Black Mouth Cur

35-85 lbs
16-23"
United States

An energetic and hardworking dog, the Black Mouth Cur has plenty of reasons to love it. Excellent at hunting but with a soft, friendly temperament, it makes for a wonderful addition to any house. It’s known for being brave, strong, loyal, and intuitive to the emotions of its pet parents.

In this comprehensive guide to the Black Mouth Cur breed, you’ll learn:

  • That Black Mouth Curs aren’t the greatest pet to have if you own a cat
  • That Black Mouth Curs need around 1,000 calories a day
  • That the history of the US might look very different if it weren’t for the Black Mouth Cur
  • Health risks include hip and elbow dysplasia, and skin conditions



Black Mouth Cur breed overview

Muscular, sturdy, rugged: if it were a person, the Black Mouth Cur sounds like an elite athlete. Initially bred in the US, this dog is most well known for being used as a farm dog, able to help out in various ways from morale to hunting. 

While friendly and generally a joy to be around, the Black Mouth Cur is territorial and very keen on catching prey. New owners should be aware of this, as well as its potential health issues and the fact that it’s a breed that needs to be exercised a great deal. 



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purpose Purpose
Multipurpose Working, Herding Dog
history Date of Origin
1700s
ancestry Ancestry
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

If you’ve read the 1956 novel Old Yeller, written by Fred Gipson, you may know that a Black Mouth Cur appears in the story as the eponymous character. But what is a Black Mouth Cur and where did it come from originally? 

The Cur is a breed that dates back to the 18th century in the United States — the south-east specifically, perhaps Tennessee or Mississippi. Initially a mix of terrier and hound, with a bit of feist and herding dog, the first Curs were divided into various types like the Mountain Cur, the Treeing Cur, the Catahoula Leopard, and our hero, the Black Mouth Cur. 

The exact history is hazy. What’s clear is that the dog played a big role in the foundation of the American frontier; without this breed, some speculate that European settlers wouldn’t have been able to expand westwards in the US.

The ancestors of this particular breed may have come to the US with immigrants from European countries like Ireland, Scotland or France, but no one is 100% sure. Similarly, people speculate that some breeding with the English Mastiff in the 17th century may account for the dark pigmentation on the inside of the Black Mouth Cur’s mouth, but this is just a theory at the moment.

Black Mouth Cur Breed Appearance

Rather than being bred for its looks, once upon a time the Black Mouth Cur was bred for its commendable physical and mental characteristics. There are few more hardworking dogs out there; this is a strong, muscular animal that’s on the heftier side of the Cur family. 

Most often seen in a brindle, yellow or fawn color (and occasionally red, black or brown), the Black Mouth Cur has straight, relatively short hair and is named for the distinctive black muzzle it proudly bears (though not every single Black Mouth Cur has this feature).

If you’re thinking of getting one and living in close quarters with it, you might think, how big do Black Mouth Curs get? Well, it can obviously vary by dog but a good range would be between 16 and 23 inches tall, and 35 and 85 lbs in weight. They have a muscular chest, a large head, and strong, straight legs, with many examples sporting webbing between the toes.

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

Black Mouth Cur Breed Maintenance

Especially compared with fancier breeds boasting longer, more complex fur, the Black Mouth Cur doesn’t require a great deal of maintenance in the coat department. There’s no need for a weekly bath; just keep an eye on how clean your furry friend is getting, and put it in the tub whenever necessary. (Black Mouth Curs, like some other breeds of dog, are susceptible to dry skin if bathed too often — more bathing can sometimes be a bigger problem than less bathing).

Of course, being an extremely outdoors dog, this is a breed that will attract dirt and debris as it rolls around in parks and woods. For this reason, you may find yourself needing to brush your dog’s coat several times a month, and especially often during the months when it sheds its hair more quickly. 

Needless to say, you should be making sure your dog’s ears are squeaky clean, its teeth are brushed regularly, and its nails are trimmed neatly.


Black Mouth Cur health risks

Like all dogs, Black Mouth Curs can develop health issues during their life. As a larger breed, they are prone to some hereditary health problems. Common issues for a Black Mouth Cur can include:

  • Canine hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Skin conditions

Elbow dysplasia

You might not immediately think of dogs as having elbows but elbow dysplasia affects some breeds including the Black Mouth Cur. It refers to arthritis of the elbow joint and will reveal itself in swollen joints, soreness after resting, or lameness in the front legs. 

While the condition is generally considered to be genetic, Black Mouth Curs may be susceptible because their high-protein diet could be a contributing factor. If you’re concerned, call your vet to discuss a healthy path forward.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is an issue that’s often diagnosed more frequently in larger dogs. It’s a term that means the ball and socket of both hip joints are malformed in some way, causing the head of the dog’s femur to grind in the socket of the joint, not glide smoothly. It can be caused by malnutrition, injury or weight gain and will be noticeable as a result of your dog not moving smoothly, not jumping, or having lameness in the hind legs.

