The Catahoula Bulldog is a more recent breed that has resulted in the crossing of the Catahoula Leopard Dog and American Pit Bull Terrier. This is a breed considered to still be in development much like that of the American Bully. Because of this a more formal standard has not been derived as the breed is still undergoing a stabilization in its looks and traits.
Since 2005 when the UKC and ADBA stopped registering purebred Merle Pit Bulls many of the Merle Pit Bulls have been falsely registered as Catahoula Bulldogs. For the Merle Pit Bull owner that found themselves alienated by the recent changes in the Pit Bull conformation standard by the ADBA and UKC many felt they had no alternative but to give into the pressure and propaganda and thus register their Merle Pit Bulls as such. Unfortunately while this did not really effect the Catahoula Bulldog as a breed since it is still in development and was founded on the Pit Bull anyway this did effect the historical nature of the purebred Merle Pit Bull as it gave a false err of belief to those that made the claim that the Merle Pit Bull was not pure to the breed and often used statements in ignorance or bias that the Catahoula Bulldog was evidence the Merle Pit Bull was not pure. Most such statements came from hearsay without any true research on the part of those making the claims. Because the UKC and ADBA would not show older published versions of their original standards that did include the acceptance of Merle this seemed to back up the erroneous claim much to the delight of those that wished it removed simply due to their own bias.
Deafness has been reported in the purebred Catahoula Bulldog as well as other breeds that contain the Merle gene. In most cases this can be attributed to specimens that are primarily white as this is an indication of lack of melanin that also contributes to the auditory development of a dog. Other significant factors that lead to deafness are lack of genetic diversity perpetuated by irresponsible inbreeding. It is important to understand the effects genetics have when breeding especially when it comes to Merle genetics. While the Merle genetic trait has been reported to have been found this has later proven to be false and as of yet there still remains no test that can accurately identify it. Because of the known links to deafness that high levels of white and inbreeding has however proven those who do choose to breed Merle should take precaution and breed in such a way the limits inbreeding effect and also breed to darker specimens to insure higher levels of melanin. When properly bred this and other breeds that are affected by Merle genetics have not proven to have any higher risk of deafness of or negative health impacts than any other breed.
It is also often theorized that breeding Merle to Merle can cause increase risk of negative health impact. Specimens that have been bred this way and do show negative health effects have not been properly researched enough to determine if it has been the Merle to Merle breeding or if other factors such as high degrees of inbreeding or high levels of white are more directly attributed to the negative health impacts. In our own research when inbreeding has been limited and primary whites excluded in breeding then there has been no increase in the level of deafness or other negative health effects often theorized about Merle breedings. Some believe it is unethical to breed in such a manner, but others claim that they have had great success in such breeding when they did control other factors such as insuring proper genetic diversity and only breeding to darker colors. While no conclusive well reviewed evidence has been developed against such breedings anyone considering such should take great care and first take their time to understand the Merle trait in greater detail and then if they do decide to move forward with such breeding should seek to eliminate or reduce other risk factors as much as possible. In the end this is a breeder beware scenario as a bad litter can lead to the need to cull pups in order for them not to add to an unwanted pet population.
Other breeds that have and continue influenced the development of the Catahoula Bulldog's development are the American Bulldog, which is also a cross of the American Pit Bull Terrier and Boxer and American Bully, which is also a breed in development.
This breed finds its greatest acceptance in Texas and Louisiana due to its great wild boar hunting prowess and the need in these areas to use such a breed to limit the population of wild hogs.
Because the breed shares much of the same history as other molosser breeds it is not a surprise that it bears a strong resemblance to the American Pit Bull Terrier. As such this breed can be considered a good candidate in the now developing American Bully breed.