View Full Version : Mountain Cur Dog History

February 18, 2009, 05:29 PM
For those with interest in hunting with dogs. Mountain Curs are the pioneer dogs of the Southern Mountains. It has been said by many old timers that without Mountain Curs, or bear dogs, the Southern Mountains could not have been settled by the pioneers. Mountain Curs were a necessity for the frontier family. They guarded the family against wild animals and other dangers and caught, treed and holed animals for the family food. When moving to a new home, pioneers provided for the Mountain Cur puppies. Baskets were slung across the back of pack animals and the puppies rode. If no pack animals were available, family members carried the valuable puppies.
Our Mountain Curs came from Europe along with their owners, who came to America seeking new homes. Settlers landed along the Eastern coast of the New World. Restless souls moved down the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia into the Carolinas, across the Appalachian Mountains, along the Wilderness Trail into Kentucky and Tennessee and south and west into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri.
It had been established through family history and research that Spanish Explorers brought the brindle, bob-tailed Curs to the South. Hernando de Soto brought the brindle Curs to drive the hogs and provide protection against wild animals, while he explored the South and discovered the Mississippi River. Hunters and settlers found the brindles when they came South.

The colors of Mountain Curs of early days are dominant today. Brindle, yellow, black and blue. Some have white markings. Different strains were known by their owners' names such as: Arline, York and Ledbetter. All these dogs have the same general traits, such as strong treeing instinct on all game, courageous fighters and intelligence. The Mountain Cur today is still a varmint dog! Hunting whatever game his master wants. He is also a guard dog, farm dog and family protector. This dog is put down and ridiculed by some uninformed people because of the word "Cur". In Mountain Cur the word "Cur" is used idiomatically and has NO meaning of "low" or worthless".

February 18, 2009, 05:35 PM
From my understanding... The mountain cur started out as one of the 2 distinctly different looks of plott hound. I understand that one side of the plott family went a different way in breeding them. It was decided to call the original type a plott hound and the other was the mountain cur. They surely has varied over the generations as is seen in the wide confirmation and color standards.

February 18, 2009, 08:44 PM
Our Mountain Curs came from Europe along with their owners,

This is the first I've heard of this. In all my research and experience in hounds, curs and terriers I've never seen or heard of curs being used in Europe. Hounds and Airedale terriers were brought from Europe with their upper class owners. The smaller terriers, to a lesser extent, were also brought over with their owners but have been more recently imported. In the old country, terriers were the poor mans meat, varmint and poaching dog. People unable to own packs of larger pack type dogs owned and breed most of the terrier breeds known today. A good % of them were developed in Ireland. These people didn't have the $$ to bring their dogs with them. Curs are the southern USA's version of the poor man's meat and varmint dog and in my opinion, distinctly American. Land owners needed a good dog and cared less about what the breeding of a dog was. They bred "the best to the best" regardless of breed. In today's cur breeds you will find a background of hound, shepard, terrier, etc. Further evidence can be had if you compare the appearance of today Curs with that of the "city street dogs" of 3rd world countries. In the streets of these countries dogs roam freely and breed whenever to whatever. The results are dogs that look almost identical to the Curs we enjoy in the US. 30-40 lbs, short coat, med. bent over ears and a medium snout. Some settlers may have brought a "Cur" like dogs with them but they would make up a very very small part of today's cur bloodlines.

Enough of the BS. Here's some facts!! Today's Mountain and Blackmouth Curs are some of the best hunting dogs going. Their popularity is catching on in droves due to the "specialization" of the hound breeds into ill-handling, deep ranging, stupid trail/tree dogs (most, not all). Curs will hunt whatever you put em on and still have enough brains and pleasant disposition to make good pets and farm dogs. They don't have the nose of a hound nor are they as small as a terrier for ground work but they're still the best thing going and most handle like a dream.

