from just one parent. 

The Catahoula Pitbull is a healthy breed, but they are prone to a few health problems. 

Hip Dysplasia 

Large or medium breeds have a higher risk of hip dysplasia, and this is a concern for the Pitahoula. Genetic testing can reveal the risk of the condition. However, a healthy diet and exercise can reduce the risk.

Hip dysplasia occurs when the ligaments around the hips are too loose. The hip doesn’t stay in place properly. This can cause pain and a limited range of motion. 


Deafness is a concern for both parent breeds. It’s more common if they are merle, but it can occur in other colors as well. A Catahoula Pit typically inherits deafness from birth, and can be deaf in one or both ears. 

Eye Problems 

Eye problems are common in both parent breeds, and the Pitahoula as well. Catahoulas are prone to cataracts. This causes an opaque film to form over the eyes, which affects their vision. 

Pitbulls are prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). This disease causes the eyes to go blind, typically around 2 or 3 years old. 

Skin Allergies 

Skin allergies are another problem that the Pitahoula may have. These allergies are common in Pitbulls. They can be caused by food, the environment, or touching things they are allergic to. 

Common symptoms include frequent itching, scratching or licking, and hair loss. They may also develop a rash or skin lesions. 


Bloat can happen to any dog, but large or barrel chested breeds are at a higher risk than other breeds. Bloat occurs when the gas in the stomach can’t be released. 

Digestion of food causes gas to build in the stomach. Under normal circumstances, this gas is released by farting or burping. 

When the gas can’t be released, the stomach will swell. The dog will experience intense pain. They will retch or gag, but won’t be able to vomit. They may also not be able to pee or poop. 

If it isn’t treated, it can cause the stomach to twist. This can be fatal. Bloat can cause death within hours of symptoms beginning if it’s not treated. 


Obesity can also occur in any breed. Pitbulls are prone to obesity because they love to eat, and aren’t picky eaters. In fact, half of dogs in the US are overweight or obese, which causes a range of health problems, just as it does in humans.  

Obesity can be more difficult to spot in breeds like the Catahoula Pit, and their parent breeds. Their bodies are designed to be sleek, lean, and muscular. 

If they become overweight, it’s not always very noticeable. You may think they’ve simply “filled out”. 

Catahoula Pitbull Mix Behavior/Characteristics/Temperament

The Catahoula Pit has a sweet temperament, and is gentle with family members. However, they can be wary of strangers, or chase other dogs or pets if not properly socialized. 

They require a strong pack leader. They need someone with confident authority to let them know their place in the pack. Without it, they will have behavioral issues. 

They don’t like being left alone for long periods of time. They may have separation anxiety, or become bored without frequent attention. 

Are Catahoula Pits Aggressive? 

No, the Pitahoula isn’t aggressive. The American Temperament Test can help you understand their temperament. The test measures aggression, friendliness, and other aspects of personality. 

86% of Pitbulls pass the test. 78% of Catahoulas get a passing grade. For comparison, 85% of German shepherds, and only 70% of Chihuahuas pass the test. 

As long as they are properly trained and socialized, you don’t have to worry about your Catahoula Pit being aggressive. 

How to care for a Catahoula Pitbull Mix

Before you get a Pitahoula of your own, it’s important to know how to care for them. Proper diet, exercise, and grooming are very important for your dog’s health and well being.

How much exercise do Catahoula Pitbull Mixes need?

Both parent breeds are energetic, and have a high need for exercise. The Catahoula is typically a bit more energetic than the Pitbull. Your Catahoula Pitbull will require at least 1 hour, and preferable 1 1/2 to 2 hours, of exercise each day. 

They also need intense exercise. A leisurely stroll is fine for some breeds, but not for the Pitahoula. A brisk walk or hike, jogging, swimming, and even obstacle courses are great ways to provide physical activity. 

Both parent breeds are also highly intelligent. This means they need plenty of mental activity as well. This is just as important for the Catahoula Pit as physical exercise. 

Teaching them commands, giving them a job to do, and playing games with them are great ways to provide mental exercise. You can also use puzzle toys and even tv shows designed for dogs, but these things can’t replace the activities the two of you do together. They should provide entertainment during times when you can’t. 

