Black Mouth Cur: Breed Facts and Temperament
Known for their strength and hard-working nature, the Black Mouth Cur was originally bred to help the farmers and hunters of the US. Tasks that have been set for this breed include tracking animals, herding livestock, and protecting households. And while you may think that all of these tasks involve a fearsome nature, these dogs also have a softer side and they love being around families. However, before you decide to adopt one of these dogs, you need to know that they are demanding and have high energy levels, so they are not going to be happy living a sedentary lifestyle cooped up in an apartment all day long.
History of the Black Mouth Cur
What is a Black Mouth Cur? Well, we cannot be 100 percent certain of their origin story, but it is most likely that they came from an American southern state like Mississippi or Tennessee. The European or Asian cur dog breed is their most likely forefathers. With such a vast, untamed wilderness in front of them, the new settlers needed a canine companion to help them out with this monumental task. Some people even go as far as to say that the inhabitation of the American West would not have been possible without the help and support of the Black Mouth Cur. That’s some history!
The original curs were crossed with other dogs, which explains why there is quite the variation in appearance and personality traits. Since these variations exist, it has proven to be a very tough task to establish breed standards. Kennel clubs including the American Kennel Club (AKC) do not recognize the breed at all, but the United Kennel Club does.
Quick Facts About the Black Mouth Cur
The Black Mouth Cur dog is named after the distinctive black coloring around their mouth. However, not all of them possess this. This dog can look very different in other areas. Colors include black, brown, red, or yellow, and some have patches, while others do not. Eye color can also vary.
As hunting dogs, they possess various positive characteristics including intelligence, trainability, and bags of energy.
While they react well to humans and animals that they know, their highly territorial nature sometimes makes them respond aggressively to anyone threatening them or their family.
Sometimes called a Black Nose Cur, the other distinctive physical trait that you may notice is their webbed feet!
As this is a somewhat complex dog, they may not prove to be the best choice for first-time owners.
While it is not mentioned by name, it is strongly suggested that the title dog in the famous book and movie Old Yeller is a Black Mouth Cur.
Things You Should Know
As they were bred with hunting in mind, Black Mouth Curs are widely known as being healthy dogs. You can expect their lifespan to be anywhere between 12 and 16 years. One of the main issues that can affect them is ear trouble. Their drooping nature means that infections are more likely, especially if your pooch loves a dip in the water. Bacteria can thrive in such a humid environment. You should check their ears on a regular basis and clean them out when this is required.
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Other issues that you should be on the lookout for include epilepsy, mange, hip dysplasia, and cataracts. Regular vet visits help to check out common issues that can go wrong surrounding their eyes and bones in particular. If any problems are spotted, it is always better that these are dealt with at the earliest possible opportunity.
As they have been bred to help humans in various tasks, this is a highly intelligent and trainable dog. When you first get your new puppy home, you should bear in mind that it can take a few weeks for them to bond, so you need to play with them regularly to strengthen this connection. Early socialization helps to develop a happy home life. Otherwise, you may find that your Black Mouth Cur starts to display some aggressive tendencies.
Some dogs respond better to food, whereas others are more motivated by toys, so you need to decide which one is going to get your pooch to respond better. Sessions should be short and effective, ensuring that the time is maximized without your dog getting bored. Negative training is not going to work with this breed, so you need to stick to positive reinforcement, along with plenty of rewards. While they may seem fearsome at times, this is actually quite a sensitive dog who needs to be treated with care. A professional trainer is often required unless you are confident in what you are doing.
Along with training, it is also a good idea to keep your dog mentally stimulated with games. For example, you could set up a treasure hunt for them to enjoy.
If you don’t have all that much time to exercise your dog, this may not be the one for you. Energy levels are high, and you can expect to have to take them out for two 60-minute walks every day. Ideally, you will take your dog through agility training, flyball, or something else that is going to get their heart racing. And we already mentioned their webbed feet earlier on, but this does actually have the practical benefit of making them excellent swimmers.
One thing to be wary of is that Black Mouth Curs were originally bred to be hunting dogs, so they may go darting off after something that catches their interest. If you are in a busy area that is not properly secured, it is better that you keep them on a leash. This may not be the best dog for you if you live in an apartment. If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise on a daily basis, it is more likely that they are going to become bored and start engaging in destructive behavior, which is not pleasant for anyone involved.