February 18, 2009, 11:11 PM
LK, If you think that every dog that came over from Europe was a Pure Bred, you need to start over with your research. orchidhunter

February 18, 2009, 11:29 PM
The plott was a european bear dog brought over by the plott family in the mountains around, oddly enuff, plott creek in North Carolina.
Plott hound...

Mountain cur...
Note the resemblances... I do...
The word cur is used to mean home brewed breed. Not a pure long accepted breed.

February 18, 2009, 11:46 PM
Brent, check out our website at www.omcba.com I think you will like what you see. orchidhunter

February 19, 2009, 01:23 AM
What are the breed standards? For a breed that is by its nature an amalgamated pot hound (I hope I got the reference right), I'd think you'd have a hard time pinning it down.

The dogs I've hunted behind were a couple of lab mixes and a spaniel. Each time was for pheasants and each time the dogs did better than the hunters.

February 19, 2009, 01:30 AM
Like many cur dogs the breed standards are pretty wide.
Luckily they didn't adopt a color standard.

February 19, 2009, 07:03 AM
Buzzcook, This is the standard for one of the strains of Mt.Cur, known as the Mt. View Cur there are many strains of Mt. Cur.--- 1. COLOR: Yellow (includes Blonde - Golden - Reddish), Brindle, Brindle & Black, and Black & Brindle, and solid Black. They often will have white points (feet, chest, muzzle, forehead).
2. HEAD: Dome flat, wide between eyes, heavy muzzle, short to medium ears set high with control, eyes preferred dark, prominent, and expressive. Neck strong and muscular.

3. BODY: Deep chested, back straight and strong, coat smooth or rough with a soft fine undercoat.

4. TAIL: Natural bob or docked preferred. Docking should leave enough tail to have a handle when grown.

5. FEET: Cat paw type, strong and well muscled, set for speed. No dew-claws on hind feet. Pups born with them, should have them removed.

6. LEGS: Straight, muscular, set for speed.

7. VOICE: Semi-open trailing preferred on big game and coon. Silent trailing preferred on squirrel, with a good clear tree bark that can be heard a long distance.

8. HEIGHT: Males at shoulders: 20-26 inches, average being 23 inches.
Females at shoulders: 18-24 inches, average being 21 inches.

9. WEIGHT: In proportion to height and body structure. Not over 60 pounds and not under 30 pounds in hunting condition. Males being heavier than the females. Ideal weight average being 45 pounds.

10. CHARACTERISTICS: Strong treeing and hunting instinct, cold nose for winding ability but will swing out with head held high and drift or cut a track in an effort to catch the game and will tree game that has left no trail. Easily discouraged from unwanted game. Courageous fighters on dangerous game, but not aggressive toward other dogs or family members. They MUST have a strong desire to please their master. When bred to like they will produce a high percentage of “Natural” tree dogs. orchidhunter

February 19, 2009, 07:35 AM
Here's a picture of mine. Love her. Very good all around dog.

February 19, 2009, 07:52 AM
P97, Good looking dog. Your right when you say the Mt. Cur is a "very good all around dog". orchidhunter

March 16, 2009, 09:58 PM
"Bulldog" blood has been added to Plott Hounds and I think it's a good thing if you need something to "go to war" with wild pigs. By "Bulldog" I mean American Pit Bull "Terrier" blood. I'm of the opinion that when you see the brindle coat is an indicator of "bulldog" blood somewhere in the breeding - even if it's a hundred years ago.

Check out the website www.boardogs.com for some superb dogs in New Zealand and Australia. I'd love to have some - but I have nothing to do with them as I don't hunt boar.

That's one beautiful Plott Hound, btw.

March 16, 2009, 10:58 PM
I had a Blackmouth cur dog.

" Black mouth cur is the best dog in the world. Good for the family as well as hunters. Loyal and will give there lives to protect you. Insure you get yours from a good breeder such as Murphy's Black Mouth Curs in Mobile AL. They have kept the breed as it should be and spend almost too much time gettting them ready for there new owners. If your still not sure about it watch old yeller. Thats what a Black Mouth Cur is and will do for you."


