Black Mouth Cur: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

black mouth cur sitting in the grass

Laurie Gouley / Pexels

The Black Mouth Cur, named for its square black muzzle, is a short-haired ranch dog with a sweet personality. They became popular with early American settlers in need of help on their farms and ranches—their energy, intelligence, and tenacity make them loyal workers and companions, while their desire to bond with humans makes them great family dogs. 

Because the Black Mouth Cur is a hunting and herding dog, you'll need to watch them around other animals. Their breeding may bring out their territorial behavior, and their prey drive could compel them to chase or attack small animals like rabbits and squirrels. 

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

Breed Overview

GROUP: Hound group

HEIGHT: 16 to 25 inches

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

COAT: Short fur that can be either fine or coarse

COAT COLOR: Ranges in color from tan to red and brown. Almost all have black muzzles, hence the name.

LIFE SPAN: 12 to 15 years

TEMPERAMENT: Friendly, lively, loyal, active, energetic, playful, bright


ORIGIN: United States

Characteristics of the Black Mouth Cur

A jack of all trades, the Black Mouth Cur is a “utility” dog often used for hunting, herding, and other working jobs. While they excel at having a job, they're equally as happy existing alongside their family members, with lots of play and adventure involved. They have joyful personalities and silly demeanors that bring a smile to their owner's face on a daily basis.

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence Medium
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

All things considered, Black Mouth Curs are a relatively low-key and easy to care for breed, with attainable needs when it comes to exercise, grooming, and training. Like with all animals, it's important to do your research ahead of welcoming a dog into your family so that you can be sure you're able to cater to their care requirements and give them a quality life.


The Black Mouth Cur is a high-energy dog that needs at least an hour of daily exercise if it 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 for you. Keep in mind, intelligence and restlessness are a recipe for a mischievous dog—Black Mouth Curs aren't couch potatoes, so if you aren’t able to properly exercise your dog, they'll likely get themselves into trouble. 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.


A social nature and eager-to-please attitude make Black Mouth Curs great family dogs. They have a sensitive nature, and though they're fearless on the job, they don't respond well to negative reinforcement from their owner. Raising your voice at this breed 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. They're intelligent and driven—training gives them work to do and they'll happily do it.

Common Health Problems

Black Mouth Curs were created through a wide gene pool, and while they benefit from generally good health, they are 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 their joints is important for a long and happy life. Keep your dog at a healthy weight, because obesity puts extra strain on their joints. You can also 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, twitching, vomiting, or experiencing other seizure symptoms, see a vet ASAP. They may need medication to control their seizures.

Diet and Nutrition

In order to maintain their health, your Black Mouth Cur will need a high-performance working dog diet if they have a job. Otherwise, a regular high-protein diet will make your dog a happy pooch. Their diet should be balanced with appropriate exercise to keep them trim and physically conditioned—an overweight Black Mouth Cur is at a much higher risk for other health concerns.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Black Mouth Cur

Black Mouth Curs can be relatively hard to find, so your best bet for owning one may come in the form of adoption. Check out local pet shelters as you begin your search—these organizations should be able to provide guidance and next steps for adoption as well as direct you to reputable breeders if you choose to go that route.

Though rarer, there are also breeders who specialize in Black Mouth Cur puppies. Begin with searching for reputable breeders in your area. Generally, a Black Mouth Cur can cost you anywhere from $300 to $1400 to purchase from a breeder.

Black Mouth Cur Overview

  • Adventurous and affectionate

  • Highly intelligent and eager to please

  • Easily bonds with humans

  • May chase smaller pets or animals

  • Can be very territorial

  • Prone to some inherited health problems

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.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • Are Black Mouth Curs rare?

    While there is a decent population of Black Mouth Curs in the United States, they are relatively rare in other parts of the world.

  • Are Black Mouth Curs aggresive?

    Training is especially important for Black Mouth Curs, as they can sometimes become territorial and aggressive around things they determine are "theirs"—whether that be people, food, or property. So, while they are not an innately aggressive breed, they can occasionally have aggressive tendencies.

  • Are Black Mouth Curs a good family dog?

    Black Mouth Curs are playful and affectionate, which can make them a great family dog. That being said, they will need a lot of exercise and training, with may not always be achievable with young children in the family.