The Mountain Cur breed, also known as Mountain Kerr, is one of the rarest breed of dogs. These dogs are energetic and enthusiastic, and love to be outdoors. They have an interesting history that links them to the early settlers that colonized the southern United States, and are known for being very protective over their owners and for being excellent hunting dogs. The word “Cur” refers to working dogs, bred to herd, hunt and guard their owner’s property and is also the umbrella term for various dogs that share highly similar traits and purposes.
Read on below to find out more about this fascinating dog and whether they could be the right companion for you.
History Of The Mountain Cur
It is thought that the Mountain Cur breed was brought over from Europe by the early European settlers to southern parts of the United States, mainly Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Also known as the “True-All American Pioneer Dog”, these dogs help to protect their families and properties from wild animals. They were also great for hunting, catching animals such as squirrels and raccoons that could be served for dinner.
As city living became more popular, the Mountain Cur dog breed began to decline. This was also around the 1940’s, when men were going off to war, and by the 1950’s the breed was almost at extinction.
However, some fans of the breed stepped in and kept the breed alive by creating a breeding program. They were bred by four men who are credited for saving the Mountain Cur — Hugh Stephens of Kentucky, Dewey Ledbetter from Tennessee, Woody Huntsman of Kentucky and Carl McConnell of Virginia. These men also founded the Original Mountain Cur Breeders Association (OMCBA) in 1957.
Five original lines of this dog breed originated — Arline, Ledbetter, McConnell, Stephens and York — and the organization allowed breeders to come together to prevent inbreeding. As a result, the Moutain Cur is one of the healthiest dogs, but we will go into more detail about that later.
Since 1998, these dogs have been recognized by the United Kennel Club.
The Mountain Cur is a medium sized dog weighing between 30-60 lbs. They can grow up to 26 inches, with males typically growing taller than females. A Mountain Cur litter can contain between 3 to 8 puppies and a puppy can cost around $300 to $600 each.
Take a look below at the characteristics of a Mountain Cur dog.
The Mountain Cur has a slim and athletic build with long legs that gives them great agility, making them perfect for walking over rough terrain. They have a square-shaped face with stocky ears on top. Their tails are set low and are short and bobbed, although some Mountain Curs can have medium-length tails.
Common coat colors for Mountain Kerrs include brown, black, red, yellow and blue. Many of them also have markings of either brindle, tan or white on them. These dogs often have eyes in different shades of brown, from dark to amber, which usually matches their coat color.
The Mountain Kerr also has a double-layered short coat, which is thick and close-fitting. It also has a stubble-like appearance. The heavy top-coat is short, thick and rough, while the undercoat provides soft insulation. We will go into more detail about grooming your Mountain Cur dog later on.
The Mountain Cur’s temperament is a little different to your common household pet. They are not as laid back as some other dogs. It is common to think that a Mountain Cur is aggressive, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. These dogs are very brave and protective, which can come across as aggression. Mountain Curs can be reserved when with strangers, making them excellent guard dogs.
Mountain Curs have a pack mentality, meaning that they are friendly towards people they know. They will feel safe when they are with a family that they trust. We will go into more detail about training below, but when trained properly, a Mountain Cur can be introduced to other animals in the family home. If not introduced properly, they can think of other pets within the family as intruders.
The Mountain Cur does not do well with isolation and boredom and need to be stimulated. They are very active with keen instincts and a tireless work ethic. Because they are working dogs, they need to keep busy with lots of mental and physical stimulation. They will not thrive well in a domestic suburban environment and need access to the outdoors regularly, otherwise they can be prone to destructive behavior. We will take a look at how to exercise your Mountain Cur further on.
The general life expectancy for a Mountain Kerr is 12 to 16 years, which is longer than many dogs. Because they are such healthy dogs, they can easily live up to 15 or 16 years. Of course, however, their lifespan is affected by their diet, exercise and lifestyle.
Known Health Issues
We have talked about how Mountain Curs are known for being one of the healthiest breeds of dogs. This is because of their breed history and because they have very little to no inbreeding as a breed type.
Of course, there are still a few health problems that could occur within your pup. The first is deafness, which can occur because of their long floppy ears. Wax can build up and with that, mites and bacteria. These can cause infection that ultimately leads to deafness.
Mountain Curs can also suffer from skin conditions or allergies. This can be due to excessive bathing, so if your dog goes swimming, make sure they are completely dry afterwards.
One of the biggest health issues within Mountain Curs can actually be self inflicted! Because they are so protective, if they are not trained properly then they can become aggressive towards other dogs, which can result in injury. Make sure you train and socialize your Mountain Cur and this shouldn’t be a problem.
We mentioned above that Mountain Cur’s do not do well in domestic suburban environments and, as a hunting dog, need access to lots of outdoor playing and exercise. They also don’t like to be left alone and want to be with their companion at all times. Have a look below at what living with a Mountain Cur is like.
