The Mountain Cur dog breed originated in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. They were a major part of the early settlers’ lives and helped their humans while they developed farms in mountainous, rural, southern regions. They acted as watchdogs on farms, assisted with hunting, and even herded livestock. Dogs of this breed still perform those same tasks today among other jobs, including being loyal companions.
The breed is also called the “Mountain Kerr” and is sometimes referred to as “the pioneer’s dog.” Although these are purebred dogs, you may still find them in shelters and rescues. Remember to adopt! Don’t shop if this breed is right for you.
Mountain Curs are not a good choice for those who live in apartments because they require a lot of space and exercise. They’re also very intelligent and oftentimes stubborn. These dogs do best with experienced pet parents who can assert their roles as leaders while being diligent with obedience training.
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog.
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. You can find a great jacket for your dog here!
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 26 inchesWeight:30 to 60 poundsLife Span:10 to 16 years
More About This Breed
- The Mountain Cur has a coat that comes in black, tan, brown, yellow, brindle, and black and brindle. They may have white points on their coats as well.
- The Mountain Cur sheds twice a year in the spring and in the fall and are not allergy-friendly dogs. They require very little grooming, only needing to be brushed once a week and only bathed when necessary.
- The Mountain Cur is a very high energy dog breed and needs both mental and physical stimulation daily to prevent destructive behavior from occurring. Since they were bred to perform tasks, they always need to have a job to do.
- Mountain Curs can be rather affectionate with children and make wonderful family dogs. This is a rugged, tough, and muscular breed, so make sure to teach children how to approach the dog and how to safely interact with them.
- Even with early socialization, the Mountain Cur should not live with cats due to their intense prey drive. As far as other dogs, the Mountain Cur is usually quite wary of them, and introductions to new dogs must be done very slowly. Even when raised with other dogs, they sometimes simply will not get along.
- The Mountain Cur is a fearless watchdog and will fight to protect their territory and those who live in it. They are wary of strangers, but once they know the newcomers aren’t a threat, they’ll gradually warm up to them.
The exact history of the Mountain Cur is not known, but they are believed to have appeared in the United States in the 1940s. The Mountain Cur likely descended from other “Cur” breeds from Europe.
These dogs were used by pioneers to catch wild game, guard their homes, and protect their livestock. Pioneers saw them as an essential part of settling in the mountains because they were very versatile and useful companions. They were not only hardworking and extremely protective of their territory and family, but they were also very loyal and affectionate dogs.
Mountain Curs are well trained to use the technique of “treeing,” or essentially chasing prey up into a tree. The Mountain Cur is an excellent climber and hunter and provided food for their families.
The breed was assigned to the Foundation Stock Service group of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2017. Other “cur” breeds include the Blue Lucy, Catahoula Leopard Dog, and the Treeing Tennessee Brindle. The word “cur” typically refers to any of the above working breed dogs.
Male Mountain Curs stand 18 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh 30 to 60 pounds. Females are 16 to 24 inches tall and both females and males weigh in at 30 to 60 pounds.
Some dogs can be smaller or larger.
The Mountain Cur is a fearless watchdog and will fight to protect their territory and those who live in it. They are wary of strangers, but once they know the newcomers aren’t a threat, they’ll gradually warm up to them. The breed was historically known as a sort of “all purpose” dog since they could be trained to do so many different jobs.
Mountain Curs are natural athletes who enjoy the outdoors and participating in sports and hunting. They were used to hunt small game, so they have a strong prey drive. The Mountain Cur would actually prefer to spend more of their time outdoors than indoors and thrive in a home that has a large yard.
This is a strong-willed and stubborn breed, so they’re not the right dog for amateur pet parents. They need to be taught at a young age that they are not the leader and need very firm and consistent obedience training as puppies.
While they may seem intimidating in size and have a deep, loud bark, they are excellent family dogs and adore children. Even though that may seem like a positive trait for a dog who’s very protective of kids, they can get overprotective if they sense threats. This is another reason why they need to be exposed to many different people while young.
