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What Is a Mountain Cur?

By Karize Uy
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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A mountain cur is a breed of dog often trained to accompany and assist its owner in outdoor activities, such as hunting and mountain hiking. It is also used as a farm or herding dog, able to drive animals to their pens and prevent them from straying. In general, this breed of dog is medium-sized, stocky, and muscular. Its fur coat is often short and rough and can have a variety of colors like yellow, red, black or brown, sometimes in combination that creates a brindled pattern. The legs of a mountain cur also tend to be long and tall, enabling it to run, climb, and move quickly.

It is believed that the mountain cur originally came from Europe, when pilgrims came to America to become settlers, particularly in the Southern states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, and Virginia. The settlers brought with them their European curs, which mated with the native curs in the area, producing a breed that was highly adaptable to the mountainous environment. The newly-produced breed was especially useful for guarding houses, shepherding, and hunting. The mountain curs soon grew in number, but were also killed for their fur, becoming endangered during the Second World War. After a breeding program, the mountain cur thrived again and was officially declared as a new kind of breed in 1957.

In general, a mountain cur is an outgoing and sociable dog, especially to his human “family” and when it is trained at an early age. It often has a high level of energy and thrives better in outdoor environments and open spaces, and may not be as dynamic in suburban places. Trainers and dog experts have observed that a cur often seeks the approval of its master, an important factor that can help train the dog successfully. It is also friendly to other dogs, but due to their energetic personality, it is advisable to keep small or toy dogs away from it, as the cur may treat the smaller dogs as prey.

The mountain cur may be an outgoing dog, but is also equally dangerous and fierce if need be. They are highly alert, protective, and very guarded against strangers. It may often be used to hunt small game like squirrels, but it is not unusual for the cur to fight against bigger and wilder opponents like bears and wildcats, sometimes to the point of sacrificing his own life. To prevent mountain curs from becoming too overprotective and fierce, owners should establish themselves as the “pack” leader and should act more superior to their dogs.

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Discussion Comments
By anon310517 — On Dec 24, 2012

I am trying to find out what breeds typically are found in a Mountain Cur. I have two GSP's (both rescues) and a third dog that we initially thought might be at least partly GSP, but we've noticed differences - her paws are smaller; she is the smallest of the three, but is the alpha; she has wispy hair on her belly, white paws, chest and belly with spots on her chest and a brown coat. She jumps like a Mexican Jumping Bean! She's about 45 pounds and fuller in her chest for her size than my GSP's. She is fiercely protective of me, my grandchildren and my husband (in that order!). She tolerates other dogs, but is not really wild about having to share the house with them, and she doesn't like to retrieve. She'll chase a ball, but will lie down in the grass and scalp it rather than bring it to me.

We had a DNA test done on her and it showed 50 percent Brittany Spaniel, 25 percent Doberman, and the remainder a mix of other spaniels and pointer. Just curious if that is a typical background of a cur because she seems to fit that description very well.

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