The Black Mouth Cur, also known as the Southern Black Mouth Cur, is not a well-known breed of dog, but perhaps it should be. It is the oldest breed of dog developed in the United States of America and some credit it with playing a major part in the success of those who traveled west and settled the frontier. These dogs were such a part of early American culture that it is believed to be the breed of dog immortalized in the book, and movie, Old Yeller. Oddly enough, they did not use a Black Mouth Cur in the filming of the movie, that dog was a Mastiff/Labrador mix.
Like the dog in Old Yeller, Black Mouth Curs were bred to be multi-purpose dogs, as capable of herding cattle as they were of helping in a hunt. They had to be fierce when protecting their flock or families from predators or people that meant them harm, they needed to be gentle and safe around children and livestock. Remarkably, these dogs manage to excel at all of these roles, and they may just be the best dog breed for you.
Very little is known about the exact origins of the Southern Black Mouth Cur except that it first showed up in the American south, most likely in Mississippi or Tennessee. As the need for an all-around working dog grew, the Black Mouth Cur rose in popularity and they were taken westward as the country expanded. As the need for dogs that excelled in different skill sets increased, different lines of this breed developed. These differing bloodlines are why the breed has not yet been accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a registered purebred breed. The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the Black Mouth Cur as a distinct, registerable breed in 1998.
These Black Mouth Cur bloodlines differ in size, coloring, and skill set. They are all the result of the breeding lines developed and curated by individual families more than 100 years ago.
Regardless of which bloodline a Black Mouth Cur comes from, it is clear that they were developed to stand up to the rigors of early American life and to adapt to serve many necessary functions.
While it is no longer necessary for a single dog to fulfill as many different roles, the modern Black Mouth Cur is still a jack of all trades. They have the stamina to work herding cattle across the open plains and the scenting ability to track down even the wiliest of prey. They have the intelligence to serve as military or service dogs and the eagerness to please to make training easy. They are fierce and fearless when protecting their families and livestock but gentle and patient enough to be safe around even young children.
In today’s America, the Black Mouth Cur is not a terribly popular breed of dog, due in part to the AKC not recognizing them as a distinct breed. This does not mean that they are not held in high regard by those who own them. They are widely valued for hunting, ranching, and as family pets.
As mentioned earlier, the Black Mouth Cur has not been recognized by the AKC but it has by many other breed registries, including the UKC. These are the Black Mouth Cur breed standards as drawn up by the UKC.
The UKC has placed the Black Mouth Cur in the scenthound group, considering it most similar to the hunting dogs found in that category. This category varies a great deal in both the types and uses of breeds contained in it. They range from setters to coonhounds and beagles to dachshunds.
The Black Mouth Cur is a medium-sized dog with long legs and a broadhead. They come in a wide variety of colors but all must have black markings on their mouth, ears, and nose. They vary in height but must be over 16 inches at the shoulder and range in weight from 35 to 95 pounds. It should be noted that the distinct bloodlines, having focused on different purposes, show wide variance in build. Those bred for tree hunting tend to be a smaller size and slimmer while the lines bred for herding are larger and more muscular.
The eyes of the Black Mouth Cur should be large and evenly spaced on the head. They may be brown, green, or yellow. The color around the eyes should match that of the lips, which should be dark brown or black. Their ears should be set high on their head, be wider at the base than at the tips and be the same color as the lips and eye markings at least at the edges.
The Black Mouth Cur is a high-energy dog respected for its loyalty, courage, and intelligence. They are perhaps not the best dog breed for beginner dog owners as they need consistent and strict training to counter some of their more aggressive tendencies.
That is not to imply that the Black Mouth Cur does not make good family dogs, because once properly socialized and trained they are excellent companion dogs. They are eager to please and crave a connection to their two-legged pack mates. But it should never be forgotten that they were originally bred to be both hunters and protectors. If not trained to do otherwise they will hunt down other animals, including cats. They will also aggressively protect what they perceive to be theirs from others, both other people and other dogs. Both of these tendencies can be controlled with early socialization and proper training.
The Black Mouth Cur is not well suited for urban life. They need lots of room to run, preferably a large fenced yard or a wireless dog fence where they can burn off their excess energy by tearing around untethered. Not allowing them to get the exercise they need may lead to a host of behavioral problems.
They also do not do well left on their own for extended periods of time. They crave attention from people and want to please them. Their intelligence means that they can quickly become bored without stimulation and human interaction. Left to their own devices they are sure to come up with destructive ways to amuse themselves.
The Black Mouth Curs are a very hardy breed, perhaps because of limited, very careful breeding. They rarely fall victim to the genetic defects so often associated with purebred dogs and have a lifespan that rivals that of mixed-breed dogs, 12 to 15 years.
That is not to say that they do not have health issues that should be watched out for. Their short course coat makes them susceptible to mange. Their floppy ears mean that ear infections may be a problem as debris can fall into the ears and get trapped. To avoid this, regular ear cleanings are necessary.
