Mountain Cur

a cute curious brindle mountain cur puppy sees the camera for the first time

The mountain cur is a rare type of hunting dog that’s known for its intelligence, strong-willed nature, and unrivaled treeing instinct. Mountain curs grow up to 26 inches tall at the withers and weigh between 30 and 60 pounds. The breed has an average life expectancy of 14 to 16 years.

The dog has a muscular build, alert eyes, and a short double coat that comes in a range of colors. While loyal and affectionate, this breed isn’t suitable for first-time owners because of its high prey drive and need for lots of exercise and mental stimulation.

Mountain Cur Quick Summary

Breed typeWorking dog
Height16–26 inches
Weight30–60 pounds
CoatShort double coat
ColorsBlack, blue, brindle, brown, red, or yellow with white, tan, or brindle markings
SheddingMinimal to moderate
PersonalityIntelligent, strong-willed, protective, work-driven, reserved
Lifespan14–16 years
Cost$600–$3,000
Exercise needsAt least 1 hour of exercise daily
Food needs2–3 cups of dog food daily
Known health conditionsEar infections, sensitive skin, ticks

Mountain Cur Appearance

illustration of different coat colors of mountain cur

The mountain cur is a medium-sized breed with a muscular, agile build, broad head, and well-filled chest. The most distinctive feature of the breed is its high-set drop ears. These dogs are typically brindle, brown, or black with tan or white markings.

Height and Weight

Mountain curs grow between 16 to 26 inches tall and weigh between 30 and 60 pounds. The dog’s weight can fluctuate even after it is fully grown, depending on activity level, diet, and health.

A six-month-old mountain cur puppy weighs around 20 pounds and stands under 16 inches tall. Males are larger than females and this breed typically reaches its full adult size within 12 months.

Coat

Mountain curs have short double coats. The outer coat is rough or smooth in texture, while the undercoat is soft and dense. The dogs with rough coats will have well-feathered tails.

This breed comes in various shades, including black, blue, brindle, brown, red, and yellow. Some mountain curs have tan, brindle, or white markings on their chest and face.

Mountain Cur Origins

The mountain cur originates from the southern region of the United States, where European settlers developed the breed to be an all-purpose farm dog. The breed guarded livestock, helped with herding, and watched over its owner’s property.

Mountain curs were also originally bred to hunt and catch wild game. This breed has been used as a bay dog and particularly excels at a hunting method called treeing — which involves chasing prey up a tree so hunters can easily locate and shoot it.

While the breed nearly went extinct after World War II, the dog is gradually gaining popularity once again thanks to the preservation efforts of dedicated mountain cur breeders — Hugh Stephens, Woody Huntsman, Carl McConnell, and Dewey Ledbetter. These individuals helped establish the breed standard and also founded the Original Mountain Cur Breeders Association in 1956.

The United Kennel Club recognized the mountain cur breed in 1998, while the American Kennel Club added the mountain cur breed to the Foundation Stock Service group in 2017.

Mountain Cur Personality and Temperament

Mountain curs are loyal, brave, and affectionate companions. The dogs make excellent guard dogs, thanks to their protective and alert nature, and form strong bonds with their families.

These purebreds are very active dogs that require plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and attention to feel happy and at ease. While intelligent and work-driven, the dogs are also strong-willed and need an owner that can be firm and consistent during training. If their needs aren’t met, mountain curs can become destructive.

Like most hunting dog breeds, mountain curs have a high prey drive and should be supervised around small animals. This breed doesn’t tolerate being left alone for lengthy periods.

Taking Care of a Mountain Cur Dog

mountain cur and cat relaxing on sofa at home

Mountain curs are difficult to look after. These hunting dogs need a high amount of exercise, are prone to separation anxiety, and are challenging to train. Mountain curs also require a protein-rich diet.

Food Needs

As a high-energy working dog, the mountain cur needs 2 to 3 cups of food per day, split into two separate meals. The food should be formulated for medium-sized breeds and contain protein-rich ingredients like turkey, fish, and lamb.

An eight-week-old puppy should be fed 3 to 4 cups of size-appropriate kibble, split into three separate meals. Treats should constitute less than 10% of the dog’s daily calorie allowance.

Grooming Needs

Grooming mountain curs is easy because they shed minimally throughout the year and their coats aren’t prone to tangles. These dogs blow their coats twice a year, during spring and fall.

Groom the breed once a week, or more frequently if the dog is blowing its coat. Regular grooming keeps the hair healthy and distributes the skin’s natural oils. Use a slicker brush to remove dead and loose hair. The dog should only be bathed when its coat is dirty.

