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Mountain cur lsying in the grass

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Foundation stock service/Hound group (American Kennel Club), Scenthound group (United Kennel Club)
  • Height — 16-26 inches
  • Weight — 30-60 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Short and straight, smooth or rough, soft undercoat
  • Coat color — Accepted colors include brindle, black, brown, blue, red, and yellow. Markings include tan points, white markings, and brindle points.
  • Exercise needs — Very high
  • Intelligence — Very high
  • Barking — Very vocal
  • Life span — 10-13 years
  • Temperament — Strong-willed, intelligent, protective, loyal
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — United States

Mountain cur fun facts 

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Mountain Curs Copper; Jax is the 2nd most popular male name. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Mountain Curs love Luna, then Bella.

  • Mountain curs run faster than the average dog. While the average dog can reach speeds around 20 mph, the mountain cur averages between 26 and 28 mph.
  • Mountain curs were originally bred for hunting and catching wild game including wild boar and bears. They are used as a working dog and are exceptional at treeing prey.
  • Mountain curs were so important to early settlers in Southern Appalachia that they brought the dogs along by either pack animal or wagon. If there were neither, the family would carry the pup themselves as they settled throughout the Appalachain chain.
Mountain cur standing on a steep hill with a bay in the background

Mountain cur temperament and characteristics

Mountain curs are not a submissive dog breed, which means they need early socialization and training to successfully interact with children and other pets. If they are raised with the children and don’t see the children as below them on the pecking order, mountain curs can make great family dogs. This breed is known to be very playful, particularly when it comes to fetch or other full body games.  They love pleasing their owners and tend to take their jobs and responsibilities of guarding or treeing very seriously. Giving them a goal to aim for helps keep them engaged in the family.

Mountain curs have a protective nature. If they are not properly socialized as a puppy, they may be more aggressive around strangers. Giving them plenty of attention and space to run is also crucial to keeping them docile and obedient.  If they don’t get the physical and mental stimulation they require, they may become destructive and act out. Participating in dog sports is a great way to meet their physical and mental stimulation needs.


The Mountain Cur is a beautiful breed with a short, dense coat. The United Kennel Club breed standards recognize black (with or without tan or brindle points), blue, brindle, brown, red, yellow, blonde, or buttermilk buckskin. This breed usually has one of two coats, either smooth or rough in texture. We teamed up with FidoTabby Alert, and according to their database, a common coat color for the Mountain Cur is (69%) brown.

Common mountain cur health problems 

Mountain cur dogs are generally healthy dogs with low risks of genetic health issues. However, they still require exercise and regular trips to the vet to keep them in top shape. There are some minor health issues you should be on the lookout for with a mountain cur.

  • Ticks, parasites, fleas. This breed spends a lot of time outside, so they are more prone to picking up ticks, fleas, and internal parasites.
  • Dry/sensitive skin. This condition can come from bathing too much and drying the skin out by stripping it of its natural oils. The dry skin can easily crack and become infected from outdoor debris and dirt. This can lead to skin infections and irritations.
  • Ear infections. This active breed is semi-prone to getting ear infections due to their floppy ears trapping moisture, wax buildup, or debris. Depending on the severity and frequency of the ear infection, the dog could go partially or fully deaf in the affected ear, so it’s important to get them to a vet if they start exhibiting signs of infection.
  • Anxiety. Mountain curs require a lot of attention and a lot of physical and mental stimulation. If they don’t get the right amount of active attention, they may develop separation anxiety. If their physical and mental stimulation is lacking, then their unused energy may develop into more generalized anxiety. Because of the high amount of interaction mountain curs need, they don’t do well with families that work long hours.

Cost of caring for a mountain cur

Mountain curs are actually considered to be one of the healthiest dog breeds. This means they don’t typically run the risk of major health issues. However, like most dogs, their risk for diseases such as obesity, arthritis, and hip dysplasia increases as they age.

Outside of food, the biggest expense you can expect owning a mountain cur is regular vet visits. It’s always a good idea to look into pet health insurance to help lower any out-of-pocket costs during routine visits and to prepare should the unthinkable happen, like a broken bone or an unforeseen condition. Make sure to sign your pup up early to get the most out of your pet insurance benefits. You could also look into starting a pet savings account before getting your dog and budgeting a certain amount each month to help cover any unexpected or larger out-of-pocket costs.

Mountain cur puppy on a sofa

History of the mountain cur

For many southern frontier families, especially along the southern Appalachian mountains, the mountain cur dog was a necessity. These dogs served as both family and livestock guards, and many Appalachian settlers employed them as hunting dogs to track, hole, catch, or tree small game for food. This breed is exceptional at treeing,  a hunting method where the dog chases prey up a tree to make it easier for the hunter to locate it.

