The Black Mouth Cur is a universal working breed, which was created in the United States to manage livestock and quarry various game. Protective demeanour, innate herding and hunting drive and exceptional robustness are typical characteristics of this dog. Unlike the vast majority of modern breeds it’s still bred predominantly for working purposes and rarely plays the part of a family pet.
The Black Mouth Cur is a member of a Cur family, which had existed as a distinctive canine variety since at least the middle of the XIX century. Little is known about its exact origin but black coloration of its mouth and lips along with its general constitution allow suggesting the strong influence of the English Mastiff on its development. Nevertheless it still remains disputable whether it initially appeared in Tennessee or Mississippi. Evidently enough the breed owes its name to the black colour of its lips, which occasionally spread to the mouth and over the dog’s muzzle.
The members of the Black Mouth Cur often accompanied the Americans, which ventured on exploration of the western regions of this continent. This dog was treasured for its versatility since it was not only an accomplished herder but also was trusted with guarding the farmer’s house and domestic animals. During the XX century several varieties of this breed were invented. Some of them were developed by a singular family of breeders while others are tied to specific geographical area.
Probably the Lander line enjoys the most popularity among all Black Mouth Cur types. The Lander family form Southern Mississippi is engaged in breeding of this dog for over hundred years and definitely plans to keep up this family business. The most well-known regional varieties include the Alabama Black Mouth Cur and the Florida Black Mouth Cur, which are distinguished by their red and yellow colours respectively.
Nowadays the most lines of the Black Mouth Cur don’t have an official acceptance of any canine organisation although their creators stick to very rigorous breeding practices and kept their dogs pure-blooded. Nonetheless the breed in general was recognised by the United Kennel Club (UKC) so its members can be often seen in the show ring.
This dog still didn’t lose its major predestination and primarily used as an all-purpose worker. Sportsmen acquire it to hunt various game – from squirrels to wild hogs. Lots of these dogs are either active or retired herders or guardians of farmers’ livestock. In the past several decades it proved its usefulness as a search-and-rescue and sniffer dog for police force. Although widely spread in some areas of the American South, the Black Mouth Cur is virtually unrecognisable outside its homeland and can be considered a rare breed on the whole.
The Black Mouth Cur was designed as both herding and hunting dog and this fact strongly influences its personality at large. It has reputation of exceptionally faithful dog that develops very intense attachment to its human family. Different breed members demonstrate different degrees of affection. Some of these dogs love giving and receiving attention in an active manner while others remains fairly detached in communication. Once thoroughly socialised this dog is fine with children and can put up with great deal of rough-housing during playing.
For over hundred years the Black Mouth Cur was trusted with guarding responsibilities of both livestock and farmers’ homes. No wonder it’s prone to perceive all strangers as a potential threat to its masters and homestead. At the same time a properly socialised specimen will never come upon an unfamiliar person without some serious reasons. As a result this dog usually becomes an outstanding guardian. It can be also tasked with the job of a watcher because of its unfailing vigilance and keen ear.
The Black Mouth Cur is rather accepting of other canines as it got used to work alongside with other dogs while herding and guarding livestock. On the other part, its character certainly possesses dominant streak, which sometimes makes it assaultive towards a strange canine. That’s why it must wear a reliable leash and preferably muzzle while being walked. This dog is endowed with very strong prey drive and it’s notoriously famous for its habit of killing stray cats. Naturally it will live peacefully with those individual pets with which it has had an opportunity to interact since its puppyhood.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· ear infections;
· hip dysplasia;
· elbow dysplasia;
· eye problems;
· demodex mange;
The Black Mouth Cur needs very moderate amount of care. Its hair should be brushed only occasionally and its master will never have to pay for the service of a professional groomer. Of course the dogs’ owner shouldn’t forget to pay attention to such standard grooming procedures as regular nail trimming and ear cleaning.
The dog sheds averagely all the year round and rather intensely once or twice a year during spring and fall. Consequently it can’t be regarded as an ideal breed for a meticulously clean person or allergic sufferer.
It’s rather an arduous task to teach the Black Mouth Cur even basic tricks. This dog would strongly prefer to rely on its own judgment as to what should be done at any particular moment rather than to follow someone’s orders. Moreover it will take orders only from a person whom it’s considered to rank higher itself in the pack hierarchy. The breed responds adequately exclusively to reward-based training methods with an emphasis on food treats.
On the whole it’s highly recommended to entrust the training of the Black Mouth Cur to a skilled person who has already had experience with this dog. Remember that it’s very sensitive to harsh correction so physical enforcement should never be applied to this dog.
The Black Mouth Cur was bred as an indefatigable worker and loves nothing more than spending numerous hours herding livestock or chasing a sly fox in the forest. So it requires tons of very vigorous physical exercise to feel itself fully satisfied with its existence. It’s barely possible to keep this dog happy unless it doesn’t have a chance to frisk and roam in a securely fenced area.
A suburban house with a large adjacent yard is an ideal living situation for the Black Mouth Cur (perhaps with the exception of the farm with large herds of domestic animals and near-by thick forest teemed with game). Under exercised dog is highly predisposed to demonstrate major deviations in behaviour (for example destructiveness, on-going barking, over excitability, and even aggression).