Black Mouth Cur

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Black Mouth Cur
Red Alabama Blackmouth Cur
Other names Southern Cur
Yellow Black Mouth Cur
Black Mouth Cur
American Black Mouth Cur
Red Black Mouth Cur
Ladner Black Mouth Cur
Ladner Yellow Black Mouth Cur
Southern Heritage Kennel - Registered Yellow Black Mouth Cur
Country of origin United States
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Black Mouth Cur is a hunting and cattle dog that has its origins in the southern United States of America.


The Black Mouth Cur is a well-muscled rugged hunting and cattle dog whose coat comes in a number of colors and shades, generally red, yellow, brindle, fawn, blue or buckskin. Solid black or white Black Mouth Cur do, on rare occasion, appear in a breeding. According to the United Kennel Club Standard, up to ten percent of the coat may be white with the amounts of white on the toes, tail, nose and chest considered acceptable. None of the Cur breeds are currently recognized breeds of the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Aficionados describe the breed as "a dog that is multitalented. Primarily BMCs are herding dogs able to hunt big or small game, and still be loving, gentle family dogs willing to protect the home".[1]

The breed has a litter of 3-9, and a lifespan of 12–16 years.


Portrait of a Blackmouth Cur showing the typical melanistic mask around the muzzle.

Black Mouth Curs have short coats,[2] either coarse or fine, and a combination of the two types may appear in the same litter. They can be a light solid color or a darker brindle.

Head: The muzzle is square-shaped. It may have a melanistic mask, which is most often black. Maskless dogs are allowed but not preferred. The name 'Black Mouth' refers to the dark pigmentation around the lips that also extends into the interior of the mouth including the roof of the mouth, gums, and cheeks, excluding the tongue. The ears are medium-sized and hanging and may either be melanistic like the muzzle or the same color as the coat. The rarer dogs of hunting bloodlines tend to have the ears cropped soon after birth.

Tail: The tail of a Black Mouth Cur is of medium length and is generally left natural, although it may also be docked.

Feet: The feet are large and webbed, similar to a Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Size: The adult weight ranges from 50-100 pounds, and 16-25 inches tall, with males being larger than females. The wide range in size is due to different types within the breed.[2]


Black Mouth Curs are great family dogs. They are great social dogs if trained properly. The BMC is a "very smart"[1] breed who "by nature need to bond a few weeks"[1] with their owner/trainer before training can begin. The breed shows great loyalty and may even die for their owner.[citation needed] Great around children if introduced correctly[citation needed], they have great potential to "make wonderful family dogs."[1] As they grow older they become very laid back.[citation needed] "The BMC was bred as a homestead dog that would protect its family and home against intruders. This means that a well-bred BMC is territorial. Most BMCs off their 'turf' work well with other dogs, hunting or herding stock, but on their family property will chase the same dog away. Their turf can be viewed by the dog as the family’s home, land, truck, or sometimes proximity to 'their person'."[3]

A dark buckskin female Blackmouth Cur mix puppy with a more typical brindled Blackmouth Cur adult female


Blackmouth Cur with a brindle coat

Though many health issues affect dogs of all breeds and can affect the Black Mouth Cur, they seem to be a rather hardy breed. Their average life span is 12–16 years of age.[citation needed] As with other similar breeds, entropion (slight turning in of eyelid) is a correctable health issue. Their active nature exposes them to the possibility of torn ligaments and pulled muscles.[citation needed]


"The BMC is genetically very athletic and eager to please. Given proper guidance and training, a BMC can excel in just about any activity you could imagine. They can herd animals, track or trail game, pull weights, run in a coursing event, work as a Search and Rescue dog, or anything else a smart, athletic dog that wants to please its owner can do."[4] Black Mouth Curs are used for herding cattle, baying hogs, hunting squirrel, raccoon, bear and mountain lion. All Black Mouth Curs excel at baying and herding. They will tree game. The Ladner line has specifically been bred to promote this treeing. The BMC is a very versatile dog and a single dog can be used to bay, herd, and tree depending upon the handler's desire. They have also been noted to be successful deer tracking dogs in the South.


Black Mouth Curs have varied historical documentation dependent upon region. Among them are the Ladner Yellow Black Mouth Cur from Mississippi, Red Black Mouth Cur from Alabama, Weatherford's Ben Black Mouth Cur from Texas, and the Florida Black Mouth Cur.

The first Black Mouth Curs registered were Ladner Black Mouth Curs through the National Kennel Club in April 1964. Mr L.H. Ladner had such extensive written documentation of his family's breeding that the NKC recognized the breed.[5] These curs are used to tree squirrel, raccoon, bobcat, mountain lion, and bear. They are used for hunting hogs and feral cattle. They also are distinguished by being used by the search and rescue emergency services.[6]

The Weatherford's Ben Texas Black Mouth Cur comes from a line of curs well-documented in the book Big Thicket Legacy.[7][page needed] They are used primarily for herding cattle.

The Florida Black Mouth Cur, used for herding cattle, are featured in old paintings hanging in local barber shops and homes, so their existence and history in Florida is documented.

The Red Alabama Black Mouth Cur is believed to have originated in Alabama, though there are Red Black Mouth Cur in Florida and Tennessee. These cur were supposedly registered as property in the courthouses around Howardtown about 40 miles north of Mobile and nearby Tibbie in the 1940s. They were used as multipurpose pioneer dogs that would hunt, protect the home, and gather in the cattle and pigs at slaughter time. Several breeders in Alabama, Mrs. Murphy among them, continue to work toward retaining and improving the Red Black Mouth Cur. Through the efforts of several Black Mouth Cur breeders, the United Kennel Club later recognized the breed, featuring Howard Carnathan's Bruno, a Red Black Mouth Cur, in their standard photograph.

Black Mouth Curs now range from the east to the west coast, and as far north as Canada. The Ladner Black Mouth Curs are also known to be in Mexico, Argentina, Haiti, Russia, India, and throughout Europe.

Also very closely related to the Black Mouth Cur is the Mountain Cur. The Mountain Cur dogs are slowly being sorted into individual types.


  1. ^ a b c d "Welcome to". Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  2. ^ a b Palika, Liz (2007). The Howell Book of Dogs: The Definitive Reference to 300 Breeds and Varieties. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470175859. 
  3. ^ "FAQ's". Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  4. ^ "FAQ's". Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  5. ^ "Ladner Black Mouth Cur". Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  6. ^ Squirrel Hunting Info[dead link]
  7. ^ Campbell Loughmiller; Lynn Loughmiller; Forward by Francis E. Abernethy (2002). Big Thicket Legacy. Temple Big Thicket Series, Vol. 2. Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press. ISBN 1-57441-156-X. 

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