Have you ever heard of the Mountain Cur dog breed? If not, no worries! You're in the right place to learn more. Although well-known to the American Kennel Club, this breed is relatively rare, and it's likely you have never seen one cross your path. Their numbers are beginning to increase, but carefully consider this breed's requirements prior to bringing one home.
Origin and History
The Mountain Cur was created by crossing the American Indian Dog with the Collie and German Shepherd. The Mountain Cur's origins are unknown, but they are thought to have descended from various European cur breeds. In addition to hunting, they were created to protect homes and livestock. In the mountains, they were swift and made wonderful companions.
They were developed to chase prey into a tree for the hunter, thus they instinctively "tree" wildlife. So, if you see this behavior, you'll know why. They were noted for catching prey in order to feed their families.
Due to their protective instincts and loving demeanor, early settlers and homesteaders relied on Mountain Curs extensively.
The Mountain Cur's coat comes in a variety of colors, including black, tan, brown, yellow, brindle, and black and brindle. They can also have white spots on their coats. Males weigh 30 to 60 pounds and stand 18 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder, and females stand 16 to 24 inches tall and weigh 30 to 60 pounds.
Approximately half are born without tails. Most are born with dewclaws on their hind feet, and some may even have two on each foot. They are a stocky, muscular breed with an affinity for running and hunting. They have dark eyes, a flat head, and short ears.
The Mountain Cur will provide complete protection for you and your family. They will defend not only their family, but also the area they consider their territory. This makes them apprehensive around outsiders, but after they get to know your friends and family, they will warmly welcome them.
They have a natural athleticism and like almost all outdoor activities. Mountain Curs thrive in a household where they can spend the majority of their time having adventures and roaming freely. As a result, they are not to best choice for those who live in apartments.
Their booming, fearsome bark is intimidating, but they make terrific family dogs and enjoy children. They can be overprotective of family members, particularly children, making early socialization essential for this breed.
This breed is difficult to train and is not recommended for first-time dog owners. Use positive reinforcement instead of punishment or scolding your dog during training, regardless of the type of instruction. It's also a good idea to do your training sessions after your dog has burned off some energy so that they can focus better.
The Mountain Cur requires exercise on and off throughout the day. There isn't a standard amount of time for this breed. That's why they tend to thrive on farms or in a home where they have access to a large yard or pasture-type area. They will peruse the perimeter of your property to ensure they are protecting their family and home.
Despite their fondness for the outdoors, this breed is not suggested for dog parks. They don't get along with other dogs, even when they are well socialized, because of their protective tendencies.
Mountain Curs have a reputation for being a healthy breed. Because this breed was carefully bred, they are not inclined to any serious health problems. Some health issues to remain aware of include:
- Fleas and tick infestations: This breed is frequently outdoors, so watching carefully for fleas and ticks is a must.
- Skin infections: The Mountain Cur has sensitive skin and bathing too much may lead to skin irritation.
- Ear infections: Their long, floppy ears can develop wax buildup, are prone to mites, and attract bacteria. These can lead to an infection and deafness if not treated quickly.
The Mountain Cur has a lifespan ranging from 14 to 16 years.
The Mountain Cur has a double coat, with a thick topcoat that protects them from the outdoors and a smooth undercoat that keeps them comfortable in the cold. They shed twice yearly, typically in the spring and fall. They require relatively little maintenance, despite their thick coat. Brush weekly to distribute oils and remove dead fur. Bathe them only when absolutely required to avoid stripping their coat of its natural oils.
Fun Facts About the Breed
This breed may appear to be the typical dog, but they are far from it. Interesting facts you may not be aware of include:
- The breed nearly went extinct after World War I and II.
- It is suspected the breed depicted in the book Old Yeller was a Mountain Cur.
- They are well known to be one of the healthiest dog breeds.
Purchasing or Adopting a Mountain Cur
If you're looking for a Mountain Cur puppy, a good place to start is the Mountain Cur Club of America. The AKC PuppyFinder page also has a breeder search. Expect to pay around $500 to $1,000, although higher-end show dogs from champion lines can cost as much as $3,000.
If you aren't set on a Cur of a certain age or a purebred dog, you can begin your search using the directories on PetFinder and Save-a-Rescue. You can also search the following breed-specific rescue organizations:
- Last Hope Animal Rescue: A nonprofit organization rescuing all dog breeds, including the Mountain Cur.
- Wright-Way Rescue: A rescue organization dedicated to rescuing the Mountain Cur, among other dog breeds.
Is this the Breed for You?
If you are looking for a dog that is energetic and protective, and you have a sufficient amount of space for them to roam, this could be the breed for you. If you are more sedentary or aren't home often, you should reconsider. The Mountain Cur requires a significant amount of exercise with plenty of space to roam and isn't suited for apartment living.