A Black Mouth Cur Lab mix? It’s a strange name, maybe conjuring all kinds of images. What does it look like? Where did it come from? Does it make a good family dog, or is it too aggressive? It’s only natural for us to wonder about these things, especially those of us who love dogs and are perhaps looking for a new family pet.
So, we’ve put together a guide to give you all the information you need, which we hope you’ll enjoy and find useful.
If you’re ready, we’ll dive right in…
When you look at all the dog breeds we have today, it is astonishing to think that each and every one of them originated from the Gray Wolf. Whatever the shape, size, color, or temperament, they are all related to wolves that were domesticated by humans many thousands of years ago.
With some dogs, such as the German Shepherd, it’s easy to see the wolf-like features. With others, it’s not so easy. For example, think of the Pug, the Shih Tzu, or the Chihuahua. You couldn’t imagine anything so far removed from the wolf! Even larger dogs, such as the Pitbull Terrier or even the Dalmation, aren’t exactly wolf-like. It just goes to show how much genetic variation has occurred over the centuries.
These days, there are around 340 recognized dog breeds worldwide, although there will be other hybrids and mixed breed dogs that have not received official recognition from organizations such as the American Kennel Club (AKC).
One of these breeds is a cross between the faithful Labrador Retriever, and the much rarer Black Mouth Cur. If you’ve never heard of the latter, then don’t worry – you’re not alone!
It’s not a well-known breed, though you may have read the book (or seen the movie) by Fred Gipson called Old Yeller, which features one of these dogs as the main character*. The dog takes its name from its coat color, which also gave rise to another name for the breed: Yellow Black Mouth Cur.
*in the movie, Old Yeller was played by a Lab/Mastiff mix!
We’ll be examining both breeds to see what qualities they bring to this fascinating designer dog. We will also look into grooming, care, health issues, and temperament to give you an overall picture of what the Black Mouth Cur Lab mix is all about.
The Black Mouth Cur breed
The Black Mouth Cur (also called the Southern Cur and the Yellow Black Mouth Cur) isn’t accepted by the AKC as an official breed, although the United Kennel Club (UKC) does list it in with the herding group of dogs. However, it is still a purebred dog, so why is it not recognized by the AKC and others?
This could be something to do with the name, cur. Taken from the Norse, Kurra, it means something like to growl. Over the years, the term became associated with ‘mongrel’ dogs (that is, not purebred dogs or belonging to any particular breed), especially ones that were aggressive or in bad health.
It’s similar in nature to the word mutt. Both words have been used as an insult for many years, often aimed at stray dogs or family pets that have fallen out of favor because of bad behavior.
There is a chance that this name has affected the way the breed is perceived, which seems unfair. People could assume that they are naturally aggressive, or that they are unhealthy and in bad condition. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Another reason for their exclusion is that there is a wide variation in size. Kennel clubs set the breed standards for all dog breeds, and these have to be fairly specific, especially in show-quality dogs. So, the poor BMC gets left out just because it isn’t the same size and its tail isn’t the same length!
How Big Does A Black Mouth Cur Get?
Speaking of size, the Black Mouth Cur can measure between 16 – 25 in (40.64 – 63.5 cm), and weigh between 50 – 100 lbs (22.67 – 45.35 kg), making it a medium-to-large dog.
They have a dense, medium-length, or short coat that can be red, brindle, fawn, yellow, or white.
They are a versatile breed, thought to have originated in the Tennessee mountains or Mississippi area, and spreading as far as Texas, probably using dogs brought to the US by European settlers.
Bred as herders rather than hunters, they nevertheless fulfilled many roles in the pioneers’ homesteads.
Aside from herding, they protected the farms and homes from attacks by wild animals and were used to hunt a variety of creatures, from rats to boars, and even mountain lions and bears.
Their courageous nature is balanced by a sense of fun, and they can be very boisterous – perhaps too much for families with small children. First-time owners might find them a bit of a handful, too. This dog is perhaps best suited for an experienced hand that can keep it in check.
That’s not to say that it isn’t anything other than a wonderful dog that deserves every chance to thrive. If you have the energy to match this beautiful pooch, then you’ll find it very rewarding. You’ll have the most loyal and loving companion you could wish for.
This dog is often mistaken for the Mountain Cur, but these are generally smaller-boned, and they have a longer coat that helps them cope with cooler conditions.
