Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Blue Heeler: What Are Their Differences?

food for blue heelers
© WOLF AVNI/Shutterstock.com

Written by Jeremiah Wright

Updated: May 1, 2023

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The Catahoula Leopard Dog is native to Louisiana. It is a crossbreed between wolf-like dogs that Native Americans owned and dogs that Spanish and French settlers brought between the 16th and 18th centuries. Although their initial use was for rounding up feral cattle and pigs, these dogs demonstrate guarding and hunting abilities. 

Blue Heeler Dogs originated in Australia as a result of breeding a blue merle collie with a dingo. These dogs were bred to herd cattle. The Blue Heeler is a type of Australian Cattle Dog whose other variant is a Red Heeler. They are known for nibbling at cattle’s heels and will target a person’s heels in the same way. Hence the name “Heeler.”

It is difficult to tell these dog breeds apart at a glance. Their coats, height, and size can trick the eye. So it is imperative that we intentionally learn how to distinguish them.

Let’s take a detailed look at these differences, which will help you as a pet enthusiast or pet owner.

Comparing Catahoula Leopard Dogs vs Blue Heelers

Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Blue Heelers differ in appearance, coat, temperament, health issues, exercise, and training.
Catahoula Leopard DogBlue Heeler
Size22 – 26 inches
40-110 pounds
17 – 20 inches
33 – 49 pounds
CoatShort, smooth coatDense, Water Resistant
TemperamentProtective and adventurousAlert, Amiable, Devoted.
ColorsYellow, Red, Black, BrindleRed, Blue.
TrainabilityHard to train; requires short training sessionsEasy to train, quick learner
ExerciseRequires one or more walks a day and vigorous play in the yard.Requires at least an hour of play a day.
Health IssuesDeafness, eye problem, cancerHip dysplasia, Retinal atrophy
Life Expectancy 10-14 years13-15 Years
Energy levelsLow energy level as petsHigh energy level

The Key Differences Between Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Blue Heelers

The key differences between Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Blue Heelers are appearance, coat, temperament, health issues, exercise, and training.

The Catahoula Leopard is generally taller and bigger than the Blue Heeler, but the Blue Heeler demonstrates higher energy levels than the Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Both dog breeds are herding dogs, so they are similar in some aspects, like independence and intelligence. However, the Catahoula Leopard has an adventurous personality that makes it more independent than the Blue Heeler, which occasionally breaks out on its independent streak.

Let’s focus on the differences between these charming breeds of dogs.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Blue Heeler: Size and Height

food for blue heelers

The average height of a male Blue Heeler is 19 inches.

©WOLF AVNI/Shutterstock.com

At maturity, a Catahoula Leopard male weighs an average of 90 pounds, and the average female weighs 65 pounds. They are bigger than the Blue Heeler, which weighs 45 pounds on average for males and females at full maturity. The average height of a male Catahoula Leopard is 24 inches, and the average height of a female Catahoula Leopard is 20 inches. The average height of a male Blue Heeler is 19 inches, and the average height of a female Blue Heeler is 18 inches.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Blue Heeler: Coat

Catahoula leopard standing in garden

The Catahoula Leopard Dog has a merle coat with minimal grooming requirements.

©Eudyptula/Shutterstock.com

The Catahoula Leopard Dog has a merle coat with minimal grooming requirements. It is enough if you brush it weekly outside of the regular shedding season that occurs in early spring. Catahoulas are not as susceptible to skin problems as some other breeds but may experience allergic dermatitis due to flea bites or other stimuli.

The Blue Heeler has a dense coat because of the Australian environment and outdoor lifestyle. This breed’s water-resistant double layer keeps it dry in the rain, with the upper layer acting as a wick.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Blue Heeler: Temperament

Catahoula Leopards are intelligent, energetic, protective, and loyal dogs. As herding dogs, they demonstrate perfect behavior for their working background. However, they can adapt to family life. Catahoula Leopards have a lot of personalities and are sure to delight everyone they meet.

Blue Heelers are alert, amiable, and intensely devoted. They are not naturally aggressive, so they are a great fit for families with children. However, Blue Heelers have a terrible reputation for biting people when they feel threatened. They are known for nibbling at cattle’s heels and will target a person’s heels in the same way. As a result, proper training and socialization must begin at an early age.

Blue Heelers have wanderlust; they show a strong desire to see the world.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Blue Heeler: Health Issues

Catahoula leopard close up

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are susceptible to hip dysplasia later in their lifespan.

©Eudyptula/Shutterstock.com

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is usually healthy, for the most part, but has a few issues. Catahoula Leopard Dogs are susceptible to hip dysplasia later in their lifespan. They may also experience deafness, common in dogs with merle coats and blue eyes, thereby increasing their susceptibility. They are also prone to skin cancer and eye problems.

Some of the health issues that the Blue Heeler faces are progressive retinal atrophy, canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, deafness, and osteochondrosis dissecans.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Blue Heeler: Exercise

Cute Texas Blue Heeler puppy running in the park at sunset.

Blue Heelers have high energy levels, making them unsuitable for apartments.

©Chris Curtis/Shutterstock.com

Catahoula Leopards need to exercise well. They need large spaces for their exercise, so it is recommended that they live in a large house with yard space. They don’t like apartments and small spaces and usually become destructive when bored. These dogs need one or more walks a day or vigorous play in the yard for at least an hour daily. Fetch with balls or frisbees is perfect for this breed. Hiking and swimming are good ways of keeping them stimulated.

Blue Heelers are an energetic breed. They are working dogs that were bred to follow herds of sheep or cattle. They need space to stretch their legs because running through acres of fields is an important part of their work. These dogs need at least an hour of exercise daily. Their high energy levels make them unsuitable for apartments. They need yards and lots of outdoor space.

Catahoula Leopard Dog vs Blue Heeler: Training

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are independent. It thus makes them harder to train than other breeds of dogs. Socialization efforts make their training more effective. To reduce the risk of the dogs getting bored, we recommend that training sessions be short. And since they reach full maturity at two, owners must begin training and socialization efforts early.

Training is a relatively easy process for smart and quick-learning dogs. But something you must not forget is the independent streak they exhibit. They share this trait with Border Collies. As with any other lesson, these dogs are quick to catch on. Using treats during training helps make sure lessons are effective.

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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