What Exactly Are Cur Dogs?

Cur dogs are the first American purebreds that have their own hunting style, making them ideal dogs around a farm. Cur means a "mongrel dog" because Curs were bred through a large variety of dogs.

Curs are working dogs bred from the best to the best. Breeders combined the best qualities based on a dog's performance, rather than the actual breed.

According to Dog Breed Info:

"Cur dogs are a group of purebred dogs and their crosses specialized as multipurpose working or hunting dogs from the southern U.S. Each Cur breed or type is unique. Curs are usually not recognized as show dogs but developed solely for their hunting ability."

What is a cur dog? 

Many think of Old Yeller when they think of an old school 'cur dog'. These dogs are hunting and working dogs and they're definitely not terriers! Think of treeing hounds and dogs with significant energy levels. A treeing cur may be a Catahoula Leopard Dog.

The Black Mouth Cur is another example of a 'cur' dog. The mastiff isn't on this list though!

The Wikipedia definition of 'cur' describes these dogs as "the lowest class of nameless or pariah dogs," but the description most likely refers to the decades of mixed breeding. It was thought the dogs would become so inter-bred, it would be impossible to find an original or pure bred example.

Many of these dogs have a short coat for hunting. You'll also see many farm dogs described as 'cur' dogs. They're now a family dog, as well as a good working and hunting dog.

Cur dog history

According to the dog people at Rover.com, cur dogs have a fascinating history. Cur dogs helped build early settlements and economies in states like Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.

"Pioneers and settlers relied on these hearty and trusty breeds to defend their property, herd cattle, and hunt prey for food and fur trading. While the different breeds vary in their distribution of key characteristics, the dogs are highly devoted to their masters, and therefore easy to train. They're loving towards their nuclear families, but tough and fearless when facing predators (like bear and cougar). And they can survive cold winters and brutal summers."

Characteristics of cur dog breeds

Cur dogs are known to be affectionate, extremely loyal and protective with their families.

Here are some more facts about the breed, via Canidae:

  • Cur breeds are short-coated, medium to medium-large dogs used to hunt squirrel, raccoon, bear and mountain lion.
  • In Texas and Louisiana, their prey is wild hog.
  • Their treeing instinct is strong and they can tree small and large game and hold them at bay until hunters show up.
  • These dogs are formidable hunters and have the courage to stand their ground with large game like bear and cougar.

The cur dog group refers to the following breeds.

  • American Leopard Hound
  • Black Mouth Cur
  • Blue Lacy
  • Camus Cur
  • Canadian Cur
  • Catahoula Leopard Dog
  • Kemmer Stock Mountain Cur
  • Mountain Cur
  • Mountain View Cur
  • Parnell's Carolina Cur
  • Southern Black Mouth Cur
  • Stephens Cur
  • Treeing Tennessee Brindle
  • Yellow Black Mouth Cur

READ MORE: Whippet vs. Greyhound: How to Tell These Breeds Apart