The Mountain Cur is a wonderful dog, who is intensely energetic and fun. He is a workaholic who loves to hunt and chase small animals, particularly squirrels and racoons. He needs at least 90 minutes of intense exercise a day, otherwise he can become a destructive and worrisome dog. He needs a firm master who will train and socialize him adequately from a young age and he is very affectionate with his immediate family.
He is not suited to all families, but if he finds the right one, then he makes a brilliant family dog. The Mountain Cur is often confused with the Black Mouth Cur, and many people think that they are the same dog just with a different colored muzzle, but they are in fact a separate breed of dog and not to be confused.
For further information on the Black Mouth Cur, his dedicated club can be found here. In total, there are 16 Cur breeds. So, let’s take a closer look at the Mountain Cur, and explore whether this intensely superb dog is the one for you.
All that is really known of the Mountain Cur is that European immigrants, mainly believed to be from Spain, brought him to the Southeastern lands of America, and settled mainly around the Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia states, and as the saying goes, the rest is history! The Mountain Cur was used primarily as a hunting dog, and secondly as a guard dog, but he did both jobs equally well. However, the settlers had little interest or time to invest in the tracking and recording of the breed as they were more concerned with feeding their families and earning a living. However, in the 1950s when their numbers drastically declined, four breeders stepped in and, in 1957, created the Original Mountain Cur Breeders of America (OMCBA). The Mountain Cur was finally recognized as an official breed, and actions to preserve this beautifully rare breed were finally taken and still continue to this day.
There were originally 5 bloodlines of the Mountain Cur, which were the Arline, Ledbetter, McConnell, Stephens and York. The OMCBA, from the five bloodlines, developed a new bloodline and named them the Robert Kemmer Stock Mountain Curs. It was this bloodline that formed the foundations of the United Kennel Club (UKC) Mountain Cur. On occasion a breeder may well refer to their Mountain Curs by their bloodline name, but they are ultimately all the same.
The UKC has recognized the Mountain Cur as an official breed since 1998, but the American Kennel Club still does not, and as such Mountain Curs can only be registered with the UKC. Whilst they are becoming more popular than they once were thanks to the hard work of the OMCBA, they are still a relatively rare and unknown dog breed.
The Mountain Cur was originally bred to hunt small vermin, but he is most famously known for hunting squirrels and racoons. He is known as a treeing dog, who will chase animals up into the trees, enabling his master to shoot them. In the Southeastern American states, he is still the favored hunting dog due to his speed, barking signals and trainability. It goes without saying that this guy makes for a superb hunting dog, and he will always retain this innate instinct, so be prepared for him to chase small animals in the backyard or whilst out in public.
Whether the Mountain Cur is going to assist you with hunting or be a family companion dog, you are guaranteed to have a feisty and energetic pup on your hands. This little pocket rocket’s energy is boundless, and as such he is a very intense dog who needs a lot of exercise, mental stimulation and interaction with his pack, so this is something that any prospective family needs to be prepared to provide him with. If this is something you can provide him with, then he is a very fun dog to have around who will love to play all day long with his family.
The Mountain Cur is very loyal and protective of his family and estate, and again, this is something that any prospective owner should be aware of. He has a very loud bark and he will warn you of anyone trying to come onto the family estate, whether that be friend of foe, and for this reason he makes an exceptional guard dog. His master should always greet friends at the gate, so that the Mountain Cur knows that he is a friend. Over-protectiveness can be curtailed through training and early socialization.
Size & Appearance
The male and female Mountain Curs are medium sized dogs, who will measure between 16 to 26 inches from paw to shoulder, and will weigh between 30 and 60 pounds. He has tall and slender legs and has a general athletic appearance. The Mountain Cur is ever so slightly longer than he is tall, and this assists him with his powerful gait and hunting abilities.
The Mountain Cur has a strong and slightly arched neck that carries his broad skull that is flat at the top. He has medium sized ears that hang down either side of his jawline. He has large eyes that are always dark in color, and the eye rims will always match the color of his nose, usually black or very dark brown. He commonly has a straight and naturally docked tail, however on occasion this can be normal length.