Also several Catahoulas.
They tell me they are simular.

My BMC was crossed with white english bull dog.
1/2 the litter was yeller and 1/2 was brindle.

Jeb Stuart- Catahoula dog with Gene


March 16, 2009, 11:23 PM
The Catahoula Cur or Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, is named after Catahoula Parish in the state of Louisiana in the United States. Of remaining dog breeds, the Catahoula is believed to have occupied North America the longest, aside from the dogs descended from Native American-created breeds. The breed is sometimes incorrctly referred to as the "Catahoula Hound" or "Catahoula Leopard Hound", as it is not a hound, but a Cur.


Big Jake Catahoula Leopard cow-hog dog up Kelly Creek with his family.


March 16, 2009, 11:34 PM
The King of the stock dog breeds, most enduring... stamina is their middle name... CATAHOULA LEOPARD STOCK DOGS outwork and outfight all other breeds of stock dogs when protecting their master, livestock, and property. They are the largest and most aggressive of the cattle dogs, bred to handle wild cattle and hogs in the roughest, most remote country. Catahoulas will also hunt coon, bear, or whatever else they are introduced to. These dogs are not good city dwellers... they need several acres to roam to be happy. A farm or ranch is really their element.

Catahoulas are bred to go and find livestock in swamps, hilly canyons, thickets or forests, or mountains. They will trail, nose to ground, but prefer to throw their heads up and "wind" their prey, taking the shortest route to find, gather up or bunch, and circle and bay the quarry until their master
can reach them to take control.

Preferred size from 20-26", weight 50-90 lbs, with a few individuals larger although most males average 60-70 lbs in lean working condition, & about 24" tall. Short haired, long tail, natural flop ear (like a Dalmatian ear), they come in every color of the rainbow, but are best known for a blue/grey base with black/liver spots ("blue Leopard"), tan legs and face, white toes and chest. Many variations on this general pattern. Spots occur in all colors. Blue/glass or parti-colored "marbled" or "cracked"eyes are common in every litter. Often a dog will have eyes of two different colors.

Catahoula Leopards are extremely agile and athletic, territorial, protective of "their property". They are more primitive psychologically than most breeds and need consistent obedience reinforcement. The owner must understand the Alpha concept and stay in control at all times, but still be loving to the dog. Very loyal, loving, intelligent and independent... they really think for themselves.


ole yeller up Fish Creek


March 16, 2009, 11:57 PM
Big Jake up Pagoda Ridge
Indian trail used by Lewis and Clark 1805 - My favorite lost secret place.


one more link -

American Catahoula Assc homepage
"The American Catahoula Association (ACA) is an organization dedicated to uniting owners and breeders of registered Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dogs. ..."

March 17, 2009, 08:12 PM
Packhorses and catahoula cur dog pup up Weitas Creek.
That was a good soft dog that loved dogs and people and everybody.

Except for the building inspector. When he showed up Jake would not let him out of his car. LOL>


March 17, 2009, 08:21 PM
Thats why those dogs were so tough. They had to survive in the rugged and mean Appalachian Mountains. Not only were the animals mean and tough the mountain men were some of the roughest you could find. It was the land full of bushwackers and lawless men.

March 17, 2009, 09:26 PM
I suppose this is the wrong thread to say that I was raising and training hunting poodles in the 60s. :D

Poodles are a good all-round dog, also. The only problem is that they do tend to be a bit headstrong. You have to be smarter than your dog.

These are not mine, of course, as I closed that business in 1963, when I moved to Alaska.



Big Bill
March 17, 2009, 09:40 PM
My favorites were my Plotts. I think they are just a spit or two from Cur dogs.

