Catfish vs Dogfish: What’s The Differences

Catfish and dogfish are the two most common types of fish. Catfish live in warm-water environments, while dogfish live in colder habitats. Catfish generally have a wider body and a stubbier tail, while dogfish have slender bodies with a longer tail.

A catfish is a freshwater fish that can grow up to 12 inches long. They have smooth, scale less skin and a large mouth that they use to eat smaller fish. Dogfish are similar to catfish, but they are found in salt water. They are much larger than catfish, with some reaching over two feet long.

Besides, Their bodies share several similarities despite their visually dissimilar appearances. Both have two gills and a liver, and they have scales that can be removed to their fleshy insides.

In this article, we will be discussing the differences between these two fish and hopefully, we can help solve the mystery of which is better.

Catfish vs Dogfish

Catfish vs. Dogfish: What’s the Difference

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the difference between catfish and dogfish. While these two fish are both classified as types of flatfish, their appearances and behaviors can be quite different.

Here is a quick overview of the key differences between these two fish:


First catfishes may have evolved about 100 million years ago, while dogfishes may have emerged approximately 50 million years ago. Catfishes favor warm waters, while dogfishes can be found in both cold and warm waters. 

According to the law relating to the origin of the catfish and dogfish, scientists believe they originated in the Amazon River, while some other scientists believe they originated in Siberia. Regardless, these two species are among the most sought-after and fish on the planet.

The American catfish  was initially discovered along the Ohio. They were originally classified as a carp family member, but genetic sequencing has shown them to be related more closely to the Ictaluridae family of tropical and subtropical fish.

The dog shark is native to Europe, where its main populations inhabit the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea area.

Aquatic Habitat

The habitats of catfish and dogfish vary depending on the region they live in, but both species are typically found in slow moving waters with plenty of vegetation.

Catfish and dogfish are two of the most common types of fish in North America. Both of these fish live in habitats with a lot of aquatic vegetation. Their diets include a variety of aquatic invertebrates, small fish, and even other catfish and dogfish.

Catfish can be found in murky waters along with lakes and river channels. The dogfish, however, prefers to mix in high saline environments such as those of the sea and the Mediterranean.

Freshwater Catfish prefer lakes, streams, or large bodies of fresh or saltwater, while Marine Catfish generally inhabit ocean, river, or other bodies of water with a strong current.

The Dogfish is a relatively cold-blooded species of fish that occur in lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water with strong currents.

It has a long snout, which can make for a very harmful animal if not properly handled.

The catfish and dogfish are among the most popular fish species in North America. Both of these fish can survive well in natural habitats with plenty of aquatic vegetation.

Catfish are the only Ostariophys whose native region includes freshwater ecosystems in New Guinea, Madagascar, and Australia.

Catfish prefer to inhabit areas with plenty of cover, while dogfish prefer areas with a lot of structure. Both species eat a variety of prey, but their diet is mostly dominated by fish and invertebrates.

Dogfish prefer areas near the coast that have shallow, deep water. Some have been located to the depths of over 3,000 feet. Since they don’t swim in the open ocean, they generally hunt in the ocean for food.

Food Habit

Catfish are omnivores that feed from sea plants and smaller animals. They are also bigger shark species. Dogfish are predators that prey on fish and other sea creatures.

Catfish have a wide open mouth that makes it easy to consume their food and swallow it. Dogfish have small, powerful teeth that allow them to bite and crush its prey very quickly.

Like dogs, dogfish sharks adopt a savage method to their meals. They eat whatever they can get their teeth on, including other animals that are several times their own size.

They are known for their vibrant persona and as brutal predators. Newborn sharks are known to slay prey a couple of their own size.

Besides, different Catfish species have diverse feeding behaviors. The channel catfish and Blue Catfish feed mainly during the nighttime using their sensitive barbells and skin to locate prey.

They usually feed on the surface of water, but they may also feed at mid-depth and on the bottom. Major foods include aquatic insects, crayfish, and periwinkles.

Physical Appearance (Size & Shape)

Shape: Catfishes are different from other fish in that their scales are removed. A thick adipose fin, a fleshy, rayless posterior fin, and spines sprouting from the front of the pectoral and dorsal fins are among the catfish’s distinguishing features.

Some catfish possess spines that are only an inch or longer in length. Their body is completely covered with bony plates or consists completely of flexible, exposed flesh.

The body of the dogfish is thin and extremely elongated, with a flattened head. Its nose is long and slim, with a relatively pointed tip. Their eyes are of average size.

The pair of first dorsal fins is located right behind the pelvic fins between their bases, about midway between the pelvic and pectoral fin bases.

The dorsal fin located just behind the pelvic fins is 2-3 times the size of the first dorsal fin. The spiny dogfish’s dorsal surface is dark gray with brownish cast, with a lateral line of white markings extending from just below its pectoral fins from above to its pelvic fins on either side.

