The protective and loyal Black Mouth Cur is somewhat of a legend in the USA.
Part of its popularity in the country is due to its strong connection to American history, and other is due to the all-time favorite classic Disney movie and the book about the unforgettable “Old Yeller.”
This strong and energetic scent hound dog is not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club but has been recognized by the United Kennel Club.
The Black Mouth Cur is a versatile dog, which is suitable for all kinds of work, as well as a loving, loyal and playful companion.
It has high energy levels so it is suitable for people who lead more active lifestyles. Also, the dogs from this breed will feel better in homes where there is a fenced backyard where they can spend time playing and romping outdoors from time to time.
These amazing dogs are very sensitive and intuitive animals that are perfect for experienced dog owners.
Temperament: fearless, strong, and loyal
Height at the shoulder: 16-25 inches
Weight: 40-50 lbs.
Life expectancy: 12-18 years
Breed group: working dogs – scent hound (recognized by the UKC)
About the breed
The name of this dog breed comes from the typical black colored lips and muzzles of these pups. It is believed that they were first developed in the Southeastern USA for protection and herding, but have been used for all kinds of work including hunting, herding, protecting as well as for the simple task of being loyal and loving companion dogs.
The Black Mouth Cur like all other Cur breeds has not been recognized by the American Kennel Club but it is immensely popular throughout the United States.
The dogs from this breed are suitable companion dogs for owners who have previous experience with training and owning a high energy dog.
They need firm and consistent training by someone who has the confidence to establish themselves as the alpha dog in the pack. They react well to positive reinforcement, and any harsh punishments, especially when they are undeserved should be avoided due to the sensitivity of the Black Mouth Curs.
These pups are multi-talented but need to use their overflowing energy in order to stay happy and out of trouble or of engaging in destructive behavior.
This includes long walks, as well as a fenced yard if possible. They are also excellent running or cycling buddies, and will happily join you when you go hunting, hiking, camping or on another outdoor adventure.
Black Mouth Curs are definitely not couch potatoes, and won’t feel too happy living in a small apartment with people who prefer to lead a more sedentary life.
They love their families but have a strong territorial instinct, so they can be quite protective and perceive strangers as potential threats. This can be dangerous behavior, so socializing the Black Mouth Cur from day one is absolutely obligatory!
Meeting the puppy with as many people, friendly dogs and taking it to all kinds of settings should be done as soon as it has had all of its puppy shots and it is safe to leave home. Even before all vaccines are administered you should start inviting people at home to meet the little one, in order to get it used to interacting with humans.
These dogs do not require too much grooming, but the maintenance of each Black Mouth Cur may vary depending on the specific breeder. The reason is that their size and their coats differ depending on the goals of the breeder for the puppies produced.
In general, you can expect the Black Mouth Cur to be at least 16 inches high at the shoulder, but depending on where you get your puppy from, it can grow up to weigh from only 35 to 50 lbs. up to a hefty 100 lbs.
So, they can be medium or large sized, but all of them are very energetic and strong dogs.
Since they are strong pups, they are not suitable for homes where there are very young children. Otherwise, they are excellent playmates for grown-up kids who know how to safely interact with dogs.
These protective and loyal canines have the uncanny ability to sense what you are feeling, so you will get a lot of understanding and develop a special relationship with your pet if you decide to buy or adopt a Black Mouth Cur.
One other factor makes this dog breed a very popular one for a family dog, and it is the fact that Black Mouth Curs are generally very healthy dogs, and have an average lifespan of up to 18 years!
Of course, in order for your dog to live a happy and long life, you will need to take proper care of it, feed it properly, and of course keep it safe from gaining extra weight or becoming obese. Obesity in canines can significantly impact their mobility, health and their overall wellbeing and longevity.
The breed has been further made famous by the popular book and Disney movie “Old Yeller.”
The personality traits of the Black Mouth Cur have been influenced by the history of the breed. These dogs were first developed by the settlers who needed dogs which could protect them and their livestock from potential predators. During these dangerous times, the dogs from this breed were usually encouraged to fight predators and to keep fighting if attacked.
This is why today the Black Mouth Curs are still fearless dogs, even though they are more often preferred as companion and family dogs.
The settlers also needed intelligent canines which could help them hunt for food, and to protect their families and properties.
At the same time, these dogs needed to be strong and rugged enough to withstand walking and running at long distances on rough terrains.
This is why, today the dogs from this American breed are still so energetic, strong and hardworking.
The Black Mouth Cur is a loyal, highly energetic dog which needs more daily exercise than many other dog breeds.
The dogs from this breed are superb scent hounds and trail trackers, as well as watchdogs.