Brush the mountain cur’s teeth two to three times a week to maintain good dental hygiene and prevent harmful bacteria buildup.

Exercise Needs

Exercise mountain curs for at least an hour per day. The breed enjoys most outdoor activities, including walking, running, agility, hiking, dog sports, and swimming.

These dogs thrive in houses with a spacious backyard where the breed can freely run around and stretch its legs.

Mental Needs

Mountain curs need a lot of mental stimulation to stay happy and mentally fit. Suitable forms of mental stimulation include training, agility, scent work, problem-solving games, and interactive games like tug-of-war and fetch.

Without at least an hour of mental stimulation every day, these dogs can become restless, vocal, and destructive.

Common Health Concerns

Thanks to their careful breeding, mountain curs are extremely healthy dogs and aren’t predisposed to any serious health issues. However, these dogs are still susceptible to ear infections, skin problems, and ticks because of their outdoor lifestyles.

  • Ear infections: A condition when harmful bacteria or yeast overgrowth in the ear canal. Symptoms of an ear infection include inflammation, head shaking, dark discharge, foul odor,  scratching, and pain. Treatment involves medicated ear drops, antibiotics, and pain relief
  • Ticks: Small parasites that latch onto a dog’s skin and feed on blood. Ticks can spread harmful diseases like Lyme disease, especially if not properly removed. Use a dedicated tick removal tool and avoid squeezing the tick’s body. It’s advisable to get a veterinarian to remove a tick, especially if your dog is showing other signs of sickness
  • Sensitive skin: Conditions that can make the dog prone to infections and other skin ailments. Use hypo-allergenic dog products and keep bathing to a minimum

How to Train a Mountain Cur

a beautiful mountain cur dog with a brindle coat laying down and looking at the camera

Although intelligent, the mountain cur dog breed is notoriously strong-willed and isn’t afraid to test boundaries, which makes training difficult. The breed needs an owner who can be firm, consistent, and patient.

Mountain curs respond best to training methods that use positive reinforcement and high-value rewards. Keeping sessions brief and within a controlled environment can help these dogs stay focused.

Training can begin as soon as you take your mountain cur puppy home. Start with housebreaking, basic obedience, and socialization. Proper socialization involves exposing the dog to a range of environments, sounds, animals, experiences, and handling. This breed is extremely protective, so it needs to be exposed to different kinds of people early on to help it feel at ease around strangers.

Never use punishments during training. These methods aren’t effective in the long term and can make mountain curs anxious, stressed, or aggressive.

Mountain Cur Price

Mountain curs are moderately expensive because of their rarity. Reputable breeders also work hard to preserve these dogs’ distinct qualities and excellent health.

How Much is a Mountain Cur?

Mountain cur puppies cost between $600 and $3,000, depending on the breeder, lineage, and location. Adopting an adult is cheaper than buying a puppy from a reputable breeder, but mountain curs are difficult to find in rescue shelters.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Mountain Cur?

Caring for a mountain cur costs between $100 and $160 per month, which covers essentials such as protein-rich dog food, health checkups, toys, and grooming equipment. Expect to pay more in the first year because of additional costs like puppy vaccinations and neutering or spaying.

The cost will be significantly higher per month if you invest in professional grooming or need to hire pup-sitters regularly. Other services that can increase the total ownership cost include training classes, agility classes, and dog-walkers.

Should You Get a Mountain Cur?

The mountain cur is a protective, devoted breed that makes an excellent family dog. However, the breed’s high prey drive, strong-willed nature, and demanding care requirements make it unsuitable for certain people.

Mountain Curs are Suitable for:

Mountain curs are ideal for people that lead active lifestyles, can exercise a dog for at least an hour per day, and don’t work long hours.

These dogs are best suited to families that are experienced with stubborn, energetic breeds. Without proper socialization and firm, consistent training, the breed can become destructive or overprotective.

Mountain Curs are NOT Suitable for:

Mountain curs aren’t suitable for inactive people, first-time owners, and people that lack the time and energy to walk, play with, or train a dog daily. Because of this breed’s high prey drive, the dogs aren’t suitable for households with small animals like cats.

Avoid this breed if you live in an apartment or don’t have a backyard. The mountain cur is an energetic working dog and needs plenty of space to roam. This breed also needs plenty of attention and playtime, so it isn’t ideal for people who prefer a quiet environment.

About John Woods 301 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

40 Comments

  1. We have a pup that was a rescue and we were told he likely a Mountain Cur. Would love to know for sure. Do you know of someone we could at least send a picture to?