Skin conditions

Skin conditions and allergies in dogs are generally quite easy to spot. The Black Mouth Cur may be more susceptible than many breeds, so be on the lookout for reddened skin, ulcers, and hair loss. Your vet will be able to prescribe medications like Benadryl to ease the problem.



Feeding a Black Mouth Cur - what’s the best diet?

This dog doesn’t need anything radically different in its diet from any other dog but because it’s so energetic and exerts so much energy, it needs to consume around 1,000 calories a day. Getting protein-rich food into its diet is important, so look for foods that contain chicken, duck, fish, lamb and turkey.

If you want guidance and reviews of a wide range of dog food, check out what our friends at Dog Food Advisor have to offer — including recommendations for best high protein dog food.

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

Black Mouth Cur Temperament

On top of all its other marvelous attributes, this dog is friendly and safe around children, making it a good family pet (although, because it’s a relatively large dog, it shouldn’t be left alone with younger children because it could fall or sit on them). 

But, given that it’s used to hunting, you might be wondering, are Black Mouth Curs aggressive? The Black Mouth Cur’s temperament is tied to its hunting and territorial instincts. This means, unfortunately, that a few things aren’t necessarily recommended for owners of this breed. One is having a cat. Because Black Mouth Curs tend to see smaller animals as prey, a pussycat or a rabbit could easily be in harm’s way simply because the dog is behaving in the way it was bred to. 

Experts say, however, that if the dog has grown up with the cat — or other dogs or animals — since it was a puppy, then it may well be alright.

The second is leaving your furry friend alone in the garden. While this would be fine for most breeds, what the Black Mouth Cur likes to do more than anything else is hunt. So, if left alone for a few minutes, it may decide that the best use of its time is to leap over the fence, catch a squirrel, and bring it back to you. 

Because this is a breed that loves and needs its outdoor time, do make sure you take it out into the garden or yard. Just keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t leap into your neighbor’s garden.

Like most dogs, Black Mouth Curs aren’t aggressive without extremely good reason, but they’re territorial hunting dogs so will often respond defensively to other dogs and aggressively with anything they consider to be prey.

Some dogs are easier to train but plenty of Black Mouth Curs do take to training easily. As with all dogs, positive reinforcement is likely to work well. The final outcome will depend on the exact temperament of your dog, and your patience!


Owning a Black Mouth Cur 

Anyone who owns a Black Mouth Cur dog needs to understand that this is a breed that requires a good deal of exercise. Experts recommend at least an hour of vigorous activity every 24 hours. If your favorite place to be is the sofa, you may struggle to keep up with this particular dog.

Without enough stimulation of both the physical and mental variety, a Black Mouth Cur will get bored, cheeky, and may even start to become destructive. If you regularly take your furry friend for walks, hikes, swims or cycles, you’re on extremely safe territory. 

If you own or want to own this breed of dog, you’re probably keen to ask, how long do Black Mouth Curs live? The answer is between 12 and 18 years, approximately.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Black Mouth Cur Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.50 - $1.90
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$39.00 - $52.00
food bag monthly cost

Black Mouth Cur Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Black Mouth Cur size stats at six months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 47.5 lbs
Female Black Mouth Cur size stats at six months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 42.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Black Mouth Cur size stats at 12 months
Height: 20.5 inches Weight: 61.0 lbs
Female Black Mouth Cur size stats at 12 months
Height: 18.5 inches Weight: 54.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Black Mouth Cur size stats at 18 months
Height: 21.5 inches Weight: 67.5 lbs
Female Black Mouth Cur size stats at 18 months
Height: 19.5 inches Weight: 60.0 lbs