March 17, 2009, 10:39 PM
I had some headstrong Catahoulas. Blue was always fighting dogs- I am tougher than you- yes they would say and then he was ok. I loved and hated that dog. He was my first cur. Then Jake and Yeller were soft, pleasant and perfect. :) Soft but tough; like men should be. :D
Oakie is obedient and Jeb is difficult. Headstrong is not the right word- maybe wild is better. I see the red wolf in cur blood in Jeb.

Maybe the Red wolf shows up in all of them in their brains? Perhaps cur means you never know what you will get?

Like my Morgans, they are all different but have this one thing in common- two or three horses inside. My curs are too much dog, like my Morgans are too much horse.

I always wanted a working large Poodle dog. Never had one though, and never knew of anyone who owned one. Untill now...

March 17, 2009, 11:48 PM
My stud was 90 pounds and waist high to me. When he was about 4 months old, I put a choke chain on him and fastened it to my belt. It never came off of him except when I was changing pants.

We finally came to an understanding. He wouldn't yank me off my feet and drag my face along on the ground. I would not pick him up by the hind legs and slam him back to the ground. :D

He turned out to be a prime hunter. I could use him for water retriever, pointer, flusher, hound and baby sitter. More than once we bagged rabbits, quail and coyote on the same day.

Sold him to an avid hunter whom he liked. Cried a little.


March 18, 2009, 12:36 AM
I trained my last two dogs to drag me for tracking men in harness. WE track in a dog collar- I can barley control them... a harness and I'd be drug face down. :D

I used Leerburg Tracking through Drive and the book that starts them on 24hour trails. My dogs did great. Search and Rescue was mad cuz they could hardly track a 4 hour old trail with broke dogs, and my pups were ...

curs who are better than the best. :D

My SAR team did everything they could to de- rail my dogs. Silly people. :p

guns and more
March 18, 2009, 11:20 AM
This made me think of a time many years ago when my wife and I went backpacking in Ohio. We left the car at the trailhead and were met by a dog that walked with us, about five miles. He spent the night outside our tent, and walked back to the trailhead with us the next day. When we got to the car he took off.
What a great dog, I guess he just liked to help people.

March 18, 2009, 11:32 AM
Hope you fed the Samaritan pooch breakfast!

March 18, 2009, 01:03 PM
armedandsafe: The article you link to points out the importance of running new dogs with experienced ones. The pups learn from the old dog as much as they do from the hunter/trainer.

I saw that with the second lab my in-law owned. It picked up its cues from the first lab and learned in one season what it took two for the older dog to learn.
Which brings us to the hunting pig. The in-law was driving home one night and found a piglet on the side of the road. To make a long story short the pig got raised with the dogs and would flush pheasants when he hunted on the home acreage. Eventually the pig was turned into bacon, but it was fun while it lasted.

March 18, 2009, 05:19 PM
mtnm, I hunt the Kemmer strain of Mt. Cur. They hunt hard and fast, but not too far away. They check in about every 30 minutes if not on track. They make cold tracks appear hot. They circle and drift until they find the hot end of tracks and run to catch and catch to kill. They do not open on a track that cannot be moved. When working bear and boar they have the speed to bite and circle game in one motion and keep the animal turning. They will catch every groundhog on a farm even if it takes all summer. Will crawl on there stomachs to stalk a groundhog trying to get between groundhog and den. They have a clear chop mouth. Easy to tell when treed. They can heel a cow like a stock dog and get rough with a mean cow if need be. These dogs are people-oriented and have a very, very strong need to please you. Hope this is some help to you. orchidhunter

March 18, 2009, 06:32 PM
Whats the difference between a hound and a cur?

Someone told me its that curs check back in. Is that true?
...or curs are mixed with the dogs of DeSoto and greyhound, bulldog and more.
or maybe hounds are keen on game, and curs are keen on people but work too.
or curs work hogs, cattle and find game.

Let me see if I understand your launguage?

They make cold tracks appear hot.
They have an exceptional nose.

They do not open ( bark or hollar ? ) on a track that cannot be moved. Game that does not run?

