History of the Blackmouth Cur
h i s t o r y
The Blackmouth Cur is a medium-sized scenthound, bred to be extremely versatile in hunting, working and herding. Its origins are believed to be in the southeastern region of the United States.
Their history actually began in 1539 with the arrival of the Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto, to the southern shores of North America. He brought with him his "dogs of war" to help seize control of the native population. These were massive dogs known then as Spanish Mastiffs and Greyhounds. The Mastiffs, being considerably larger than the present day breed, were trained to take down large game and to devour hostile natives. The Greyhounds, also much larger, were primarily used as hunting dogs.
Upon the withdrawal of de Soto and his troops, many of his Mastiffs and Greyhounds remained and were left to interbreed among themselves and with the indigenous dogs - known as the American Dingo. It is then believed that this marked the beginnings of the cur dogs in North America. The strength and courageous nature of the Mastiff blended with the speed and hunting abilities of the Greyhound - which then blended with the intelligence and stamina of the American Dingo.
The name "Cur" refers to a dog of unknown origin. Yet the cur dog is not the result of random cross-breeding. It is rather a dog specifically bred for multi-purpose tasks. Curs were bred for herding, hunting and all-around working. They have been around for hundreds of years on both continents, contributing and providing invaluable service.
During the late 1700s, several types of cur dogs began to emerge in the southeastern parts of the United States - the Blackmouth Cur in Mississippi, the Mountain Cur in Tennessee and the Catahoula Cur in Louisiana. (The Blackmouth having black pigmentation on mouth, the Mountain Cur being the smallest and the Catahoula with a mottled coat and piercing eyes.)
w e s t w a r d
When the early American settlers began to move west, they took their cur dogs with them. As life on the wide open ranges proved strenuous and challenging, the dogs had to become more adaptable in hunting, herding and overall working. They also had to guard the settler's home, land and family members from the innumerable dangers life out west presented.
The difficulties of frontier life in Texas during the 1800s were demanding at best. The Yellow Blackmouth not only helped out in the daily life of the frontier, (finding and working hogs, finding and penning cattle, hunting to feed the family, etc.) but the frontier men also depended on "ole yeller" for protecting the family in their absence. Needless to say, without the presence of this ole yeller dog, life in frontier Texas would have been far more difficult, if not impossible. (The dog depicted in the novel by Fred Gibson, "Old Yeller", was in fact, a Yellow Blackmouth Cur.)
This was a breed that was very highly valued by these early settlers and rural Americans. Their importance and the value placed upon them was in the same category as a good milk cow, work mules, oxen, horses and other cherished valuables owned by the family. The settlers passed them down as one would any family heirloom. Their breeding heritage has got to be respected as one of the finest dog breeds of all time.
d u t i e s
The Blackmouth Cur has also proven to be one of the greatest hunters of any breed on a variety of both large and small game. One can use the same dogs to hunt raccoon, squirrel, deer, bobcat, mountain lion, wild hogs, and even bear.
These dogs are used for herding livestock (such as cattle, sheep and goats), as guard dogs, for search and rescue work and to track wounded game. They are silent during tracking and bark on the tree. They hunt close and are obedient to commands.
Cattle: Must be able to herd and move cattle where needed and also to find lost cattle. The dog (or dogs) should stay out in front of the cows, leading where the handler directs. Should a cow break in one direction or another, the dog closest to it must catch and release the cow, causing it to rejoin the herd. This is instinctive behavior and should come with little or no training.
Hogs: Hunted alone or in packs, these dogs will circle to the left and to the right checking back with the hunter every ten to thirty minutes until a track is located. Dogs will remain silent until hog is found. Must keep hog bayed in one spot until hunter arrives.
Bear, Coon, Possum: Silent tracker, working close and always checking in with hunter until track is located. Will bark on tree and should stay until game is retrieved by hunter.
Squirrel: Working close, will locate squirrel and stay on opposite side of tree from hunter, barking steadily until squirrel is retrieved by hunter.
Deer: Will work in circles until deer is caught. If deer is not caught, dogs should break from chase and return to hunter. These dogs will bark on a hot deer track. On wounded deer, will work a cold trail until deer is located.
The Blackmouth will work or hunt hard all day long, doing everything in their power to please their master. It doesn't matter what the task at hand might be. When the work day is over, they are happy to return home to play with the children and protect the home and property while the family sleeps.