For further and more detailed information about his appearance take a look at the UKC’s full breed standards.
Coat & Colors
The Mountain Cur has a double coat, with both layers being short in length and tight to his body. His coat can be either rough or smooth to the touch.
The Mountain Cur will enjoy the following coat colors: brown, brindle, blue, red, yellow, cream, blonde or buttermilk buckskin, which is a pale gold color. He can also be solid black in color, or black with brindle and tan markings across his body. He can also have white markings across his body, but according to his breed standards this should not cover more than one third of his body, otherwise he should be disqualified.
Exercise Requirements and Living Conditions
The Mountain Cur is a high energy dog who needs at least 90 minutes of exercise a day in order to fulfil his exercise needs. He is a working dog who ideally should be used as a hunting dog, or at least given a job to do at home, and he also makes an excellent jogging partner. If this guy does not get enough exercise, he will certainly let you know about it. Utter destruction and loud barking will soon become part of your everyday life should you not provide this guy with his exercise needs, so unless you can provide him with this you should consider getting another breed.
Because he is one of the most energetic canines in the world, he needs to be placed in a medium to large sized house, with access to a large backyard that is enclosed with reinforced fencing. He will not do well in apartments and he will certainly get cabin fever. Whilst he will enjoy a cuddle with his family in the evening, he will prefer to spend most of his time outdoors in the fresh air, looking for his next squirrel. Therefore, having access to a backyard is non-negotiable for the Mountain Cur.
Just be careful though, the Mountain Cur is intelligent enough to work out how to undo latches and open doors, so make sure that all latches are locked and secured. They are also known to be superb diggers, whether they have caught a scent or just bored, they will dig large holes very quickly, so this is another reason to ensure that they are well exercised.
They can make a great family dog, but only with a certain type of family. In addition to the above, he does not do well in a multi-pet household. Unless he is raised with them, there should be no other dogs in the house, for he will see them as competition or intruders to chase off his land. There should be no other animals such as cats or rodents, for he will hunt them, and they have been known to kill other family pets, so it’s a definite no on this front. For this reason, whilst some families with Mountain Curs report that they are fine with younger children, it is generally recommended that they are only suited to a family with older children, as he has been known not to accept younger children as part of the pack. Despite all of this, he is a loving family dog if he is placed with the right family.
The Mountain Cur is a superbly intelligent dog, who is also very eager to please his master, and it is this combination that makes him a dog owner’s dream when it comes to training. With that being said, he is an intense dog who is very strong-willed, and as such he must have an even stronger-willed master who will be firm with him. Mountain Curs need a pack leader, and if he feels that you are not up to the job then he will dismiss you entirely.
Mountain Curs are particularly known to dislike harsh training, so despite needing a firm leader, he needs a leader that is also tolerant and gentle with him. Positive reinforcement training is the only way to train this guy, and if he feels you are shouting at him for doing something wrong, he will probably sulk and hide from you.
Because the Mountain Cur is naturally protective of his family, obedience training is a must from a very early age. He needs to be socialized with as many other dogs as possible, of all shapes and sizes, as well as unfamiliar humans in their space. The more often you expose him to unfamiliar situations, the more confident he will become, and you will decrease the chances of him becoming too overprotective and aggressive.
Whilst the Mountain Cur has a superior nose and will track even the coldest of scents, his eagerness to please his master is even stronger, which is quite a unique and useful skill to have. This ability to switch off his nose is one of the main reasons why hunters choose him as a companion, simply because he is obedient and intelligent enough to listen to his master. Most other hunting dogs, like the Beagle or Bloodhound, do not have this unique ability. If you are going to be using the Mountain Cur as a hunting dog then you should train this skill into him from day one.
