Black Mouth Cur: Dog Breed Profile

black mouth cur sitting in the grass

Laurie Gouley / Pexels

The Black Mouth Cur, named for his square black muzzle, is a short-haired ranch dog with a sweet personality. A jack of all trades, the Black Mouth Cur is a “utility” dog often used for hunting, herding, and other jobs. He became popular with early American settlers in need of help on their farms and ranches. His energy, intelligence, and tenacity makes him a loyal worker and companion, and his desire to bond with humans makes him a great family dog. 

Because the Black Mouth Cur is an all-around hunting and herding dog, you need to watch him around other animals. His breeding may make him lean toward territorial behavior, and his prey drive could compel him to chase or attack small mammals like rabbits and squirrels. 

With proper socialization as a puppy and appropriate introductions to other animals, the Black Mouth Cur can often happily cohabitate with another pet. However, feeding them separately and making sure there are ample resources—like extra water bowls, bones, and balls—is suggested to discourage resource guarding behavior.  

Breed Overview

Group: Hound group

Height: 16 to 23 inches (female); 18 to 25 inches (male)

Weight: 35 to 80 pounds (female); 40 to 95 pounds (male)

Coat and Color: The Black Mouth Cur has short fur that can be either fine or coarse and ranges in color from tan to red and brown. Almost all Black Mouth Curs have black muzzles, hence the name.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Characteristics of the Black Mouth Cur

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium-High
Kid-Friendly Medium-High
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness Medium-High
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence Medium-High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Black Mouth Cur

The exact origin of the Black Mouth Cur is unknown, but the breed was developed in the southern United States and was used by early settlers to hunt game, protect their homes and livestock, and help out on the ranch. 

There are a number of different Black Mouth Cur lines throughout the US. The Texas Black Mouth Cur, for example, is a cattle-herding line. Another line, the Southern Black Mouth Cur, purportedly originated in Alabama and is popular with ranchers looking for livestock guardians and hunters.

Black Mouth Cur Care

The Black Mouth Cur is a high energy dog that needs at least two hours of daily exercise if he doesn’t have a job to do. If you’re looking for a tireless companion to join you on adventures, the Black Mouth Cur is your dog. 

His social nature and eager-to-please attitude makes him a great family dog. The Black Mouth Cur has a sensitive nature, and though he’s fearless on the job, he doesn’t respond well to negative reinforcement from his owner. Raising your voice at him will only result in distrust and a decrease in your bond.

As long as you keep it light and breezy, training will come easily to your Black Mouth Cur. He’s intelligent and driven; training gives him work to do and he’ll happily do it. 

The Black Mouth Cur is no couch potato, so if you aren’t able to properly exercise him he’ll get himself into trouble. Intelligence and restlessness are a recipe for a mischievous dog. You can help keep the Black Mouth Cur’s mind busy with puzzle toys and skills like nose work on a rainy day. 

The Black Mouth Cur’s short, thick fur is single-coated and easy to maintain with semi-regular brushing and bathing for hygiene and odor management. Keep up with tooth brushing to help prevent gingivitis, dental disease, and bad breath.

Common Health Problems

Because the Black Mouth Cur was created through a wide gene pool, he benefits from generally good health but is prone to a number of conditions.

Like all other medium to large dogs, the Black Mouth Cur is at risk for arthritis and hip dysplasia. Preventative care for his joints is important for a long and happy life. Keep your Black Mouth Cur at a healthy weight, because obesity puts extra strain on his joints. Talk to your vet about a joint care diet and bone and joint supplements.

Black Mouth Curs also frequently experience allergy-related afflictions like ear infections and skin irritation. You may need to experiment with foods, supplements, and medications to control allergy symptoms. Nowadays there are injectable allergy treatments that can last up to months at a time. 

Unfortunately, epilepsy is also a condition the Black Mouth Cur is prone to. If you notice your Black Mouth Cur having balance problems, falling, shaking and twitching, vomiting, or experiencing other seizure symptoms, see a vet ASAP. He may need medication to control the seizures.

Diet and Nutrition

The Black Mouth Cur needs a high-performance working dog diet if he has a job in order to maintain his health. Otherwise, a regular high-protein diet will make him a happy pooch. His diet should be balanced with appropriate exercise to keep him trim and physically conditioned. An overweight Black Mouth Cur is at a much higher risk for other health concerns.

Grain free foods should be thoroughly vetted, as recent studies have begun to show that the legumes in grain-free foods are causing Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in some dogs. Talk to your vet about what food will be best for your Black Mouth Cur.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Always do your research before bringing any new animal into your life. It’s a good idea to talk to both current owners of a breed as well as breed organizations, and this goes double for breeds like the Black Mouth Cur which do require extra exercise and attention.

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