During training, make sure to use positive reinforcement and avoid using any harsh training methods. They want, more than anything, to please their humans, so giving them tasks like hunting will be very satisfying for them and also help them burn off some energy!
Mountain Curs are known to be rather healthy dogs with very long lifespans. There are no real health issues that they’re predisposed to since this specific breed was carefully bred.
However, some of the more common health problems Mountain Curs can suffer from include:
- Skin infections
- Dry skin/sensitive skin
- Parasites/ticks/fleas if the dog is predominantly outside
- Ear infections
The Mountain Cur is a very high energy dog breed and needs both mental and physical stimulation daily to prevent destructive behavior from occurring. They should have plenty of obedience training as well as other physical activities to do from puppyhood on so that you can have a manageable and well behaved dog as an adult.
Since they were bred to perform tasks, they always need to have a job to do. Whether it’s treeing, hiking, jogging, or other sports, the Mountain Cur has to have a devoted pet parent to meet those needs.
If you love the outdoors or live on a farm, the Mountain Cur is the ideal companion for you. They will be more than happy to patrol the perimeter of your home and would risk their own life to protect their families.
While these dogs love spending time running in open areas and enjoying the great outdoors, make sure to avoid dog parks. Unfortunately, the Mountain Cur is rather skeptical of other dogs and, despite socialization efforts, may still not have a safe or enjoyable time interacting amongst other dogs.
Aside from their exercise needs, Mountain Curs also require dental hygiene and nail care. Try to brush your Mountain Cur’s teeth twice a week to remove tartar buildup and bacteria as well. Ideally, daily brushing should be performed.
Trim their nails once a month, or as necessary. Their nails may not need to be trimmed as frequently if they spend a significant amount of time walking on concrete or other surfaces outside that will naturally dull the nails. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, they’re too long.
An ideal Mountain Cur diet should be formulated for a medium to large breed dog with high energy levels. The Mountain Cur does not typically have a tendency to gain weight since they are such an active breed, but you must make sure they’re getting the proper nutrition.
As with all dogs, the Mountain Cur’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your Mountain Cur’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs — including weight, energy, and health — to make a specific recommendation.
Coat Color And Grooming
The Mountain Cur has a coat that comes in black, tan, brown, yellow, brindle, and black and brindle. They may have white points on their coats as well.
The Mountain Cur sheds twice a year in the spring and in the fall and are not allergy-friendly dogs. They require very little grooming, only needing to be brushed once a week and only bathed when necessary. Mountain Curs are prone to having sensitive skin and to getting skin infections, so too much bathing can cause irritation.
The Mountain Cur has a double coat consisting of a thick top coat that provides protection and a smoother undercoat for insulation. They have short hair, making them very easy to groom. Their coat protects them from the elements so well that they often prefer to spend more time outdoors than indoors.
Children And Other Pets
The Mountain Cur is an excellent family dog who loves to be part of the pack. They have high energy levels and would absolutely love playing with kids in a big backyard.
These dogs can become very protective with their families, so it is imperative to socialize your dog with all of your family members as well as strangers at a very young age. Along with socializing your pup, children also need to be taught how to properly interact with dogs, especially breeds like this which will become fairly large and very strong as adults.
The Mountain Cur is a rugged, tough, and muscular breed, so make sure to teach children how to approach the dog and how to safely interact with them. Also, make sure children are always gentle with dogs, and always supervise any play sessions that they have. Mountain Curs can be rather affectionate with children and make wonderful family dogs.
The Mountain Cur was bred to hunt, so they will not be able to share a household with smaller pets. Even with early socialization, the Mountain Cur should not live with cats due to their intense prey drive. As far as other dogs, the Mountain Cur is usually quite wary of them, and introductions to new dogs must be done very slowly. Even when raised with other dogs, they sometimes simply will not get along.
Rescues specifically for Mountain Curs might be hard to come by, as this is a somewhat uncommon breed. However, you can always check with your local shelter, and you may want to try a rescue that caters to all kinds of dogs. You can take a look at the following:
- Wright-Way Rescue
- Angels Among Us Pet Rescue