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Mountain Cur

Joel
Writer: Joel
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Updated on: April 24, 2021
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Mountain Curs are hunting dogs. They are a distinguished breed known for their intelligence and their high trainability. They love human contact and make fantastic companions and hunting dogs.

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These dogs have been a part of American families since frontier time. Settlers to the southern mountain area relied on these dogs to help them survive, from guarding livestock to deterring intruders to helping with hunting wild game. Many frontiersmen lived off of the proceeds from the furs they sold after a successful hunt with their Mountain Cur.

Mountain Curs were officially declared a breed in 1957. There are several variations of the breed, including Arline, Stephens, McConnell, Ledbetter, and York.

Trainability

Mountain Curs are highly trainable, but some tend toward stubbornness. They crave the work and do best when they have a well-defined job. They are sporting dogs that are most easily trained when the trainer has a strong pack leader mentality.

There was a time when Mountain Curs were known as “all-purpose” dogs because of how versatile they are. These dogs can be trained to do just about any task. They respond best to positive reinforcement in training. They love to please their people and will work hard for praise.

It’s important to socialize this breed young and work with them consistently.


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Temperament

Mountain Curs fit well into families of all sizes and are friendly with people once they get to know them. However, they view small pets as prey. They make good guard dogs and work hard to protect their families and their resources. Most MCs prefer to spend as much time as possible outside and require a lot of outdoor space where they can be off-leash. These are high-energy dogs that love to burn off energy running around a large backyard with children.

This breed is known for its tendency to be strong-willed and stubborn, so they usually aren’t the right breed for first-time dog owners. The sooner you begin training the better. Owners must establish that their Mountain Cur is not the leader in the relationship. Consistent obedience training when they are young makes for a well-behaved, loyal, and well-trained dog.

Despite their large appearance and intimidating bark, they are great with kids. They can be overprotective of children in their family, so make sure you set clear boundaries and help them understand their role. The more people they are exposed to as a pup the better.

Appearance & Care

The Mountain Cur has a muscular body. He looks tough and rugged, which makes him an intimidating guard dog. This is another reason why it’s so important to work on training and ensure that both dogs and people in the family understand boundaries.  

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This breed requires a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation on a daily basis. Bored or underworked Mountain Curs tend to be destructive. They are very manageable dogs if they get enough activity.

Mountain Curs were originally bred to work and that work ethic has stuck with them over the decades. They love jogging, hiking, hunting, and all kinds of sports. They are devoted dogs but expect you to do your part to keep them active. They make great farm dogs and happily patrol and protect livestock.

Mountain Curs do not make good dog park attendees. They tend to be skeptical of other dogs, even if they’ve been socialized as puppies. They do better in their own space and are happier and feel safer when they are the lone dog.

Appearance

Mountain Curs are tan, black, brown, brindle, yellow, or black and brindle. Some have white on their coats.

They have large muscular bodies that stay slim and athletic. They have square heads with stocky ears that perch atop their heads. They tend to have slight variations in their appearance based on which breeding line they are a part of.

Grooming

Another important aspect of their care needs is their dental hygiene and nail care. Ideally, owners brush their Cur’s teeth at least twice a week, if not daily. Their nails need once-a-month trims unless they spend a significant amount of time walking on concrete. They do not require a lot of grooming for their coat.

They shed two times a year and are not hypoallergenic. Aside from their dental health, they need minimal grooming, but you’ll want to brush them about once a week. Bathing is only needed when they’ve gotten into dirt or something that smells bad. The breed is prone to sensitive skin, so the less you bath the better since water and shampoo tend to be drying to their skin.

Curs have a double coat with a thick topcoat. Their hair is short. Occasionally brushing with a shedding comb is all that’s needed to remove dead, loose hair, especially during shedding season.

Health

Mountain Curs are a relatively healthy breed with an average lifespan of 14 to 16 years. One of the reasons their breed is so healthy is because there’s been very little inbreeding in their lineage. They face fewer health problems than other purebred dogs.

Some Curs have problems with deafness. They have long, soft ears, which tend to develop wax and serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and mites. This puts them at risk of ear infections, which can eventually lead to deafness.

Mountain Curs also have very sensitive skin and are prone to allergies. This is why it’s important to bathe them as infrequently as possible. Skin problems are exacerbated when they live in a humid environment. Their skin tends to be dry, so if you must bathe your pet, use a moisturizing shampoo designed for sensitive skin.

Occasionally, Mountain Curs develop bone problems or epilepsy. If you have concerns about your dog’s health, speak to your vet about potential problems. Providing your dog with a healthy diet and plenty of physical activity ensures your dog lives as healthy a life as possible.

How Do I Know If I Have a Mountain Cur?

Like all purebred dogs, the only way to know for sure that your dog is a Mountain Cur is to do a DNA test. Even if your dog is a mix of different breeds, the test should show what percentage of his breed is Mountain Cur.

If you prefer not to do a DNA test or you want more than one assessment tool, you can also analyze your dog’s appearance and temperament. Chances are if your dog looks like a Mountain Cur and has the predatory instinct and active demeanor, he’s at least part Mountain Cur. However, many breeds are similar, so the only way to know for sure is to analyze your pet’s genetic lineage. Mountain Curs also descend from one of five different breeding lines, so their appearance isn’t always the best way to evaluate your dog’s breed.


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Resources +

“Mountain Cur Dog Breed Information.” American Kennel Club, www.akc.org/dog-breeds/mountain-cur/.

“American Kennel Club.” American Kennel Club, 2017, www.akc.org/dog-breeds/working/.

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