Size: The weight of a catfish depends on the type, with the average weight of a catfish falling between 2 and 140 kg. The average weight of a channel catfish is 14 kg.

Catfish tend to be larger than dogfish, with some reaching weights of up to 30 pounds. Dogfish, on the other hand, are typically much smaller, with the average size being around 2-3 pounds.

The dogfish also grows large; an averagely sized dogfish can weigh up to four pounds, with differences in their weight depending on their feeding patterns and habitat.

Barbell’s: Catfish have barbell’s on the front of their heads that they use to detect food and water temperature. Dogfish do not have barbells, but they do have one large eye in the center of their head.

Another difference is that catfish have smooth skin whereas dogfish have bumps on their skin. Finally, catfish have a single dorsal fin while dogfish have several smaller fins along their back.


Some common types include the Blue Catfish, channel catfish, and flathead catfish. There are also a variety of other smaller fish in this category as well. They are classified under the family name which is Ictaluridae.


Catfish have secluded lives, eking out a few more days of hibernation during the spring breeding season. They hid in caves, in the nooks, and beneath fallen trees during the day.

At night, they busily try to find food in multiple directions. Though they hide in holes during the day, they do not appear to remain in the same place for very long and often travel on a water system.

As only one of several shark species, dogfish have been known to travel in teams.

Along with lemon sharks, blue sharks, and hammerheads, dogfish will congregate and even hunt in packs.

These individuals have intensely curious behaviors and will get anything in their sight and feed on it.


Catfish undertake their relationships before the breeding season.

They cling to holes in or crevices, keeping them safe from enemies and the bad weather while preparing to lay their eggs. Clutches can have as many as 50,000 eggs.

After a few days, the male decides to leave the eggs and chases after the female. The eggs take anywhere from five to ten days to mature, and the male guards them from then on.

He also digs into the ground to stir food into something edible for the baby birds to eat.

On the other hand, Dogfish typically reproduce between the ages of 11 and 20.

They are oviparous, which means that they produce eggs within their own uterus and give birth liveborn.

Food Dish

While both catfish and dogfish are fish, they offer different types of food that can be enjoyed by humans. While catfish are lower in acidity, dogfish are higher in acidity and provide a more intense flavor.

If you’re looking for a unique and flavorful dish, catfish might be the better option for you. However, if you’re looking for a fish that is easier to prepare and has a firmer texture, dogfish may be the better option for you.

Conservation Challenges Facing Catfish and Dogfish

Catfish and dogfish are two of the most common types of fish in U.S. waters. They play a vital role in the food web, as well as providing recreational opportunities for anglers and boaters. However, these fish are also threatened by conservation challenges.

Overfishing is the main concern for catfish and dogfish populations. Fishing pressure can cause these fish to decline quickly, particularly if they are caught in commercially-important species such as red drum or spotted seatrout.

Dogfish populations have been particularly hard hit by overfishing, partly because they are easy to catch using gill nets and trawls.

Other threats to catfish and dogfish include habitat loss and degradation from pollution, coastal development, shipping lanes, and other forms of human activity.

Frequently Asked Question

What type of catfish is found in North America?

Catfishes are generally the most abundant sort of catfish in North America, but the piraiba is a specific species that’s native to the Mississippi River basin.

The piebald (lou-lou) catfish, Acadian catfish, and the alligator gar are only a few examples of species of fish that have high-profile names.

Where do catfish come from?

Catfish can be found in different types across the whole world, but Antarctica has no place for them. The noblest catfish in both freshwater and marine habitats are a great find for both scientists and aquariums.

What happens if a catfish stings you?

If a catfish pierces you, it will develop a red and swollen mark where its spines entered.

The spines from a dorsal fin and pectoral fin inject venom from liquid-filled sacs. The painted penetration site will heal in time but always wash the comforts off at once in warm water and soap.

Do catfish eat dead or live prey?

Catfish devour live fish. In fact, flathead catfish commonly consume live fish to the exclusion of any other taste or arrangement of them.

All catfish species are known to be predators and regarded as opportunistic feeders. Catfish will simply consume live fish as well as other types.

What do dogfish eat?

Dogs are opportunistic predators, and are driven by whatever is available. They prey on crustaceans, while large dogs are predators on most fish, including jellyfish, squid, schooling fish, dogs, cod, red hake, goosefish, sharks, seals, and orcas.

Final Words

In conclusion, the debate between catfish and dogfish is an interesting one, but in the end it comes down to preference. If you enjoy catching and eating fish, then a catfish would be the perfect choice for you.

On the other hand, if you are a dog lover then a dogfish would not be your ideal choice. Either way, both fish are delicious and can be enjoyed in different ways. So whatever your preference, there’s a good chance that you’ll love at least one of them.