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Mountain Cur Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Traits & More

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Dogster Team

Brindle Mountain Cur front of body with head turned

Mountain Cur Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Traits & More

A rugged breed essential to frontier life, the Mountain Cur was a staple breed of early pioneers exploring the Appalachian Mountains. These dogs are part of the Hound Group and served many roles for early settlers, including hunting partners, livestock guardians, and homestead watchdogs.

After nearly becoming extinct during World War II, the Mountain Cur breed has been preserved by a few passionate breeders. They’re still one of the rarer breeds today, but you can find Mountain Curs from reputable breeders looking to preserve this important historic dog.

Mountain Curs are exceptional dogs for owners who can meet their needs, but there are some important things to consider before bringing one home.

Breed Overview


16–26 inches


30–60 pounds


10–13 years


Black, blue, brindle, brown, red, yellow

Suitable for:

Active owners, canine competitors, experienced owners


Intelligent, reserved, strong-willed

Mountain Curs are all-American pioneer dogs that were essential to early frontier families. These dogs were used for guard duty, livestock protection, and hunting assistance. Hunters used them to catch, tree, or hole wild game until they could be dispatched.

Though the exact origins of the breed are undocumented, the Mountain Cur earned breed designation in 1957 with the Original Mountain Cur Breeders of America (OMCBA). They have since been registered with the United Kennel Club since 1998, as well as the American Kennel Club, National Kennel Club, and Continental Kennel Club afterward.

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Mountain Cur Characteristics

Mountain Cur dog breed.
Image Credit: GoodFocused, Shutterstock
High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

Mountain Cur Puppies

As one of the rarer breeds, Mountain Cur puppies may be challenging to come by. If you want a puppy, look for reputable breeders through the OMCBA database. You may have to get a waitlist for an available litter.

Because they’re rare, you may not see many Mountain Curs in rescues or shelters. However, because some owners take on this breed unprepared, there are Mountain Cur rescue associations that take in puppy and adult Mountain Curs for adoption.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Mountain Cur

Mountain Curs are intelligent dogs that are even-tempered and have a desire to please. They do need a job to do, however, and may not adjust well in a home that doesn’t provide the stimulation they need on a regular basis. If you want to bring this dog into your family, it’s crucial that you are committed to consistent, positive-reinforcement training and providing plenty of outlets for your dog’s energy and intelligence. With the right environment, Mountain Curs are extremely eager to please.

Mountain Cur Brindle Mutt in red bandana
Image Credit: Caitlin Trickett, Shutterstock

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Mountain Curs were raised alongside frontier families and learned to be tolerant of children. However, these dogs won’t tolerate rough handling. It’s important to supervise interactions with the dog and young children to avoid any accidental injuries or incidents. Older children should be fine with Mountain Curs if they treat the dog with respect.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Mountain Curs can get along with other dogs if they’re properly socialized and introduced, but it may be best to avoid pairing them with much smaller dogs. As a hunting hound breed, Curs may see small dogs—as well as cats and small animals—as prey to stalk, chase, tree, or hole. These dogs should never be left unattended with small animals. With small dogs, take it slow until you know how your Cur will behave.

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Things to Know When Owning a Mountain Cur

Mountain Curs are great dogs, but it’s important to meet their lifestyle needs if you plan to bring one home. Here’s everything you need to know:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Mountain Curs are high-energy dogs and should have a high-quality commercial dog food that meets their nutritional requirements for each life stage. It’s important that you don’t allow your Cur to become overweight, which can contribute to health problems like arthritis and diabetes. If you are unsure about your dog’s body condition or diet, consult with your veterinarian.

Mountain Cur dog swimming in the river in Summer
Image Credit: Cindy Swinehart, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Mountain Curs are extremely active dogs. If you don’t plan on using your Cur for farm work, hunting, or canine competition, you will need to provide regular mental and physical exercise. Otherwise, your dog may look for ways to entertain themselves, like destroying your home and possessions. Make sure you can commit to long, challenging walks and rigorous playtime on a daily basis.

Training 🎾

Mountain Curs are intelligent dogs that thrive when they have a job to do. These dogs are best suited to experienced owners who can provide them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation and strict boundaries. As well-developed watchdogs, Curs are friendly with people they know but may be reserved with strangers. With their hunting past and hound traits, Mountain Curs may have a high prey drive that makes them unsafe around small animals. It’s best to keep your Mountain Cur on a leash to avoid them entering chase with a prey animal.

Grooming ✂️

Mountain Curs have short hair that’s easy to care for. They just need occasional brushing to remove dead and loose hair and keep their coat and skin healthy. Like other breeds, Curs shed twice a year with the change of the winter and summer seasons and may need more frequent brushing during these periods. Mountain Curs should only be bathed as needed, but you will need to trim their nails, brush their teeth, and clean their ears regularly.

Brindle Mutt Mountain Cur against brick background
Image Credit: Caitlin Trickett, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Perhaps due to limited breeding, Mountain Curs have no reported breed-specific health issues and can live up to 16 years. These dogs can develop health conditions that are common in all dogs, however, including parasites, conditions of major organs, and cancer. Fortunately, many diseases are preventable with vet care, preventative medication, and vaccinations.

Minor Conditions
  • Cancer
  • Heart conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Bloat
Serious Conditions
  • Flea and tick infestation
  • Skin problems

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Male vs Female

Mountain Curs have no notable differences between males and females. The males may be a little larger, which makes a difference in your costs associated with feeding and vet care with weight-based medications. Spaying or neutering your dog is recommended to prevent some of the behavioral problems related to sex hormones, such as roaming and marking in males and excessive vocalization and inappropriate urination in females. Fixing your dog also prevents some reproductive health problems, including uterine infections and cancer in females and testicular cancer and prostate problems in males.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Mountain Cur

1. Mountain Curs Almost Went Extinct

During World War II, many families who bred Mountain Curs left rural areas to assist with the war effort in the cities. The Mountain Cur was becoming rare by the end of the 1940s, but the work of Hugh Stephens, Woody Huntsman, Carl McConnell, and Dewey Ledbetter saved the breed and set the Mountain Cur breed standard. The names of the common breed strains are named for these four founders of the OMCBA.

2. Mountain Curs Were Essential to One of the Best-Known Explorers in History

Explorer and frontiersman of the Appalachian Mountains, Daniel Boone, bred and raised Mountain Curs and relied on these dogs as he blazed trails through the unexplored mountain areas. While on expeditions, he was said to have carried pups in protective baskets.

3. Parts of the US May Have Not Been Settled Without Mountain Curs

The Mountain Cur played such an integral part of frontier life that it’s possible that parts of the Southern Appalachians may not have been settled without them. In fact, these dogs were so valuable to settlers that they had prime spots on wagons or pack animals. If no transportation was available, families would carry them.

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Final Thoughts

The Mountain Cur is a devoted all-purpose breed that works well alongside their human companions. Whether you want a hunting dog, a canine competitor, or a farm guardian, the Mountain Cur can fit the bill. However, it’s crucial that you can handle this breed’s need for exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Featured Image Credit: Kyle Christian, Shutterstock

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