Cur dogs like Feists dogs have an interesting history. Officially not a breed, but a type of dog, Curs are usually considered more ‘mongrel’ or not breed specific than even Feist dogs.
NOTE while country wide and international kennels mostly don’t recognized any cur as a specific breed (two out of twenty have made it through), many of the smaller southern American clubs began officially recognizing the specific area cut from the 1950s onwards.
While the next article will list many known Cur dog types/ breeds, the most popular ones are: blackmouth cur, mountain cur and Catahoula Cur Dog
Originally the term cur was derogatory to mean ” mangy mongrel or almost any crossbred dog.” Though over the last century dedicated breeders, mostly in the southern parts of the USA have aimed at refining a whole range of specific cur breeds, within the cur family. The next article will go through the many names and places that Cur dogs are found.
Just as many parts of the world have utilized a generic dog of the region for many tasks around the farm or home, so too the Cur dog was used by Early American settlers for hunting, family guard duties and as a stock dog.
Cur Dog physical characteristics
Because of the many regional varieties of the cur dog you might think that it would be hard to physically describe them, however their overall body shape is surprisingly similar.
The cur dogs tend to be a medium to medium-large sized dog of powerful build. But that power is shared between outright strength and endurance, so they often are described as lean, but solid muscle.
They are typically short coated and it is the color of the striking pattern which often is the most defining point between the different cur dog varieties (as well as their hunting characteristics of course).
Because they are not recognized by any international clubs, defining their exact look (head shape, size etc) would be of little use to people out of the regions, though you will see that many dedicated cur dog sites attempt to define this in anticipation of the cur dog becoming a recognized breed, globally.
Cur dog Hunting abilities
This site is all about Hunting dogs, so it would be remiss not to mention as much information as possible about the Cur dog hunting skills. However we are mindful to add, that there are almost as many cur dogs specializing in certain environments, and sometimes certain game as there are terriers, so again we will leave specific cur type definitions to later articles.
The main thing to consider is that with all of that lean muscle they are very fast and agile hunters able to run at speed through very rough dry terrain and swamp land.
Preferred targets range from small game hunting (squirrel and raccoon) to big game (cougar, bear, feral pig). As you can see they are very multi-purpose. high speed and agility makes them perfect for hunting small game, while their size and strength means that they can function exceedingly well solo or in cur packs of 2 or 3 against game much bigger than themselves.
Unlike many hunting dogs, but very much like the Feist dogs, the Cur dog has a strong TREEING instinct. Though for large game that don’t climb trees, or go to ground, the cur can equally hold its ground and ‘corner’ large game or rogue cattle.
The cur is neither a sight or scent specialist – its skill lie in its speed and endurance. Though once spotted they will pursue prey relentlessly. They are not considered a particularly strong tracking dog by scent unless the track is very new.
This means they may have to circle an area for quite a while longer to pick up a scent than any dog considered as a scent dog would. On recent scents though, they can track at high running speed.