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A young Mountain Cur
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Mountain Cur is a type of working dog that is bred specifically for treeing and trailing small game, like squirrel and raccoons. They are also used for hunting and baying big game like bear and wild boar as well as being an all-purpose farm dog. Curs are a member of the Hound group, and the Mountain Cur is one of several varieties of cur. It can also be used as a water dog. Mainly bred in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, it has been registered with the United Kennel Club since 1998. The Mountain Cur Breeder's Association was formed in 1957.
The Mountain Cur was originally brought to America from Europe by the settlers of the mountains in Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, then later Arkansas and Oklahoma, to guard family and property as well as chase and tree game. These dogs enabled the settlers to provide meat and pelts for personal use or trade, making them very valuable in the unforgiving frontier environment. The Mountain Cur was bred and maintained for nearly two hundred years. With the advent of World War II, many of the families who had bred them left the rural areas and went to work in factories in the war effort. By the end of the 1940s the breed was becoming rare.
Four individuals, Hugh Stephens and Woody Huntsman of Kentucky, Carl McConnell of Virginia, and Dewey Ledbetter of Tennessee are given credit for saving the breed from dying out and setting the Mountain Cur breed standard. In 1956, these four founded the Original Mountain Cur Breeders' Association. Soon after, controversy over the breed standard caused Hugh Stephen and Carl McConnell to leave the OMCBA to found the Stephen Stock Mountain Cur Association.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Mountain View Cur was developed from the Mountain Cur by Michael and Marie Bloodgood of Afton, New York.
The Mountain Cur is intelligent, easily trained, and neither vicious nor shy. They are known to always try to please their masters. They are not however dogs to be trifled with; historically many a cur died fighting to protect their family from attackers or dangerous predators.
These curs were bred to work, and if deprived of the opportunity to hunt, guard, or work around a farm they will grow anxious and bored. When they have a job to do, these dogs are generally happy and obedient, and are able to get along well with children and other pets.
Mountain Curs can live up to 14–16 years, and there are no reported breed-specific health issues.
- Steve Smith (1 September 2002). The Encyclopedia of North American Sporting Dogs: Written by Sportsmen for Sportsmen. Willow Creek Press. pp. 222–223. ISBN 978-1-57223-501-4.
- Vickie Lamb (1 November 2006). The Ultimate Hunting Dog Reference Book: A Comprehensive Guide to More Than 60 Sporting Breeds. Globe Pequot. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-1-59228-745-1.
- Dominique De Vito; Heather Russell-Revesz; Stephanie Fornino (15 May 2009). World Atlas of Dog Breeds. TFH Publications. pp. 592–593. ISBN 978-0-7938-0656-0.