How To Breed Black Mouth Curs

How To Breed Black Mouth Curs

As an experienced Black Mouth Cur owner, you may be wondering how to breed Black Mouth Curs. Although this unique breed is not acceptable by the AKC, its popularity amongst hunters and ranchers makes it a rewarding breed to work with.

The Black Mouth Cur is an exceptionally faithful breed and a valuable all-around worker. Highly prized for their versatility, these dogs now exist as several different lines that specialize in different areas. To begin breeding Black Mouth Curs, you must have an understanding of each line and how to produce quality working dogs from each.

Background of Black Mouth Curs

To begin breeding Black Mouth Curs you must understand the breed’s history as well as the various bloodlines that make up the breed. Black Mouth Curs have a rich history that reflects the breed’s working prestige today. These dogs are popular amongst hunting and herding communities with their even temperament and distinct but variable appearance.

Origin and History

Black Mouth Curs have an uncertain origin. While they have a history in the southeastern United States from the 1800s, it is not known where, when, or who had the first specimens of the breed. Not only this, but historical documentation varies depending on the region. With this in mind, there are three main lines of Black Mouth Cur. These are the LH Ladner, Weatherford’s Ben, and the JD Howard.

Ladner Yellow Black Mouth Cur

Ladner Black Mouth Curs were first registered with the National Kennel Club in April 1964 by LH Ladner. These Black Mouth Curs are native to Southern Mississippi and have been in the Ladner family for more than 200 years. These dogs are bred from excellent tree dogs and are selectively chosen for their treeing ability. Compared to other Black Mouth Cur lines, the Ladner line is most specialized for hunting.

These Black Mouth Curs tend to specialize in treeing squirrels and raccoons. However, they can also hunt wild hogs, bears, and bobcats. This line also has a history of work in search and rescue. LH Ladner donated a puppy to the Forrest County Search and Rescue Team. This dog went on to receive certification in the recovery of a drowned victim. Today, the Ladner bloodline is continued by Mr. Curtis Ladner. LH Ladner was also the first person to write the Black Mouth Cur breed standard, which can be found today at the National Kennel Club.

Weatherford's Ben Black Mouth Cur

Weatherford’s Ben Black Mouth Curs, or Texas Wright Black Mouth Curs, originate from a line that is written about in Leak Bevil’s chapter of Big Thicket Legacy. According to the book, Texans who had cattle and hogs used cur dogs. The best dogs underwent breedings to create the ideal cur dog. In the early days, these dogs were trainable for all manners of work. A well-trained cur dog could pen cattle and hogs, protect their owners at night, and hunt just about any type of game.

The line became known as Weatherford Ben’s after the Wright champion dog, Weatherford Ben, became a world champion and sired over 40 litters. Today, this line boasts a proud reputation as a producer of premier stock dogs.

Southern Red Black Mouth Cur

Southern Black Mouth Curs originate from Alabama. The first Southern Black Mouth Cur underwent registration in 1940 by Mr. JD Howard. These Howard line dogs have been in the family since the 1800s. They would hunt, protect the home, and round up cattle and pigs. This makes them good all-round dogs. Over time, this line became known as the “Black Mouth of The South” as well as the Southern Black Mouth Cur.

Today, the legacy of the Southern Black Mouth cur is carried on by Mr. Steve Howard, who actively continues to breed these dogs. Setting them apart from other lines, JD Howard line dogs are adept at baying rather than treeing. Even young puppies from this line display an affinity for baying when brought up in a working environment. Dogs from this line are also very protective of their homes.


The Black Mouth Cur became famous for starring as a title character in Fred Gipson’s novel, Old Yeller. Although the author does not outright state that the dog is a Black Mouth Cur, there are strong implications that point to the breed. Gipson describes the breed’s temperament, appearance, and value to frontier families that accurately resembles the Black Mouth Cur. However, the dog filling the pooch’s role in the movie is a Labrador Retriever mix. Some suggest that this dog may have had Black Mouth Cur blood due to its resemblance.

black mouth cur
Old Yeller is the most famous Black Mouth Cur!


The Black Mouth Cur has gone largely unchanged over the past 200 years. Breeders of these working dogs are determined to preserve the breed’s working ability rather than to change the appearance of the breed. This means that Black Mouth Curs continue to breed almost entirely for working ability, and different lines can be variable in appearance depending on the working needs and preferences of the breeders. Despite there being semi-distinct lines, the Black Mouth Cur is one of the most standardized cur breeds. Today, the NKC and the UKC have breed standards for the Black Mouth Cur.

General Appearance

Black Mouth Curs are powerful and agile tree dogs of medium size. Their bodies are square and slightly longer than tall. Their legs are long enough to allow for quick movement on rough terrain. The head is broad with high-set ears. The tail is straight and low and can be any length. Black Mouth Curs come in two natural tail types; long and slightly curved, and a short natural bob.

