Mountain Cur 101: The Perfect Dog For the Adventurous and Outdoor Enthusiast

Last Updated on April 23, 2023

Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Do you want an energetic and protective companion who fits your active lifestyle? You might be looking for a Mountain Cur.

We’ve put together a guide to show you what you need to know about this breed, including the advantages and disadvantages of owning one.

Read on to see if the all-American Pioneer dog is the perfect pet for you.

Mountain Cur looking into the distance
Source: @cherrybharati / IG

Why are they called the “True All-American Pioneer Dog”?

Mountain Curs barking on the hunt

If you have searched ‘mountain cur online, you might have seen the words ‘True-All American Pioneer Dog.’

Well, it’s because the Mountain Cur or the Mountain Kerr had a significant contribution to US history.

This breed was crucial to the successful settling of early frontier people in the Southern Mountains of United States.

In the wilderness, these dogs protected their family and their owners’ property from wild animals.

Known for their great treeing instinct, Mountain Curs also helped hunt squirrels, raccoons, and other animals that served as the family’s food.

When the frontiersmen transferred to a new settlement, Mountain Kerr puppies sat alongside their owners in wagons. If there was no space in the wagon, humans brought the pups along in baskets or saddlebags.

These dogs were considered that valuable and vital to survival.

Where did the Mountain Cur originate?

Mountain Curs were originally bred in the USA. In the 1940s, European settlers who went to America looking for a new home brought Cur-like terriers with them.

It’s believed that these terriers were bred to Native American dogs, which resulted in the Mountain Cur.

When the late 1940s came, people from the Southern Mountains moved to the city for jobs, which led to the decline of these dogs.

To preserve and standardize this breed, the Original Mountain Cur Breeders Association (OMCBA) was formed in 1957. The five most common varieties of the Mountain Cur included the Ledbetter, Stephens, McConnell, York, and Arline.

In 1991, the OMCBA bred a new bloodline called the Kemmer Stock Mountain Cur, developed from the most common bloodlines.

What does Cur mean?

The word ‘cur’ refers to working dogs, bred to herd, hunt, and guard their owner’s property. It is also the umbrella term for various dogs that share highly similar traits and purposes.

Other canines under the Cur breed are:

  • American Leopard Hound
  • Black Mouth Cur
  • Blue Lacy
  • Camus Cur
  • Canadian Cur
  • Catahoula Leopard Dog
  • Kemmer Stock Mountain Cur
  • Mountain View Cur
  • Parnell’s Carolina Cur
  • Southern Black Mouth Cur
  • Stephens Cur
  • Treeing Tennessee Brindle
  • Yellow Black Mouth Cur

Today, these breeds are renowned for their hardworking nature, unrelenting focus, and their devotion to their owners.

How do I spot a Mountain Cur?

Mountain Cur on top of a rock during a hike

The Mountain Cur has a square-shaped face with stocky ears on top.

These dogs can have eyes in different shades of brown, from dark to amber, which usually matches their coat colors.

They have a slim and athletic built with long legs, perfect for rough terrain.

Their tails are set low and are short and bobbed, but some have medium-length tails.

The Mountain Kerr also has a double-layered coat, which has a close-fitting and stubble-like appearance. The heavy top-coat is short, thick, and rough, while the undercoat provides soft insulation.

Common coat colors on these dogs include brown, black, red, yellow, and blue. Many of them also have markings of either brindle, tan, or white on them.

At six months, the Mountain Kerr puppy can have a height of 16 inches (41 cm) at most and a maximum weight of 24 pounds (11 kg).

The Mountain Cur’s adult size can vary from medium to large. The males can grow to 18 to 26 inches (46 to 66 cm) tall, while the females can be 16 to 24 inches (41 to 61 cm) in weight.

The average weight for male and female dogs of this breed can be anywhere from 30 to 60 pounds (14 to 27 kilograms).

You learned how to spot one, but can you interact with them?

Approaching a Mountain Cur

A Mountain Cur with its eyes closed looking stubborn

In a list of aggressive dogs, will we find the Mountain Kerr? The answer is: NO.

These Curs are strong-willed and brave. This behavior may come off as aggressive, but these dogs are only protective of their family.

They are also reserved with strangers, which makes them excellent guard dogs.

From a long distance, you can hear the bark of this breed. You’ll know when there is a possible threat approaching your home.

These dogs have a pack mentality and are friendly towards people they know. As long as they are sure their family is safe with you, you get their seal of approval.

With the proper training, which we will tackle later, Mountain Curs can even get along well with other pets in the household.

Aside from being a guard dog, what else can they do?

What’s great about the Mountain Cur?

You definitely won’t find an image of this canine under “lazy” in the dictionary.

The Mountain Kerr has a high energy level and was bred to work. Years ago, these dogs helped guard and hunt; today, they can still do those and more.

1. Unrivaled hunting prowess

Mountain Curs are agile and graceful, with a sharp treeing instinct. They can be calm and silent until they encounter prey or any danger. All these features make them one of the best hunting dogs today.