Although still quite rare, the popularity of this breed is slowly gathering pace. Black Mouth Cur puppies are now becoming more widely available in other countries.
The Labrador Retriever
Everyone’s best friend, the Labrador Retriever is considered one of the best family dogs you could get. Some of this will depend on where you get your puppy and for what purpose. These are hunting dogs listed in the sporting group by the AKC. They were originally bred in the 1500s as water dogs, helping hunters and fishermen by retrieving prey, usually ducks and fish.
When English lords visited Canada in the 1800s, they were impressed by the breed and took some home, where they became a regular part of the hunting and shooting scene. Although you can still find breeders who supply dogs for this purpose, the majority of Labs are bred to be companion dogs. And, it’s something at which they excel!
Nobody is really sure why they are called Labradors because they actually originated in Newfoundland. Be that as it may, the name has stayed with us.
Labradors have a narrower size range than Black Mouth Curs: 21.5 – 24.5 in (54.61 – 62.23 cm) at the shoulder, and weighing between 55 – 80 lbs (24.94 – 36.28 kg), with males being the larger of the two.
Labradors are considered one of the easiest dogs to train. They’re smart, but not so smart that they will try to outwit you like some other breeds we could mention (Aussie Cattle Dogs, we’re looking at you!), and they often learn by observing other dogs.
Take a Lab to a dog park and you’ll see their true nature display itself. They’ll often be at the center of a game bounding around like a pup with the more boisterous dogs, or gently playing with the smaller, more timid ones. They hold it all together, keeping everyone happy!
Unlike a lot of other breeds that can present a danger to small animals and pets, the Labrador will probably accept rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, hamsters, etc. as just another family member to love.
After reading all this, you can see why the Labrador Retriever has stayed within the top five most popular dog breeds for decades, frequently making it to the top spot!
What Is A Lab Cur Mix?
The great thing about hybrids is that you get the best of both parent breeds. As mentioned above, the Black Mouth Cur Lab mix is a hybrid of the Labrador Retriever and the Black Mouth Cur.
Tracing the history of this crossbreed is difficult as documents are scarce, mostly because they are not an officially recognized breed. As a result, it is impossible to suggest a date when the Lab Cur mix first appeared.
Black Mouth Curs have been mixed with other breeds over the years, which is another reason why they are overlooked by the AKC. This could be said to be a good thing; crossbreeding has widened the gene pool and improved the health of the breed! This is known as breed vigor.
These dogs have a lot of energy and need plenty of space to run and play. They’re not suited for small apartments unless there’s a big yard or a nearby park for them to use. They’re also highly sociable and enjoy human company.
Now, let’s compare the size with the parent breeds:
|18 – 25 in (45.72 – 63.5 cm)
|40 – 95 lbs (18.14 – 43.09 kg)
|16 – 23 in (40.64 – 58.42 cm)
|35 – 80 lbs (15.87 – 36.28 kg)
So, they’re not exactly a small dog! There’s still a wide variation in size, which will largely depend on the parents.
They may have a single or a double coat, again, depending on which genes they inherit. Either way, they will probably be moderate-shedders. This will increase in spring and fall when the coat blows. During these times, which will last between two and four weeks, you’ll need to brush them daily unless you want a house full of dog hair.
The Black Mouth Cur Lab mix has a medium-to-large head, with a broad skull and a shorter muzzle, which makes their jaws very powerful. Their eyes are either green, brown, or yellow.
There’s a good chance that these dogs will have webbed feet. In fact, all dogs have webbed feet to a certain extent! Some breeds, such as the Catahoula Leopard dog, are famous for it, with webbing that extends further down the toes than is seen in most other breeds. Others, especially water dogs (for example, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Standard Poodle, and the Newfoundland), have been bred specifically for swimming, and therefore, have more of this webbing.
The Labrador Retriever is one of these dogs, and many Black Mouth Curs share this trait. All in all, your Black Mouth Cur Lab mix is likely to be a strong swimmer!
Black Mouth Cur Lab Mix Temperament
The Labrador Retriever and the Black Mouth Cur are both well known for their friendliness. Both are also outgoing, affectionate, hard-working, loyal, and kind-hearted.
These traits are passed onto the hybrid of these two breeds in spades! This is simply one of the best dogs you could choose for your family, and that’s no exaggeration.