They are also very smart animals and can be trained easily by an experienced and patient owner. They will quickly learn to obey your commands, but if the training sessions get too long or repetitive, they can easily become bored and start ignoring you.
Also, they are highly sensitive canines, which will not appreciate being yelled at or being punished.
Overall, you can expect a dog from this hound dog breed to be a very diligent, tenacious, protective, intelligent, and energetic companion or working dog.
With timely and proper training and socializing, as well as with proper care and sufficient exercise, the Black Mouth Cur can become the perfect family dog.
Many hunters in the US still prefer to use dogs from this breed as scent hounds. Unlike other hunting dogs of this type, they are quiet trackers.
Keep in mind before buying or adopting a dog from this breed that the type of dog you will get depends on the specific breeder.
Some breeders produce working dogs only, while others produce more family oriented companion dogs.
In general, Black Mouth Puppies will need to eat 4 meals of high-quality puppy dog food a day, and adults should get fed twice a day with two equal portions of food, depending on their size, age, activity level, metabolism, and overall health.
Make sure that you avoid feeding your dog with table scraps, any high-fat human foods and other foods which could be unhealthy or toxic for them.
The best way to go is to provide your Black Mouth Cur dog with a premium quality dog food which is suitable for its age and its activity level.
You can, of course, prepare your own homemade food for your pup, but avoid feeding it with bones, or completely raw meat or fish, because bones can get stuck or can even splinter and damage the gastrointestinal system of the dog. Raw and unprocessed animal protein could have harmful bacteria or parasites which can lead to infections, some of which can be quite serious.
If you want to feed your Black Mouth Cur real food, choose some of the excellent options of air-dried or frozen dog foods which are commercially available.
Do not feed the dog with onions, garlic, raisins, grapes, chocolate, caffeine products and other human foods which are delicious to us, but can be toxic and even deadly for dogs.
Also, keep in mind that even though the Black Mouth Cur is a high-energy dog, you should be careful about it becoming overweight.
‘Just like with us humans, being overweight and obese can cause numerous problems such as diabetes, joint and structural diseases, and heart issues.
If you manage to keep your dog in shape and feed it with the appropriate dog food for its age and breed, you will ensure that it is mobile, healthy and alive for longer.
The short-haired coats of Black Mouth Curs can be tan, yellow, fawn, brown or other colors and most of them have black fur on their faces or muzzles.
The Black Mouth Curs do not require too much grooming, but they still will need a good brushing of the coats once a week to remove any dirt or dead hairs.
They are moderate shedders, and will shed more during the spring and fall when their coats are “blowing.”
In order to keep your dog well, you need to make sure that its face is properly moisturized, because Black Mouth Curs tend to suffer from dry skin there.
Also, clean the skin folds of your pup on a regular basis, as well as its ears.
It is important to look for signs of ear infections which usually are – redness, unusual discharge or smell. Cleaning the ears should be done gently with the appropriate dog ear cleaning solution.
Do not try to clean inside the ear canals and never stick anything in them. If there is a problem with your pup’s ears – you should let the vet handle it.
The nails of your dog may need monthly trimming if it doesn’t wear them down itself. This should be done carefully because dogs have blood vessels in the nails. If you’re not sure how to trim the nails, ask your groomer or vet for advice.
The teeth should be brushed several times a week or if possible every day to prevent the buildup of tartar, bacteria and to prevent tooth decay, gum problems, and bad breath.
When you groom your dog, take the time to inspect its skin for any tick bites, sores, rashes, redness or other problems. The eyes, nose, mouth, and paws of the dog should be inspected regularly too.
The earlier you see any signs of a health problem, the easier it will be to treat the causes.
To make grooming more of a bonding process rather than a dreaded experience, teach your pup to stay still when you are performing it. Award it for its good behavior when it is young so that the grooming is easier as it gets bigger and stronger.
The multi-talented Black Mouth Cur is an energetic dog which needs long walks as well as a fenced outdoor space to play and spend time roaming around.
Apartment living is not suitable for dogs from this athletic breed.
If you are an active person or family who loves outdoor adventures, your dog will happily join you every time. These dogs need to be kept physically and mentally busy if you want to avoid destructive behavior which can occur if they get bored.
You can take your Black Mouth Cur running, jogging, cycling or hiking with you, or you can engage in interactive games, or participate in different dog sports, trials and activities, in order to satisfy its need for staying active.
Also, these dogs love playing with children, so if your children are old enough to interact with medium to large sized strong dogs safely, you can let them all spend that overflowing energy of theirs together.
Overall, the Black Mouth Curs are definitely not suitable for people who prefer spending time at home, and who don’t have access to fenced outdoor space.
By keeping the Black Mouth Cur happy and active, everybody at home will be happy with life, and your dog will come to love you even more.