In hunting, treeing is a method where dogs scare the prey to climb trees and then hunters shoot them. The usual prey for treeing or trailing small game are squirrels. They also do coon hunting, where the prey are raccoons.

Here is a video of a Mountain Cur climbing a tree:

Their ability to climb trees make these Curs formidable predators and amazing squirrel dogs.

Did you know? The phrase “barking up the wrong tree” originated from the treeing method.

They are also capable of tracking bigger animals such as a bear or a wild boar and holding them at bay. This practice is known as baying.

2. An excellent working dog

This breed has a massive capacity for physical activity, whether as hunters’ companions or as all-purpose farm dogs for herding cattle and guarding livestock.

Work gives the Mountain Cur the physical and mental stimulation it needs to stay happy and healthy. You can keep your Mountain Kerr from getting bored at home by giving it simple chores like fetching the newspaper or sorting laundry.

These dogs love to keep busy. Depriving them of work will make them anxious and trigger destructive behavior.

3. A reliable companion for outdoor activities

Lonely during a solo hike? Need a companion during camping? Bring a Mountain Cur!

These dogs are great for outdoor activities and sports. Their athletic build makes them tough and able to withstand rigorous activities.

You can take a Mountain Cur hiking, swimming, hunting, jogging, and more – they have the energy to match your pace. If you love fishing, they’ll also be up for that.

mountain cur hiding inside a fallen tree

4. They’ll protect you with their lives

We already established how these Curs could be excellent guard dogs because they are protective and loyal.

They don’t make a lot of noise – so when there is a looming threat, it’s in for a surprise when a defensive Mountain Cur attacks.

5. They get along with your family and other pets

Mountain Curs can make great family dogs. Once they become familiar with their human pack, you can count on these canines to be affectionate and friendly.

He may find it difficult to be around smaller animals, though. Understandably, this hunting dog’s prey drive kicks in around cats and hamsters. Fortunately, this is nothing socialization can’t fix.

How easy is it to take care of Mountain Curs?

Great news! These Curs can be considered low-maintenance.

The grooming needs of the Mountain Cur are easy to meet, and they’re not picky eaters, either. They’re perfect for owners who don’t have the time or energy to fuss over their dog.

Do Mountain Curs shed?

Yes, twice a year!

They shed semi-annually, during the fall and spring. Brush their short hair at least once a week to reduce shedding and keep their coat clean and healthy. It’s best to use a shedding blade or a rubber curry brush to get rid of loose hair.

Bathe these dogs only when necessary because frequent baths will dry out their skin and could lead to other health issues. Make sure to use a dog-safe shampoo that’s designed to be gentle on your pet’s skin.

Trim their nails once a month or when needed (usually when you hear them scratching against the floor). Mountain Curs who spend a lot of time outdoors may actually need less frequent nail clipping because the ground naturally wears down their nails.

What to feed a Mountain Cur

Make sure your dog eats nutritious dry dog food mixed with water or broth. Treats should account for less than 10% of their daily calorie intake.

Mountain Cur puppies need to eat high-quality kibble specifically for pups. For Curs between 8 to 12 weeks old, 4 cups of dog food a day should be enough. When they turn 3 to 6 months old, decrease the amount by 1 cup.

Once your Mountain Kerr has turned one (in human years), it’s best to feed them 2 to 3 cups of dog food daily, divided into two smaller servings.

Get ready for some serious exercise

Mountain Cur doing the dog paddle

Providing the right amount of physical and mental stimulation will ensure these Curs do not become bored and anxious.

By giving your dog an outlet for its energy, you can prevent destructive behavior.

Spend at least an hour a day giving your dog the exercise it needs. Take him for long walks, go hunting in nearby forests, or take a trip to the nearest dog park.

Mountain Curs love to fetch, to swim, and, especially, to run. These highly active dogs can easily walk or run for more than 15 miles (24 km), which is 2 miles or 3 kilometers more than a half-marathon.

(Did you know how fast can a Mountain Cur run? This dog’s top running speed is 26 mph or 42 kph).

This canine is also not a city dog. The city life does not match these dogs’ nature, as they prefer wide-open fields to small and confined spaces.

This active Cur thrives best in homes with huge, fenced backyards where they can run around and explore. You may find yourself with a bored Mountain Kerr if you live in a cramped apartment.

How difficult is it to train this Cur?

Mountain Cur relaxing inside the house

Mountain Curs are easy to train after you get through their stubborn nature.

They do not submit at once, but their instinct makes them follow the pack order.

This is why it is necessary to position yourself as the alpha of the pack. Firmness and consistency are essential for your dog to recognize you as its leader.

However, being the alpha doesn’t mean being cruel. These dogs live to please their owners so they may be sensitive to harsh training methods.

It is necessary to provide proper training to Mountain Kerr puppies as early as possible to ensure they can fit in your home. At a young age, these Curs must learn how to socialize and follow basic commands.

Socialization starts with interacting with litter mates and then with other family members and pets.

