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Blackmouth Cur – General Description
The Blackmouth Cur (BMC) is a multi-talented dog of the scenthound type. Primarily the Blackmouth Cur is a herding dog that is capable of hunting big or small game, and still be a loving, gentle family dog willing to protect the home. They have their origins in the Southern United States of America.
Aficionados describe the breed as “a dog that is multitalented. Primarily BMCs are herding dogs able to hunt big or small game, and still be loving, gentle family dogs willing to protect the home”.
Classification and Standards
- UKC Scenthound
Character & Temperament
Black Mouth Curs are great family dogs. They are great social dogs if trained properly. The BMC is a “very smart” breed who “by nature need to bond a few weeks” with their owner/trainer before training can begin. The breed shows great loyalty and may even die for their owner. Great around children if introduced correctly, they have great potential to “make wonderful family dogs.” As they grow older they become very laid back. “The BMC was bred as a homestead dog that would protect its family and home against intruders. This means that a well-bred BMC is territorial. Most BMCs off their ‘turf’ work well with other dogs, hunting or herding stock, but on their family property will chase the same dog away. Their turf can be viewed by the dog as the family’s home, land, truck, or sometimes proximity to ‘their person’.”
The Blackmouth Cur has a varied historical documentation dependent upon region. Among them are the Ladner Yellow Blackmouth Cur from Mississippi, Red Blackmouth Cur from Alabama, Weatherford’s Ben Blackmouth Cur from Texas, and the Florida Blackmouth Cur.
The first Blackmouth Curs registered were Ladner Blackmouth Curs through the National Kennel Club in April 1964. Mr L.H. Ladner had such extensive written documentation of his family’s breeding that the NKC recognized the breed. These curs are used to tree squirrel, raccoon, bobcat, mountain lion, and bear. They are used for hunting hogs and feral cattle. They also are distinguished by being used by the search and rescue emergency services.
- Red Alabama Blackmouth Cur: The Red Alabama Cur is believed to have originated in Alabama, though there are Red Blackmouth Cur in Florida and Tennessee. These cur were supposedly registered as property in the courthouses around Howardtown about 40 miles north of Mobile and nearby Tibbie in the 1940s. They were used as multipurpose pioneer dogs that would hunt, protect the home, and gather in the cattle and pigs at slaughter time. Several breeders in Alabama, Mrs Murphy among them, continue to work toward retaining and improving the Red Blackmouth Cur. Through the efforts of several Blackmouth Cur breeders, the United Kennel Club later recognized the breed, featuring Howard Carnathan’s Bruno, a Red Blackmouth Cur, in their standard photograph.
- Weatherford’s Ben Texas Blackmouth Cur: Weatherford’s Ben comes from a line of curs well-documented in the book ‘The Big Thicket Legacy’. They are used primarily for herding cattle.
- Florida Blackmouth Cur: Florida Blackmouths, used for herding cattle, are featured in old paintings hanging in local barber shops and homes, so their existence and history in Florida is documented. Blackmouth Curs now range from the east to the west coast, and as far north as Canada. The Ladner Blackmouth Curs are also known to be in Mexico, Argentina, Haiti, Russia, India, and throughout Europe.
Also very closely related to the Blackmouth Cur is the Mountain Cur. The Mountain Cur dogs are slowly being sorted into individual types.
Size & Appearance
The Blackmouth Cur is a well-muscled rugged hunting and cattle dog whose coat comes in a number of colors and shades, generally red, yellow, brindle, fawn or buckskin. Solid black or white Blackmouth Cur do, on rare occasion, appear in a breeding. According to the United Kennel Club Standard, up to ten percent of the coat may be white with the amounts of white on the toes, tail, nose and chest considered acceptable. None of the Cur breeds are currently recognized breeds of the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Blackmouth Curs have short coats, either coarse or fine, and a combination of the two types may appear in the same litter.
The muzzle is square-shaped and may be melanistic mask, or black. The ears are medium-sized and hanging with the exception that some owners of exceptional pedigrees bred for hunting have the ears cropped soon after birth. The ears may either be black or the same color as the coat. ‘Blackmouth’ refers to the dark pigmentation around the lips that also extends into the interior of the mouth including the roof of the mouth, gums, and cheeks though not the tongue. The muzzle may or may not be dark, though it is generally the preferred look.
The tail of a Blackmouth Cur is medium length and should not be bobbed, though many people do clip the Black Mouths tail.
The feet are large and webbed, similar to a Catahoula Leopard Dog.
The weight ranges from 30-100 pounds (14-46 kg), with males being larger than females. The wide weight range is due to different kinds, age, and size.
Health & Maintenance
Though many health issues affect dogs of all breeds and can affect the Blackmouth Cur, they seem to be a rather hardy breed. Their average life span is 12–16 years of age. As with other similar breeds, entropion (slight turning in of eyelid) is a correctable health issue. Their active nature exposes them to the possibility of torn ligaments and pulled muscles.
