Let’s Talk Breed Education!
A M E R I C A ’ S O R I G I N A L WO R K I N G D O G MOUNTAIN CUR T H E V E R S A T I L E
BY MANDY MIDDLETON
I would like to introduce America’s original ver- satile working dog, the Mountain Cur! They are everything you need in a dog in one capable, medium-sized package. The Mountain Cur was essential in the settling of early America. They were the utility dog of the Ameri- can settlers. Their purpose and use was far more than just the “squirrel dog” as they’re known by many of today’s hunters. They are fierce enough to go face-to- face with a bear, cougar or boar. They would catch, tree or bay various game for hunters to provide food and fur for their families, which meant life or death at the time of the settlers. They also protected families and farms from wild animals and intruders. They were used for general purpose farm dogs as well as for keeping vermin under control. The Mountain Cur is very protective of its family and is willing to give its life to protect them. The exact origins of the Mountain Cur are undocu- mented. However, it has been found through family history and research that bob-tailed brindle dogs were brought to America by Spanish explorers to drive the hogs and provide protection against wild animals, while they explored the South and discovered the Mississippi River. There was no formal registry until 1957 when the Original Mountain Cur Breeders’ Association was founded in an effort to preserve this amazing breed, which was on the brink of fading away after the Sec- ond World War. For the many years prior to that, good working dogs were simply bred together with no actual documentation aside from the families that bred them. The modern Mountain Cur is still very capable of performing its original purpose. They make excellent hunting, farm, and guard dogs. They will hunt a wide variety of prey, from big game to small game and birds. They also excel in canine sports. There are Mountain Curs titled in various AKC events such as Obedience, Rally, Agility, Conformation, Fast CAT, Scent Work, Dock Diving, Barn Hunt, Canine Good Citizen, Farm Dog Certification, and Trick Dog. The Mountain Cur was the only AKC FSS breed represented at the 2021 AKC Rally National. The Mountain Cur is also a very capable Service or Assistance Dog. They love to please their owners and they form very tight bonds.
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THE VERSATILE MOUNTAIN CUR
The Mountain Cur loves to work. They are not a breed for everyone, however, as they need lots of physical exercise. When provided with structure and jobs, the Mountain Cur is an exceptional compan- ion and working dog. As with most work- ing breeds, the Mountain Cur can become bored and destructive if it does not have enough to do. This is why jobs and exercise are so important when owning this breed. It is also advised to be super careful with small children, as the breed has extremely high prey drive. They are very smart and can be taught to leave unwanted “game” in the home, such as small pets and cats. The Mountain Cur is an overall healthy breed. There are, however, some recessive genes that have been reported since the Embark DNA testing has been done on the breed. It is highly recommended and encouraged for all breeders to have their stock genetically tested. At this point in time, there have been reports of reces- sive Ichthyosis, Collie Eye Anomaly, and Degenerative Myelopathy in the breed. A common occurrence in the DNA reports is Alanine Aminotransferase Activity, which is not necessarily a disease but is something that owners should be aware of and mention to their veterinarian. The color of the Mountain Cur can be any of the following: Black, Blue (with or without tan or brindle points), Brindle, Blue Brindle, Red or Yellow. White mark- ings are accepted, providing the dog is not over one-third white. Merle coloring or blue eyes are never to be accepted. Structure and stamina are very important, as this is a working Hound breed. Faults are to be penalized in the degree to which they affect functionality. Rear dew claws or bob tail are not required. Scars are neither to be penal- ized nor regarded as proof of working abil- ity. The Mountain Cur is a solid, athletic, working dog that should have the appropri- ate structure to work for hours at a time.
Mandy Middleton entered the world of purebred Mountain Curs in 2015 and has been a breeder/owner-handler since 2016. She had been showing in AKC Obedience and Rally with her altered pound rescue Mountain Cur since 2011, but with the breed not recognized by the AKC at that time, her registered dogs weren’t allowed to compete until she had successfully petitioned to have them added into the Foundation Stock Service. After that, her first bred-by dog earned many different titles in multiple venues in the AKC. Mandy created the Mountain Cur Club of America in 2017 to unite and educate fellow Cur owners. Mandy and her dogs compete in many different dog sports, including Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Lure Coursing, Fast CAT, Dock Diving, Scent Work, Weight Pull, and Tracking. She has even earned a Schutzhund BH with one of her young Curs. Her dogs aren’t just show dogs, they’re also accomplished hunting dogs, working various game, from squirrels and raccoons to birds and rabbits, all of which showcase the natural versatility and working abilities of the breed. BIO
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MOUNTAIN CUR Official UKC Breed Standard Revised April 15, 2001
Scenthound Group © Copyright 2000, United Kennel Club
UKC Mountain Cur breed. Today these dogs are used on squirrel, raccoon, and all types of big game. The Mountain Cur was recognized by UKC on November 1, 1998. GENERAL APPEARANCE The Mountain Cur is a powerful, agile tree dog of medium size. The body is square or just slightly longer than tall. Legs are long enough to allow the dog to move quickly and with agility in rough terrain. The head is broad, with a moderate stop, and a muzzle slightly shorter than the length of skull. Ears are set high and drop. The tail is straight, set low, and may be a natural bob. The coat is dense but close fitting. The Mountain Cur should be evaluated as a working dog, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in propo rtion to how much they interfere with the dog’s ability to work. Scars should neither be penalized nor regarded as proof of a dog’s working abilities. CHARACTERISTICS The Mountain Cur is a fast, hard hunter that runs the track with its head in the air. Open, semi-open, or silent on track, the Mountain Cur has a clear bark that can be heard a long distance. When a hot track is not immediately available, the Mountain Cur will circle and drift on a cold track until it locates a hot track. Mountain Curs are courageous fighters when required. This breed is intelligent, with a strong desire to please, so despite its strong treeing instincts on all game, the Mountain Cur is easily discouraged from tracking unwanted game. A Mountain Cur responds better to training if it has lots of human contact. In addition to hunting, Mountain Curs make great family companions and watch dogs. HEAD The head is broad, but proportionate to the size of the body. When viewed from the side, the muzzle is slightly shorter than the skull and joined by a definite stop. The planes of the skull and muzzle are parallel. SKULL - The skull is flat and broad, tapering slightly toward the muzzle. Cheeks are muscular and prominent. MUZZLE - The muzzle is shorter than the skull, moderately broad with a well-defined underjaw. Lips are tight with no flews. Lip pigment matches nose pigment. TEETH - The Mountain Cur has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.
