Famous for its adorable appearance in the Fred Gipson's novel "Old Yeller," the Black Mouth Cur is a sight to behold.
Between the vibrant shades of yellow coats, fawns and brindled, this muscular and robust pup is an excellent addition to any family.
Unquestionably, due to the breed’s built and personality, it’s essential for any future owner to be aware of what they’re bringing into their home. Thus, without further ado, here is a comprehensive guide on what can be expected from this short-haired breed.
What is the Black Mouth Cur Dog Breed?
Developed in the United States with the primary purpose of herding livestock and gathering hunt game, the active breed is renowned for its athletic built, tenacious work drive and protective nature. Of course, the natural hunting and herding abilities it displays are only an added bonus to the already rich characteristics which define this hybrid.
When it comes to the origins of the Black Mouth Cur, experts aren't entirely sure where the breed first came into existence. Although there is some speculation around a mix of ancient European and Asian cur-type dogs.
Some experts believe that the term “cur” defines a blend between two or more breeds. However, this is not the case – the Black Mouth Cur is as purebred as they come. Among the most renowned theories, you have: the Alabama origins, the Ladner Yellow Black Mouth Cur originating from Mississippi, along with the Foundation Black Mouth Cur from Texas.
Aside from the heresy, the fact is that the breed was developed around the 19th century in the Southern United States - becoming a well-regarded and respected dog used on farms around the country. One notable similarity - namely its webbed toes - is with the Catahoula Cur.
As previously mentioned, the Black Mouth Cur is a dog which was used for hunting and herding. Thus, its personality is in line with what you would expect from dogs falling into this group.
Are they Loyal?
Famous for its loyalty and protectiveness, the breed commonly forms strong bonds with families – feeling a sense of deep pride from taking care of its owners.
Especially when adequately socialized with children from a young age, the breed develops well-founded relationships, distancing themselves from the typical rough play that they are used to.
As a general rule of thumb, this dog won’t understand its strength. Thus, it’s advisable to train it to play gently with young children. Otherwise, adopt this canine companion once your children have grown up a bit.
Responsibly owning a Black Mouth
Concerning responsibility and protectiveness, there is no cause for concern – they will bark and be suspicious of any strangers entering or leaving your property. Of course, they can become quite tolerant of others, but again, adequate socialization plays a critical role in this.
If you’re wondering why that is, it’s quite simple: this territorial breed is not entirely tolerant of behaviors they’re not exposed to and will not allow for violence or outbursts even in your own home.
The advantage of that is that they can easily deter intruders, making excellent guard dogs and being efficient in preventing people from entering your property uninvited.
When it comes to their ability to mingle with other pups and dogs, opinions are quite mixed.
Since they are a hunting dog, they possess the ability to work in a small group with the purpose of catching prey. However, if you run a single-dog home, things may be entirely different and aggressiveness is not totally out of the question.
Because of their tendency to dominate and make their stamp on the world, it’s better to expose your dog to others as soon as possible. While this is not a breed that often goes out looking for a fight, they are willing to give it a go should the opportunity allow for it.
What do Black Mouth Curs look like?
Although the words “adorable” and “cute” are excellently descriptive of this dog, there are many other notable features for the Black Mouth Cur. Because we are not entirely sure of its origins, it’s easy to understand the substantial variations in appearance.
The differences in size and height will ultimately be determined by physical condition, age and height. But, regardless of the overall built, you can bet that these dogs will be highly athletic and muscular. After all, the primary purpose of this breed used to be herding and hunting.
Thus, any exaggerated features are sure to compromise its stamina and ability to run and play. This Southern dog is meant to be unquestionably sturdy and fit and it’s your job to ensure that they don’t fall off the wagon and get bulky and tired.
Other physical features worth mentioning concern its coat, which comes in a wide variety of shades of yellow. Of course, there are those pups that are born with lighter coats and it’s not uncommon to see that different puppies of the litter vary in color.
Regarding the muzzle, it is typically black, tan, or imitating the color of the coat. Their wiggly tail can vary in size, either long and slightly curvy, or naturally short. Make no mistake, though, they are as powerful as a Boxer’s tail and they will break everything in their way.
If you have a Black Mouth Cur, you are fortunate, as it does not require a lot of grooming.
These dogs shed an average amount. However, for dogs of its size, the Black Mouth Cur loses a very manageable amount of fur. It is recommended that you brush them every day, or at least a couple times a week, to make the shedding process less messy.
