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Mountain Cur: The Pioneer’s Dog

Mountain Cur: The Pioneer’s Dog

In the highlands of Tennessee and Kentucky, the Mountain Cur dog breed first appeared. They played a significant role in the early settlers’ life and supported their people as they established farms in the southern, mountainous, and rural areas. They helped with hunting, served as watchdogs on farms, and even herded animals. These responsibilities are still carried out by this type of dog today. In addition to other jobs like being devoted companions. 

The breed is sometimes described to as “The Pioneer’s Dog” and goes by the name “Mountain Kerr.” Apartment dwellers should avoid Mountain Curs since they require a lot of space and activity. They are also incredibly bright and frequently unyielding. These dogs thrive with seasoned pet owners who can impose their leadership positions while being strict with the training of obedience.

Male Mountain Curs weigh 30 to 60 pounds and stand 18 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder. Females range in height from 16 to 24 inches, and they weigh between 30 and 60 pounds. Black, tan, brown, yellow, brindle, and black and brindle are among the coat colors available for Mountain Curs. Their coats could also have white markings. 


Mountain Curs were an essential component of a frontier family during the early days of European settlement in North America. Especially for those settling in the more hilly parts of the countryside. They were used to hunt small game like rabbits and squirrels. But they have also shown to be effective against larger species like wild boar. 

Although the Mountain Cur’s exact history is unknown, it is thought that they first came in the United States in the 1940s. The Mountain Cur is most likely descended from other European “Cur” breeds. Pioneers employed these dogs to guard their dwellings, catch wild game, and protect their cattle. They were incredibly adaptable which led pioneers to view them as the ideal companion for settling in the mountains.

They were incredibly devoted and affectionate dogs in addition to being extremely hardworking and protective of their home and family. Mountain Curs are skilled at “treeing,” which is the act of chasing prey up into a tree. The Mountain Cur produced food for its families and was a skilled climber and hunter. 

The Mountain Cur’s exact lineage was less significant to these early inhabitants than its aptitude at hunting. As a result, little is known about the breed’s actual ancestry. The Mountain Cur was formally recognized as a breed in 1957 after the Original Mountain Cur Breeders Association of America was established.

Although the Mountain Cur is a part of the American Kennel Club‘s Foundation Stock Group, Mountain Curs are not eligible for AKC registration. The Blue Lucy, Catahoula Leopard Dog, and Treeing Tennessee Brindle are examples of further “cur” breeds. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1998.

The Mountain Cur dog enjoying his time in nature

Source: Instagram (@tahoepup)


The Mountain Cur is an unflinching watchdog who will fight to defend their home and the people who dwell there. They are apprehensive of strangers but will eventually come to trust them once they see they pose no threat. Due to their versatility and ability to be trained for a wide range of tasks, the breed has long been referred to as an “all-purpose” dog. 

Mountain Curs are naturally athletic canines that love being outside, partaking in sports, and going on hunts. They have a strong hunting drive because they were domesticated to hunt tiny wildlife. The Mountain Cur dogs love spending time outside more than indoors, and they do best in a house with a large yard and active family members. 

Because of their independence and stubbornness, this breed is not suitable for inexperienced dog owners. They require very strict and steadfast obedience training as puppies, as well as early instruction that they are not the leader. 

They are great family dogs and enjoy kids, despite their size and loud, deep bark giving the impression that they are menacing. Although a protective nature may seem like a good quality in a dog, if they perceive threats, they may become overprotective. That’s why you have to socialize them early on. 

Use only positive reinforcement and refrain from utilizing any harsh training techniques while you are training. Giving them chores like hunting will be incredibly fulfilling for them and also help them burn off some energy because they want to please their people more than anything else! 

Are they good family dogs?

The Mountain Cur is a wonderful family pet that likes being a member of the group. They have a lot of energy and thrive on outdoor activities. They are loyal companions and the high intelligence of the Mountain Cur dog breeds makes it fun to train them. 

These dogs can develop strong protective instincts for their families, so it’s crucial to socialize your dog with every member of your family as well as outsiders from an early age. You should be sure children know how to approach the dog and how to securely engage with them because the Mountain Cur is a rough, rugged, and muscular breed. 

The Mountain Cur cannot live with other small pets because they were developed as hunting dogs. He hould not live with cats, even after early socialization, because of their strong predatory instinct. They could also hunt other wild animals during your walks if you let them off the leash. Teach your dog to leave the unwanted games in order to save the life of squirrels and rabbits that you may come across on your long walks. 


