Strong, fearless, and highly energetic, the Black Mouth Cur has all the great qualities of a cattle dog as well as a hunting dog. Its extra-long and sleek limbs give it the appearance of a Greyhound except that the Black Mouth Cur doesn’t come with the sharply angled muzzle of the Grey. It’s built for speed; perfect for driving cattle, although it is not really known as a heeler. It’s a multi-talented dog that can be easily trained to help its human master go hunting or even herd his flock. Whatever chore you may have in mind, all you need is a well-trained Black Mouth Cur and it will more than happily oblige. After all, this breed forms exceptionally strong bonds with its human family.
History of the Black Mouth Cur
Unlike other dog breeds that have more definitive histories or at least their origins can be somehow traced back to someone or somewhere, there is a dearth of knowledge when it comes to establishing the origins and history of the Black Mouth Cur.
There have been stories about the breed having been developed in Tennessee or Mississippi. The story revolves around the notion that the Black Mouth Cur is perhaps a descendant of the dogs brought by the early settlers of America from Europe or Asia. These pioneers used their dogs to help them in their work in the farm but most especially in herding and driving cattle. However, many of these dogs were also used for protection as a means of scaring away wild animals that may be a threat to the herd such as foxes, coyotes, and wolves.
Because early settlers populated different regions of the country, historical documentation about the Black Mouth Cur is heavily defined by the region upon which these dogs were ‘developed’. For example, you have Alabama’s Southern Black Mouth Cur, Texas’ Foundation Black Mouth Cur, Florida’s Cracker Cur, and Mississippi’s Ladner Yellow Black Mouth Cur.
It was the Ladner Yellow Black Mouth Cur that was the first to be registered with the National Kennel Club in 1964 because of the extensive written documentation that Mr. L. H. Ladner had in his possession. This allowed the NKC to recognize the Ladner Yellow Black Mouth Cur as a dog breed.
The Black Mouth Curs of Texas were documented in the collection of oral histories of the Big Thicket region of East Texas called the Big Thicket Legacy. The Texas Black Mouth Curs were described as herding dogs used in driving and herding cattle. The same is true with the Florida Black Mouth Cur. However, instead of written documentation, these dogs were depicted in old paintings.
The Black Mouth Curs of Alabama was first registered with a courthouse in Howardtown in the early parts of the 1940s. It is believed that these dogs were multipurpose dogs that have been brought to the area by the pioneers. As such they could very well be in the region for more than a century even before they were officially registered and documented.
There are speculations that English Mastiffs were used in the breeding of the Black Mouth Curs. Unfortunately, this remains unfounded. What is evident is that the pioneer dogs brought by the early settlers perhaps as early as the 1621 Mayflower voyage to Plymouth may have been crossbred with local dogs to help increase the number of dogs that pioneering Americans had at their disposal. During this time, keeping records of the lineage of the dogs proved insignificant; hence, the dearth of credible documentation as to the exact origin of the dog breed.
Because different regions where the Black Mouth Cur was developed resulted in large variations, kennel clubs could hardly come up with a credible breed standard. It is for this reason that many kennel club organizations do not recognize the Black Mouth Cur as a breed, and this includes the American Kennel Club. Only the United Kennel Club managed to give the breed the recognition it deserves, but this did not occur until 1998.
Owing to the fact that the American Kennel Club and a good number of kennel clubs around the world don’t recognize the Black Mouth Cur as a dog breed, we can only look at the breed standards as defined by the United Kennel Club. These are as follows.
- A male Black Mouth Cur can weigh about 40 to 95 pounds and between 18 and 25 inches in height.
- Female Black Mouth Curs are lighter and slightly smaller than their male counterparts, coming in at about 35 to 80 pounds and 16 to 22 inches in weight and height, respectively.
- Tree Black Mouth Curs like the Ladner BMCs are usually lighter than herding or hog BMCs that can reach more than 100 pounds.
