Mountain Cur – Breed Info for the American Pioneer Dog

Mountain Cur

Mountain Curs are a type of working dog breed that are used to track raccoons squirrels and other game animals. They are known as treeing and baying dogs.

They can also follow bigger games such as the Bears. Mountain Curs are medium to large, range from eighteen to twenty-six inches tall, and weigh between thirty to sixty pounds. These dogs can typically live between fourteen and sixteen years.

Mountain Curs date back to the European settlers who brought them to the US. Hunting breeds– mainly terriers and hounds were crossed with dogs the Native Americans had, and that ended up bringing about this easygoing and very trainable hybrid.

What Does the Word Cur Mean?

Mountain Cur

Calling something a “cur” has for centuries been meant to describe the lowliest type of mongrel. These were the beggar dogs who lived on the streets. No one knew what type of breed they were. Lower-ranked people used the curs for hunting.

These days, the word means something else. Numerous dog specialists now concur that the Curs are purposely bred hounds that make excellent working dogs, especially hunting, baying, trailing, and treeing.

The 3 Breeds Which Produced the Mountain Cur Dog Breed

No one really knows what breeds of dogs were crossed to produce a Mountain Cur because it is a mix of many breeds.

It is known that they were a mix of some kind of hunting breed and terriers and Native American dogs. It’s logical to assume the following three dog breeds (which were also prominent back then) all played a part.

These are the dog breeds that are believed to have made the Mountain Cur.

1. English Pointers

English Pointers appeared in England between the 16th and 17th centuries when Portuguese and Spanish dogs were bred with local dogs.

These were an example of the first canines who affected dog breeding in the United States, especially in the Southern part of the US where the Mountain Cur considers its home to be!

2. Cairn Terriers

Made legendary in pop culture when the dog “Toto” appeared in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, this charismatic and helpful dog breed is one of the oldest breeds of terriers. They come from Scotland, where they had the job of keeping pests from breeding in the Cairns.

A Cairn describes a large mass of rocks piled on top of each other for people who don’t know. These days, they’re used as landmarks; however, people stored food there, which attracted mice or other vermin.

Cairn Terriers are great for hunting these rodents, and although they don’t do that work in Scotland’s fields anymore, these pups still like to guard the homes of their owners from vermin.

3. Native American Curs

Native American folks were extremely close to nature, and so – they were amazing with all the animals they had. They bred wonderful dogs and horses!

Their hybridized Cur was the development of a perfectly thought out breeding plan to produce a dog who could live on the reserves and assist in hunting buffalo, which back then was a significant source of their food supply.

Nowadays, this breed doesn’t even resemble what it did when Mountain Curs first appeared. Besides the terrible loss of many Native American Tribes and their Reserves, there are also fewer dogs of this type.

The remaining dogs have been mixed with several other dog breeds, which made them unrecognizable from their ancestors of the 17th century.

Related: what are the top 10 most expensive dog breeds?

History of Mountain Cur Dog Breed

History of Mountain Cur Dog Breed

The Mountain Cur dog breed appeared first during the 17th century after the initial European settlers came to the US, during frontier times, which were not very welcoming or a comfortable natural environment to live in.

Numerous ordinary families who settled in the US depended on their Mountain Cur dogs to provide for themselves and their families.

Their capability to hunt and thereby provide their masters with food and pelts sold for significantly needed supplies to help them survive.

Mountain Curs steadily grew in their popularity during this timeframe, with their breeding getting more thought out and better organized. Regrettably, during World War II, they almost became extinct.

Countless families who at one time called the countryside their home got forced to live in the cities to assist in helping with the war efforts going on at that time.

That wasn’t a suitable environment for active hunting dogs, so many folks ended up letting their mountain cur puppies loose, and they had to fend for themselves, which caused many of them to die.

What’s Treeing?

Treeing hounds are a kind of hunting dog employed to frighten animals that generally try to find refuge in trees. When this is done, the hunters hope the prey (like a raccoon or squirrel) will end up running up a nearby tree, thus making it easy to catch them.

What’s the Difference Between Tracking and Trailing?

Both these are good traits for a hunting dog to have. However, people get confused with these terms.

Tracking describes whenever a dog follows a physical trail, like the animal’s footprints.

Trailing describes whenever a dog is only using scent to find people or animals.

What Do Baying and Hunting Dogs Do?

Hunting – Hunting dogs, also called gundogs; are a dog bred and taught to find a game, and then retrieve it if need be.

Baying – Dogs taught to be baying dogs are employed for bigger prey like wild boar. When Mountain Curs bay, they are trained to follow an animal’s scent and start to bay or howl whenever they are close to the prey.

This lets the hunters follow their dogs’ noise, yet the prey isn’t startled by the dogs getting too near it.

Initial Mountain Cur Breeders Association

Initial Mountain Cur Breeders Association

In 1957, the Initial Mountain Cur Breeders Association started with four men who all loved this breed and wished to see them get back to their previous glory, which was horribly affected by World War II.

The original members of the OMCBA included Hugh Stephens and Woody Huntsman from Kentucky, as well as Carl McConnell from Virginia, and Tennessee resident Dewey Ledbetter.

This group still operates today, though, since those times – the dogs have been broken down into various sub-breeds along with their groups and registries.

Mountain Cur Offshoots

Though it began as a single breed, these days, these dogs have been split into distinct strains depending on the kind of Mountain Cur they are.