They are prone to a few genetic problems, including epilepsy and hip dysplasia, but still at much lower rates than some of the better-known breeds of dogs. Like the most dog, they are also prone to cataracts later in life.
Arthritis is also a common ailment in older Black Mouth Curs, as it is with most dogs they live long enough to wear down their joints. This condition may be made worse by obesity which is also common in this breed.
While not a widely known dog breed, a Black Mouth Cur puppy is worth a closer look if you are in the market for a new dog. Keep in mind, that although they can be great family and companion dogs, they are not the right fit for every household.
In order to be safe around your family friends and other pets, Black Mouth Curs must be socialized and well trained starting at a very young age. The training must be consistent, with the same expectations from every member of the family. They also require a fair amount of time devoted to them both for their physical and emotional health.
Black Mouth Cur dogs also require a lot of space and exercise. Unlike many breeds, regular walks, even long ones, will not be enough to keep your Black Mouth Cur happy and healthy. They need open space and plenty of time to run free in it. If this does not sound like an environment you can offer your dog, then this may not be the breed of dog for your household.
If, however, you can provide your Black Mouth Cur dog with the training, love, and attention that he or she needs, you will be richly rewarded. You will gain a loyal companion who is eager to win your approval and will learn whatever skill you put before him in order to do so.
Like many breeds of dogs, a Black Mouth Cur needs to be properly socialized at a young age to avoid aggression. While not overly aggressive, they are very protective of their family members and may see every stranger as a threat if not trained otherwise. They also have a strong predatory instinct and may aggressively chase wild animals or cats if not taught at a young age that these creatures are not food.
Is The Pitbull Cur Right For Me?
Pitbull Curs are active dogs that are often loyal and obedient. This makes them a good choice for families who love the outdoors and want a dog to add to an active lifestyle.
However, since Pit bulls can be aggressive, the mix may not be a great fit for inexperienced dog owners or for anyone who is unwilling to put the time in to socialize and train their pup.
If you are still deciding on whether or not Black Mouth Cur Pitbull mix puppies are right for you, speak with your veterinarian or local breeder about your concerns.
Do you have a Cur Pitbull that you adore, or are you trying to find the perfect active canine for your home? Let us know in the comments below.
Black Mouth Cur Pitbull Mix Exercise and Training Requirements
Both the Pit bull and the Black Mouth Cur are active dogs that require a great deal of exercise. A typical mix will require at least one or two active 60 to 90 minute exercise sessions a day. Vigorous exercise is best, so any activity that allows your canine to run around is a good option.
Exercise can help to keep boredom, anxiety, and aggression to a minimum in dogs that are prone to these behaviors. Socialization is ideal to keep problem behaviors at bay, and so is an investment in a training and obedience program.
When it comes to potentially aggressive breeds, the key is to start obedience training early. Training your puppy can keep your dog from learning bad habits in the first place. Also, muscular dogs are easier to control and handle when they are puppies.
While it may seem that a strict, averse, or alpha technique would work best for a dog like a Pit bull mix, this is simply not true. In fact, punishment-based training and other types of negative reinforcement can lead to aggressive behavior.
Positive reinforcement or reward-based training is the best choice for all dogs, including the Black Mouth Cur and Pitbull Mix.
Another important factor in determining whether or not the Pitbull Cur mix is right for you is to look at potential health problems.
You need to understand the illnesses that can be passed down from Pitbulls and Curs.
Pit bulls are fairly healthy dogs. They do have some difficulties with hip dysplasia like other medium- to large-sized pups, but the incidence of joint issues is lower in Pit bulls than in other canines.
You do need to be concerned about heart problems in your Pitbull mix. Common issues include cardiomyopathy, or the thickening and hardening of the heart muscles. Subaortic stenosis is a concern, too, where blood flow is obstructed and cannot flow properly out of the left ventricle.
Heart problems can lead to congestive heart failure, as clinical cases show.
Pitbulls can develop hypothyroidism, too. In fact, about one quarter of all Pits are prone to the issue, and studies suggest that hypothyroidism is linked to aggression in certain canines.
Cataracts and eye diseases like progressive retinal atrophy are sometimes seen in Pit bulls. Progressive retinal atrophy can lead to eventual blindness, but studies say that blindness is seen most often in older dogs who are already prone to eye disorders.
Pit bulls can also develop skin disorders due to allergies. Allergies can lead to bacterial infections from the itching, scratching, and irritation of the skin. This is usually a mild problem, though, that can be treated with medication like Benadryl.
Black Mouth Curs are extremely healthy dogs with very few health problems to be worried about.
The dogs do tend to develop ear infections due to their hanging ears. Dirt, debris, and bacteria can easily become trapped in the ear canals, so ear cleaning is necessary if you adopt a Pitbull Cur mix.
Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia can develop, too.
Black Mouth Curs are not an extremely popular or widespread breed. Most of these dogs are owned and bred by individuals in the southern part of the United States. This is also where the dogs first originated, so inbreeding issues like a lack of vigor may be a concern. Looking closely at lineage can help you to avoid this problem.
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What breed mix is a Black Mouth Cur?
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