Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Mountain Cur Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Mountain Cur Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Brindle Mountain Cur dog

The Mountain Cur is believed to have come to the Southern parts of the United States early 1900s from Europe. The pioneers used these dogs to catch wild game, protect livestock, and guard their homes.

Breed Overview


18 to 26 inches


30 to 60 pounds


10 to 16 years


Brindle, Blue, Brown, Red, Yellow, Black

Suitable for:

Families with older kids, homes with lots of outdoor space, active families, hunting, herding, guarding property


Playful, alert, energetic, courageous, intelligent, protective, hardworking, stubborn

The Mountain Cur was also bred as a hunting dog and would chase animals up the trees for their master to shoot them, a reason why the breed is known as a treeing dog. These dogs were an essential part of the pioneers’ lives since they were versatile, useful, loyal, and affectionate.

To date, the Mountain Cur is an intensely energetic dog who is a workaholic. It loves to chase and hunt small animals like raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels.

It also has an innate desire to run, track, and guard like its predecessors. The breed is affectionate and loyal towards its human family and is willing to protect them with its life if it gets to that.

Is this breed ticking your boxes about a perfect companion? Well, there is more to learn about it. Read on.

Mountain Cur Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

Mountain Cur Puppies


During weeks 8 to 10, Mountain Cur pups are quite friendly. You should start early training and socialization since the puppy has full knowing capacity at this age. Start with brief but regular sessions to ensure you have the pup’s complete attention. Give praises, pats, or treats to reinforce good behavior during training.

The Mountain Cur is a working dog that thrives on accomplishing its master’s tasks. Therefore, do not purchase the puppy if you cannot meet its active lifestyle and activity demands. They will need plenty of space to run around in and an active family that will help them get all the exercise they need. Mountain Curs also require mental stimulation to avoid boredom. If you’re an active person who has the time to dedicate to your pup, a Mountain Cur might be a great option for you!

Temperament & Intelligence of the Mountain Cur

The Mountain Cur is hard-wired to serve as a working dog. It was originally meant to hunt squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, and small vermin.

So, expect the dog to hunt, chase, track small animals, and guard your home. The breed makes excellent work dogs on farms, hunting dogs, and guard dogs.

The Mountain Cur’s DNA is packed with active genes, keen instincts, and tireless work ethics, reasons why city life does not favor this breed. It needs lots of physical and mental stimulation to keep it busy. If the dog is constantly isolated or left alone for hours, it can result in frustration and the development of antisocial and destructive habits.

The Mountain Cur makes an exceptional guard dog. It is brave and protective of its owner and family, traits that some people perceive as aggressive.

If not well-socialized and trained, this breed can get overprotective of its owner. The dog also has a loud bark to alert you of strangers. It stays alert and watchful around strangers and may thaw into a friendly mood when they do not sense a threat.

Mountain curs are intelligent and love to please their owners. However, this alpha dog can be stubborn and territorial at times and does not submit to just any owner. It needs a firm, strong-willed owner who is unafraid to stand on their ground.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The breed does make a great companion dog once it is familiar with its human family. It is affectionate and friendly with its human pack. However, this rugged and muscular pup needs to be socialized early to get along well with kids.

It has been reported that some pups do not accept small kids as part of the pack. Others have shown herding attributes where they try to control the kids’ movements and round them up orderly when playing.

If you have small kids, it would be best to socialize the pup with the kids and supervise them. Also, ensure that you teach your kids how to interact safely with the canine.

Does this Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Mountain Curs are avid hunters with a high prey drive. They do not get along well with small pets because their prey drive instantly kicks in when they are around cats, hamsters, and other small animals.

Cats, for example, have a skill in climbing trees, a behavior that the Cur may interpret as a game. Therefore, you may find the dog pouncing on your kitty.

With proper socialization, Mountain Curs get along with other dogs and larger animals like livestock and horses.

Things to Know When Owning a Mountain Cur:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

An adult Mountain Cur (one that has turned one human year) should be fed a high-quality kibble diet for medium-sized and highly energetic dogs. Two or three cups of food a day are enough to provide the dog with the needed calories and nutrients.

Mountain Cur puppies should also eat high-quality kibble for pups. Puppies between 8 to 12 weeks should eat 4 cups of food, while a 3- to 6-month-old should eat three cups of food.

Always ensure you feed your dog at least an hour before or after activity to avoid bloating. Also, divide the meal into smaller servings and mix it with broth or water. Offer occasional treats, which should constitute 10% or less of the dog’s daily calorie intake.

Exercise 🐕

When a dog is highly intelligent, it requires lots of daily mental stimulation. This is the case with the Mountain Cur. You need to engage it with jobs or tasks like accompanying you for a hunt, guarding livestock, fetching your newspaper, sorting laundry, or playing with puzzle toys.

The dog is intelligent enough to figure out how to open doors and undo latches. It is also an excellent digger and can quickly dig a large hole to catch a scent or ease their boredom. To avoid this, ensure that your Mountain Cur is receiving adequate mental stimulation.

The breed also requires physical engagement. Since it is a working dog, it does not thrive well in city life. It needs room to run, fresh air, and daily walks for a healthy state of body and mind.

Spend at least 60 to 90 minutes of activity daily. Take the dog with you when going for hunts, taking a long walk, jogging, hiking, biking, or going to a dog park.

The breed also loves to fetch, swim, and run. It will easily run or walk for 15 miles, which is two miles more than a half-marathon. Besides, its top running speed is 26 mph! You can let the dog loose to patrol and run around the perimeter if you live on a farm. In addition, Mountain Curs make excellent sport dogs.

