There is a general misconception that hunting dog breeds do not make good household pets. Nothing could be further from the truth. All dogs belonging to the ‘Hound’ group make excellent all-purpose dogs. Their hunting instincts dominate their behavior but they can be trained as watch dogs, farm dogs or even water dogs.
One of the most popular dog breeds in this category is the Mountain Cur. Fearless, fast and resilient, these purebred American dogs have been faithful hunting companions for ages now. Apart from warding off the occasional varmint that enters the farm, a Mountain Cur can also bring down even a bear if need be.
If you are considering getting one home for your farm or even as a watchdog, then here’s some information that can help you understand the behavioral traits of these dogs and also give you an insight into what it takes to own one.
The most noticeable feature about the ‘Mountain Cur’ that is testimony to the name is its similarity to the ‘Cur’ or a mixed breed dog. However, the similarity is only limited to its coat and the skull. Otherwise, the breed is stocky and has a rugged appearance. It has a short coat which is somewhat denser and even longer than some of the other hound breeds.
The undercoat is fine and very soft while the upper one can either be smooth or rough. A Mountain Cur can either be brindle, brindle and black, all black or yellow. Many of the puppies have a bobtail at birth.
The Mountain Cur is short and very muscular which is typical of a hunting dog. However, they have a very heavy muzzle with a deep set chest and a straight back.
Make no mistake. Despite being trained as a household dog, this is a hunting dog purely by gut instinct. They are fierce, fearless and decisive. They can take on prey much larger in size and they have mastered the art of stealth. On a hunting trail, they will be silent as a mouse.
They are excellent guard dogs but are usually not the best of choices for an urban setting because their activities will be limited to outdoor playtimes and walk.
The Mountain Cur is a very loyal dog that loves to please. This makes them naturally attuned to training. The training style and methods will vary according to the strain of the dog that you have. The only way to ensure that you have a disciplined dog is to train them to believe that you are the pack leader and not them.
They are extremely protective about the family and are known to even give up their lives trying to protect it. If you are on the trail and come across an angry bear, your Mountain Cur will give it a fight that it will never forget.
When not on the trail, they are active, agile and outgoing. Once acquainted with the family, they are easy going and love being around children.
Despite having quite a reputation to keep up to, a Mountain Cur is largely easy to live with, provided that it gets the exercise it deserves and you shower it with loads of attention.
Exercise: The Mountain Cur needs lots of exercise. If you are unable to dedicate time for long and multiple walks, then this is not the ideal breed for you. They are not apartment dogs. If you have a house with a small yard, then build them a kennel and at least twice a day, let them enjoy their playtime without a leash. A Mountain Cur is not known to be an escape artist. So unless they spot potential prey, which can include a squirrel by the way, they won’t jump over the fence.
Personality: The only thing that needs a special mention is the over protective nature of the Mountain Cur, which may start to become extremely bothersome if the dog is not trained since puppyhood. A Mountain Cur may attack anything that it deems a threat to the family. That is why training is crucial.
Training: The most important part is the pack leader training. This needs to be established since puppyhood. Apart from this, the Mountain Cur is easy to socialize. They get along well with children and anyone else that the family is acquainted with. They are not friendly towards strangers which make them excellent watch dogs when trained.
Feeding: Since the Mountain Cur is an outdoor dog, it will need a high energy and high protein nutrition source. Canned food is generally considered ideal along with broth. Puppies must be given puppy food to ensure that its nutritional requirements are met. Table food can be introduced once the dog reaches adulthood. But limit the intake to not more than 10-15% of the dog’s diet.
Grooming: The Mountain Cur has a short coat which makes it a low-maintenance dog. A weekly brushing will ensure that the coat looks crisp and maintained. It does not shed excessively making it ideal for anyone who’s finicky about excessive dog hair. It is also important to trim nails. A lot of these puppies are born with dew claws which may also demand frequent attention.
Common health problems: One of the reasons why the Mountain Cur remains extremely popular among hunters and farmers is because it is one of the most resilient dog breeds that has no known disorder or disease. With minimal care and protection, it remains hale and hearty for its lifespan.
Getting a Mountain Cur home is not a decision you make every day. The best thing that you can do is to know everything about it. Irrespective of whether you are looking for a watch dog or a hunting one, a Mountain Cur will fit the bill perfectly.
We hope this guide helps you make an informed choice.
Images sources: Bigstock.com, Tacosunday at wikimedia commons