Energetic, fearless, and strong, the Black Mouth Cur is valued as an all-around working dog bred to help farmers and hunters in the rugged terrain of the southeastern United States.
The breed can herd livestock, protect the home, and track game; although, these dogs also have a sensitive side that doesn’t respond well to harsh rebukes or punishment.
The Black Mouth Cur loves being around humans and family and is great with children. However, their high exercise needs make this breed a poor choice for novice owners or those who can’t keep up with a demanding energy level. Their tendency to play rough may also not be best for very young children.
Black Mouth Curs mostly live in the United States and are a bit rare in other parts of the world. If you want to bring home one of these strong-yet-sensitive, energetic, family-friendly dogs, check out our adoption page where you can search for dogs near you by breed.
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash like this one in public!
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool here!
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Working DogsHeight:16 to 25 inchesWeight:40 to 95 poundsLife Span:12 to 18 years
More About This Breed
The Black Mouth Cur, named for the characteristic black color that usually covers their lips and muzzle, is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, nor is any dog with “cur” in its name.
Despite this fact, they’re a purebred dog that hails from the southeastern United States where they were bred to be an all-around working dog capable of protecting their human family, and the United Kennel Club recognizes the Black Mouth Cur as a purebred scenthound.
These dogs are known for their courage, loyalty, and strength, though they are also quite sensitive and are highly intuitive when it comes to knowing how their humans are feeling.
The Black Mouth Cur requires an experienced owner with a Goldilocks approach to training. Owners must be firm, but not overly punitive or harsh to find a balance that is just right. These dogs have high exercise needs and do best with a large yard where they can run in addition to being provided with at least one long walk per day, lest they become bored and destructive in the home.
They interact well with people and other dogs, though they are highly territorial and may respond aggressively to perceived intruders or threats to their family. It is important to start socialization training early to make sure Black Mouth Curs behave and remain non-aggressive.
- This is a working dog who’s comfortable as a hunting companion, a livestock herder, and a home protector.
- Black Mouth Curs have minimal grooming needs and shed moderately. One brushing per week should get the job done.
- The breed is incredibly loyal to their human family, especially children, though their tendency to play rough may make them ill suited for very young children.
- There are several different breeders of Black Mouth Curs who may produce differences in size, coat, and personality traits.
- Black Mouth Curs require a trainer who is able to maintain a firm hand, but these dogs are highly sensitive and do not respond to harsh rebukes. Training sessions should be thorough and productive, yet short enough to keep the dog’s attention. This breed is not the best choice for inexperienced owners.
- The Black Mouth Cur is energetic and requires a yard to run and burn off energy, as well as a bare minimum of one long walk per day. Anything less may result in boredom and destructive behavior. Black Mouth Curs are not apartment dogs.
- Black Mouth Curs are considered to be generally healthy dogs and are less prone to several of the conditions that plague other purebreds, though they do have some genetic predispositions that owners should be aware of and watch out for.
- In the novel Old Yeller, the titular dog is a Black Mouth Cur, though the dog who played Old Yeller in the 1957 film adaptation was a Labrador Retriever and Mastiff mix named Spike.
The origin of the Black Mouth Cur breed is somewhat of a mystery, but what is known is that the breed originated in the American south, most likely in Mississippi or Tennessee.
This breed is probably descended from European and Asian cur dogs who were brought to North America and used by pioneers and settlers who hunted and farmed the land from Florida to Texas. They needed a farm dog who could help them herd livestock and hunt in the rugged terrain of the region, as well as ward off dangerous wildlife.
The Black Mouth Cur played a major role in the settling of the American frontier, and some claim that westward expansion by European settlers wouldn’t have been possible without the breed.
During those times, curs were crossbred with other dogs as needed, and record keeping on which breeds were used wasn’t of great importance. The lack of records contributes to the unknown specifics when it comes to the origin of the Black Mouth Cur.
Some speculate that English Mastiffs, brought to America from Europe as early as the Mayflower voyage to Plymouth in 1621, played a part in the Back Mouth Cur’s ancestry. Whatever the case may be, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when purebred Black Mouth Curs first appeared, and even today, there is variation in the breed based on the region and specific breeder who produces them.
Still, they are considered to be purebred dogs, as modern Black Mouth Curs are usually only intentionally bred with other Black Mouth Curs.
The Ladner family in southern Mississippi has bred Black Mouth Curs for over 100 years and may be the most well-known breeder of these dogs. Other variations include the Alabama Black Mouth Cur, known for their red coloration, and the Florida Black Mouth Cur, recognizable by their yellow coat.
All of these variations have made it difficult to establish breed standards, which is why several kennel clubs do not recognize the breed, including the American Kennel Club. The United Kennel Club, however, registered the Black Mouth Cur in 1998, and they now appear in the show ring.