Black Mouth Curs vary in size and activity level, and these are two central factors in determining what constitutes a healthy diet. If your dog is working every day, they need food that is going to offer them the high energy levels that they need to keep it up. However, if you have a dog who is more of a homebody, their dietary requirements are inevitably going to vary. As a general rule of thumb, Black Mouth Curs should have two decent meals every day, though this is often three times per day when you have a puppy on your hands.
If you are struggling with your dog’s diet, your vet should be able to help with this task. And if you require help balancing out the different food groups properly, an animal nutritionist is likely to be able to assist you. Protein and fat should form the cornerstone of their diet. The former ensures that your dog’s cells can function, develop, and repair themselves properly. As for fat, it provides a big proportion of their energy.
Between the ages of 4 and 14 weeks, a minimum of 4.4g of protein. After 14 weeks, this increases to 5.69g. But once you have a fully-grown adult dog, 1.20g of protein is enough.
While high calorie treats can be a useful training aid, you need to be careful not to overdo it. Otherwise, Black Mouth Cur weight gain is likely as this is a dog who loves to eat!
Black Mouth Curs sometimes have coats that are coarse, whereas other times they are fine. You should notice some moderate shedding throughout the year, but this happens more frequently before the months of summer and winter. You will probably be pleased to learn that not a great deal of upkeep is required to keep their coats in tip-top condition. If you just give your dog a gentle brush once or twice a week, this should be fine. And you don’t necessarily need to take your pooch to be professionally groomed. Try to start brushing your dog from a young age as this helps your dog get used to the whole process.
As we mentioned earlier, an important aspect of owning this breed of dog is making sure that you keep their ears clean and free of bacterial infections. Do the same to their face as well and pay particular attention to the skin folds as these are where bacteria and parasites are likely to fester. Also, pay attention to their webbed feet as these can also be a breeding ground for parasites. Other grooming tasks that you need to keep on top of include clipping your dog’s nails and brushing their teeth. In these areas, you may decide that it pays to have a professional take care of the job for you.
High-energy is certainly a term that we can use to describe the Black Mouth Cur temperament. You are likely to find your dog being active for much of the day, and they are going to need lots of exercise to ensure that they do not get bored. As this is a dog who has been around people for hundreds of years, they are very used to being side by side with their owners. This can sometimes display itself as aggressive behavior if your pooch believes that you are being threatened in any way.
This is a dog who is best suited to a busy household where they can enjoy plenty of attention. Otherwise, separation anxiety can ensue, and this often means problem behavior like destructiveness and excessive barking. In other situations, they are not known for their barking, so you should be concerned that something is not right if you hear them speaking up about something.
When you bring your dog out and about with you, make sure that you watch them like a hawk. Known for their skills in escape artistry, you may suddenly see your Houdini Hound trying to leap over a fence or burrowing their way underneath it. They are even quite adept at opening doors! Speaking of digging, this is another popular activity for Black Mouth Curs, and this often happens on a warm day so they can sit and cool down in the hole that they have dug.
This is a dog who can be a great addition to the right family – sociable with both other animals and people. However, the suggestion of many dog experts as this is not a great choice of pooch for the first-time owner as they have high demands and a tough training schedule to keep up with. Whoever ends up training your dog is going to need to display a great deal of firmness and consistency. Harsh words do not usually go down well as this is a dog who can display a sensitive side.
Black Mouth Curs are a fantastic dog for the right owners. Their usefulness as working dogs is still apparent, but they can also fit into families. However, you need to be prepared to give them plenty of exercise to cater to their demanding personalities. This is not the kind of dog that is great for first-time owners, but if you are a pooch enthusiast, they may well prove to be the perfect companion.
If you are looking to get a Black Mouth Cur puppy from a professional breeder, you should research the seller thoroughly to ensure that you are buying from a reputable source. Ask all the right questions surrounding their parents, as well as any known health issues.
Intelligent, sociable, and brave, the Black Mouth Cur displays a whole host of positive personality traits. But you need to be ready to keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated on a regular basis. Otherwise, it is highly likely that they will become unhappy and problem behavior will start to rear its ugly head. However, do the right things and you may well have found your perfect pooch!