However, as always, there are traits to be aware of and challenges that may need to be overcome. The Black Mouth Cur Lab mix does tend to hang onto the strong working-dog instincts contributed by both parent breeds. Because of this, dog training and socialization classes are a must, and should ideally start when they are very young. This is a high-energy dog that needs room to run and play as well as a firm hand to keep it in check.
Given the chance, it will literally run rings around you, herding young children, small dogs, and other animals. It retains a high prey drive that can’t always be successfully contained through training, though this dog should bond well with any children and animals it grows up alongside. Socialization is key to this dog’s success in fitting in with your family.
Black Mouth Cur Lab Mix Life Expectancy
This mixed breed usually lives between twelve and sixteen years.
One of the great things about the Black Mouth Cur dog is that it is a generally healthy breed and has fewer health problems than many others. The BMC Labrador mix benefits from this, which helps to boost that lifespan further.
Labrador Retrievers, on the other hand, have several health issues that can find their way into the hybrid of the two breeds.
On the whole, with the right care and attention, they will fall within the average lifespan of twelve to sixteen years, and maybe more.
Here are some of the common health problems you might see:
• Progressive Retinal Atrophy – PRA is a group of incurable diseases that attack the photoreceptors in a dog’s eyes. Night vision is the first thing to be affected, and the dog will gradually lose its sight completely. This is inherited from the Labrador and is a common problem with this breed. As sad as it is for a dog to become blind, most dogs cope very well with it.
• Entropion – a condition that causes the eyelid to fold inwards, which makes the eyelashes and hair rub against the cornea. This can lead to ulcers or perforation of the surface of the eye, and can even cause pigmentation to form, which interferes with the eyesight.
• Cataracts – there are many causes of cataracts, including old age, injury, diabetes, glaucoma, and lens luxation (the lens moving out of place). Labradors are prone to developing cataracts, which is another condition they can pass on to the Lab Cur hybrid. Although cataracts can be treated through surgery, most veterinarians will not operate if they develop as a result of progressive retinal atrophy (see above) as there would be no point.
• Epilepsy – seizures can have a definite cause, such as a brain trauma, brain tumor, organ failure, or poisoning, or they can have no known cause, in which case, it is called idiopathic epilepsy. This condition is easily the most common form of epilepsy found in dogs. It can be managed with medication, although many vets would prefer to avoid this and use more natural treatments, including a change in diet.
• Hip dysplasia – when the hip joint doesn’t form properly, the bones can rub against each other. This is very painful and can result in arthritis in older animals. Total hip replacement surgery is the usual treatment, replacing the entire joint with a plastic and metal one.
• Ear infections – those large ears that flop down over the side of the head may look cute, but they make a great place for bacteria to thrive! Excess wax and dirt can lead to serious infection.
Prevention, as they say, is better than cure. Their ears need to be checked and cleaned regularly.
This isn’t a long list by any means, especially when compared with other dog breeds, although there may be other conditions not mentioned here. On the whole, though, the Black Mouth Cur Lab mix is one healthy dog!
Even so, it is always best to be prepared for any eventuality. Pet insurance is a good way to offset any unexpected vet bills.
It goes without saying that any discussion of a dog’s lifespan or possible sickness is a difficult thing. Nobody wants to anticipate the death of a beloved pet, especially when you haven’t even gotten them home yet! But, this is just one of the aspects of being a responsible dog owner: you have to be prepared for anything.
Judging an individual dog’s life expectancy is a tricky thing also. There are reports of dogs living for many years past the expected average. For example, take Adjutant, the 27-year-old Labrador
Retriever who crossed the rainbow bridge back in 1963. There are many other verified examples of pooches who lived well into their twenties, and many more accounts that are probably true, but haven’t been officially accepted.
All you can do is look after them as best as you can, feed them healthy foods, give them all the love they deserve, get them checked out at the vet once in a while, and don’t overdo it with the treats!
Caring For Your Black Mouth Cur Lab Mix
What does it take to look after this unusual crossbreed? Pretty much the same as most other dogs, actually. Let’s break it down into different categories to help us out.
The short, dense coat will require brushing a couple of times a week. They’re moderate shedders, but this will keep it under control. They aren’t regarded as hypoallergenic, but this term is widely seen as being misleading these days.
No dog is 100% allergy-free. The allergens are contained within a dog’s saliva, dander (dry flakes of skin), and urine. It is the proteins in these substances that cause an allergic reaction, not the hair itself.
