A Complete Guide to the Mountain Cur Dog Breed [12 Amazing Facts]

mountain cur

Credit: akc.org

It is usually not easy choosing the perfect dog breed for us. Just as we, humans, are completely different from one another, dogs are the same. Some of them are couch potatoes while others are so overly energetic you’d think they overdosed on a can of Red Bull. And this, in itself, makes it difficult for us to choose the right pet. A Golden Retriever or a German Shepherd? A Poodle or a Tibetan Mastiff? There so many dog breeds around, pure ones and mixed ones, that we don’t know which to choose. But, worry not, we are here to help.

Today, I will be writing about the Mountain Cur, a truly underestimated breed. This underdog (underdog, did you get the pun? Haha, I’m not funny) is actually one of the most beautiful dogs out there. But, he is not as famous as the German Shepherd or the Golden Retriever, and this breaks my heart.

The Mountain Cur is a medium-sized dog that was mostly bred for hunting small animals, such as squirrels. He was also used as a guard dog and is today one of the most versatile dog breeds out there. Hardy and strong, this breed has a long lifespan and little health problems, which makes it the perfect working dog. The Mountain Cur also makes an excellent family pet and gets along with other dogs. And his intelligence makes him easy to train and live with.

Strong-willed, brave, and powerful, this is the perfect dog for an active owner. So, let’s learn more about this mysterious breed, shall we?

Here are 12 facts that you should know about the Mountain Cur before adopting one.

1. The Mountain Cur is of European origins

Originally, the Mountain Cur was a European dog brought by the settlers to the United States. He was first used in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Virginia. He is considered one of the pioneer dogs of the Southern Mountains, and some say that without him, the Europeans wouldn’t have been able to settle there. He guarded their property and helped them hunt for meat, which is basically what made them survive the mountains and the harsh rural life.

This dog was bred for nearly two hundred years, but during World War II, the breed had started to become more and rarer. The families who bred him simply couldn't take him to the city with them when they left there to work in factories.

Four people are credited for saving this breed after it had been abandoned in the 1940s: Carl McConnel, Hugh Stephens, Dewey Ledbetter, and Woody Huntsman. These men formed the Original Mountain Cur Breeders’ Association in 1956 and helped set official standards for it. This is mostly due to the fact that back then, the Mountain Cur breed didn’t really have a name or an individual identity on its own. Until today, the Mountain Cur is first and foremost considered a hunting dog. He is still exclusively bred in the South as a farm and family dog.

2. Despite his “unpopularity”, the Mountain Cur is definitely a handsome dog

Mountain Cur near a river

One thing you can’t say about the Mountain Cur is that he’s an ugly dog. This rare fella is a handsome and attractive one. He is considered a medium-sized dog. He usually reaches between 16 and 25 inches in height and weighs anywhere between 45 and 95 pounds. His coat is rough and of medium length, which makes him quite easy to maintain. This beautiful pooch usually has blue, green, or light brown eyes (I told you he was handsome, it’s all about the eyes folks!).

As for the coat colors, they vary. Your Mountain Cur could be dark brown, brindle, black, yellow, red, or black and brindle. Sometimes, he has white points all over his coat, which gives him a peculiar, yet interesting look.

3. The Mountain Cur is easy to groom and will not need much maintenance

You will not need to do a lot of work to keep your Mountain Cur’s coat shiny and healthy. This dog doesn’t shed much, and his coat is of medium length, so he only needs to be brushed once or twice a week to get rid of dead skin and loose hair. You could use either a shedding blade or a rubber curry comb to do this.

Here’s a video showing how you can use a shedding blade to groom your dog:

But, you will have to deal with seasonal shedding, twice a year. During these times, you will need to brush your Mountain Cur’s coat more often.

As for bathing, do it only when it’s necessary. The Mountain Cur’s skin is quite sensitive and might become dry if you bathe him too much. Always use a special dog shampoo to keep your best friend’s coat shiny and healthy. If you don’t know which brand to use, I’d recommend to check out our review of the best brands on the market here. This might give you an idea of the choices you have.

Trim your dog’s nails regularly using special clippers or grinders and don’t forget to check his ears weekly. Dogs’ ears are quite sensitive to mites and infections, so it is always good to keep an eye on them. Clean them when necessary using a special product that you can find in any pet store. Follow our guide here to learn the best way to clean your dog’s ears.

4. The Mountain Cur is definitely not a chill dog

Puppy Mountain Cur on a bed

Actually, I’d even say that this dog is quite difficult to deal with. His temperament is completely different from the typical domestic pet dog (think Sheepadoodle for example, who is a very easy-going dog and one of my favorite mixed breeds).

The Mountain Cur copes poorly with being isolated or bored. He can also feel territorial and competitive, being a hunting dog at heart, especially if he is not well-socialized. Even though he gets along with other dogs, he does not fare well with other sorts of pets, especially smaller ones (such as cats or hamsters), since he sees them as prey, and nothing else.

Smart and curious, the Mountain Cur can be quite easy to train. But, don’t think that it’s going to be a piece of cake. After all, this dog is an independent thinker, and sometimes, he only does what he feels like.

The Mountain Cur was bred to guard and serve, which makes him the perfect family dog, for the right family. A dog like this will need you to be strong, active, and most of all, present for him. This dog has an amazing work ethic (just like the Golden Shepherd) and excellent hunting instincts. For this reason, he needs a lot of activity and exercise, and preferably a job to do. A bored Mountain Cur is a destructive one, so if you don’t want him to chew on all your furniture, make sure to keep him busy.

