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Black Mouth Cur Dog: Breed Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Black Mouth Cur dog standing on the grass

When you first hear of the Black Mouth Cur, the name might bring to mind all sorts of negative connotations, but these dogs are the prime example of the adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The Black Mouth Cur is an American breed, but don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them. They’re not super popular, so let us show you why these dogs are underrated gems of the dog world.

Height: 16–26 inches
Weight: 35–60 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: Black, brindle, brown, buckskin, red, yellow, and fawn
Suitable for: Active families, families with children, households with a yard
Temperament: Loyal, intelligent, active, eager to please, sensitive, territorial, protective

Earning their name from their black muzzle or mask—which not all members of the breed have—the Black Mouth Cur is intelligent and versatile. They were introduced as working dogs by European immigrants.

The breed can do all sorts of work, such as guarding the home and livestock, hunting, and herding. Despite their popularity among many families when they were introduced, they’re not well known these days. But they are loyal, loving, and courageous and are sure to win you over with their heart of gold.

Black Mouth Cur Characteristics



Black Mouth Cur Puppies

Six week old black mouth cur puppy sitting on a blanket
Image By: Jennifer Kramer, Shutterstock

The Black Mouth Cur has great potential, but they’re often overlooked. Although they are just as hardworking as many other working breeds and have been bred for centuries, particularly in the southern states, they’re not popular. This makes them difficult to find, especially since they are not recognized as a pedigree breed by the AKC.

With the limited demand for these dogs, they are relatively affordable and are among the cheapest breeds that you can find. You do need to make sure the breeder you visit is reputable and screens their dogs for common health issues. There might also be Black Mouth Cur dogs in rescues and shelters if you look in the right places.

As puppies, these dogs need quite a bit of work. Socialization with people and other animals is essential for curtailing any territory-related aggression later. Be firm but not harsh. They are sensitive dogs that love to know that they’ve made you happy. Once grown and well-trained, they are loyal and happy to work.

hepper-dog-paw-divider2Temperament & Intelligence of the Black Mouth Cur

Well-trained and socialized from a young age, the Black Mouth Cur is a versatile, predictable, and even-tempered breed. They’re loyal to their families and are naturally protective, which gives them an instinctive wariness and aloofness. Without training, they can be aggressive toward strangers and other pets, especially when they feel that their territory or people are being threatened.

The Black Mouth Cur is prone to boredom and isn’t well-suited to quiet, sedate families. They need plenty of exercise and a job to do; otherwise, they can be anxious and destructive. Highly intelligent and active, they’re a versatile breed that does well in various activities like agility, obedience, and search and rescue.

closeup of a Black Mouth Cur in a park
Image By: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Overall, the Black Mouth Cur is a great dog for families. They develop strong bonds with their owners and are particularly fond of children. Their protective streak and territorial nature make them eager-to-please and loyal companions.

You do have to remember that these dogs are energetic and enjoy rough-housing. They’re a medium-sized breed with a bit of weight behind them, so in their exuberance, they can easily knock over young children by accident. You should teach both your dog and your children to play nicely, and you’ll need to supervise their time together. If either gets overly excited, take a break to let things calm down.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The thing to remember about the Black Mouth Cur is how territorial the breed can be. As an all-purpose homestead dog, they were bred for a wide variety of jobs, which included hunting and protecting the family. Their natural prey drive and protectiveness mean they need a great deal of early socialization with both strangers and other animals in order to know how to handle different situations.

When introduced to other dogs as a puppy or when raised with another dog, the Black Mouth Cur does get along well with them. However, their prey drive often works against them when it comes to smaller animals like cats, rabbits, and other pets. Smaller dog breeds might also find themselves a target for the Black Mouth Cur’s hunting instinct.

shorthaired Black Mouth Cur puppies
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

hepper-dog-paw-divider2Things to Know When Owning a Black Mouth Cur

There’s much more to owning a dog than knowing whether their temperament will match your family’s. Their ongoing needs will also have to be met. This can be anything from their diet to their training and exercise needs and will include their grooming and health. Here’s all the information that you need to know about caring for your Black Mouth Cur.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

You’ll need to carefully adjust how much you feed your Black Mouth Cur depending on their size and activity levels. The breed is incredibly active and doesn’t like being idle, but individual dogs can vary greatly in size. Any diet that you give them, wet or dry, should be formulated for active dogs to support their energy levels and desire to work. You should also invest in high-quality dog food and ensure that it meets their nutritional requirements.

These dogs also do well with fresh food if you prefer to make your own. Remember to follow the recommendations of a veterinary nutritionist to make sure your Black Mouth Cur’s food is tailored to their needs.