Black Mouth Cur Owner Experiences

Riley
6 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
This dog has been the best dog we have ever had! He is full of energy, love to play ball and has to do a quick run around the property every day. Very fast runner. Very quick learner, we put in an invisible fence, and although we had to set it at dinosaur, he learned very quickly his boundaries. He had knee issues early on and we had to get steel plates added to his knees, but other than that, he’s the perfect dog.
1 year, 9 months ago
Blakely
3 Years
2 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Play
Walk
Dog Parks
Chase
I Adopted Blakely from a local shelter at the age of three. Since I first met her she has instantly gravitated towards me. She was abused by her previous owner and still has a little anxiety with strangers when they move their hands around or approach her quickly but if you allow her to come up to you for a sniff she will be very loving and ask for butt scratches. Just in the short time I've owned her I've seen amazing improvement in her anxiety. She is super cuddly and thinks she is a lab dog. She spends most of the day lounging on the couch then we spend a lot of time outdoors after I get off work. I have never met a sweeter more loving dog.
1 year, 9 months ago
Cade
6 Months
3 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We adopted Cade from a local shelter. His first vet experience said he was a pit mix, as he got older it was obvious he was not. The bark says it all. Our miniature pincher Zeus actually picked him, they became fast friends and grow closer everyday. Cade learns so fast in less than a week he was bell trained to go outside and wireless fence trained. He sits, stays, lays, weaves, touches, and waits. We are still working on leave it. He has his moments. He’s a sweet boy, we have to remind our selves it’s like having a toddler again lol.
1 year, 10 months ago
Beaux
5 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Play
My Black Mouth cur is wonderful! He is so sweet and loves to play. His favorite trick is “Up” because he gets to get on the couch. He’s not exactly a cat lover though. He hates my cat.
2 years, 5 months ago
LuLuBelle
11 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
She was mistaken at the shelter for a pit bull, which we did not care to bring into our home. BUT, she was so precious at 4 months, we couldn't resist her. Come to find out, when she got a few months older we knew she was NOT a pit bull, not even close. I had started to research and I found her to be a full bred Black Mouth Cur, she is not a mix of any other breed. Our vet's technician confirmed her to be BMC as she owns 2. She is the sweetest puppy and loves everyone, even our male min-pin mix named Dickie who seems to have fallen in love with her! She is much larger (@38 lbs.)than our little guy at 18 pounds but they are compatible and that's what we wanted for both of them. She adjusted very well to family life. We can't imagine why anyone would give her up at 4 months but we are so happy they did! She is our little girl now.
5 years, 7 months ago
Dot
8 Months
3 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Hiking
She is insatiable for exercise but more loving than any dog I've ever met. Maybe getting her right before a nationwide quarantine was less than ideal considering we live in a condo, but she has been great about it. Seriously the best dog I could ever imagine.
3 years, 9 months ago
Amelia Jane
9 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Camping
Watching tv
Hiking
Hiking, camping, treat hide and seek
She has developed an allergy as she has gotten older and even with the help of a veterinary dermatologist, we are struggling to identify the allergy. She has to get weekly baths because of it. Other than this frustrating issue, she is an absolutely amazing dog and by far the smartest dog I’ve ever had in my life. Keep in mind, my other dog is a Belgian malinois. She is leaps and bounds smarter than he is. Her sense of smell is amazing. I’ve taken her to work (a high school) before and she was great with all kids, even the life skills class that we went to visit. She gets along well with other dogs. She is very vocal, but not in the sense that she barks all day. She makes very different noises based on what she wants, and it’s amazing. She truly loves the heat. If it’s colder than 80 degrees, she is cold. She can run around outside in 200 degree heat all day because she CHOOSES to do so, and will just occasionally run through the kiddie pool to cool her feet off. She has webbed toes but hates swimming.
3 years, 9 months ago
Daisy Mae King
8 Months
3 People
Condo
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking, Training, Meeting other Dogs
As a rescue from a high-kill SC shelter, our 7-month-old Black Mouth Cur was timid, anti-social with other humans but liked other dogs until she felt safe. Now she's wild, does the "BMC Zoomies" around the house, loves my boyfriend but has become somewhat aggressive towards me who gives her all her commands in loud tones and reprimands her for chewing and jumping on furniture. She has begun growling and biting me. She's sweet half the time. I walk her 3 times a day. My boyfriend and his older son walk her the rest of the time. I'm not accustomed to an adversarial relationship with a dog. I've been the dog whisperer all of my life. I've had Collies all of my childhood and adulthood until I rescued a Labrador from my brother 16 years ago. I'm heartbroken. I hope it changes.
3 years, 4 months ago
Jessie
1 Year
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Playing
Running
As my first ever dog, I didn't do my research on how much exercise she would need in our apartment. But, she seems content since my husband and I take her out several times a day to either run around with other dogs or for a walk. I am glad we are planning to move to a house with a proper yard. She's a bit dependent but it's very sweet. She's quite cuddly in her own way. She's picking up training pretty well so far. We have only had her for a month
3 years, 2 months ago
Joey
6 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking
Hiking
Fetching
Tug-of-war
Joey was initially timid when we first got him from a shelter. He was also very bitey, which was quite frustrating at first because we have little kids and the bites would draw blood. However, with continuous training with lots of positive reinforcement, he is now a very docile guy at 6 months. He gets hyper in the morning and we play fetch until he tires. Then he naps a lot during the day. He has slept through the night since we got him at 15 weeks old, and he has been potty trained ever since. He learns really quickly with dog treats.
3 years, 1 month ago
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Question - My pet
Question

Is she a Black Mouth Cur? I can send a picture

Answer
Oh gosh, unfortunately no photo has attached. If you re send your Q with a photo, one of us vets will be able ti take a look for you.
2 years, 11 months ago
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