Indigenous to the Appalachian Mountains, this might just be the first distinct American purebred. Although they were at some point crossed with native dogs, this unique breed is a lot similar to the Indian Cur who is considered one of the Mountain Cur’s direct ancestors.
The modern Cur is still considered a traditional hunting dog to this day, despite the fact that only a small portion of those who get a Cur actually use it for hunting. Seeing how protective these dogs can be, they make excellent guard dogs and very loyal pets overall.
Bright and friendly around people they know, they tend to be very cautious of strangers and will go to extreme lengths to protect their family. That said, you need to understand that their hunting instincts will sometimes take over and that they may end up chasing small animals around if they see any.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Mountain Cur?
- Mountain Cur Personality & Temperament
- Caring for a Mountain Cur
- How To Train a Mountain Cur
- Quick Breed Summary Table
What Is A Mountain Cur?
Considered by many to be a dog of an early European origin, the fact that it was thoroughly mixed with Indian Cur and other native dogs near around the Appalachian Mountains makes it an American breed through and through.
In certain ways, the Mountain Cur shares certain similarities to many hunting hounds and terriers, primarily their excellent scenting ability along with a substantial chop. It also exhibits a remarkable versatility in regards to training and general-purpose, which is why many people used them as farm dogs throughout the years.
Interestingly enough, the breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and has been assigned under the Hound Group. This makes it a reputable breed by all standards, yet a type of dog that requires a fair bit of care and attention along with a lot of daily exercises.
The Mountain Cur is a medium-sized dog that possesses a typical hound appearance, meaning that it showcases a strong physique and hardy attitude. They also boast an impressive endurance and a powerful body composition to go with it.
These dogs have big brown eyes along with a broad, thick head with high set ears that drop to their faces when the dogs aren’t alert. Boasting a well-defined body type with long legs, these dogs are natural runners and love a good chance, be it in play or as part of a hunting effort.
Height & Weight
On average, the Mountain Cur grows between 16 to 26 inches in height, with males being a bit larger than females for the most part. In terms of weight, many if not most Curs can reach weights between 30 to 60 lbs provided that the dogs are well taken care of.
Due to their energetic nature, these dogs need to be exercised thoroughly as pups, or else they might not reach their fully developed, ideal body size as adults. As such, many consider these dogs rather high-maintenance as far as pets go, but a worthwhile investment if we are to believe those who actually own such interesting dogs.
Coat & Colors
For the most part, Mountain Curs come in a range of colors that include brindle, black, blue, brown, yellow, and red. At the same time, the dogs can possess different patterns that include white markings, tan points, or brindle points throughout the body.
As for the coat, it should be said that Curs can either have a short and rough coat or a smoother one depending on the parents’ genes. On a related note, bear in mind that these dogs shed lightly all through the year and heavily about twice a year during spring and fall.
Mountain Cur Personality & Temperament
Even though the Mountain Cur is a friendly companion for the most part, it can be a bit difficult to train and equally hard to socialize. In other words, this isn’t an easy dog to raise because of its independent personality.
Seeing how the dog has a history of protecting livestock, you can expect it to be very loyal and protective in the face of danger. Unfortunately, the dog isn’t always in a position to determine which threats are accurate and which are only perceived as such on account of its distrust for strangers.
Either way, if you take the time to properly and thoroughly train a Mountain Cur, you will likely gain a trusty friend and lovable companion with a heart of gold. If anything, these are some of the most fearless dogs out there, and it shows in the way they interact with their owners.
Mountain Cur Behavior
These dogs are rather suspicious by nature, so expect them to distrust strangers by default. Try as you may acclimate them to a more social position, you will quickly understand why people have mostly used these dogs for a more utilitarian purpose throughout the years.
This isn’t to say that the dog is aggressive or dangerous, it’s just that they prefer to avoid social situations and stick to their owners instead. In other words, they are victims of genetic heritage, the type of dog that will follow its instinct most of the time and only pick up on training cues if they fit into their pre-existing personality.
At the same time, let it be known that these dogs showcase a very strong prey drive and that they will often chase around small animals if they have the chance to do it. Seeing how they have been used as hunting dogs for hundreds of years, it kind of makes sense for them to behave this way.
Mountain Cur Temperament
Despite the dog’s physical strength and prey drive, they make remarkable companions in every sense of the word. Once they have taken a liking to your family, they will dedicate every hour of every day to protecting it from any perceived threat.
This is kind of great if you have older children who might otherwise find themselves in trouble more often than not, yet bear in mind that this requires a lot of emotional capital on your part. Furthermore, they will often engage in chase play with children and even initiate the activity if their exercising needs aren’t being met.