Exercise 🐕

The Black Mouth Cur needs a job to do. They’re prone to boredom and greatly dislike being idle. This makes it incredibly easy to encourage them to engage in all sorts of activities, but it does mean they have a great deal of energy to expend. The breed is best suited for families who have a large home with a yard where they can run around and play. You should also take at least two walks every day and provide a variety of physical and mental activities to prevent boredom.

black mouth cur dog running on the beach
Image Credit: Oakland Images, Shutterstock

Training 🎾

Socialization from a young age is the most important part of helping your Black Mouth Cur grow into a well-rounded adult. They can be aloof and aggressive toward strangers if they don’t learn how to properly greet people and manage their protectiveness. You should also teach them obedience and how to walk on a leash.

The breed is highly intelligent and eager to please, which helps them learn quickly. However, they can be incredibly stubborn. Their energy levels make them keen to move around, and they dislike long-winded training sessions. The Black Mouth Cur is also sensitive and doesn’t respond to harsh corrections, but they do need a firm, consistent owner who won’t be walked over. Use positive reinforcement and short training sessions for the best results.

Grooming ✂️

Short-haired and low-shedding, the Black Mouth Cur has minimal grooming requirements. Their coat can be coarse, fine, or rough, and often pick up dirt from their outdoor activities. It’s relatively easy to keep clean, though, and only requires one or two brushes a week to maintain. Regular brushes will also help manage the amount of hair that they shed.

Common health conditions include ear infections, so you should make sure to check their ears regularly. Use a canine ear-cleaning solution or dog-safe ear wipes to remove trapped dirt and prevent infections. Their teeth and claws will also need to be tended to frequently.

black mouth cur
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

Health and Conditions 🏥

In many locations, the Black Mouth Cur isn’t recognized as a pedigree dog breed, which can make it difficult to predict which health issues they are prone to. So, while they’re generally a healthy breed with a lifespan of 12–15 years, they can develop certain health issues if they’re not cared for properly.

Minor Conditions
  • Ear infections
  • Mange

Serious Conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Cataracts

Male vs. Female

The choice between male and female Black Mouth Cur dogs comes down to personal preference. There’s little difference between them other than size and temperament.

Female dogs are generally smaller, lighter, and more independent. They can be easier to train because they often mature faster, but they can be more stubborn too. In comparison, male dogs can be friendlier and more playful.

Your Black Mouth Cur’s personality will depend on who they are as an individual. Spend time getting to know your puppy before taking them home.

hepper-dog-paw-divider23 Little-Known Facts About the Black Mouth Cur

1. The Original “Old Yeller” Might Ve a Black Mouth Cur

Old Yeller is a 1956 children’s novel by Frank Gipson. These days, it’s considered an American classic about a stray dog on the Texas frontier. Although the original novel doesn’t say what breed of dog Old Yeller was, his description and temperament support the Black Mouth Cur as a likely candidate. Old Yeller wasn’t depicted this way in the 1957 movie adaptation, though. Instead, Disney chose a Labrador Retriever Mastiff mix called Spike. He was a rescue and trained by the same brothers who worked with Toto and Lassie.

2. They Were Bred for Their Courage

Descended from all-purpose homesteader dogs that were introduced to the U.S.A. by European immigrants, the Black Mouth Cur is a highly versatile breed. They were prized working dogs, particularly on small farms where they could herd cattle and help hunt game animals. These weren’t the only jobs that these dogs excelled at, though.

The Black Mouth Cur might be a sensitive breed, but they were bred for their courage and aren’t afraid to show it when necessary. While they’re loving and affectionate toward their family members, especially children, they’re fiercely protective. They are dedicated guard dogs and aren’t afraid to show their teeth. In the past, they’ve been known to fend off wildcats, bears, and hogs.

3. They’re Not Recognized by the AKC

Despite having roots in the U.S.A. and a rich history as a working breed, the Black Mouth Cur hasn’t yet been recognized by the AKC or the FCI. Their history is widely debated, but it’s generally accepted that they originated in the southern states, particularly Mississippi or the mountains of Tennessee.

Although your Black Mouth Cur won’t be eligible for any AKC breed competitions, they were recognized by the UKC in 1998.

Fawn and White Color Shorthaired Black Mouth Cur Puppy Relaxing
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

hepper-dog-paw-divider 3

Final Thoughts

The Black Mouth Cur is a hardworking American breed with a heart of gold. Loyal, eager to please, and predictable, these dogs were first introduced in the southern states. While their origin story is vague in places, they are brilliant homestead dogs with a versatility that suits hunting, herding, and home protection.

Despite their strong bonds with their family members, these dogs are not for the faint of heart. They require having a job to do and hate being idle. Apartments and quiet families are not the right match. They need plenty of activity and training and a yard to play in. Their jobs can range from farm work to activities like agility, obedience, and search and rescue. With the right family, the Black Mouth Cur is a loyal and even-tempered companion.

Featured Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

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