Coat and Color

A Black Mouth Cur’s coat is short, dense, and lies close to the body. Its texture can be coarse, rough, or fine. A wiry or long coat is a serious fault. Black Mouth Curs may present in a range of colors, including all shades of red, yellow, and fawn. Black, brown, buckskin, and brindle are also acceptable. The dog may or may not have a black muzzle or mask. Small amounts of white are acceptable under the chin, nose, neck, chest, and tip of the tail. No more than 10 percent of a Black Mouth Cur’s body may be white. A Black Mouth Cur may not be merle. They may also not exhibit spotting. Such colorations would suggest that the breed is not pure.

Height and Weight

Black Mouth Curs are hard workers and should be in muscular condition regardless of their height and weight. Their minimum height is 18 inches for a male and 16 inches for a female. Similarly, the minimum weight is 40 pounds for a male and 35 pounds for a female.


Black Mouth Curs are extremely intelligent dogs. By nature, they need a few weeks to bond with their owner before they can work effectively. They are highly sensitive to their owner’s needs and should not be yelled at in anger or otherwise mistreated. Black Mouth Curs make excellent family dogs as they are highly social and need human companionship. However, they must have access to a large yard to roam in and need several hours of exercise to prevent anxiety and depression.

Health Concerns When Breeding Black Mouth Curs

The Black Mouth Cur is a very healthy breed with few hereditary diseases. Because of this, statistics about the breed’s health issues are few to non-existent. This does not mean that Black Mouth Curs are immune to all diseases. A Black Mouth Cur may develop hip or elbow dysplasia that can be given to their puppies.

black mouth curs are healthy
The Black Mouth Cur is a healthy breed.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is perhaps the only hereditary health issue with the breed. The OFA has records to show that three Black Mouth Curs have been evaluated for dysplasia. One dog tested “abnormal” for elbow dysplasia, while one dog tested “abnormal” for hip dysplasia. This left one dog with a normal hip score. Hip dysplasia is a common condition in large dog breeds. If your dog develops hip dysplasia, they may exhibit lameness, stiffness, difficulty moving, and loss of thigh muscle mass. This directly impacts a Black Mouth Cur’s ability to work. As a result, a Black Mouth Cur with hip dysplasia should not be part of breeding programs to preserve the breed’s working abilities. Seek veterinary assistance right away if your pooch shows signs of hip dysplasia.

Ear Infections

While ear infections are not hereditary there is still some risk when breeding Black Mouth Curs with this problem. As is the case with other drop-ear breeds, the Black Mouth Cur is susceptible to ear infections. Their drop ears can trap dirt, water, food, and other particles if not regularly cleaned. Furthermore, the warm and damp conditions of drop ears make an ideal environment for yeast and parasites. Yeast overgrowth is a common cause of ear infection in dogs. Parasites like ear mites are another common cause of ear infections. If untreated, an ear infection causes soreness, pain, and discharge in the ear. Ear infections caused by parasites can be contagious. This creates a new risk for your Black Mouth Cur’s puppies, who may acquire a parasitic ear infection from their dam. Seek veterinary help right away if your pooch shows signs of an ear infection!

How to Breed Black Mouth Curs

Breeding Black Mouth Curs is a task that requires an understanding of the different lines, litter size, and clientele. You must also understand that breeding these dogs is more about breed preservation than the cosmetic appearance of the puppies. Breeding Black Mouth Curs should not be done with the aim to produce new coat colors or other faults.

Choosing the Bitch and Stud

There are four primary lines of Black Mouth Cur to consider. These are the Howard, Ladner, Carnathan, and Weatherford’s Ben. Each line is semi-distinct and will have its specialty, so you should have an idea of what type of Black Mouth Cur you’d like to produce. As well as this, you should ideally breed from a bitch and stud with plenty of hunting experience.

The JD Howard line is an all-purpose line from Alabama. These dogs are typically excellent tree and stock dogs with consistently good litters. The Ladner line may be the oldest line on record. It produces quality bay dogs as well as search and rescue dogs. The Weatherford’s Ben line produces excellent hunters and herders with the grit to take on any wild animal. Finally, the Carnathan line tends to produce bigger dogs that are skillful at herding. There are some tree dogs within this line, but the majority appear to be stock dogs. Consider which line best suits your working environment.

Some buyers will ask for proof of the bitch and stud’s working ability. Be ready to show footage of the bitch and stud working, including specific tasks like treeing or baying. Buyers may even request to hunt with your dogs to see their working ability for themselves. Make sure that you can accommodate these requests.

Litter Size

Black Mouth Curs may give birth to 3 to 12 puppies in a litter. Several factors influence how many puppies a dam has. Litter size depends on the size of the dam, the dam’s age, the quality of the stud’s sperm, and the coefficient of inbreeding. For the best litter sizes, be sure to use a proven stud in your breeding program and regularly check your dam for signs of ill health. You must also be prepared for large litters. If your dam has 12 or more puppies, you may need to invest in extra milk replacement formula, towels, and an incubator in case of rejection. Large litters also come with a greater risk of losses in the first few days. Be sure that you know the signs of fading puppy syndrome.