Food And Diet
No matter what type of dog you have, you should always make sure they have a healthy and nutritious diet. Treats should only account for about 10% of their diet.
Mountain Cur puppies should be eating high-quality kibble that is designed for puppies. Always check the label on the food packet to see how much of a specific food you should be feeding them, but for a puppy between 8 to 12 weeks old, this should be about 4 cups of dog food.
When your puppy is between 3 to 6 months old, they should be eating three cups of food. Once your Mountain Cur has turned one year old, you should feed them two to three cups a day split over two meals a day.
Mountain Curs are a very active dog who like to be outside for the majority of the day. Because they are working dogs, they love to have a purpose which gives them lots of energy. Therefore, you need to give them a lot of physical and mental stimulation to stop them from getting bored or showing signs of anxious behavior. You can keep your Mountain Kerr from getting bored at home by giving them simple chores like fetching the newspaper or sorting laundry.
They are the perfect exercise buddy for outdoor activities and love to go hiking, swimming, hunting and jogging, and, even better, have the energy to match (if not beat!) your pace. The Mountain Cur has somewhat unrelenting energy, meaning they can keep going for as long as you can. They love to play outdoors too, especially hunting games like “fetch”.
A Mountain Kerr is not a city dog and needs access to wide, open fields and woodlands. You should spend at least an hour outside with them a day, if not more. They will also do well in homes where they have a large fenced backyard to run around in and will find themselves bored if confined to an apartment.
Mountain Cur dogs are the most loving, loyal and protective dogs. With the right family, they can make the perfect family dog. However, they are not a traditional pet and needs lots of exercise. They won’t do well if they are stuck in an apartment all day and need lots of attention. If they are left alone or do not get to go outside and explore often, they will start to exhibit destructive behaviors.
This means that they are most suited to active, adult-only households. You will need to commit quite a bit of time to socializing your Mountain Cur in the first few months of their life. They also really benefit from having a job to do — so if they can work as a guard dog or hunting dog, they will be much happier animals.
Mountain Curs can be stubborn, but once you get used to this they are easy to train. You need to be firm and consistent with them so they understand that you are in charge. They are eager and intelligent, but, because they live to please their owners, they may be sensitive to harsh training methods so you need to be careful. They also struggle with patience, so you need to have a lot of it!
It is very important to make sure your Mountain Cur is trained from a young age, so they don’t begin to show signs of unwanted behavior as they grow up. As important as training is the need for socializing your mountain Cur from a young age. They have a guarding mentality, so the quicker you socialize them with other people and dogs, they will realize that not everything is a threat and they don’t need to protect you from everything. This will also help with any aggression they may be showing towards other people or animals who they think are a danger to their owner.
Mountain Curs are a very low-maintenance dog. They will need occasional grooming with a rubber brush to remove loose hair from their coat, but they do not shed very much and your house will stay relatively hair-free. They do shed more twice a year, when they shed their summer and winter coats, at which point you may need to be grooming them more often.
Mountain Curs do not need regular bathing because this can dry their skin out. If you need to bathe them you should use a shampoo designed for sensitive skin. Trimming their nails should be done once a month or when needed. Because a Mountain Cur is a dog that likes to be outside, they may actually need less frequent nail clipping because the ground naturally wears down their nails.
You will also need to check your dog’s ears. We mentioned above that deafness is one of the few health issues a Mountain Cur can suffer with, so checking their ears regularly is important. If you see anything unusual, you should take them to the vet.
Mountain Cur FAQ’s
Are Mountain Curs hypoallergenic?
A Mountain Cur sheds only very minimally, with the exception of shedding seasons. However, they do not have hypoallergenic coats. This means they might not be suitable for those with allergies. However, you can brush your Mountain Cur regularly to keep shedding at bay and this may help with those who have allergies.
Are Mountain Curs aggressive?
The short answer to this is no. Mountain Curs are very protective dogs, with a pack like mentality. Once welcomed into your family, they can make excellent guard dogs because they feel the need to protect you and keep you safe. This is the reason that many people think they are so aggressive!
Their protectiveness only becomes issue when they meet other people, dogs or animals who they don’t know. The best way to combat any aggressiveness towards strangers is to socialize your pup from a young age. This will teach them that other people are not a threat and they don’t need to be so protective of you.
Another way to combat aggressiveness is to make sure they are not confined to a domestic suburban environment. They need access to the outdoors and love to run and play, and without this, can become destructive and bored.
So no, while your Mountain Curs may not be one for frequent cuddles, they are not aggressive when trained, exercised and socialized properly.
Mountain Curs are an active and protective dog that, with the right family, make a perfect pet. Although not the cuddly type, Mountain Curs are loyal and hard-working dogs who live to please their owners. They thrive in large open spaces and need the chance to exercise regularly. With their working and hunting nature, they love being given a job to do and this prevents them from getting bored and showing destructive or aggressive behavior. If you think you can keep up with this fun, active doggie and give them the outdoor life they need, head to your local breeder or animal shelter and meet your new companion!