Did you know? With the proper training, the Mountain Curs can also be great water dogs. As a water dog, this breed can quickly hunt or retrieve ducks shot by their owners.

One of the healthiest dogs you’ll meet

There are no breed-specific health issues, for the Mountain Cur but you have to be on the lookout for possible ear infections. Make sure to clean your dog’s ears at least once a week and to regularly check for mites or unpleasant smells.

If you get a Mountain Kerr, expect to share a long period of your life with them. These dogs have an average life expectancy of 12 to 16 years.

Mountain Cur versus other Curs

Since these breeds are all classified as Curs, they have more similarities than differences. They may share the same qualities, temperament, and behavior.

But how is this breed different from its cousins?

Mountain Cur vs. Black Mouth Cur

The Mountain Cur can grow to be taller than the Black Mouth Cur by as much as 8 inches (20 cm). The former’s top running speed is also faster by 6 miles per hour.

Black Mouth Cur relaxing on the floor
Black Mouth Cur

An advantage for the Black Mouth Cur is they have a life expectancy of 15 to 16 years, which is 3 years more than the Mountain Cur’s average lifespan.

Mountain Cur vs. Treeing Tennessee Brindle

The Mountain Cur is more intelligent than the Treeing Tennessee Brindle. Their top running speed is also faster by 6 miles per hour.

Plus, the Mountain Cur may live longer than the Treeing Tennessee Brindle.

Treeing Tennessee Brindle standing outdoors
Treeing Tennessee Brindle

If you want a quieter dog, go with the Brindle, which tends to bark less often. This dog is also better for allergy sufferers because they shed less frequently and produce less dander.

Mountain Cur vs. Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Mountain Cur requires less grooming and has a longer lifespan than the Catahoula Leopard Dog.

The Mountain Cur’s top running speed is also faster by 6 miles per hour.

Catahoula Leopard Dog looking up while lying in the grass
Catahoula Leopard Dog

A disadvantage of getting the Catahoula Leopard Dog is that they are more prone to bloat, deafness, and hip dysplasia.

Want to take home a Mountain Cur?

Before searching for a Mountain Cur puppy to take home, you need to know how to choose the best pup.

A Mountain Cur litter can contain 3 to 8 puppies. When selecting your puppy, make sure they:

  • Approach you with ease
  • Can socialize with other puppies in the litter
  • Have bright and clear eyes
  • Have a healthy-looking coat

Check out what a healthy puppy looks like:

Mountain Cur puppy looking at the camera
Source: @browndogcoalition / IG

How much are Mountain Cur dogs?

Breeder-raised Mountain Cur puppies usually cost around $300 to $600 each. Check out these breeders to see where you can get these Curs in the United States:

Breeders from Wyoming

Caleb’s Kennel has been breeding Mountain Curs for 16 years. They train their puppies for games such as dogging coyotes, bobcats, or lions. This breeder doesn’t require deposits and typically releases the puppy into the owner’s care after it turns 8 weeks old.

Find Breeders in Ohio

Jukebox Original Mountain Curs has been a family breeder of these Curs for 25 years. They raise and produce quality Mountain Curs from parents who have won different competitions. They require a $50 deposit for puppy reservations.

Franklin’s Mountain Cur Kennel breeds Mountain Kerr puppies from parents who won several OMCBA competitions. They produce an all-around Mountain Cur – an excellent family dog and hunting dog.

West Virginia Breeders

Mountain State Kennels is a breeder of Original Mountain Curs. They own three adult Mountain Curs who are regular hunters and are performance-tested. They also require a $50 deposit for reserving a puppy.

Mid-Missouri Mountain Cur sells Original Mountain Curs registered through the OMCBA and the National Kennel Club (NKC).

Mountain Cur adoption or rescue

You can also opt to adopt a Mountain Kerr, if you don’t mind taking home an older dog. It may cost you around $300 to cover the pre-adoption expenses.

Here are some great rescues and shelters you can check out:

  • Mountain Cur Rescue shows how many Mountain Curs are available for each state. Almost 2,000 Curs have been adopted using Rescue Me.
  • Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue is a foster rescue based in New York.
  • For the Love of Dogs Rescue is based in Pennsylvania.

Here is a photo of the Mountain Kerr’s smile. Doesn’t it make you want to adopt one?

Mountain Cur smiling while lying in the grass
Source: @jamie_oldie / IG

Are you ready for a Mountain Cur?

It’s a good thing the OMCBA was able to preserve this breed!

Remember, the right owner for the Mountain Cur is someone with an active lifestyle or is an outdoor enthusiast. Better yet if you love hunting!

Once you get your Mountain Cur, get ready to exercise every day with this super dog! This high-energy Cur will share your love for outdoor activities and sports. Given their love for work, these dogs will even love helping out at home through simple chores.

This Cur can be a fierce guard dog, and he won’t hesitate to protect you and your family. However, he will need some socialization to behave properly around smaller animals that he may see as prey.

Do you own a Mountain Cur? We would love to hear your stories! Share them with us in the comments section.


Leave a Comment