          • Hi yes it’s possible that we also have a Cut or Treeing Tennessee Hound. She was dropped off at a friend of mine house a few years ago. She wanted me to take her to the pound but I just couldn’t. So we have had her for 4 years. She was no older than 1 year old I say when we got her. She loves to climb, barks all the time at everything outside. She does get easily distracted with sense. But is very loyal. If she thinks she is in trouble she puts her head between my legs or lays between my legs. So funny. She is so funny to watch sometimes. We have another dog which is also female, a brindle Bully. She is older than Lucy , the Treeing hound.

          • We need some advice he is more than we expected both in intelligence and high energy with destructive tendencies. Need help.

        • I just did a DNA test on my little rescue pup. It came back on his fathers side he is Mountain Cur. I used Embark DNA testing and it only took about 3 weeks. Fun to find out….

    • We have a mountain cur as well. We were told she is a lab mastiff. NOT the case. Hazel is 4 months old and a great dog. Very intelligent..endless amounts of love, and playing fetch. Enjoy your pup

  2. Rescued a two year old Mountain Cur in August of 2018 just days before she was to be put down! She was a stray in Estill county Kentucky. Did not know what we had at first. This is the sweetest, intelligent, active dog we have ever had. She is brindle with black on the head, white tip on tail, white paws, and white on the neck and muzzle. People stop and comment on how beautiful she is all the time. We are so lucky to be with her.

  3. We have a 7 month old Mt Cur/Pitbull mix. He is very large in size, extremely intelligent, swift learner and wants nothing more than to please. He is very active, runs and jumps up trees. He is great with our young children and treats them like one of the pack – but in a very gentle way. LOVES attention and follows close behind at all times. This breed mix is a lot of work but he is already on his way to being one of the best dogs we’ve ever had.

  4. I found a very malnourished brindle hound in Central America a couple of years ago. She was so sweet and gentle, I fell in love with her and I decided to adopt her. Since bringing her home to Canada, I’d been told she was most likely a purebred mountain cur. She looks identical to the pictures of the brindle on this website. She is very intelligent, a fast learner, and loves to run mountain trails with me. She even treed a squirrel during one of our runs!

  5. I was wondering if you think my boy could be part Mountain Cur. He is a rescue. How do I post a photo?

  6. Hi, we adopted a rescue a few months ago and were told he’s a mix of lab/great dane/Australian cattle dog. After seeing this, this looks to be more his breed! Can you compare? I can send you a pic of him!

  7. We rescued a brindle cur about 3 years ago. He loves being in our family. He was so pitiful when we got him. Someone did a home cut job on his tail and he was so skinny and sad. Now he has 2 kids and a mom and dad that love his little high energy butt. Best choice we ever made.

  8. I have a three month old Mountain View Pup named Finn. He is the most loving pup. He is with me day and night, take him to our hardware store and everyone loves him. I will train him to hunt so he is active mentally and physically. We have three other dogs in our family so he interacts at work and home. People think he is a yellow lab till they see his ears and tail, and want to know what he is. Could not be happier.

  9. We have a now 2yr old believed to be Mt curr …. we were originally told she was black man blue healer mix but vet told us otherwise. Very quick learner yet very stubborn too. Good with our kids and tons of energy. Most protective dog I’ve ever had. But also loud protective bark at first but then big chicken when the person comes inside hahaha. Sleeps at my bed or the girls feet every single night big on cuddles thinks she’s a lab dog. Don’t know what the best brand is for sensitive skin shampoo for her would be? Any suggestions would be helpful.

  10. Have had 2 mountain curs, a male and female, girl pretty typical but male was a brindle and the gentlest dog ever. He would bring us chicken eggs and carry them around for hors without breaking them. Both great dogs, but you did have to keep them buzy.

  11. We rescued a dog from Texas that has a very unusual vocalization, which I call yodeling. Her build is very much like a cur. I cannot find any other breed that has this trait. Does a cur have this ability?

    • We rescued a pup from Kentucky, they guessed Catahoula leopard dog and lab… nope! He is 36% mountain cur, 14% husky, 10% min pin… the rest is a mash up of cattle dogs. He can yodel and sounds like he tries to talk.

    • Yes, that sounds like my mountain cur. She is a hunter, and will squall (yodel) on a hot track. She also “sings” for us when she greets us when we come home to her. I had another mountain cur who has since passed, and she had a regular LOUD chopping bark. They were quite the duet when they both joined in together!

  12. We rescued a pup from a shelter that came from Tennessee and was said to be a boxer mix. After getting him and looking over the vet records it was stated he was a MTN cur. We couldn’t be more happy with him. Duke loves to learn and super smart and such a good boy.