If you have a dog with a low-maintenance coat and you invest in a good vacuum cleaner as well as brushing the dog regularly, you can reduce exposure to allergens. Washing the dog occasionally will help, but not too much or you’ll strip away the natural oils that keep the coat healthy. A clean dog will not feel the need to lick its own coat excessively, which reduces the chance of making contact with saliva when you pet it.
As part of the grooming routine, you should check inside those droopy ears. Any dirt or excess wax needs to be wiped away gently. Bad odors coming from the ears could be an indication that an infection is present, in which case you’ll need to take the dog to the vet to have them checked out.
Photo from: @adventuresoflaylaandleo
Ear infections are usually mild, but if left untreated, they can become severe and permanently damage a dog’s hearing.
Any folds of skin on the neck and the face need to be wiped clean regularly to stop bacteria or dirt from accumulating.
You should also check their nails as they’ll need trimming fairly regularly… as much as once every three or four weeks. Long nails can cause painful problems that affect their mobility, so it’s vital that you don’t skip this job. Dogs that run or walk regularly outdoors on hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, may wear down their nails and probably won’t need much clipping.
On the other hand, those that spend more time indoors or running on grass and mud will need their nails trimmed every three or four weeks. It’s not a job that anyone really enjoys, least of all, the dog! You can pay a professional groomer or take your dog to the vet to have this done.
But, the main thing is that your dog feels safe and comfortable, and that it is done properly. If you clip too close to the quick, then you’ll hurt your dog. If you’ve ever clipped your own nails too short, you’ll have some idea of how painful this might be!
The good news is that when you clip their nails frequently, the quick retreats further. This makes it far less likely that you’ll cut too far and hurt your furry companion.
The Black Mouth Cur Lab mix is definitely a high-energy dog, and will be better suited to active families. If you’re into long walks, hiking in the hills and woods, and enjoy the outdoor life, then this dog will fit in well with your lifestyle.
If you enjoy a swim in lakes or rivers, then even better, as they’ll happily join you! They’ll need a minimum of two hours of exercise each day, including walks and playtime.
It’s best if you have a large yard for them to tire themselves out in, chasing a ball or playing with their favorite toy. They like to exercise their minds, too, so you should invest in interactive puzzle toys.
Bored dogs with excess energy can be bad news for you and your home. They get really frustrated, especially if you go out and leave them alone. You’ll probably return home to a scene of devastation involving chewed cushions/TV remotes/shoes/books, or whatever they can lay their paws on.
You might find that they’ve explored the kitchen trash can and deposited the contents around the place as far as they possibly can into every corner.
While we might laugh at these scenes when we see them on TikTok or Facebook, they’re rarely as funny when they happen to us! Aside from the damage caused, such behavior can become habitual, and there is always a chance that the dog can cause themselves harm.
There are two lessons here: give your dog enough exercise and mental stimulation, and don’t leave them home alone for too long. Although opinions vary, sometimes, according to the breed, no dog should be left longer than four hours.
Some say eight hours, but this is far from being ideal. If you plan on getting a dog only to leave it home while you go out all day every day, then it might be better to scrap the idea. It just isn’t fair to the dog.
Finally, adequate exercise is vital in fighting obesity. Dogs can easily pile on weight if they aren’t active, and this leads to all kinds of health problems. Cholesterol clogs up the arteries and puts more strain on the heart, along with increasing the chance of heart disease. Extra weight takes its toll on joints, making them inflamed and painful.
What Colors Are BMC Lab Mix Dogs?
When it comes to what color your Black Mouth Cur Lab mix pups are going to be, you could say that it all comes down to the luck of the draw!
No matter what color the parent dogs are, whether a chocolate, a black, or a yellow Lab, the puppies can have a real mix of colors. Each pup in the litter can have a different color or markings than its siblings.
They can be white, black, tan, or dark brown; they can have white paws, brindle markings, or white bellies. But, what they all usually have is the distinctive black face markings that give the BMC its name.
How Much Does A Lab Cur Mix Cost?
You should expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 for a Black Mouth Cur Lab mix puppy. The exact price will vary according to the breeder and the demand in the local area.
It goes without saying that you should only buy from reputable breeders. Puppy mills are notorious for their unethical and inhumane behavior, and you will likely be offered a pup that has a host of health problems.
