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Cur Dog History

 

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.

Cur Dog Descriptions

 

Blue Lacy or "Texas Blue Lacy"

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.

  • Hunting/Working 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

The 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 so.

  • Hunting/Working 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 track).  

 

Southern Blackmouth Cur & Yellow Blackmouth Cur

The 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 Blackmouth Cur
    Blackmouth 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.
     
    In my experience with YBMCs, they tend to primarily come in two different flavors:
  • 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 Cur Dog

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 Cur
    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 Hound

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.

  • Hunting/Working Traits
    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.



 

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