If they don’t get enough exercise, you can expect behavioral problems. They will get bored and need to release their energy somehow. They ways they choose may include eating your favorite shoes, or barking excessively. 

Do Catahoula Pitbull Mixes shed a lot?

Catahoula Pitbulls, like their parents,  do shed year round, but they only shed a small amount of hair. 

You won’t have to worry about getting dog hair everywhere, as long as you brush them occasionally. 

Do you need to groom Catahoula Pitbull mixes often?

Catahoula Pitbulls don’t require a lot of grooming. They do need to be brushed at least once a week. Twice a week is ideal. Brushing only takes  a few minutes because they have a short coat. 

Brushing removes dirt and distributes the oils through their coat. Regular brushing can reduce the need for baths. 

They do need a bath at least once a month. You shouldn’t bathe them more often than once a week, because of their sensitive skin. Use products designed for dog with sensitive skin.   

Do you need to train Catahoula Pitbull Mixes a lot?

Some Pitahoulas are easy to train, and some are more difficult. They are intelligent, which means they are able to pick up on things easily. They will quickly be able to understand your rules and commands. However, they may not always want to obey. 

Pitbulls are typically very eager to please, and are happy to follow your commands. Catahoulas, however, can be very stubborn and strong willed. This is typical for hunting dogs, who need to be able to make decisions independently on the hunt. 

Training your Catahoula Pit requires a firm but gentle hand. You must establish yourself as leader of the pack. If not, you will have a difficult time controlling them. 

Being the alpha doesn’t mean using violence, however. Never use violence or negative reinforcement when training. Use positive reinforcement, and stay calm during training sessions. 

Socialization is very important as well. Both parent breeds are highly protective, with Catahoulas being great guard dogs. Pitbulls don’t mind strange humans, but they may attack strange dogs or other animals without socialization. 

Socialize your pooch early, with both people and animals. They must know how to interact with strangers, and when they need to protect you. 

Catahoula Pitbull Mix Diet

A Catahoula Pitbull mix needs a food that is high quality and has lots of protein. A high protein dry food is the most convenient option. 

Puppies should be fed 3 times a day. Once they reach 1 year old, you can feed them twice a day. 

Free feeding isn’t recommended, because they tend to overeat. Instead, feed them based on their weight. 

Are Catahoula Pitbull Mixes good family pets?

Yes, Catahoula Pits can be a great family pet. They are very loyal, gentle, and affectionate with loved ones. 

Because they are fairly large and energetic dogs, they may not be the best choice for young children. However, with proper training and exercise, this isn’t an issue. 

They need lots of attention and companionship, which makes them family friendly. More family members means there are more individuals to interact with them. 

Their high energy level, combined with their gentle temperament, also makes them suitable for families. They can play with children, providing exercise for both. 

The most important aspect of having a Pitahoula for a family pet is that they must be properly trained. 

How do you buy a Catahoula Pitbull Mix?

You can buy a Catahoula Pitbull from a breeder, or adopt one from a shelter. 

Adopting a Catahoula Pitbull mix

Pitbulls are common in shelters, and Catahoulas are common in the deep south, so you may also find a Pitahoula in a shelter. You can also check breed specific rescues, like the Blackjack Animal Rescue. 

Purchasing a Catahoula Pit from a Breeder 

You can find Catahoula Pit breeders through an internet search. However, you’ll need to be sure they are reputable. 

You should ask the breeder how they ensure the health of their dogs and puppies. Do they test the parents for genetic disorders before breeding? Do the puppies have a health certificate? 

Ethical breeders will put the health and temperament of the dogs above all. They will not breed dogs with temperament or health issues, no matter how beautiful the puppies might be. 

Unethical breeders are only concerned with profit. They aren’t concerned about the health of the dogs or the breed. 

Catahoulas can be AKC registered. This is a good indication the breeder is ethical. However, unregistered dogs doesn’t indicate a bad breeder. Catahoula Pits can’t be registered, so registration isn’t a huge benefit in this case. 

Lastly, you should visit the home of the dogs when possible. This will allow you to meet the parents, and the puppies before you buy. The living conditions of the dogs can tell you a lot about the breeder.