The breed almost went extinct during World War II. However, thanks to four dedicated breeders from Virginia and the mountains of Tennessee, the breed was able to make a comeback. Carl McConnell, Hugh Stephens, Dewey Ledbetter, and Woody Huntsman started the Original Mountain Cur Breeders Association. In 2017, the American Kennel Club registered the mountain cur breed in its Foundation Stock Service.

Caring for your mountain cur

While the thought of caring for a new puppy might seem a little overwhelming, a little bit of planning can make it a fun, exciting time. Make sure to schedule your pup’s first vet trip and vaccinations early on. Before bringing your puppy home, you may want to puppy-proof your home and prepare for inevitable — and destructive — processes like teething. Be sure to add your free FidoAlert ID tag to your pup’s collar so you’re prepared in case your dog gets out. Here are some other basics to keep in mind specific to the mountain cur.


The mountain cur is a high-energy dog that requires a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Daily exercise will help prevent destructive behavior that may occur if the dog has too much energy or gets bored. This breed enjoys a lot of outdoor activities like jogging, hiking, and events that allow them to show off their athletic nature and treeing abilities. On average, it’s safe to say that this breed needs around 90 minutes of activity a day.

When taking a mountain cur for a walk, make sure the dog is either behind or beside you to help reinforce that you are the leader.  It’s important to remember that this breed has a very high prey drive, so dog parks are not the best option.

Mountain cur by a river


Mountain curs have short hair, which makes it easier to groom them. Typically, you will need to brush them once a week to remove any dead or loose hair. Make sure not to bathe a mountain cur too frequently or it may dry out their skin. Other things to keep in mind when grooming your mountain cur is trimming their nails to keep them from breaking, brushing their teeth, and cleaning their ears.

Diet and nutrition

The biggest thing to remember when it comes to mountain curs and their diet is that these dogs are very high-energy and will need protein-rich food made for medium-sized breeds. That means they may need more food than you think, so be sure to check with your veterinarian as to how much and what kind of food to feed your specific dog. On average, you can expect your mountain cur to need two to three cups of food a day. Make sure to split this amount up between two meals.

Training your mountain cur

Mountain curs are very smart dogs, but they can sometimes be difficult to train. One thing to keep in mind is that you will have to be the pack leader. These dogs don’t shy away from testing boundaries, so they are not great for first-time or new dog owners. This breed requires someone who is consistent, patient, and firm.

Your new mountain cur will respond best to high-value treats and positive reinforcement training methods. It is always important to remember that the best training sessions are brief and focused on one thing, so don’t try to teach your pup more than one command at a time. Socialization and obedience training are an absolute must for this breed. Mountain curs are known to be extremely protective dogs, which can lead to aggression towards strangers and other animals if not properly socialized. Mountain cur puppies need a little extra socialization than other breeds.

For them, this looks like introducing them to all kinds of people, animals, sights, smells, and sounds in their homes and in strange places.

Mountain cur walking on a wooden bridge

Breeds similar to the mountain cur

Not quite sure that a mountain cur is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • American pitbull terrier. This breed is great if you want a more friendly and affectionate dog that still requires a lot of exercise and attention.
  • Dalmatian. If you are looking for a breed that is easier to train but still very active and playful, check this breed out.
  • Labrador retriever. These dogs are great family dogs who enjoy outdoor life activities like swimming, hiking, and camping.

Frequently asked questions

Are mountain curs good family dogs?

Mountain curs are good for active families who work short hours and have plenty of time to dedicate to the dog. They are not a good breed for families with young children or small animals. They thrive on working farms and ranches, in homes with large backyards, and with families who have lots of patience for daily training.

Are mountain curs considered high energy?

These dogs are very high energy and need a lot of mental and physical stimulation. Daily exercise is a must, but owners will need to be mindful of where they go, as  most mountain curs don’t do well in dog parks. Because of their high energy, they are also not the best apartment dog.

Do mountain curs make good pets for first-time owners?

Mountain curs were bred as hunting dogs, which means they are active,  protective, and territorial. They also require hours of exercise and large spacious yards. Obedience training and socialization are absolutely essential to set your dog up for success. They’re not normally recommended for first-time dog owners because they can be a bit of a handful. However, if you have the confidence and patience to go through training and socialization, then they just might be the dog for you.

How much does a mountain cur puppy cost?

Depending on the breeder and your location, a puppy can cost between $500 and $1,000. Always check your local shelters and rescues to see if there’s a mountain cur you can adopt.