Color...it’s one off the first features of a dog that our eye notices, it sets many breeds apart from others and in the case of the Catahoula, the coloring can be dramatic. Most often people, who are looking to purchase a Catahoula, whether for a companion or a working/hunting dog, prefer the more colorful dogs.....the leopards with glass eyes, the patched colors, with fancy white spots and trim. This is a basic fact that most breeders encounter. The solid pups (especially blacks) are usually the last to be sold, are sold for less, or are given away, maybe even culled at birth because the breeder knows that they will be difficult to place.
It is understandable why a person would be more interested in a leopard color then a solid, the reasoning being, that if you're going to be purchasing a Catahoula, for whatever reason, then you might as well have a fancy colored one.
However there is always a price to be paid when breeding for "fancy" color....the excessive white pups or the double merles, (the pup has received two merle genes; one from each parent) which are commonly referred to as "white leopards". These pups frequently have many undesirable health issues associated with them. They have a much greater chance of being deaf, in either one (unilateral deafness) or both ears (bilateral deafness); of having eye problems, which may appear as a young pup or later in life and become progressively worse; in severe cases they may be missing an eye all-together. They can often develop skin problems/mange.....all associated with the general lack of pigment that results when the dog has two "doses" of the merle gene.
Whenever a white pup is whelped, the breeder automatically hopes that the pup will not turn out to be deaf. Some breeders cull their white pups at birth, while others see the pup's coloring as a good selling feature and much easier to place then a solid colored littermate.
When two dogs are bred together the breeder must always keep in mind, what colored pups they are likely to have in the litter and how those colors may impact health.
For more detail on the coat color and pattern genetics in the breed see my book -
“Catahoula Coat Color Genetics - Painting The Canvas.”