The most famous Black Mouth Cur is the titular dog in the novel Old Yeller. Although the Black Mouth Cur breed isn’t mentioned by name, the physical description of the dog, as well as the depiction of his temperament and behavioral characteristics, heavily imply that Old Yeller is a Black Mouth Cur.
There can be much variation in size when it comes to Black Mouth Curs depending on breeding, and dogs within the same litter can be of different sizes, as well.
Males tend to be larger, weighing in on average between 40 and 95 pounds, while females tend to range from 35 to 80 pounds. The breed is usually 16 inches in height or taller.
Sometimes the purpose for which the dog has been bred factors into their size. Tree dogs range from 35 to 50 pounds, while herding dogs can weigh over 100 pounds.
The history of the Black Mouth Cur has had a heavy influence on which traits have been kept in the breed. Settlers needed a dog who could suit all of their needs, rather than focusing on a specific task.
Black Mouth Curs are known to be courageous and never back down from a fight, which was useful in warding off predators of the American south, including wildcats, bears, and other animals. They have retained this fearlessness to modern times.
Settlers also needed a dog who would be intelligent and help them hunt for food and valuable pelts. They needed a dog who would be a loyal and dedicated family companion so that it would protect the homestead. They needed a dog who would be strong and able to handle life in the rugged frontier. All of these traits remain with the modern Black Mouth Cur.
They were also bred to have a high energy level appropriate for long days of hard work, so it is important for Black Mouth Curs to get a good deal of exercise. They don’t do well in apartments or sitting on a couch all day. A yard to run around and at least one long walk per day are essential, as anything less can lead to boredom, anxiety, and destructive behavior.
When it comes to training, the Black Mouth Cur can be stubborn, but an overly harsh approach does not work for this sensitive breed. They need a trainer who will be firm and lay down the law, but also won’t raise their voice in anger or frustration. Black Mouth Curs are eager to please, but they will also get bored if training sessions are too long or repetitive, and their attention may drift. Short, focused training sessions are best.
The Black Mouth Cur is considered to be a generally healthy breed with fewer of the genetic problems that tend to affect other breeds and a lifespan that usually goes well into their teens. Still, there are a few conditions that they are predisposed to. Owners should watch out for these conditions throughout their dogs’ lives.
Some of the conditions that might affect Black Mouth Curs include:
- Ear infections
- Hip dysplasia
It’s important to care for a Black Mouth Cur’s ears, as they can trap dirt, water, and debris, leading to ear infections and other complications. This is especially true of dogs who like to play outdoors in water or in humid areas. Frequent, thorough ear cleanings are a must to prevent infection.
They should also regularly have their eyes and bone health checked during routine vet visits to spot signs of cataracts, hip dysplasia, or other eye and skeletal conditions. Their teeth should be brushed regularly and professionally cleaned as needed.
Your veterinarian can advise you further on what kind of care you should provide for your Black Mouth Cur.
A healthy diet for a Black Mouth Cur can vary depending on the dog’s size and the activities they participate in throughout the day.
Working dogs who hunt or round up livestock, for example, need food that will provide them with adequate energy while they are performing their daily tasks. Dogs who stay at home and get moderate exercise have different needs. Typically, Black Mouth Curs need two quality meals per day.
Your veterinarian should be able to help you determine an appropriate diet for your Black Mouth Cur based on their size and energy requirements. Make sure they get balanced meals, and you may wish to consult a nutritionist to advise you on what to feed your dog.
Coat Color And Grooming
The appearance of Black Mouth Curs can vary depending on breeding, and even individuals of the same litter can look very different.
Their coats are short and can either be course or fine. They can be red, yellow, black, brown, or brindle. Most have some black fur on their muzzle, the trademark that gives the breed its name, but not all of them do. Some may have the appearance of a mask around their face and eyes. Patches of white may appear on the face, chest, legs, or tail. Their eyes may be green, yellow, or brown.
Black Mouth Cur coats shed moderately throughout the year and a bit more heavily before winter and summer. Generally, they need very little care. One brushing per week should be fine, and many Black Mouth Curs can go their whole lives without having their coats professionally groomed.
They will need regular nail trimmings, and it’s important to keep their face and ears clean, especially where there are folds in the skin, as these places can harbor bacteria, parasites, or debris.
Children And Other Pets
The breed can be friendly to other dogs, especially if socialization training begins early. This is necessary because Black Mouth Curs can be territorial and respond to strangers or other dogs with aggression if they feel that they or their families are threatened.
They are usually fine with another resident dog, though their high prey drive makes them unsuitable for homes with smaller pets, such as cats, rabbits, hamsters, etc.
Black Mouth Curs need human interaction and companionship, and they are great with families and kids. As with all dogs, children should be supervised when playing with Black Mouth Curs, as they like to roughhouse and may not know that they need to be gentler with youngsters. It is important to teach children how to interact with dogs appropriately, as well, to avoid injuring them during play.
If you wish to rescue and adopt a Black Mouth Cur, you can check out this website that lists available Black Mouth Curs by state.