The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges. Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated. Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work. HISTORY The Mountain Cur was declared a breed in 1957 with the organization of the Original Mountain Cur Breeders of America (OMCBA). Prior to that time, dogs of this type could only be found in very remote, rural areas, and there were no organized breeding records. The most common strains of Mountain Cur included the McConnell, Stephens, Ledbetter, Arline and York strains. OMCBA was able to assemble breeders and register the original-type Mountain Cur. On the last weekend of September 1991, a group of men and women met at Robert and Lou Ella Kemmer's house and formed a new breed club that registered a strain of linebred cur that became known as the Kemmer Stock Mountain Cur. These curs are Mountain Curs that are bred from the above-mentioned lines. The best was bred to the best and then linebred. Kemmer Stock Mountain Curs were first registered with the Kemmer Stock Mountain Cur Breeders’ Association (KSBA). Mountain Curs from OMBCA and KSBA provided the foundation stock for the
Disqualifications: Overshot bite. Undershot bite. NOSE - Nose is square with well-opened nostrils. Pigment is black or self-colored. EYES - Eyes are large in size, set wide apart with inner and outer corners on the same horizontal line. Eye color is brown, ranging from dark to amber. Eye rims are tight. Eye rims match nose pigment. EARS - Ears are drop, of short to medium length, wide at
preferred. On rough-coated dogs, the coat on the tail is well feathered.
COAT The outer coat is short, and may be smooth or rough in texture. Undercoat is short, dense, and soft. COLOR Black (with or without tan or brindle points); blue; brindle; brown; red; yellow; blonde or buttermilk buckskin. White markings are permissible provided the dog is not more than one-third white in color. Disqualification: Albinism. HEIGHT AND WEIGHT Height for a mature male ranges between 18 to 26 inches; and 16 to 24 inches for a mature female. Weight is proportionate to height. Mountain Curs are working dogs and should be presented in hard, muscular condition. GAIT Mountain Cur gait is smooth and effortless, with good reach of forequarters. Rear quarters have strong driving power, with hocks fully extending. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward center line of balance. DISQUALIFICATIONS ( A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a bench show/conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
the base, and set high. Fault: Semi-erect ears.
NECK The neck is slightly arched, strong, very well muscled, and of moderate length. The neck gradually widens from the nape and blends smoothly into the shoulders. FOREQUARTERS Shoulders are well laid back. The upper arm is long and wide, and forms an apparent 90-degree angle with the shoulder blade. FORELEGS - The forelegs are well muscled with strong bone. The elbows are set close to the body, but able to move freely in action. The pasterns are short, powerful, straight, and flexible. BODY A properly proportioned Mountain Cur is just slightly longer than tall. Back is broad, strong, of moderate length, and level, blending into a muscular, slightly arched loin with slight to moderate tuck-up. The ribs extend well back and are well sprung out from the spine, then curving down and inward to form a deep body. The brisket extends to the elbow. Viewed from the front, the chest between the forelegs is muscular and well filled. This is a dog bred for stamina and faults should be penalized to the degree that they detract from that goal. HINDQUARTERS The hindquarters are strong and muscular. The bone, angulation and musculature of the hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters. HIND LEGS - The stifles are well bent, and the hocks are well let down. When the dog is standing, the short, strong rear pasterns are perpendicular to the ground, and viewed from the rear, parallel to one another. FEET The feet are slightly oval in shape, are of moderate size, compact and well arched. Pads are large, tough, and well cushioned. Single or double dewclaws are preferred but not required. TAIL The tail is set low and either naturally bobbed, bobbed, or of medium length, carried high. Bobbed tail is
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Albinism. Deafness. Blindness.
Overshot bite. Undershot bite.
The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears.
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