The Black Mouth Cur is a highly intelligent dog and is also eager to please, but it is essential that the owner or handler establishes themselves as the leader of the pack from early on.
Training a dog from this breed requires consistency, patience and a firm attitude. You should use positive reinforcement such as vocal praises, patting or doggy treats to reward good behavior for the best results.
These dogs are highly sensitive and will not tolerate harsh treatment and punishments.
They also tend to get bored pretty quickly, so make sure you make the training sessions brief and with different tasks, instead of repeating a single command over and over again.
You should start training the dog as soon as you first take it home. The earlier you begin with the training – the easier it will be to ensure that your pup grows up to be a well-behaved and well-balanced dog.
These multi-talented dogs can also be trained to work or take part in various other activities, dog sports, and trials including hunting, coursing, herding, agility as well as search and rescue.
Overall, they are not the best dog breed for first-time dog owners or for timid owners.
The Black Mouth Cur is a canine with quite strong protective instincts which is something its ancestors were specially trained for. This means that it could be suspicious and even aggressive to strangers or other dogs if not socialized properly.
You need to meet your puppy with different friendly dogs, ask people to come to your home and meet it, and take it to different places where there are people and dogs from as early as it is safe to take the puppy out of the house.
Black Mouth Curs can learn to live with other dogs at home, especially if they have grown up together, but living with small pets could be hazardous.
These scent hound dogs have very strong prey drives and could chase and even kill smaller animals such as rabbits or hamsters.
As for the kids – they are excellent playmates for children old enough to know how to communicate and play with the dog safely, and who are strong enough to play with a large dog like the Black Mouth Cur.
Of course, you should always supervise any interactions between your children and the dog.
If you manage to socialize and train the Black Mouth Cur in a timely and correct manner, you will end up with the best dog you have ever had.
These sturdy working dogs are generally very healthy, and have an unusually long lifespan of up to 18 years, even though they are medium to large sized dogs.
They seem to have less genetic problems than other purebred dogs, so the chances of a Black Mouth Cur puppy inheriting a mild to serious hereditary health condition is smaller than that in dogs of other more popular breeds.
Black Mouth Cur fanciers and vets agree that the reason for this good health in the breed is due to the fact that it is still mostly being developed for the working qualities and the performance of the dog rather than for the appearance. This means that only the best and the healthiest dogs are being bred, keeping the breed away from more common genetic mutations.
This is not the case for many other companion dogs nowadays.
Then again, these Curs do tend to be predisposed to certain conditions including hip dysplasia, ear infections, epilepsy, cataracts or mange.
In order to prevent the ear infections, you should regularly clean the inner flaps of the ears and make sure they are not red, inflamed or smelling bad. You should seek professional care if you notice signs of an ear infection as early as possible to avoid complications and prolonged and expensive treatments.
You should also regularly clean the skin fold of your dog, and keep its face moisturized with the suitable moisturizers, especially if you notice that the skin is getting too dry.
You should ask your vet to do regular checkups of your dog’s eyes for early signs of cataracts or hip dysplasia as well.
Keeping your dog fit and in good shape is another must, because added weight can lead to bone, joint, metabolic and heart problems too.
To make sure that the puppy you are buying or adopting is healthy, always look for a reputable breeder and ask for health clearances for the parents. Also ask for the inbreeding coefficient, because the higher it is – the larger the risk of a genetic mutation.
With proper maintenance, good quality food in the appropriate quantities and regular checkups, the Black Mouth Cur can live a long life of 15 and even 18 years, which is very unusual for large-sized dogs.
There are no actual records of the origin of the Black Mouth Cur, but it is believed that the breed was first developed either in Tennessee or in Mississippi. The dog was a result of breeding European and Asian dogs which the settlers in the South had brought with them.
Some claims are that the earliest ancestor of the Black Mouth Cur was an English Mastiff which came with the Mayflower in 1621.
They needed strong, sturdy and brave dogs to help protect them and their livestock, as well as to assist them when hunting.
Some Black Mouth Cur fanciers believe that it is these dogs that allowed for the expansion to the west by the settlers.
They are not recognized by the American Kennel Club, but the breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1998.
Today, there are many various sizes and colors of Black Mouth Curs being bred.
The members of the Ladner family from South Mississippi are among the most famous breeders, and have been breeding Black Mouth Curs for over 100 years.
There are also red colored Black Mouth Curs being bred in Alabama, as well as yellow colored Black Mouth Curs from Florida.
It is because of the variations in color and size, that the American Kennel Club has still not recognized the breed, or neither of the many other Cur breeds.
The Black Mouth Cur is a member of the National Kennel Club’s herding group.