The Mountain Cur Dog Breed Originated In The U.S. For Hunting

Mountain Cur Dog

This is the Mountain Cur dog breed – brave, strong and intelligent.

The Mountain Cur is an American dog breed used in hunting and treeing. This is an intelligent breed, a strong fighter when dealing with prey, yet a great companion dog when socialized correctly. They tend to be wary of strangers unless they have a lot of human contact early in life.

Mountain Cur dog breed
Mountain Cur dog breed

Mountain Cur dog breed – Temperament

This is an intelligent breed, with a background in guarding, protecting, and hunting. They can become restless and bored if they don’t have a job to do. In an urban setting they will need plenty of exercise to burn up that energy. When out on a walk, the dog must be taught to walk at heel, to ensure they regard the owner as the one in charge.

They probably do best in a rural setting, on a farm, where they feel “at home”. They are very brave, and will tackle anything from a squirrel to a raccoon to a bear or a bull.

Mountain Cur dog breed
Image courtesy Niteshift2222 via Wikimedia Commons

Mountain Cur dog breed History

Some say that the Mountain Cur was an essential part of early pioneer life in the USA. The breed ancestors were brought from Europe by migrants to the mountain areas of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio.

They were originally used as guard dogs, to protect the pioneer families and their property from bandits and wild animals. They also took on the role of hunting dogs, where they proved to be good at following a hot trail, and forcing the prey up a tree.

This hunting activity provided meat and furs for the pioneers to use themselves, or to trade, if they had excess animals. This made the breed very valuable to the early settlers, and they looked after their dogs well.

Like most dog breeds, World War 2 saw a decline in breed numbers, as owners moved from the country to more urban setting to help with the war effort. By the 1950’s the breed was in danger of extinction. However 4 breeders got together to agree a breed standard and a breeding program. They set up the first national association in 1956.

Mountain Cur dog breed
Image courtesy tacosunday via Wikimedia Commons

Vital Statistics;

Height; From 16 inches (females)  to 26 inches (males)

Weight;  From 30 lbs (females) to 60 lbs (male)

Life Span;  From 12 years to 14 years


Black, Blue, Brindle, Brown, Red, Yellow.

Ease of Training

The Mountain Cur dog breed is not difficult to train. They are intelligent and smart, and are usually keen to please their owners. They even enjoy training, as they quickly become bored without a job to focus on.

Training will give the dog a focus and a job. It’s usually best to start at a young age with puppy training, to help socialize the dog, and introduce the concept of training.

At around a year old, you can start with adult obedience training combined with hunting training. It’s best to hire a professional dog trainer one-on-one for a few sessions at least, so that you (the owner) learn how to train your dog effectively.


If it’s some extra protection you’re after, the Mountain Cur will serve you well. Originally bred to guard and protect the early settlers to the USA, they retain an instinct to protect their family and home. The Mountain Cur will take on just about anything, and they are brave and strong fighters as a result of their hunting ancestry.

However they need proper training to make sure they regard the owner as the ‘alpha male’ in the household, otherwise they may become over-protective.


This breed has a short haired coat that sheds seasonally, twice a year. It these times the dog will need some extra grooming, but for the rest of the year they don’t shed much, and a weekly brushing with a rubber comb will be enough.

The Mountain Cur should not be bathed very often, as this can dry out their skin. Only bath the dog if it has started to develop a strong ‘doggy’ odor, or has become very dirty.

The dog’s teeth should be brushed daily with a dog-specific toothpaste and a small, soft toothbrush. The ears should be checked weekly for any foreign objects and signs of infection such as redness, swelling or a bad smell. The claws must be checked monthly and trimmed if needed.

Health Considerations

This is a very healthy breed, with no generic issues listed by the AKC. However all dogs should be checked for hip and elbow dysplasia, heart conditions and eye conditions.

Famous Mountain Cur Dogs

Although not specifically stated as such, it is believed that the dog in the book “Old Yeller” was modelled on a Mountain Cur.  (However the film features a breed more like a Labrador.)

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