Additionally, Black Mouth Curs should not be bathed unless it is necessary, as they are very prone to dry skin from bathing, which can lead to skin irritation and infections.
Similar to other large dogs with floppy ears, it is also important to check for wax build ups within the ear. However, be careful as a dog’s ear canals are very sensitive. For your sake, as well as your dog’s, it is important to clip your pooch’s toenails if you are able to hear them clicking on the ground when they walk.
Some other processes you may want to run through would be to brush their teeth and to check the pads of their paws - although they would probably find a way to show you if their paws were hurting.
Black Mouth Curs, similar to most large dogs, require plenty of space. It is not recommended to have a Black Mouth Cur in a small home or apartment. They thrive in large outdoor spaces and require regular exercise. If running freely is an option, maybe in a dog park, it may be necessary to tire them out.
The Black Mouth Cur requires a large amount of physical activity and a decent amount of attention. So, the ideal companion would be someone who is fit and present. The ideal home situation would be a house with a yard that would allow your dog to run freely throughout the day and possibly play, as well.
Possible Health Problems
The Black Mouth Cur is a very healthy breed of dog, as it was originally a working, hunting dog. It experiences very few health issues and has been known to live long for a dog of its size, up to sixteen years old or possibly older.
As they are commonly no longer pure bred, they are made up of plenty of different breeds, making it less likely to catch genetically inherited diseases. However, the Black Mouth Cur is unfortunately not immune to everything and does experience some health issues.
Black Mouth Curs, as with any dog with droopy, teardrop-shaped ears, will be susceptible to issues in their ears, commonly infections. Their ears pick up debris from the ground, both outdoors and inside, which can lead to serious issues. This can occur to a Black Mouth Cur living in any environment, but those who are often in water or humid climates are more susceptible to infections.
Ear infections are avoidable with regular ear cleaning, which can be done easily at home. Though you have to clean your dog’s ears out often, your pooch will show you if its ears are bothering them by shaking their head or scratching it. It is crucial that you do this as simple dirt or other particles that get stuck in your dog’s ears can lead to extreme pain and chronic health issues.
Visual / Skeletal Issues
The Black Mouth Cur breed has been known to experience some visual and skeletal issues. These are more difficult to detect than ear infections and will lead to more damaging results if not detected and treated properly.
It is highly recommended that you bring your Black Mouth Cur to get tested at some point in their life. These tests can often predict any future health issues that your dog may experience, which can be difficult to detect in their older age
Hip Dysplasia is a common health issue for larger breeds of dogs. Caused by malformations in the hip which commonly go unnoticed, this health issue will eventually weaken the hip. Hip Dysplasia affects all dogs differently - some will be completely crippled, while others can live with it unaffected. Elbow Dysplasia has been known to affect Black Mouth Curs, as well.
Other Possible Problems
In addition to the possible health problems that were discussed, the Black Mouth Cur is also prone to develop epilepsy, cataracts, ectropion and mange.
Black Mouth Curs require regular and high levels of physical activity to keep them satisfied. As they are originally hunting dogs, they may be described as indefatigable. It is important to ensure that your dog gets enough exercise, as it can lead to further issues.
Some possible problems that can result from lack of necessary exercise may be destructiveness, aggressiveness, too much excitement and other behavioral issues. The most ideal situation would be multiple long, brisk walks and runs, or if possible, the chance to run freely in a backyard.
Is The Black Mouth Cur a Good Family Dog?
Black Mouth Curs are known to be very good family dogs. As all dog owners know, dogs will have their quirks and specific personality traits. However, most dogs of this breed are very good with people and kids. As puppies, they may seem a little bit crazy and even untrustworthy, but, similar to any dog, they will mature. And as they age, they become more trustworthy around kids.
As they are large dogs, they are able to handle the way little kids will play and jump on them. However, as previously mentioned, it is very important that Black Mouth Curs are trained from a young age to ensure that they will make proper, safe family dogs that can be trusted with and around children. If they are socialized properly, these dogs will be very gentle around other dogs as well as people of all ages.
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The Black Mouth Cur is indeed a beautiful breed that when properly socialized, can turn into a devoted and protective household companion for you and your children. That being said, training and interaction with other dogs are imperative from a really young age, as the breed is unable to understand the sheer force it has.
As a result, that could put you off – as the years go by, at least. The best course of action is to introduce children and other pups while still young and to create a nourishing and healthy environment in which this athletic dog can thrive. Ready to adobt a cur? Here's a map to show availability in each state.