The Mountain Cur is quite aloof of strangers, he has high protective and guarding instincts, and this makes it difficult for him to trust people he doesn’t know. But, with enough socialization, your Mountain Cur will be able to discern who is a threat and who isn’t and behave accordingly.

Finally, you should know that a Mountain Cur will not and cannot get used to a domestic suburban life. He is an active dog who needs a lot of space to run around and play, so keeping him away in a small apartment is definitely a no-no.

5. The Mountain Cur makes a great guard dog

The Mountain Cur is highly intelligent and independent, which excellent herding and hunting instincts. This makes him a perfect working dog, as well as guard and watchdog. You should only adopt a dog of this breed if you are sure you can give him a job, as he is extremely active and is not bred to stay in the house all day, enjoying a life of leisure.

The Mountain Cur is a silent dog and he does not make much noise, which is also what makes him the perfect guard dog for your house. Very loyal and protective, he will do anything to keep you and your property safe. Although, if you are not dominant enough, the Mountain Cur can become overly-protective. This is why you should always be strict with this dog.

6. Early training is a must

mountain cur

Credit: akc.org

The Mountain Cur is generally an obedient and calm dog who is eager to please. Yet, he still keeps his independent personality and might walk all over you if you don’t establish dominance early on. You will have to train your best friend early so you can establish yourself as the pack leader. Stay firm and consistent, and use positive reinforcement, praises, and treats for this breed.

Keep your training sessions short, fun, and interesting. The Mountain Cur gets bored quickly and will lose interest during a long training session.

7. This dog requires a lot of socialization

Mountain Cur on a leash

Because this is a natural guarding breed, the Mountain Cur will need a lot of socialization to be able to live in a house. As soon as you get a puppy of this breed home, make sure he interacts with other people and pets as much as possible.

Try to have visitors of varying age every day: elderly, adults, children etc… This will help your puppy understand that not everyone is a threat, especially the people coming to the house.

Take your pooch to the dog park, but keep him on a leash, as he might follow his hunting instinct when if he sees a squirrel or any other type of small animal. Make sure that your puppy gets used to different sights and environments, this way, he will be a well-rounded dog as an adult.

8. It is better to choose another breed if you have small children in the house

mountain cur puppy

The Mountain Cur is definitely not a violent or an aggressive dog, but he does not fare well with small children. Because he was also bred as a farming dog, especially for herding, he will try to herd your kids. This breed of dogs can accommodate better in a house with older kids who know how to handle him and behave around him.

Always make sure to monitor your children’s interactions with the dog. After all, it is quite easy for accidents to happen, even on your watch. And, teach your children how to handle a dog properly. Some of them forget that they are living creatures, that feel pain too, so make sure to remind your kids of that.

9. The Mountain Cur is an active dog who needs a lot of exercise

Mountain Cur with blue eyes

The Mountain Cur is a dog that needs plenty of exercise to be happy and mentally healthy. Not only physical exercise but mental stimulation as well. The latter keeps your dog sharp and focused on his job.

This dog is an extremely active dog, being bred for hunting and farm work. This means that he will need a lot of outdoor exercise, either running, jogging, hiking, or camping. Two or three longs walks a day are a must, especially if you live in an apartment or a small house where your Mountain Cur doesn’t have enough space to run around and play.

During the walks, make sure to keep your dog leashed, and he might follow small wild animals around. After all, he can’t resist his hunting instinct, especially when he sees a squirrel or a raccoon. If your Mountain Cur doesn’t get enough exercise, he might get anxious, depressed, and destructive. So, if you are usually a couch potato, this breed might not be the best for you.

10. Keeping your Mountain Cur on a rich and healthy diet is the safest thing to do

Mountain Cur with a cat

Credit: dogbreedinfo.com

Because the Mountain Cur has high levels of energy, he moves and runs around a lot, which means that he needs a lot of food. Food that is packed with animal proteins, fiber, and all sorts of vitamins is the best for this breed.

2.5 to 3.5 cups of high-quality dog food a day should be enough for this highly active dog. Make sure to feed your best friend age-appropriate food (after all, the best food for a puppy is different from the one for a senior dog). Give him 2 or 3 meals a day and add to that healthy snacks and treats. Fruits and vegetable, as well as other human foods, can be quite good for your dog.

Check with your vet before feeding your dog any human food though, just to make sure that he is not allergic to anything.

11. The Mountain Cur has a long lifespan, and yet, he can still suffer from some bad health issues

The Mountain Cur usually lives longer than other breeds, sometimes up to 16 years (which is like uuh a century in human years). He is a healthy and hardy dog, but this doesn’t mean that he will not suffer from health issues. Like every other breed, the Mountain Cur is more vulnerable to some diseases and health problems than others. Keep on reading to discover which health issues you should be on the lookout for when adopting a Mountain Cur.

All in all, the Mountain Cur is usually healthier than the average pure breed. He is strong and hardy, but he can still be sick every once in a while. But, don’t worry. If you exercise your best friend well, keep him on a healthy diet, and don’t skip his vet visits, he should be all right.

12. Adopting and living with a Mountain Cur costs money, but it’s all worth it

Usually, a Mountain Cur puppy from a good breeder costs between 500$ and 700$. Of course, you should always make sure to choose the right breeder. A year living with a Mountain Cur, including food and health expenses, will cost about 2000$.


The Mountain Cur is not a very popular dog, despite his many qualities. He is loyal to a fault, healthy, and can be trained easily. But, he needs a lot of care, and a big space to live in. if you are not sure you could provide your dog with these, it would be better to choose another breed.

About the Author Houda Laabadi

A dog lover!

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