Lack of physical and mental stimulation can lead to a bored dog. Your Mountain Cur may exhibit signs of anxious behavior, loud barking, or become destructive. Please purchase this pup if you lead an active lifestyle and have plenty of outdoor space for the dog to run around.

Training 🎾

The trainability of the Mountain Cur varies from one dog to the other. The breed is highly intelligent and can learn to perform several tasks.

Add the dog’s eagerness to please with its intelligence, and training becomes fairly easy. They enjoy a challenge and are ready to learn complicated commands.

However, the breed is stubborn and strong-willed too, which makes training challenging. For this, the Mountain Cur needs a firm trainer/master to serve as its pack leader. If the pup notices you are too easygoing, it may dismiss your leadership.

The breed dislikes harsh training. Shouting and yelling may cause the dog to hide from you. Therefore, always be gentle and tolerant with the dog. Use positive reinforcement, play, and praise during training to reward good behavior.

Since the Mountain Cur is loyal to a fault and protective of his human pack, it is best to begin obedience training early. Socialize the puppy with other house pets, other dogs, and unfamiliar humans.

The more you expose your pet to unfamiliar situations, the less overprotective and aggressive they become. Your pup will understand that not everything is a threat and temper its guarding instincts.

The breed has a superior nose that can track even the faintest scents, making it a superior hunting dog. But unlike other hunting breeds, the Mountain Cur’s eagerness to please is stronger than its powerful nose.

This means that with the right training, this breed can switch off its superior tracking nose and follow its owner’s lead. The dog will choose to obey you instead of following a scent.

You can train the breed to become a water dog. With proper training, Mountain Curs can hunt or retrieve the ducks you shoot during hunting. In addition, the breed is suitable as a therapy dog.

Grooming ✂️

The Mountain Cur has a short coat of fur that is easy to care for. This means that the dog needs occasional baths and brushing to remove loose hair and dead skin.

It only requires frequent brushing during spring and fall when it sheds excessively. Keep in mind that Mountain Curs enjoy living an active outdoor lifestyle. For this, you may have to bathe and brush them after a muddy or dusty romp outside.

The Cur’s nails need to be trimmed once or twice a month to keep them short. Fractured nails are not only messy for your home but are painful for your pup.

Additionally, brush your canine’s teeth daily to prevent dental disease. If this is not possible, ensure that you brush their teeth twice or thrice a week.

The dog’s long, floppy ears should be monitored and cleaned weekly to prevent the buildup of mites and waxes.

Health Conditions 🏥

Mountain Curs are generally healthy. Their average lifespan is 16 years, but the chances of outliving this are pretty high. Although the breed does not have any hereditary diseases, it is prone to these health conditions.

Minor Conditions
  • Deafness
  • Skin Allergies
  • Dry Skin/Sensitive Skin
  • Ear Infections
Serious Conditions
  • Tick-Borne Diseases
  • Hip Dysplasia

Male vs. Female

Generally, adult male Mountain Curs stand taller than females. Females are 16-24 inches tall, but males can stand at 26 inches. In terms of their temperament, both genders are highly active, intelligent, stubborn at times, and eager to please their owners.

It all boils down to your preference when it comes to choosing a male or female Mountain Cur.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Mountain Cur

1. They Can Run Fast

Did you know that Mountain Curs can run at speeds of 26 mph? This is an unmatched speed since other dog breeds have an average speed is 20 mph. These dogs are active, sporty, and crave exercise. They prefer activity to sitting around. Apart from running fast, the breed enjoys swimming, walking, and marathons.

2. The Mountain Cur Bloodline has Five Pedigrees

The Mountain Cur became rare during the 1940s. Luckily, Woody Huntsman of Kentucky, Hugh Stephens of Kentucky, Carl McConnell of Virginia, and Dewey Ledbetter of Tennessee saved the breed and created the breed’s standards in 1956. In 1957, these men established the Original Mountain Cur Breeds of America (OMCBA).

It was from this breeder’s association that the five Mountain Cur pedigrees originated. They include Arline, McConnell, Ledbetter, Stephens, and York.

3. There are Several Types of Cur Dogs

According to dog experts and fans, Cur is an umbrella term for a hunting dog used for treeing.  Overall, there are 16 types of Curs. They include:

  • Black Mouth Cur
  • Mountain Cur
  • Mountain View Cur
  • Catahoula Cur
  • Stephen’s Cur
  • Blue Lacy
  • Florida Cur
  • American Leopard Cur
  • Treeing Cur
  • Tennessee Treeing Brindle
  • Kemmer Stock Mountain Cur
  • Canadian Cur
  • Camus Cur
  • Parnell’s Carolina Cur
  • Yellow Black Mouth Cur
  • Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog

All these 16 Cur dogs have received recognition as individual breeds.


Final Thoughts

The Mountain Cur is a loyal and devoted dog who will protect its human pack with its life. It makes an excellent guard dog because it is wary of strangers and has a loud bark. The breed is also perfect as a working and hunting dog.

However, this breed is not suitable for all owners. First, it needs an owner who will meet its high-level activity needs, both physical and mental.

The dog appreciates long, vigorous walks and runs as well as mental challenges. Second, the Mountain Cur needs a firm pack leader.

If you can keep up with the dog’s active lifestyle and have plenty of outdoor space, you are a perfect fit for raising a Mountain Cur.

Featured Image Credit: Kyle Christian, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets