Black Mouth Cur

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35-85 lbs
United States
None known

The Black Mouth Cur is one of the best known of the several Cur type dogs that were developed in the southern part of the United States. They were cultivated from hounds, terrier breeds, and feist dogs to be multipurpose canines that were equally able to perform hunting, herding, and guarding duties for farmers and settlers who often couldn’t afford to support more than one dog at a time and as such were bred for their skills rather than for their appearance. Because of this, there is a great deal of variation from dog to dog in the areas of both coloration and in size. No matter what size they are these dogs have a high activity level and an extremely high prey drive; they will need both physical and mental exercise on a daily basis to prevent problem behaviors from developing.

Multipurpose Working, Herding Dog
Date of Origin
Hounds, Terriers, Feist-type Dogs

Black Mouth Cur Health

Average Size
Male Black Mouth Cur size stats
Height: 18-25 inches Weight: 40-95 lbs
Female Black Mouth Cur size stats
Height: 16-23 inches Weight: 35-85 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia (Chd)
Minor Concerns
  • Ear Infections
  • Entropion
  • Ectropion
  • Cataracts
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Epilepsy
  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Demodectic Mange
Occasional Tests
  • Eye Examinations
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging

Black Mouth Cur Breed History

Cur, while originally used to describe an unhealthy or aggressive mongrel dog, may now refer to one of several breeds of dog that were developed as multipurpose farm dogs in the Southern United States. Dogs that fall into the Cur classification were deliberately bred for their varied skills, so it stands to reason that several different breeds of dog with several different skill sets were combined to develop these dogs with little regard given to the animal’s physical appearance. Written records of this type of dog indicate that the Cur has been around since at least the 1700s, and most of them were blends of hound and terrier, with a dash of feist and herding dog thrown in the mix. The first Cur dogs eventually split into several types including the Catahoula Leopard dog, the Mountain Cur, the Treeing Cur, and the Black Mouth Cur. The Black Mouth Cur is one of the older varieties of Cur and is described by author Fred Gipson in his well-known novel “Old Yeller,” although the dog in the movie of the same name was a rescue dog that is believed to be a mix between a Mastiff and a Labrador Retriever. The Black Mouth variety can be distinguished by their characteristic black muzzle as well as the darker pigmentation that extends to the inside of their mouth, with only their tongues remaining pink. This dark pigmentation has led many experts to believe that the Black Mouth Cur, in particular, may have had a significant contribution from the English Mastiff, although that has not been substantiated at this time. 

Black Mouth Cur Breed Appearance

The Black Mouth Cur is a medium-to-large dog that stands between 16 and 25 inches tall and can be a bit heftier than most varieties of cur as they can reach up to 95 pounds. They are slightly longer than they are tall and they have a particularly broad, muscular chest and a slightly arched loin. The legs of the Black Mouth Cur are strong and straight and many of these dogs have webbing between their toes. Their heads tend to be on the large side with a broad, flat skull and a broad muzzle with a particularly well-defined underjaw. The muzzle and the inside of the mouth are typically colored black, with only the tongue remaining pink and their medium-length, drop-style ears are set high up on the head and hang close to the cheek. Their eyes can come in any shade of brown, green, or yellow; while blue and multicolored eyes do occasionally pop up, they are considered serious faults.  

Eye Color Possibilities
hazel Black Mouth Cur eyes
brown Black Mouth Cur eyes
amber Black Mouth Cur eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Black Mouth Cur nose
brown Black Mouth Cur nose
Coat Color Possibilities
brown Black Mouth Cur coat
black Black Mouth Cur coat
fawn Black Mouth Cur coat
isabella Black Mouth Cur coat
brindle Black Mouth Cur coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Black Mouth Cur straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Black Mouth Cur Breed Maintenance

These dogs have relatively easy coats to care for and few grooming difficulties. Bathing should be kept on an “as needed” basis as these dogs can develop problems due to dry skin if they are bathed too frequently. Although they should only need brushing a few times a month to control their shedding and keep their fur healthy, their coats tend to pick up dirt and debris when outdoors, which may require more frequent brushing sessions. Many Black Mouth Curs also shed more heavily during the change of seasons and may require more frequent brushing sessions during those times as well. 

Brushes for Black Mouth Cur
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Black Mouth Cur requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Black Mouth Cur Temperament

This breed tends to be fairly sociable with people of all ages, but they should be closely supervised when interacting with smaller children as they can be large and somewhat clumsy on occasion. With proper socialization, they get along reasonably well with other dogs when on neutral territory, but due to their territorial nature, this can sometimes switch to aggression when they are on their own property. They are natural hunters with an extremely high prey drive, so these dogs are not typically recommended for homes with cats and other smaller pets. They should never be left alone in the backyard as they are highly resourceful escape artists and their prey drive is so intense that when given free rein many Black Mouth Curs will bring home “presents” of dead animals for their owners much like outdoor cats, only with larger prey. They are highly intelligent and are excellent problem solvers, but while there are many who take quickly to training some Black Mouth Curs will show no interest at all in being trained and prefer to try and learn things on their own, which can sometimes lead to mischief.  

Black Mouth Cur Activity Requirements

These dogs are generally quite active and need at least an hour of vigorous activity per day as well as a good deal of mental stimulation to keep their curious minds busy. If they are not given enough physical and mental stimulation, this breed can quickly become mischievous and even destructive. Fortunately, the Black Mouth Cur is also an extremely versatile canine and they can be entertained with a number of different activities including herding, tracking, and swimming activities. These dogs are generally too large, active, and territorial to make good apartment dwellers and they are happiest when they have a large yard to run and play in. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Black Mouth Cur Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.5 - $1.9
Monthly Cost
$39 - $52

Black Mouth Cur Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Black Mouth Cur size stats at six months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 47 lbs
Female Black Mouth Cur size stats at six months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 42 lbs
12 Months
Male Black Mouth Cur size stats at 12 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 61 lbs
Female Black Mouth Cur size stats at 12 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 54 lbs
18 Months
Male Black Mouth Cur size stats at 18 months
Height: 21 inches Weight: 67 lbs
Female Black Mouth Cur size stats at 18 months
Height: 19 inches Weight: 60 lbs

Black Mouth Cur Owner Experiences

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