7 Things to Know Before Getting a Mountain Cur
The Mountain Cur is a working dog breed with origins in the Ohio River Valley. They are thought to have descended from European Cur-type dogs that were brought over by colonizers settling in the midwestern and southern areas of the United States. They were used by pioneers as hunting dogs and guard dogs, and their inclination for these jobs has carried on over the years.
Mountain Curs are medium-sized, muscular and stocky dogs, weighing anywhere between 30 and 60 pounds. Their coats can come in several colors, including blue, yellow, brown, and brindle. They have been recorded in the Hound group of the Foundation Stock Service of the American Kennel Club since May 2017.
Are you thinking of adding a Mountain Cur to your family and wondering if this is the perfect dog breed for you? Here are 7 important things you should know before getting a Mountain Cur.
1. On average, Mountain Curs live for up to 14-16 years.
Mountain Cur do not have any reported breed-specific health issues or genetic conditions, so they tend to live a bit longer than other purebred medium-sized breeds. Because of this, it is important to make sure that you can commit the time, money, and energy required to raise one of these dogs.
Like every dog breed, Mountain Curs will require lifelong care, including a complete diet, an appropriate living environment, regular vaccinations, flea and worm preventatives, and veterinary treatment for any sicknesses they develop.
Keep reading to find out more about what it takes to raise and care for this breed.
2. Mountain Curs can be very protective of their owners and their possessions.
Mountain Cur are known for their tough and courageous personalities, particularly when defending their owners against intruders or wild animals.
Because of this, they can sometimes be quite standoffish to strangers and they may not be interested in interacting with other dogs on walks or at the park.
They can also be protective over their belongings, such as toys and food, so it is important to keep a close eye on them when they are playing or eating, especially if you have children or additional pets.
For these reasons, Mountain Curs tend to do best in homes without young children or other pets. Their protective nature means that they may react negatively to a child or another animal pulling or biting their ears, playing with their toys, or trying to eat their food.
Many can interact with other dogs appropriately if they are socialized well as puppies, but this can often depend on the individual dog’s personality and inherent nature.
This brings us to our next point regarding the Mountain Cur’s need for early training and socialization.
3. The Mountain Cur is a highly intelligent dog breed.
Mountain Cur are easy to train as long as training is started early and is consistently maintained. Like all intelligent dog breeds, however, they can easily become bored or anxious without mental stimulation, which can lead to issues with training and behavior.
They also might not listen well to people other than their owners! These is definitely things to keep in mind if you have a large family and if multiple people will be caring for the dog and training it.
Consistency is key in these situations, so training will need to be maintained between all members of the family regardless of age or relationship.
In addition to obedience training in puppyhood, Mountain Curs should be appropriately socialized when they are young to prevent issues when interacting with humans or other dogs. If these dogs have too much pent-up energy, they may communicate or play inappropriately or exhibit anxious behaviors such as chewing, barking, growling, or destroying personal items in your home.
This brings us to our next point, which provides several ways to keep these dogs stimulated.
4. Mountain Curs thrive as working or hunting dogs.
Because they were historically bred to hunt game and protect their owners’ homes, Mountain Curs do best when they are working. They have an extremely high innate requirement for exercise and mental stimulation, so putting them to work will keep them (and you) happy!
Mountain Curs have been known to hunt various wild animals, from squirrels and raccoons to larger game like bears and boars. In addition to hunting, they can also be useful in herding livestock, guarding properties, and even retrieving game from water sources.
For these reasons, Mountain Curs tend to do best living in the countryside where they have access to open fields and they can hunt or do other forms of work. In fact, the Continental Kennel Club recommends that this breed should be reserved for working and hunting homes to prevent behavioral problems.
If you do not live in a rural area, participating in dog sports such as agility, tracking, or nosework can keep your Mountain Cur entertained and give them an outlet for their high energy levels.
Keeping this in mind, the next point on our list discusses the ideal living situation for Mountain Curs.
5. Mountain Cur do not do well living in apartments or in urban areas.
Because of their active and intelligent natures, Mountain Curs should not be kept in small living spaces like apartments. If they do not have enough room to move around or keep entertained, this can lead to behavioral problems such as barking or destroying furniture. They may also get into scuffles with other pets more often if they are cooped up in a small living space.
In addition, city living often does not provide the space for enough exercise to keep up with the Mountain Cur’s high energy levels. These dogs are happiest when they are out in the country where they can run across open fields and track or hunt wild animals.
For Mountain Curs that do not have access to extensive open space, they should be taken on at least one long brisk walk, jog, or run for at least an hour or two per day at a minimum to keep them happy.
Our next point discusses the grooming requirements of these dogs, which are thankfully very manageable!
6. Mountain Cur shed their coats mainly in the fall and spring.
Mountain Curs have a double coat made up of a thick topcoat that is short and rough and an undercoat for insulation. They shed their coats twice a year, in the fall and spring when temperatures are changing, so they should be brushed frequently during these times.
The American Kennel Club recommends a rubber curry comb or a shedding blade to remove loose hairs to keep their coats clean and healthy.
Luckily, Mountain Curs only shed a small amount throughout the rest of the year, so they only require occasional brushing most of the time. Additionally, Mountain Curs only require baths when they become dirty, as frequent bathing can result in dry skin.
Because these dogs can have sensitive skin, it is best to use a mild shampoo and rinse it out thoroughly after bathing. Like other dogs, their nails should be clipped every 4-6 weeks to prevent ingrown or broken toenails. Grooming these dogs is therefore quite easy to maintain.
Our last point discusses a couple congenital findings that you should be aware of before getting a Mountain Cur—both of which fortunately do not affect their life expectancy or quality of life.
7. Mountain Curs can be born with natural bobtails and dewclaws on their hind feet.
About 50% of Mountain Curs are born with short, bobbed tails, while the other half have normal-length tails. The tails of working dogs are sometimes surgically docked, however the legislature around this procedure varies from country to country. If tail docking is performed, it should be done by a qualified veterinarian in accordance with the local legislation.
In addition, Mountain Curs can be born with dewclaws on their hind feet—sometimes there are even two on each foot! These typically cause no issue for the dogs, however, they can sometimes catch on furniture or other objects when they walk or run.
Your local veterinarian can discuss the options for hind dewclaws, and whether they should be removed can depend on whether the dewclaws are not attached to the underlying bone (“dangly dewclaws”), if you plan on neutering or spaying your dog, and if the dewclaws are currently causing any issues.
So there you have it—7 crucial things to know before getting a Mountain Cur!
These dogs can make wonderful companions if they are provided with an appropriate living environment, enough exercise and mental stimulation, and early obedience training and socialization.
As with all breeds of dog, Mountain Curs should be bought from a reputable and responsible breeder.
Mountain Curs are not for everyone, especially for people who cannot commit a large amount of time and energy into keeping these dogs entertained and thoroughly exercised.
As always, sufficient research should be done regarding the breed’s requirements before making a commitment of several years and adopting one.
- All About Dogs. Mountain Cur. May 17, 2016. Available at: www.allaboutdogs.net.
- American Kennel Club. Mountain Cur. Available at: www.akc.org
- Continental Kennel Club Inc. Mountain Cur breed profile. Available at: ckcusa.com
- Dog Breed Info. Mountain Cur. Available at: www.dogbreedinfo.com
- “Lovelies Puppy” Youtube channel. Beautiful Mountain Cur dogs moments. June 25, 2020. Available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV3E5fQ2ACI.
- “Pass It On Outdoors” Youtube channel. Mountain Cur squirrel dog training live squirrel. December 31, 2019. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9nGmr3uw1Y.