A mountain cur is a breed of dog often trained to accompany and assist its owner in outdoor activities, such as hunting and mountain hiking. It is also used as a farm or herding dog, able to drive animals to their pens and prevent them from straying. In general, this breed of dog is medium-sized, stocky, and muscular. Its fur coat is often short and rough and can have a variety of colors like yellow, red, black or brown, sometimes in combination that creates a brindled pattern. The legs of a mountain cur also tend to be long and tall, enabling it to run, climb, and move quickly.
It is believed that the mountain cur originally came from Europe, when pilgrims came to America to become settlers, particularly in the Southern states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, and Virginia. The settlers brought with them their European curs, which mated with the native curs in the area, producing a breed that was highly adaptable to the mountainous environment. The newly-produced breed was especially useful for guarding houses, shepherding, and hunting. The mountain curs soon grew in number, but were also killed for their fur, becoming endangered during the Second World War. After a breeding program, the mountain cur thrived again and was officially declared as a new kind of breed in 1957.
In general, a mountain cur is an outgoing and sociable dog, especially to his human “family” and when it is trained at an early age. It often has a high level of energy and thrives better in outdoor environments and open spaces, and may not be as dynamic in suburban places. Trainers and dog experts have observed that a cur often seeks the approval of its master, an important factor that can help train the dog successfully. It is also friendly to other dogs, but due to their energetic personality, it is advisable to keep small or toy dogs away from it, as the cur may treat the smaller dogs as prey.
The mountain cur may be an outgoing dog, but is also equally dangerous and fierce if need be. They are highly alert, protective, and very guarded against strangers. It may often be used to hunt small game like squirrels, but it is not unusual for the cur to fight against bigger and wilder opponents like bears and wildcats, sometimes to the point of sacrificing his own life. To prevent mountain curs from becoming too overprotective and fierce, owners should establish themselves as the “pack” leader and should act more superior to their dogs.