Considering the dog’s temperament, it would be fair to say that the Mountain Cur require a firm owner that can be dominant and confident in their interaction with the dog. If you are prepared to do that from day one, you won’t have any long-term issues with the dog whatsoever.
Is A Mountain Cur A Good Family Dog?
Even though these dogs are very loyal and protective, they aren’t exactly recommended for families with small children. Because of their strong prey instinct, they may end up hurting the children even if they’re playing around.
As unpredictable as they are, they can be socialized to behave reasonably well around children, but you’re going to need to put a lot of effort into it. The best way to do it is to give the dog the required attention from a very early age.
Caring for a Mountain Cur
Because of how energetic these dogs are, they love to go out for walks and/or engage in long exercising sessions. They also enjoy long regular walks, so if you have the time and resources to make that happen, you definitely should. I’ll be honest with you, it is my understanding that these dogs prefer the wild to urban environments so you might not have what it takes to care for a Mountain Cur if you live in an apartment building somewhere.
The fact that Mountain Curs are working dogs means that they require a lot of exercises. These active dogs need a lot of activity on a daily basis, be it in the form of play, walks, jogs, exercising, or any other form of physical activity.
If you are thinking about going camping or hiking somewhere, then, by all means, bring the dog along. Given how good their stamina is, they will jump on the opportunity to be out in nature, even if the weather is bad and the terrain is rough.
Grooming & Shedding
Because these dogs tend to have a fairly short coat, they don’t really require a lot of grooming, not like other breeds at least. In fact, they only shed heavily like twice a year during spring and fall, which is when you can dedicate more of your time to grooming them.
Also, remember that these dogs might lose their natural oils and suffer coat damage if you bathe them too often. What you want instead is to devise a system in which you only bathe them when they absolutely need it or when you return from a particularly dirty activity.
Feeding & Diet
Now, I’ve been going on and on about how energetic and active these dogs are, so as you can imagine, their appetite certainly reflects their energy levels. These dogs require lots of food on a daily basis, preferably divided into two meals.
As for the exact diet, look for food with lots of protein, as it contains the necessary amino acids their bodies need to turn into physical energy. On a related note, look for foods with Omega-3 among the ingredients as it will keep their coat looking shiny long-term.
Known Health Problems
Seeing how these dogs are rather heavy, they sometimes suffer from the same issues that plague all the big dogs. We’re talking here about skin irritations and infections, primarily ear infections which tend to occur on account of the dog’s large ears.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that they have easily irritable skin, which may cause them to develop a range of skin infections. You are advised in this regard to regularly clean the dog’s ears to avoid wax buildup as much as possible.
How To Train a Mountain Cur
Bear in mind that these are stubborn and headstrong dogs that tend to follow their instincts more than their owners’ instructions. This is a common trait of the breed, one that explains why such few people adopt Mountain Curs in the first place.
Because of their history, they are obedient and dependable once you develop a good relationship with them. As hard-working as they are, they love to please their owners and will go that extra mile to avoid causing the owner any distress if they can help it.
Try to distract them with a toy or treat every time you see the dog exhibiting their chase instincts, so as to avoid them chasing family pets or children. You should also socialize them with other people from an early age and give them treats every time they interact with a person in a calm and composed manner.
Quick Breed Summary Table
|Size||16 to 26 inches|
|Weight||30 to 60 lbs|
|Lifespan||10 to 14 years|
|Color||Black, brown, yellow, blue, or red|
|Coat||Usually short and rough|
|Shedding & Grooming||Twice a year during spring and fall|
|Temperament||Protective, loyal, and energetic|
|With Other Pets||Not great with other pets, especially smaller ones|
|People Skills||Tends to socialize primarily with the owners|
|With Children||Not that great with small children, yet very good with older ones|
|Exercise Needs||Requires regular exercise, at least 90 minutes on a daily basis|
|Food||Large protein-based meals twice a day|
|Known Health Problems||Irritable skin, ear infections|
All Things Considered
Considering how energetic and physically strong these dogs are, you can depend on them to always be happy to take part in any activity you may enjoy. As long as they have a chance to run around and even satisfy their primal instincts, you should have no problems whatsoever with owning a dog like this.
Loyal and protective around their family, these are perfect guard dogs by most standards, which explains why most of the people who get them live in rural environments. Not to say that you couldn’t care for such a dog in an apartment, although it may provide too expensive and time-consuming.
All in all, this is a perfect dog for anyone who lives an active lifestyle and wants a trusty companion to share it with. As long as you and your family give the dog the attention it requires, the dog will be more than happy to tag along with you no matter what you do.