Mountain Curs are well-known for having unusually long lifespans and being generally healthy dogs. Since this particular breed was carefully bred, they are not inclined to any significant health problems. But some of the more typical health issues Mountain Curs may experience include: 

  • Skin infections 
  • Sensitive and dry skin 
  • Fleas, ticks, and parasites 
  • Ear infections

But thankfully, as we already explained, these purebred dogs are mostly healthy. Their average lifespan is between 14 to 16 years, which is unusually long for such a large breed. It’s your responsibility as a dog owner to make sure your dog eats a healthy diet and has his exercise needs met.

A dog jumping to greet his owner

Source: Instagram (@tahoepup)

Caring for the Mountain Cur 

The Mountain Cur is a very energetic dog breed. He requires regular mental and physical activity to avoid acting out destructively. To have a controllable and well-behaved dog as an adult, they should receive enough of obedience training. They also need other types of physical stimulation from a young age. 

They must constantly have work to accomplish because they were created to carry out jobs. To fulfill its desires for tree climbing, hiking, running, and other sports, the Mountain Cur needs a committed pet parent. The Mountain Cur is the right dog if you enjoy being outside or living on a farm. They are more than willing to patrol the outside of your house and would even put their lives in danger to keep their families safe. 

Although these dogs enjoy playing and running in the open air, you should keep them away from dog parks. Unfortunately, the Mountain Cur is not very trusting of other dogs and may not feel secure or happy socializing with other dogs even after being socialized. 


Mountain Curs have a thin fur coat. They shed sparingly all year long, but in the spring and fall, they shed the most. However, they don’t need much bathing or other types of grooming as well. Bathing every couple of months and brushing their coat only a few times a week will be more than enough to keep your dog’s coat in great shape. 

A Mountain Cur will require frequent nail trimming, usually once per month. Also, make sure you clean their ears from time to time with cotton balls and cleaning solution. Furthermore, maintaining proper oral hygiene might help ward off dental conditions. Even if you are unable to wash your dog’s teeth every day, doing so every other day or a few times a week can greatly improve the condition of your Mountain Cur’s teeth. 


Mountain Curs need to exercise hard every day to keep their bodies and minds healthy. Aim to engage your pet in active play for at least an hour (or more) each day, such as jogging, hiking, swimming, or fetch. Furthermore, if your dog is appropriately taught in those surroundings, outside activities like hunting and sports can give a variety of stimulating activities. 

If you love to walk and go on long distance hikes, than this dog would be a good choice for you. Make sure that this dog gets all of the activity that he needs, or else he might start to act destructivly. Bored dogs may start barking, chewing, or destroying other of your personal use items. 


Mountain Curs require constant mental stimulation because they are very intelligent beings. This can be done through a work or duty, such helping hunters find small game while they are out hunting, doing tasks around the house or farm, or even making puzzle toys and feeders. They are intelligent, but they may also be resistant, so each dog will respond differently to training. However, they are capable of being properly socialized and trained.


A medium to large breed dog with lots of energy should be given an appropriate Mountain Cur diet. Since they are such an active breed, Mountain Curs normally do not tend to gain weight. But you must make sure they are receiving the right nutrients. 

The Mountain Cur’s nutritional requirements will change from puppyhood through adulthood. They will continue to change into their senior years, much like those of all dogs. There is far too much variance among individual dogs — including weight, energy, and health — to offer a specific prescription. Therefore you should seek your vet for advice regarding your Mountain Cur’s food. 


After learning so much about this unique dog breed, you are probably wondering if it would make a good choice for you. Well, if you live in an apartment and aren’t really all about the great outdoors, then the answer is a clear NO. These dogs need a lot of exercise, but also a lot of space. 

Mountain Curs are devoted to their owners and fiercely loyal. The Mountain Cur can be wary of strangers because of its great loyalty and protective attitude. When they get to know someone, though, they become just as amiable with them as they are with their family. Due to their high prey drive and propensity for hunting, Mountain Curs may not be suited for households with other small animals or young children.  

But if you are looking for a hard-working dog breed that will follow you on all different types of adventures, then look no further. This is a pretty rare dog breed. So if you are interested in getting one of these, chances are that you will have to do a lot of research. But it will all be worth it in the end. 

My name is Katy and I am 27. I love to travel and you would be surprised how good I am at karaoke. 🙂 Passionate dog lover and a "mother" to a beautiful toy puddle named Zara. I work as a volunteer in a local shelter and I am a veterinary assistant helping our four-legged friends every day.