They will catch every groundhog on a farm even if it takes all summer. Jeb killed a skunk on his chain without getting sprayed.

They can heel a cow like a stock dog and get rough with a mean cow if need be. Do they also circle and head cows?

Thank you.

They have a clear chop mouth. Not sure what that means?

Are your dogs so hard headed that you use a shock collars to teach come?

People tell me I own hounds. I have never met a cur owner before...
and all I know about my dogs is what they have taught me.

They can only be replaced with another cur.

March 18, 2009, 07:00 PM
Officially a curr is a lesser dog or a mixed breed. For us a bulldog that "currs out" is one that released grip on a hog or never caught but instead went to baying...

For us hoggers an open dog is one that barks before they see the quarry... usually results in no bayed hog as they will run ahead and rest and run as the yapper closes in... ie: "haulin the mail" to the next county.

Clear chop is a more traditional bark opposed to athe bawl of a hound...
IMHO anyway...

March 18, 2009, 07:46 PM
mtnm, check out our website at www.omcba.com and the Kemmer Cur folks website http://z11.invisionfree.com/Kemmers_Hybrids/index.php orchidhunter

roy reali
March 18, 2009, 08:52 PM
I am surprised by how much some of you love dogs!:confused:

March 18, 2009, 09:15 PM
Roy, For those like mtnm, the dog is a trail boss guarding the loved ones... For me, they are my one and only means to an end... And knowing the risk we all face on a hog hunt I must put my trust in the dogs, more the bulldog but all play a role. They in turn put their life in my hands to hustle up and get the hog tipped and tied as quick and clean as possible to reduce the risk of injury to the dogs... I don't care if it is a deep beaver pond with snakes and gators I must swim... it ain't time to get my nerve... Like Mr.Nike says... JUST DO IT!
I can't speak for the bird and coon hunters as I haven't done that too much and haven't owned such dogs, unless you consider my bulldog trashin out on a coon or beaver...:o

roy reali
March 18, 2009, 09:33 PM
You missed my meaning.

March 18, 2009, 09:39 PM
I think I caught it but didn't expound on it the way I could have... If you mean the incessant desire to learn about the various breeds and traits of the breeds... it generally comes as part of the territory... I couldn't tell a mt.curr from a partin curr from a bluetick hound until I got started huntin' hogs. I also thought all bulldogs were one and the same with just different regional names with the exception of english and boston bulldogs... I may still be offbase of your intended meaning and if so please elaborate for me cuz you may have slipped a frisbee brand pie tin passed my head...

February 16, 2011, 02:31 AM
hardwoods ida belle
she is an original mt. cur
treeing a squirrel

February 16, 2011, 08:06 AM
... but had a Catahoula Cur / Siberian Husky mix who was the best dog I've ever owned.

Don't tell my current three dogs (Jack Russell; Pit/Pointer; and American Bulldog/German Shepherd/Samoyed/Terrier mix). They are all good dogs, and don't need to know I had a favorite. (Had to put him down in 2008 when he just couldn't get up one morning; 13 years old, lower spine had fused on him.)

We've thought about a black-mouthed cur as our next one, down the road.

February 16, 2011, 08:37 AM
The Mountain Cur on the left, and Australian Cattle Dog on the right, in the Background are excellent all around dogs, and work good together. The black dog in the front became Wolf food. He wasn't near the dog the other two are.

Willie Lowman
February 16, 2011, 11:32 AM
My mtn. cur, Titus.


Hunter Customs
February 17, 2011, 10:26 AM
I really enjoyed this thread.
A friend of mine had a catahoula cur, it was an excellent dog.

Thanks for the great pictures, beautiful country.
I spend as much time as possible horseback. If I was in that country I don't know if anyone would ever see me again.

