|Other names||Stephens' Stock Cur|
Stephens' Stock Mountain Cur
|Common nicknames||Little black dog|
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Stephens Cur (a.k.a. Stephens' Stock Cur), is a scent hound that belongs to the Cur dog breed. They were originally bred by the Stephens family in southeastern Kentucky. The dogs known as "Little black dog" were bred by generations of that family for over a century. In 1970, they were recognized as separate and distinct breed of Cur. The dog is mostly black with white markings, but more than a third white is not permissible. It is good for hunting raccoon and squirrel, but can also be used to bay wild boar. The breed is registered with the United Kennel Club.
Hundreds of years ago, the term "cur" referred to dogs of mixed ancestry, but it came to be used for a working type of dog in the Southern United States. The dogs that came to be known as Mountain Curs were used by early settlers for hunting and as guard dogs in Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.
By the 1940s, the Mountain Cur was close to extinction. Four breeders started programs to save the breed: Hugh Stephens of Kentucky, Carl McConnel of Virginia, Woody Huntsman of Kentucky and Dewey Ledbetter of Tennessee. They founded the Mountain Cur Club, later renamed the Original Mountain Cur Breeders Association (OMCBA), and continued the breeding of Mountain Cur strains. The Treeing Cur and the Mountain View Cur were developed from these strains.
The Stephens' Stock Mountain Cur was identified in 1970 by its namesake Hugh Stephens who believed it was different enough from the original strains of Mountain Cur, and so the Stephen's Breeders Association (SBA) was formed. Starting 1 November 1998, the breed is now recognized by the United Kennel Club.
A Stephens Cur is usually dark grey or black with white markings on the chest, neck and feet. The breed has a dome-shaped head with a short muzzle and brown- or dark-colored eyes. They have a deep broad chest, medium length neck and have either a smooth or rough coat.
They are a medium-sized dog, with Mountain Cur and Black Mouth Cur being larger varieties of Cur type dogs, the Stephens' Breeders Association standard requires the dogs to be between 16–23 inches (41–58 cm) in height and no more than 55 pounds (25 kg).
- Official U.K.C. Breed Standard for Stephens' Cur
- "Stephens Cur Information". Sarah's Dogs. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
- "History of the Mountain Cur". United Mountain Cur Association. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
- Smith, Steve (2002). The Encyclopedia of North American Sporting Dogs: Written by Sportsmen for Sportsmen. Willow Creek Press. p. 222.
- "Breed Standard". Stephens' Breeders Association. Retrieved 31 October 2010.