  13. We adopted a pair of sisters from the same litter. However they’re mixed with Jack Russell and quite amusing to look at. One has stronger features from the Jack Russell breed, so the head and ears make you doubt they’re sisters.

  14. Something has been catching our free range chickens. We need a friendly outside dog that will stay on our 12+ acres and protect our chickens. Well this breed be a roamer or a guardian?

    • We adopted a dog from the rescue. She’s amazing loving and fun – about 6 months old. After reading that they’re working dogs and need to constantly work, I’m wondering if I’m going to be able to keep her mind occupied. We live in the city and have a decent size yard with many dog parks to play.

  15. I have my first registered Mountain Cur puppy, Layla. Energy galore. We have 9 acres of land as well as a blue heeler and coonhound. Today Layla starts her 13th week of life. She learned to sit at eight and a half weeks.

  16. We recently adopted a dog that we were told is a Mountain Cur by the shelter she that rescued her. From what I’ve read she has many attributes of the Mountain Cur; but I think she might be a mix perhaps with some Feist. She is smaller than a pure bred Cur, Roxy is 18 months old weighing in at 39.30 lbs. We plan on DNA testing to see it we can get an idea of what other breeds she may have in her genetic line. We had her three weeks and she is a love.

  17. We have a registered Mountain Cur female that just had her 2nd litter. We kept a male from the first litter and he is very energetic and super smart. He learns commands and tricks quickly. Both are great family dogs. We are keeping a female from this 2nd litter too. All pups are registered and have been bred with other registered males. We have one female left to sell!

  18. Recently adopted a Mt. Cur alleged to be mixed with a Lab. I don’t see any Lab at all in her. She is bridle with a black muzzle. She is 3.5 months old, and very sweet, lovable and so expressive. She is learning the leash, and loves the dog park- it is part of our daily routine.

  19. My husband and I adopted a puppy in September from a shelter in Arkansas. They labeled his as a hound mix, but as I research a bit more, he resembles a Mountain Cur. I do think there are other breeds mixed in, but if I email a picture, could you help me identify if I’m on the right track?

  20. We Embark DNA tested our rescue. She’s 40% Mtn Cur and 40% Beagle and the balance are four different terriers. She looks like a large Jack Russell and all her brown patches are brindle. I could never have guessed her breed just by looking at her.

  21. I have a beautiful mountain cur. She is brindle with white front toes & chest. She is the kindest, most loyal and loving dog. She is wonderful with puppies, we do foster care & she is our ambassador to puppies. She is gentle & warm. She is great with children & other dogs. She did bring a squirrel in the house, her hunting instincts are fine! She loves to cuddle, is very affectionate & likes to get under the covers in bed & sleep right up against me. I adore my girl.

  22. Our Jaxson is a Mountain cur, 11 months now. He was abused by his previous owner and we rescued him. His previous owner threw him against the wall, broke his rib and I believe his right front leg was injured, although we are just noticing that. He is so loving, full of energy but at first was afraid to eat, be touched or tended to. He is now very attentive, loves running around our one acre at fast speeds, eats with a little provoking but he whines all the time. Is this normal or will it go away the longer he is with us. He will turn one on Valentines day and we are hoping that he grows more confident in us and in his environment.

    • I have a rescue that was also mistreated and is a whiner. We have done training, agility etc to get her confidence up and form stronger bond with me. I was told don’t think about their past think about right now and be aware of to much cuddling when she whines if there is nothing physically wrong with her. Was also told to teach her to express other needs ie potty, hunger by sitting by door or bowl instead of whining. 5 years later she is much better but still has her moments like if we are in a new environment or a person is to close to me. I have found cbd treats help with these anxieties

  23. I also rescued a mountain cur I thought she had pit in her till I found out she is a tennesee treeing brindle they are rare and only been around since the 60s look that breed up I believe yours is also she marked just like yours she is a beautiful dog and is very sweet and energetic she isnt quite 3 yet I got her from the humain society .

  24. We have a Mountain Cur, we have never heard of them in the UK until we got him, he was a direct adoption from Romania, he’s the smartest dog I’ve ever known, loyal and trustworthy, although a little stubborn at times.
    He will be 2 this year according to his passport.
    All the descriptions of Cur make us 99% sure of his breed, but having a DNAtest in the UK will show he is a mixed breed as the database isn’t familiar to his breed.
    He has a white feathery tip to his tail, long toes, good solid jawline, the most beautiful brindle markings with a white chest, nose always to the ground whilst walking and digs better than any machine

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