Work & Activities
“The BMC is genetically very athletic and eager to please. Given proper guidance and training, a BMC can excel in just about any activity you could imagine. They can herd animals, track or trail game, pull weights, run in a coursing event, work as a Search and Rescue dog, or anything else a smart, athletic dog that wants to please its owner can do.” Blackmouth Curs are used for herding cattle, baying hogs, hunting squirrel, raccoon, bear and mountain lion. All blackmouths excel at baying and herding. They will tree game. The Ladner line has specifically been bred to promote this treeing. The BMC is a very versatile dog and a single dog can be used to bay, herd, and tree depending upon the handler’s desire. They have also been noted to be successful deer tracking dogs in the South.
In Movies, TV, & Print
The book Old Yeller is about a boy growing up in frontier Texas and adopting a dog of the title name. The eponymous Old Yeller is a typical Blackmouth Cur. In the book, Old Yeller is a short-haired, yellow bobtailed dog that hunts and trees, isn’t afraid to fight a full-grown bear when it is threatened, and naturally goes for the nose when he faces a mad bull. The author is very explicit in describing this old-fashioned breed and its use to the pioneer. The name “Blackmouth Cur” is never mentioned in the book, however in those days, the breed really didn’t have a name or an individual identity.
- American Kennel Club – Breeds – http://www.akc.org/breeds/
- “FAQ’s”. Blackmouthcur.com.
- “FAQ’s”. Blackmouthcur.com.
- Ladner Black Mouth Cur – http://www.lhladnerblackmouthcurs.com/
- Squirrel Hunting Info – http://www.squirrelhuntinginfo.com/black-mouth-cur/
- Campbell Loughmiller; Lynn Loughmiller; Forward by Francis E. Abernethy (2002). Big Thicket Legacy. Temple Big Thicket Series, Vol. 2. Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press. ISBN 1-57441-156-X.
- CallmeGG (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
- By Photo by Greg Hume (Greg5030) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Brownca25 [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
The origin of the Black Mouth Cur is uncertain. Some writers have claimed that the breed originated in the mountains of Tennessee while others believe the breed originated in Mississippi. In any event, these dogs were widely used by early American settlers as all-round working dogs. As Americans moved west, the Blackmouth Curs moved with them, serving as a hunting dog and family guardian.
The Blackmouth Cur was recognized by U.K.C. on November 1, 1998.
The Black Mouth 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 moderately broad muzzle. Ears are set high and drop. The tail is straight, set low, and may be any length. The coat is short and close fitting. The Blackmouth Cur should be evaluated as a working dog, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion 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.
The Black Mouth Cur is a fast, hard hunter that finds game using its eyes, ears and nose. Silent trailers are preferred, although slightly semi-open on a very hot track is allowed. Never open like a hound. A loud, deep chop on bay or tree, ringing cry or slight yodel allowed. Never full-blown bawl mouthed. The Blackmouth Cur combines tenacity and courage with a strong desire to work. They are very loyal and protective of their owner and family.
The head is large 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 moderately broad with a well-defined underjaw. Lips are tight. Except in the case of dogs with dilute coat color, lip pigment and the inside of the mouth, excluding the tongue, are darkly pigmented.
Teeth – The Black Mouth Cur has a complete set of evenly-spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.
Disqualifications: Overshot bite. Undershot bite.
Nose – Nose is broad and slightly protruding with well-opened nostrils. Black pigment is preferred, but red or brown are allowed in dogs with dilute coat color.
Eyes – Eyes are medium to large in size, set wide apart and may be green, yellow, or brown. Eye rims are tight and match lip pigment.
Ears- Ears are drop, of short-to-medium length, wide at the base, and set high.
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.
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 strong and straight, with large, round bones. The elbows are set close to the body, but able to move freely in action. The pasterns are short, powerful, straight, and flexible.
A properly proportioned Black Mouth Cur is square or 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 wide, with at least four inches between the front legs of a smaller-sized dog. This is a dog bred for stamina and faults should be penalized to the degree that they detract from that goal.
The hindquarters are strong and muscular. The bone, angulation, and musculature of the hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters.
Hind Legs – The upper thigh is longer than the second thigh. 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 of moderate size, compact and well arched. Pads are large, tough, and well cushioned. Toes may be webbed. Single or double dewclaws may be present.
The tail is set on low and may be any length. Coat on the tail may be smooth to slightly feathered.
The coat is short, dense, and close lying. Texture may be coarse to rough to very fine.
All shades of red, yellow and fawn; black; brown; buckskin; or brindle; with or without black muzzle or mask. Very small amounts of white are allowed under the chin, around the nose, on the neck, chest, legs, and tip of tail, provided that no more than ten percent total of the dog’s body may be white. Dilute coat colors are acceptable and may be identified by the following traits: green, yellow, or light brown eyes; white toenails; red or yellow coat without any trace of black hair. Never spotted, mottled, merle, or with white collar.
HEIGHT and WEIGHT
Minimum height is 18 inches for a mature male and 16 inches for a mature female. Minimum weight is 40 pounds for a mature male and 35 pounds for a mature female. Blackmouth Curs are working dogs and should be presented in hard, muscular condition.
Black Mouth 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 centerline of balance.
- Eyes not matching color.
- Blue eye, wall eye.
- Wiry coat, long coat.
- Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism. Deafness. Blindness. Overshot bite. Undershot bite.
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