Best Regards
Bob Hunter

sc outdoorsman
February 18, 2011, 04:31 PM
Back when my dad had a pack of deer hounds he had a few Plotts over the years. They were not as fast as walkers or have the nose of a bluetick, but they were solid dogs. A big male named Joe was toughest dog we ever had. He was gentle to handle but wanted to fight other dogs. We had a time settling that. He also loved to fight hogs as well. We had to get him sewn up a few times, but he never would back down from a hog. I also saw him scrap with a big male coon under a blown down tree. He was cut up pretty good from that as well.
The curs I've seen around here were medium sized dogs that were excellent at treeing squirrels. They also were good companions.

February 19, 2011, 03:38 PM
I live within 10 miles of Catahoula lake in central Louisiana and have lived here most of my life. The hog dogs that took the lakes name were originally bred around here for hunting free-range hogs. They're normally blue-brindle dogs, but the defining feature in these woods is blue eyes. If a dog doesn't have blue eyes (around here) he's not considered a Catahoula Cur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catahoula_Cur). Another defining trait of the Catahoula Cur is pronounced webbing between the toes. That trait makes it easier for the dogs to work in swampy areas.

There are some who are trying to rename this breed the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog (http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/catahoula.htm). The Catahoula Cur is the official dog of the state of Louisiana.

The best one I ever had was a dog named Cuz. I got Cuz during his later years after he'd retired from the hog business. His owner was moving and Cuz couldn't go on the road with him, so he asked if I'd take the dog. We lived together for about eight years on my mini-farm. Dependable, loyal, strong, smart, Cuz was a wonderful dog and I shed my tears when I found him under his favorite cedar tree, asleep but grown cold.

February 19, 2011, 03:51 PM
In the mid 60s I had the good fortune of hunting w/ a gentleman and his catahoula. The hunting was for javelina in the Hondo, TX area. That dog was a real hunter..stamina and an excellent nose.

I got to handle the dogs after the bay. We would leash the dogs and then the hunter shot. Hog was usually backed into or against some hollow log or stump or some pear. Once I let the dogs go when the hog bolted out of the log, after the shot. That is a dangerous time for the dog. They only went 50 yds and the wounded hog went back to the log. From then on I understood and never made that mistake again.

September 13, 2011, 03:48 PM
I have a german sheperd // cur mix pup about three months old. He has more of the cur look and temperment than the german sheperd. Living out on the Texas gulf coast where the temps have reached over 104 degrees, he is always actively seeking some type of water to play in. I do not know much about cur dogs, as my experience is with german sheperds. I would like to get some good useful training tips as well as any behavior issues to look out for. Max has been going to the burn pile and has been caught chewing on burnt tin cans, so I am a little scared of vet bills in the future if this keeps up. Any advice is greatly welcomed.

September 13, 2011, 04:35 PM
I've found that they all have different personalities, even of the same breed, just like people. My Half Mountain Cur, is a very sensitive dog, and has to be handled easily. She will do anything to please me, and get me to praise her. She has been easy to train, because all I have to do is make her understand what I want her to do. She is the most obedient dog, I've ever had. My Australian Cattle dog, will do what I ask, but at times, you can tell its not because he wants, but knows he has to. I never have to whip the Mountain Cur, but can just scold her, and it has the same affect as a whipping. The Cattle dog, has to be trashed occasionally, so he'll remember to do what he knows to do. My Mountain Cur liked to chew bones when she was young, and still likes to. She will also eat anything she finds dead, and smelling, in the woods, even though she's fed well. Before my Mountain Cur gets too old, I'm planning to get a Full Blood Pup, and let her help me train it. The Mountain Cur is the best behaved, all around dog I've ever owned. Since I have two different breeds, for two different purposes, my Mountain Cur will work cattle with the cattle dog, and the Cattle dog will tree, and help the Mountain Cur kill Varmints.

TX Hunter
September 25, 2011, 10:53 AM
I figured out a long time ago that If you can get A Mountain Cur, and a Hound to hunt together, you will be very successfull, to this day, I now hunt a Bluetick with a mountain Cur, and tree coons when other cant.