History of the Southern Cur Dog
The "cur" dog is one of the few working breeds that
originates right here in the United States. They come from different
lines, and of different types. While all have a common origination from
the southern part of the US, they have similar but distinctively
different hunting styles, traits, and separate regional originations.
Most of the breeds of cur dogs date back to pioneer times, and were used
to help put food on the families table, as well as to be a guardian to
alert their families to the approach of strangers. the worth of a good
hunting dog back then should not be underestimated. A families Cur dogs
played a huge role in producing game for the family food, both hunting and
rounding up semi-wild livestock that were "free ranging". A dogs working
ability was of paramount importance. A dog had to provide above and beyond
what he cost his family in feed. There are many short references to this
type of dog in American literature but the exact history and make up of
most of these "Cur Dogs" is vague due to the fact that most of
it is verbal, and was not recorded on paper...
Different Types of Cur Dogs
Here is a short list of the different types of cur dogs commonly used
for hunting today, in alphabetical order. Click on the each type to
learn more about them. Although not a Cur dog, we will list Plott hound
because they play a large role in hunting hogs with dogs, and
specifically they are in our stock of Cur dogs.
Not a cur, but the breed bears mentioning due to it's
place in Hog Hunting history in the U.S.
This dog originates from the "hill country" region of Texas,
to the "Lacy Brothers" - (Frank, George, Ewin, and Harry
Lacy) from the marble falls area. Dating back to the late 1800's, the
Lacy family history notes the breed to be the result of Greyhound or
Whippet / Scent Hound/ Coyote cross with the emphasis on the herding/
droving characteristics. Their are various theories
regarding the scenthound used. Some believe it was a Red
Bone Hound, or Italian Gray Hound, others believe it was a July Hound.
They are medium sized dogs, ranging from 35-55lbs.
Traits of the Blue Lacy
The result is a dog that will work cattle, find and bay
wild boar, or work out the "blood trail" of a wounded
animal. They are medium range dogs, meaning they hunt within 1/4-1/2
mile of you, and are medium on the "gritty" scale when
baying hogs. They generally come in slate gray or "blue",
red, or tri colored, but are all called "blue" due to the
blue color gene they possess. They are silent on track and are
generally medium nosed.
Catahoula cur dog originates from Louisiana. Verbal history states
that it originates from the area of Louisiana inhabited by the
Catahoula Indians. The name "Catahoula" is supposed to mean
"clear beautiful water". This is a reference to the often Ice
blue eyes "Glass Eyes" sported by Catahoula Cur Dogs. Verbal
history states that they are derived from a "pariah" type dog
that the indians owned, crossed with Spanish mastiff war dogs and
hunting dogs (greyhounds and scent hounds) brought by the Spaniards in
their eastward exploration. Supposedly there is also Red Wolf in their
make-up. They are medium sized dogs generally ranging from 50-70lbs or
Traits of the Catahoula
Catahoulas will find and work wild cattle, hunt wild boar and probably
any other type of game. In my experience they have been bred mainly
for looks, for "glass eyes" and leopard spots in recent
years, and much of the working ability seems to have been lost from
many of the "flashy" lines out there. There are still lots
of good lines of Catahoulas left, and they are owned by hunters. These
Catahoulas don't always look like what people expect Catahoulas should
look like ( i.e.,
no glass eyes, not always spotted) but they are true Catahoulas by the true
definition of the breed. From my experience most Catahoulas are medium
range dogs, and can be pretty rough or "gritty", meaning some will try
to catch even big boars. The majority of Catahoulas are silent or
"closed mouth" on track, but I have seen some that are semi-open.
These tend to be longer ranging dogs, and work more like a hound or a
leopard cur. There is one line that I know of, that is both very long
ranging and silent - and that is Larry Parker's out of southern Louisiana.
There may be more out there, that I am not familiar with. Catahoulas
are medium nosed with some being medium-cold nosed
(by comparison hounds are VERY cold nosed, or can pick up a "cold
Southern Blackmouth Cur or SBMC, and the Yellow Blackmouth Cur YBMC
or just BMC for short, originate from the south, but the exact location
is unclear. They date back to the 1800's at least. Some say they
come from the Appalachian mountain area, some say somewhere else in the
deep south. They are very similar in looks in and in coloring - only the
SBMC is usually more red, and many show a little bit more mastiff than
the average YBMC. Either way, the makeup is believed to be some type of hound
dog, crossed with mastiff. The hound used may be black and tan
coonhound, because YBMCs are known to carry a gene that throws black and
tan cur dogs. They
are also medium sized dogs generally ranging from 50-75lbs.
- Hunting/Working Traits of the
Curs of both varieties have made top notch cow dogs, and hog dogs for
generations. The dog in the original book "Old Yeller" was a BMC (a yellow lab was used in the movie). Both types of Blackmouth Cur
can be VERY gritty, and many people use them as catchdogs.
experience with YBMCs, they tend to primarily come in two different
- Short range, hot nosed, really rough and silent on track or..
- Long range, lots of hunt, cold nosed and semi-open on track.
The more rare types, in my personal experience are the medium ranged
with lots of drive and silent on trail. These are my preferred type,
and seem to be in the minority.
Mountain Curs are the pioneer dogs of the Southern Mountains. It has
been said by many old timers that without Mountain Curs, or bear dogs,
the Southern Mountains could not have been settled by the pioneers.
Mountain Curs were a necessity for the frontier family. They guarded the
family against wild animals and other dangers and caught, treed and
holed animals for the family food. They originated in the
Appalachian Mountains area, and are used all over the south.
- Hunting/Working Traits of the Mountain
Curs have been used on coons, mountain lions, hogs and other game.
They are high energy and will HUNT, HUNT, HUNT. They are medium ranged
and medium nosed, and their style of hunting is somewhat terrier like
- for a cur. They are gritty and the good ones have more
heart than they do size. Some lines of mountain cur are "tree dogs"
and are semi-open on track. The lines we use are not open on track.
They are usually small to medium sized dogs, ranging from 35-50lbs.
Plott hounds were developed by a family of German immigrants that
brought their boar hunting dogs with them from Germany to North
Carolina. Since at this time their were no Wild Boar in North Carolina,
they used them for hunting bear. This breed became legendary for their
courage when facing dangerous game. This breed is the roughest and
grittiest of all the hound breeds.
Being a hound, Plotts are open on track, but the good ones
save their breath for running, and their barks are short and choppy,
rather than a pure hound BAWL like other hound breeds. In my
opinion, Plott hounds are the only hound breed that CONSISTENTLY has
enough grit to mix it up at close quarters with a wild boar. They have
LOTS of drive, and a very cold nose. They can take a track hours
old, and if they don't find the wild hog close by, they will go until
they do find one, and run it until it stops - however far that takes
them. These traits, while admirable, make them unsuitable for 99%
of the hunting we do in modern day South Texas.