- The name “Cur” refers to short-coated farm and ranch working dogs with drooping ears.
- Black Mouth Curs can live up to 18 years, although it is possible that some can reach 20, with a minimum at 12 years.
- The coat of the Black Mouth Cur is short but dense and can come in red, fawn, black, brindle, mahogany, or yellow color.
- The UKC doesn’t accept a Black Mouth Cur that comes in solid white color as well as piebald colors.
- If the Black Mouth Cur does have white in its color, this should not comprise more than 10% of its body. It is possible that the dog can have white on its toes, chest, nose, and tail; however, these are not desirable.
- The Black Mouth Cur sheds heavily during the Summer and Winter and moderately in the rest of the year.
- The muzzle of the BMC is square-shaped and has a black melanistic mask. It is possible for a BMC not to have this black mask on its nozzle, but is not desirable.
- The Black Mouth Cur got its name because of the heavy dark pigmentation that is present around the dog’s lips. This hyperpigmentation extends well into the roof of its mouth, its cheeks, and its tongue. The only part of the BMC’s mouth that is not darkly pigmented is its tongue.
Things You Should Know
Despite the fact that the Black Mouth Cur is not officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club, there are still a growing number of dog-loving families who would want this dog in their homes. However, this doesn’t mean that you should, too. To help you better decide whether a BMC is perfect for your home it usually is more interesting to find out a little bit more about these venerable working dogs of the South.
The Black Mouth Cur, having been bred as a herding and multi-purpose dog, is a highly trainable hound. It is very athletic and has the enthusiasm of a Golden retriever and a Labrador to please. As a matter of fact, its primary motivation is to get the approval and attention of its human master. Unfortunately, there is a downside to it. Since the BMC is specially tuned to the voice of its favorite person on the planet, any change in the voice or tone of voice of that person can somehow have a negative effect on the dog’s psyche.
It is for this reason that BMC pet owners are advised never to yell or shout at their dogs since the Black Mouth Cur is especially sensitive to such behavior. Punishments and harsh training methods will never get you the result that you need. What they need is a firm and reassuring voice, a pleasant one that tells them they are doing the right things, while also giving them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
To get the most out of this dog, it is best to start training them as young as 8 weeks old. Most pet parents think that this is way too early. You’d be surprised at just how receptive the brain of a puppy is, especially one that is highly motivated to bring a wide smile to its human master.
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Depending on the ‘size’ of your Black Mouth Cur, whether it is within the lower limit of its weight range or within the upper borders, you need to feed it the right amount of calories that is commensurate to its size, weight, and activity level. In general, the Black Mouth Cur is a highly active dog, owing to the fact that its heritage is that of a cattle herder.
If your BMC happens to live the same kind of physical activity that its ancestors had in the Great South of the early pioneering days, then you will need to give your pet high-quality calorie-dense dog food that is also rich in proteins, wholesome carbs, and healthy fats. The amount of feeding should be divided into 2 to 3 meals per day.
However, if your Black Mouth Cur is like the majority of modern dogs that are turned into lap dogs and couch potatoes by their equally-sedentary pet owners, then you will need a less calorie-dense dog food, but still rich in proteins. You don’t want to make its sedentary lifestyle worse by making sure all that extra calories will lead to obesity, diabetes, and a host of metabolic abnormalities for your pet.
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When Black Mouth Curs are not busy herding and driving cattle, they join their masters in hunting. Its long legs and slender body are specially fitted for such a purpose running after prey. What we are saying is that your BMC is not a lazy hound. It has a very active lifestyle that needs to be continued by its new owners.
The BMC requires long and brisk walks every single day. That usually means about an hour or so of brisk walking twice a day or you can go biking along with your dog. The important thing to remember is that the Black Mouth Cur has plenty of energy to spend. If you don’t exercise, it will look for some other ways to spend this energy like ripping your furniture, digging in your backyard, running after poor little pets in your home, and other things like that. Basically, you’re inviting trouble if you don’t exercise your Black Mouth Cur.