Of course, you could always adopt a rescue dog from an animal shelter. This would drop the cost down to between $50 and $300, potentially saving you quite a lot of money. However, it is unlikely that you’ll get a puppy.
Mature dogs can present a challenge as you probably won’t have any knowledge of their background history. Some of these dogs will have been abandoned or abused and will need special treatment. You should only take one of these on if you’re fully committed to it.
It’s great if you can give them a home, but you need to be committed to providing a safe and happy place for them, and give them the love, care, and attention they need. The last thing that these poor dogs need is to be taken back to the shelter a few weeks later when you decide that they are too much for you to cope with.
How Much Does A Black Mouth Cur Cost?
For comparison, you can probably pick up a purebred Black Mouth Cur puppy for between $300 and $350. As you can see, they are cheaper than their hybrid counterparts on the whole. While you might get a Lab Cur mix for around $300, you are more likely to pay at least twice as much.
This isn’t a reflection of the dog’s value as such, neither does it indicate that there are any problems. It’s simply a question of supply and demand, along with the investment that breeders make into producing each breed.
The Right Dog For You?
Now that you know more about the Black Mouth Cur Lab mix, you might be tempted to head out to get your puppy. This is something you need to be absolutely sure about. There’s the perfect dog out there for any family, but it works both ways; the dog needs the right family just as much as you need the right dog! Let’s run through some of the main points:
The Black Mouth Cur Lab mix is a unique dog, with all the wonderful qualities of the BMC and the Labrador Retriever. It has a lot of energy and needs enough space to keep it happy. Ideally, you’ll be active and enjoy being outdoors as much as your dog.
You’ll need to ensure that you set aside at least two hours a day to provide adequate exercise for your furry friend. Bear in mind that they’re smart, too, and an intelligent mind needs something to keep it occupied. If you combine exercise and playtime with learning tricks or attending agility classes, then you should be able to fulfill this need.
Once they’ve used up their energy for the day, there will be plenty of time for cuddles later.
Training and Socialization
Smart dogs learn quickly, but some breeds can be challenging to train as they’re also wilful or stubborn. The Black Mouth Cur Lab mix inherits its intelligence from both parent breeds, and generally lacks a stubborn streak, meaning that training should be relatively easy.
As always, positive reinforcement should be used (also called reward-based training) because it brings about better results and a happier dog. Smacking, shouting, and sharp tugs on the leash are now widely seen as old-fashioned and cruel.
As well as attending dog training classes, you need to get your pup used to being around other dogs, and to accept the presence of other people outside the family unit.
The Black Mouth Cur Lab mix can be fiercely protective of its owners. While you might think this is a good thing, it can cause problems when strangers or unfamiliar animals are around.
Your dog will still alert you when someone calls, but it should welcome visitors to your home. They will also be more friendly towards other dogs and animals, and won’t see them as a threat to the family or home.
Caring For Your Dog
They won’t need a lot of grooming; perhaps a good brush once or twice a week to keep the dead hair from getting stuck to your clothes and furniture. As they’re very active and will be out and about exploring, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to bathe them fairly regularly.
Even if they don’t get mucky, they should be bathed every couple of months in order to keep their coat clean. Don’t do this too often as it can strip away the natural oils that keep the coat glossy and healthy.
Although they’re a healthy breed overall, this should never be taken for granted. While you’re brushing, bathing, clipping, or checking those ears, feel for any lumps and look for any open wounds that might get infected. Eyes, ears, and folds of skin can hide dirt, gunk, and bacteria, so be sure to check and clean these areas regularly.
One of the best things you can do for your dog is book them in to see the veterinarian at least twice a year. Using their knowledge and experience, they can spot the first signs of any health problem and be able to prescribe treatment or medication. Many health conditions can be successfully cured if they are found early enough.
Another way to help your furry companion is by only feeding them good-quality dog food. There are lots of pitfalls when it comes to giving them treats, and the best way to avoid these is by providing your dog with treats that are only meant for them. Many human foods are unhealthy for dogs, and some can even be fatal.
Fatty, salty foods can cause conditions such as pancreatitis and obesity. Even foods that you think would be healthy for them, such as garlic and onion, can actually make them seriously sick.
Hidden ingredients like the artificial sweetener, Xylitol, are toxic and can cause death, even in small amounts.
So, that’s the Black Mouth Cur Lab mix. You have all the information you need, so now it’s over to you!