Black Mouth Cur
Other namesVermont Cur
Vermont Black Mouth Cur
Yellow Black Mouth Cur
OriginUnited States
Height 16–25 in (41–64 cm)
Weight Males Minimum 40 lb (18 kg)
Females Minimum 35 lb (16 kg)
Coat Short
Color Yellow, fawn, brown, brindle or black with a black muzzle
Kennel club standards
United Kennel Club standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Black Mouth Cur, also known as the Southern Cur, Southern Black Mouth Cur and the Yellow Black Mouth Cur, is a medium to large sized breed of cur-type dog from the United States. Originating in the south of the country, the breed is a popular hunting companion used to hunt a large variety of game.


The Black Mouth Cur's origins are in the Southern United States where it is known by a number of names including the Southern Cur, Southern Black Mouth Cur and the Yellow Black Mouth Cur.[1][2] There are a number of stories about the breed's ancestry, the most commonly held story is the breed descends from dogs brought to southern Mississippi by European settlers, among these progenitor European dogs included Belgian Malinois.[1] In this environment these dogs were bred into their current form as a popular cur-type hunting dog, and from Mississippi they spread to the mountains of Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee; and eventually into the Big Thicket region of Southeast Texas.[1] It is claimed the title character in Fred Gipson's novel Old Yeller was a Black Mouth Cur.[2] In 1987 a breed club was formed to support the breed, the Southern Black Mouth Cur Breeders Association, and in 1998 the breed was recognised by the United Kennel Club.[1][3] Northern state dog rescue organizations have been actively transporting rescue dogs of the breed from shelters in the south.[citation needed]

Florida counterpart

They are a known genetic contributor to the ubiquitous and overlooked "Florida brown dog."[4] These dogs are variously known as a Florida Cur, Florida Cow Dog, Florida/Cracker Cur and/or Florida Cracker dog.[5][6] Originating from Florida, this rugged and courageous cattle herder has been serving as a defense against wild cats, boars, and bears since the early days of cattle ranching in the region. The Florida Cracker Cur is not bred for looks, but rather for its working ability. It typically has a muscular body and a well-developed snout. Compared to other curs, it tends to be slightly larger and heavier-boned. Coat colors include brown, white, or black, often with white spots on the feet and chest. It is often confused with the Black Mouth Cur.[A] They represent a diverse mix of heritage and characteristics Most Florida brown dogs have a mix of Labrador Retriever, some black mouth cur, and a wisp of hound in their ancestry.[9] "Nip" and "Tuck" were Florida Cracker Curs gifted to one of the protagonists by the Indians in A Land Remembered, a history of Florida, the best selling novel by Patrick D. Smith. These are versatile, robust and fearless dogs that require a dominant leader.[5]


A Black Mouth Cur showing the typical melanistic mask around the muzzle.


The Black Mouth Cur is a medium to large sized, athletic, muscular breed of dog.[1][10][11] The breed varies considerably in height, typically standing between 16 and 25 inches (41 and 64 cm) with individual dogs known to reach 28 inches (71 cm),[1][10][11] the breed standard mandates a minimum height of 18 inches (46 cm) for dogs and 16 inches for females.[3] The breed typically weighs between 45 and 100 pounds (20 and 45 kg),[10][11] with the breed standard allowing for significantly lighter animals than is typical, stating a minimum 40 pounds (18 kg) for mature male dogs and 35 pounds (16 kg) for mature female dogs.[3] The Black Mouth Cur has a short, dense coat that is typically yellow, fawn or light brown in color, although dark brown, brindle and black individual animals are known.[1] The breed's head is broad and flat, they have drooped ears and a powerful, distinctively melanistic black muzzle.[1] They have a broad chest, long legs and a long tail that is typically left undocked.[1][10]


The Black Mouth Cur is an extremely active breed which requires a great deal of exercise. The breed is wary of strangers and known to be very protective of children, sometimes to the point of objecting to parents disciplining their children. Many are known to respond better to female handlers.[2][10][11]

These are powerful dogs that are multi-talented as a guardian, herder, hunter, and homestead watchdog. By their nature, they are highly independent, and need an owner who will lead them. [12][13]


The Black Mouth Cur is used extensively for hunting throughout the Southern United States, the breed is also used as a herding dog.[1][2][10][12] The breed is used to hunt a broad variety of game including bear, feral pig, raccoon, deer and squirrel; the breed has a reputation as a voracious hunter that usually catches and kills game on the ground, although it does tree and bay game as well.[1][2]

See also



  1. ^ “According to history, Spanish explorer De Soto brought the first stock of Florida Cracker Cur with him. He arrived in the Sunshine state in 1539 with cattle. Since the Florida Cracker Cur is an all-around working dog with a sharp nose, it adapted well to the swamplands.”[7][8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Morris, Desmond (2001). Dogs: the ultimate dictionary of over 1,000 dog breeds. North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square Publishing. pp. 222–223. ISBN 1-57076-219-8.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wilcox, Bonnie; Walkowicz, Chris (1995). Atlas of dog breeds of the world. Neptune City, N.J.: TFH Publications. p. 203.
  3. ^ a b c "Official UKC breed standard: Black Mouth Cur" (PDF). United Kennel Club. 2000. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  4. ^ Staff Writer (June 25, 2008). "What is Florida brown dog syndrome?". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved April 28, 2024.(subscription required)
  5. ^ a b "Florida Cracker Cur". Dog Breed Info. Retrieved April 28, 2024. The objective in training this dog is to achieve pack leader status.
  6. ^ Hudson, Stewart (January 29, 2017). Florida Cracker Cur Training Guide. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Book Features: Florida Cracker Cur Housetraining, Obedience Training, Agility Training, Behavioral Training, Tricks and More
  7. ^ "Florida Cracker Cur". Gun dog central. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  8. ^ "Florida Cracker Cur". 101dogbreeds. 10 November 2023. Retrieved April 30, 2024. These dogs get their name from the Florida cowboys, originally colonial British settlers. Due to the sound of their whips, they are also called "Crackers" and used to drive cattle across expansive plains.
  9. ^ Drew, Hubert (August 18, 2022). "What is a Florida cracker cur dog?". Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  10. ^ a b c d e f De Brisco, Andrew (1990). The mini-atlas of dog breeds. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Publications. p. 291.
  11. ^ a b c d Palika, Liz (2007). The Howell book of dogs: the definitive reference to 300 breeds and varieties. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley Publishing Inc. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-470-00921-5.
  12. ^ a b Dohner, Janet Vorwald (October 4, 2016). Farm Dogs: A Comprehensive Breed Guide to 93 Guardians, Herders, Terriers and Other Canine Working Partners. Storey. p. 189. ISBN 9781612125923.
  13. ^ Hoppendale, George; Moore, Asia (2017). Black Mouth Cur: Complete Owners Manual. Black Mouth Cur: Book for Care, Costs, Feeding, Grooming, Health and Training (Illustrated ed.). IMB Publishing. ISBN 9781912057634.