Also, engage your Black Mouth Cur in mental activities. It’s a smart dog that can get easily bored if you don’t give it something to use its brains with. Interactive toys and puzzle toys should do the trick.
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Black Mouth Curs love the attention they get from their human family. They love playing with the kids and enjoy every minute of fun. However, young children should always be supervised when interacting or socializing with larger BMCs like those reaching 80 to beyond 100 pounds. These may be gentle with kids, but their weight alone can already pose a threat to the safety of your young child.
These dogs are also generally friendly to other dogs especially if they have been socialized early on. If not, they can be very territorial and can readily show aggression to any dog or even any other person that the BMC perceives to be a threat to its human family. Remember that one of the inherent tasks of the original Black Mouth Curs was to chase away predators like wolves and foxes. They won’t have any issues chasing anyone who they think is going to bring harm to their human family.
This can always be addressed by early puppy socialization. Bringing them to the dog park is always a good idea to introduce them to dogs of other breeds and temperaments. It’s a good form of exercise and playtime as well. You might even want to consider setting up a dog play date for your young pup.
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One of the best things about the Black Mouth Cur is that it is very low maintenance especially when it comes to grooming. Its fur is very short, although it does shed moderately most times of the year. However, during the summer and winter, the BMC can shed its fur quite profusely that you’d have to be ready with your vacuum cleaner during these times of the year. You can help reduce the amount of loose pet hair going to your carpet and upholstery by using a de-shedding tool.
The BMC, like any other dog breed, will require regular clipping or trimming of the nails, inspecting and cleaning of the ears, and brushing of its teeth. For the latter, daily toothbrushing may be quite difficult, so twice or thrice weekly brushing of the teeth should be sufficient. You can also give your Black Mouth Cur a regular bath, but this is not really necessary unless your pet just came from a very muddy exploration. You might also want to consider getting a professional groomer to take a look at your BMC.
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Owners of Black Mouth Cur are very much pleased with their pets especially since it is a really sturdy canine. It is less prone to a variety of health conditions that are quite rampant in a dog of this size and classification. However, there is still a risk that your Black Mouth Cur can develop a number of diseases such as hip dysplasia, mange, cataracts, ear infections, and even epilepsy.
It is important to ask a BMC breeder for the health records of the puppy’s parents. Otherwise, you can get a DNA test done so you’ll have an idea of the kind of disease markers that may be present in your pet.
Black Mouth Curs are great for the following.
- Highly active, sports-minded individuals
- Experienced dog handlers or those with knowledge of correct dog training and socialization
- Those with homes with plenty of backyard space
- Persons who don’t mind occasional shedding and seasonal heavy shedding
- Families with children older than 5 years
These dogs are not a good idea for the following.
- First-time dog owners
- Those who have no clue at all about training and socialization
- Individuals who live in apartments, unless they have access to a large open space
- Have pet dander allergy
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The Black Mouth Cur’s courage is unquestionable especially when it comes to defending or protecting its human family. Despite its bold and courageous nature, this dog also has a very soft spot for humans, most particularly children. It is loyal to its family and committed to the different tasks that its human family gives to it. The BMC is highly trainable as it has the wit of a herding dog that has to think on its own when driving cattle. This is where it can get tricky when it comes to its training. While it is intelligent, it can also be stubborn and can quickly feel bored especially if the training sessions are too repetitive or are already too long. Nothing can be more pleasant to a Black Mouth Cur than getting the attention and approval of its human master.
It has an overpowering and relentless desire to work while also displaying an incessant yearning to please its human family. It may not be the most handsome dog you can bring home, but you can always rely on the Black Mouth Cur to love you for all its life.
- Black Mouth Cur, Wag! Dog Walking
- Facts on the Black Mouth Cur Dog Breed, Dogster
- Everything You Need to Know About The Black Mouth Cur, CertaPet