Birthing Issues

Black Mouth Curs are a very healthy breed with few birthing and pregnancy issues. This is because the breed is specialized for work rather than cosmetic appearance. However, this does not mean that Black Mouth Curs never experience dystocia. Dystocia is difficulty giving birth. It occurs in 2 to 5 percent of dogs. Risk factors include the dam’s body size and litter size. If your dam develops fever, seizures, shock, or contractions for more than 30 minutes with no puppies, call your vet immediately.


Your clientele may vary depending on the line that your puppies are from. Consider the bloodline of your puppies when advertising the litter. JD Howard puppies may be better suited to a treeing environment. In contrast, a Weatherford’s Ben line litter might be best suited to a herding home. Your home environment will also play a role in the clientele that you appeal to. For example, raising your puppies in a ranching environment will make your litters more enticing to ranching clientele.

Many buyers of Black Mouth Curs prefer full-blooded dogs over mixed breed dogs. To date, the main breed association that records ancestry is the Original Black Mouth Cur Association LLC. This association is organized by the Wright family and can be found on Facebook. By registering with this association, you can ensure that your litter’s paperwork is correct and proves that your puppies are full-blooded Black Mouth Curs. To better appeal to Black Mouth Cur breeders, consider registering all of your dogs with an appropriate breed registry.


The price of Black Mouth Curs varies from $50 to over $1,500. While the average Black Mouth Cur puppy costs $400, a finished adult can fetch prices of $1,000 or more. Pricing depends on the line and the work experience of the parents. Puppies whose sire and dam are proven workers in some way tend to fetch higher prices.

With this being said, a puppy from a high-quality pairing is best in the hands of a hunter with like interest, rather than being sold to the highest bidder. By ensuring that your puppies go on to work the breed is better preserved. However, if you intend to sell your puppies as family pets, this may be less important to you. Just be sure to send your puppies to responsible homes.

black mouth cur price
The price of Black Mouth Curs varies greatly.

Breeding Black Mouth Curs – FAQ

Still have questions about how to breed Black Mouth Curs? Feel free to refer to our Frequently Asked Questions section for more details. If in doubt about your pet’s health, always ask your vet for advice.

How many puppies do Black Mouth Curs have?

Black Mouth Curs have 3 to 12 puppies. Several factors influence the number of puppies your dam will have. For example, your dam’s age and size, the quality of the stud’s sperm, and the coefficient of inbreeding. To achieve the best results, make sure to use a proven stud and carefully consider the line that you use. In particular, the LH Ladner line consistently produces good litters.

Because Black Mouth Curs can have 12 or more puppies you must be prepared for larger litters. Be ready to use extra milk replacement formula, towels, and heating pads for your pups. You must also know the signs of fading puppy syndrome, as large litters come with the risk of greater losses in the first few days.

Do Black Mouth Curs bark a lot?

When out of work, Black Mouth Curs are generally quiet dogs that do not bark a lot. Unless an individual is cornering a wild animal, these dogs do not feel the need to vocalize. With this being said, Black Mouth Curs are expressive dogs that may whine to get their point across.

In contrast, when baying, the breed barks a lot. This is because Black Mouth Curs are proficient in baying. A bay dog is a dog that is trained to find, chase, and bay at large animals during a hunt. Baying is a distinct vocalization that becomes more intense and enthusiastic when the dog gets close to the animal. When the breed is not baying, it is known for being a silent trailer. This means that it tracks animals silently rather than barking and whining the whole way.

Does the AKC recognize Black Mouth Curs?

To date, no cur breeds are recognized by the AKC, including the Black Mouth Cur. However, the Black Mouth Cur has been recognized by the National Kennel Club since April 1964. The breed was also recognized as a member of the Herding Group of the UKC in November 1998.

The AKC cannot register a breed if there are too few dogs of the breed, or if there is too little interest in the breed community for AKC registration. Owners of the breed must also establish a National Breed Club. To date, there is not a National Breed Club for the Black Mouth Cur. Instead, there are a few breed registries, such as the Original Black Mouth Cur Association and the Foundation Black Mouth Cur Breeders Organization LLC.

Do Black Mouth Curs smell bad?

Black Mouth Curs do not smell any worse than any other dog breed. However, the working nature of the breed might predispose it to getting dirty easily. If you intend to use your Black Mouth Cur for work, be prepared to wash them down after working. Just be sure to avoid over-shampooing your pooch, as this will disturb the natural oil balance of the skin.

The breed is predisposed to ear infections due to its drop-ears. Ear infections can cause a foul, yeasty smell if left untreated. Be sure to check your Black Mouth Cur’s ears regularly for signs of infection.

Breeding Black Mouth Curs is a rewarding process. Not only does is build a reputation in the breed community, but it also helps to preserve this unique and proud breed. Awareness of the different lines is essential for breeding Black Mouth Curs, as is awareness of hip dysplasia and registering with the appropriate breed associations.