These include:

• Treeing Tennessee Brindle

• Stephens Stock

• Mountain View Cur

There are several differences in these types, with the significant differences being their appearance.

Treeing Tennessee Brindle Cur

Created when Reverend Earl Phillips discovered the Brindle colored Mountain Cur in his research for a story on hunting dogs.

That discovery caused him to develop a brindle version of the breed as a spinoff from the typical Mountain Cur. Breed standards for Treeing Tennessee Brindles do not change much from the original except for their coloring.

Stephens Cur

With its roots in controversy, one kind started when the four founders of the Initial Mountain Cur Breeders Foundation differed on determining the breed standard. That caused 2 of these founders to break out by themselves and begin to breed Stephens Curs.

These two founders were Carl McConnell and Hugh Stephens.

This dog breed shares its temperament and essential qualities with Mountain Curs, however visually, it appears more like an average family pup.

Looks can be misleading, and Stephens Curs (at times called Stephens Stock Curs or Stock Mountain Curs) – are dependable working dogs but aren’t appropriate to be family dogs if they don’t have a specific job.

Mountain View Curs

Marie and Michael Bloodgood have deliberately developed this version of the Mountain Cur over many years.

The objective was to develop a dog with all the finest traits of the Mountain Cur, however, that were less indifferent and simpler to train.

They attained their goal, and Mountain View Curs are often thought of as not just an excellent hunting dog but also as a fantastic family dog.

What are Black Mouth Curs?

Numerous owners incorrectly think their Black Mouth Curs are an offshoot of Mountain Curs. While comparisons in their appearance and personality exist, these two breeds are actually from totally different bloodlines.

Black Mouth Curs are an intelligent breed, and indeed – they are a great family dog. They are quick to please and adore being with their people inside or outside.

Mountain Cur Attributes

Mountain Curs are at times known as being excessively aggressive dogs. However, the reality is, these are dogs who were developed to hunt, and if you give them a job, he will be lovely and comfortable to teach doggie companions.

Famous for their excellent health, Mountain Curs have no established health concerns particular to their breed. That’s nearly impossible and performs a huge part in its remarkable lifespan of 14 to 16 years. As for this large of a dog, that’s a great accomplishment!

Mountain Cur Appearance

As stated earlier, Mountain Curs are a medium-sized to large dog breed, stand in between 18 and 26 inches (45-66 cm), and weigh between 30 and 60 pounds (13-27 kilograms).

They are stocky and muscular dogs and have short fur a broad head, and high-set ears. Most pups are additionally also born with a bobtail.

Personality of a Mountain Cur

The personality of Mountain Curs is possibly what has caused a lot of breeders, as well as enthusiastic owners, to work extremely hard to protect this dog breed.

With a vivid history from frontier times, many owners think the Mountain Cur’s impact on some of America’s first settlers makes it a very patriotic pup.

Their intense loyalty, extreme confidence, limitless energy, and ecstatic yet submissive nature give them an ideal blend of being both a work and a family dog.

They are a smart, friendly, and energetic breed that needs a job or hordes of exercise to be content. With no life focus, they tend to get anxious, destructive, and bored.

Mountain Curs love their people and need appropriate training to be sure they know you are the alpha in your pack. Whenever you welcome a new pup into your home, it is vital to get crate and obedience training started as soon as possible so you can get established as the pack leader.

A Mountain Cur won’t do well in apartments and can’t be left home by themselves all day. They may be somewhat reserved around strangers but are not aggressive, yet prefer their family or their own home instead of being with people they don’t know.

Jobs for your Mountain Cur

Mountain Cur dogs love having their job and will perform it and make their master happy. They are the type of pup who takes pride in their job!

The top commonplace jobs you see a mountain cur doing are:

  • Guarding
  • Trailing
  • Tracking
  • Treeing
  • Hunting
  • Baying

Just as he’s excellent at hunting endeavors, it does not mean he only will suit a master who likes those things.

Countless owners with extremely active lives find their Mountain Curs are extremely happy to have a day filled with being outside with their people.


As you can see from Jennifer Thurman (Instagram credit), Mountain Curs come in different colors.

I love the fact Mountain Curs are available in just about all the colors of the rainbow.

Be careful, though; various groups think of different colors as the breed standard.

The hues these magnificent dogs are available in include:

  • Blue
  • Black
  • Blonde
  • Brown
  • Cream
  • White
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Brindle

Most Mountain Curs will show at least some white patches, with solid color being rare.


Do You Have to Groom Mountain Curs?

Mountain Curs have an extremely short coat and a thicker topcoat that helps protect them from undergrowth whenever they go hunting.

He needs sporadic grooming to get rid of any dead hairs and doesn’t require frequent baths.

Although this dog breed is reasonably healthy, he’s still vulnerable to slight issues that affect all canines like mange or fleas, etc. All these situations worsen if a dog’s natural oils and their protections are reduced via too much grooming or too many baths.

Is the Mountain Cur Registered with the AKC?

No. The American Kennel Club doesn’t register this breed, although Mountain Curs do hold registrations with these groups:

• UKC = United Kennel Club

• ACA = American Canine Association

• DRA = Dog Registry of America

• KSBA = Kemmer Stock Breeder’s Association

Because this dog breed does not match every owner, I’d highly suggest contacting one of those groups to talk to them about if getting a Mountain Cur pup is the right thing for you.