The Mountain Cur is a very healthy breed thanks to the actions of the OMCBA, who allowed responsible breeders to breed their dogs with one another, which significantly reduced, if not eliminated entirely, any inbreeding practices. The average lifespan of a Mountain Cur is around 16 years, which is quite an impressive lifespan for a dog of his size.
Generally, the only common health concerns reported are his propensity for deafness, which is often caused by the buildup of wax and mites in his long floppy ears. As long as his ears are monitored and cleaned every week, then this should not become an issue. The only other concern is skin allergies, which is often caused by exposure to water in humid environments. Again, if the Mountain Cur does come into contact with water, ensure that he is thoroughly dried afterwards.
Of course, this is not to say that he will not develop other health issues, but generally the Mountain Cur is one of the healthiest dog breeds in the world.
The Mountain Cur will consume around 2 cups of food a day, and because he is so intensely energetic, he should only be fed at least one hour before or after exercise, preferably across two meals, to avoid bloat. He should be fed high quality kibble that is aimed at medium sized high energy dogs, to ensure that he gets the calories and nutrients that he needs to sustain himself.
The Mountain Cur is a very easy dog to care for when it comes to his grooming needs. He does have a double coat, but both layers are very short and tight, and as such his shedding will not be as noticeable as most dogs. He will only require brushing once a week to keep him looking shiny and healthy, and to promote blood circulation.
He will only need a bath as and when he gets super dirty, and as such a bath once every two or three months will be adequate. If he gets dirty during hunting, then you can use doggy wipes or spray to keep him smelling fresh, and these can be bought from any pet store.
The average price of a Mountain Cur puppy is around $450. They can often sell for much more than this if they come from an award winning, or original bloodline.
The price of a puppy will also depend on where you live. If you live in the Southeastern states where the Mountain Cur is most popular, it may be cheaper to buy one as there will be a lot more breeders in that area, compared to the west coast where there are fewer.
If you have any questions about reputable breeders then the OMCBA is a great place to ask knowledgeable people.
As Family Pets
- The Mountain Cur needs to be placed with a very active family.
- You’ll want to provide him with at least 90 minutes of intense exercise every day.
- He will do well in a large home, and he must have access to a large and enclosed backyard.
- Unless raised with another dog, he should be the only pet in the household.
- There should definitely be no other animals such as cats or rodents.
- The Mountain Cur would be suited to a family with older children.
- The Mountain Cur is very loyal and protective of his family.
- He will enjoy a cuddle or two with his master at the end of a hard day’s work.
- The Mountain Cur is happiest when he has a job to do, such as hunting or agility courses.
- The Mountain Cur is not hypoallergenic, despite being a low shedder.
- He’s not suited to families with dog allergies.
Finding a Mountain Cur Breeder
Typing ‘Mountain Cur Breeders’ into any online search engine will generate results. This is often the easiest way to find breeders, but you also need to conduct thorough research into them by reading the reviews and meeting them and their puppies.
It is important to buy a Mountain Cur from a reputable breeder to ensure that they are just as healthy as they should be. An unscrupulous puppy mill might breed Mountain Curs with other breeds, or they may breed ill or unhealthy Mountain Curs that were cheap to buy, and as such their puppies will also be at risk of being unhealthy.
There are also dedicated social media groups, such as the United Mountain Cur Association, along with others, and these are also a great starting point to ask members for breeder recommendations.
Rescue & Shelters
The Mountain Cur Rescue organization keep their website up-to-date with adoptable Mountain Curs, and mixes, state by state.
Again, social media is used by many rescue centers who rely on word of mouth to advertise Mountain Curs who are seeking their forever home, so be sure to check out the above Facebook group and get in contact with other members.
The Mountain Cur is undoubtedly an intense dog who requires much more exercise, training, and attention than the average pup. He is not suited to every family, but he would make the perfect pet for the right family. If he ticks all your boxes, and you are sure you can tick all of his, then you will have a harmonious relationship that will last you many years.
So, whether you are seeking squirrel stew or just a protective and fun family addition, the Mountain Cur is a wonderful dog who would make an excellent family pet.