Treeing cur

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10 Things You Didn&#;t Know about the Treeing Cur

If you ever heard in an old Western genre movie someone being called a cur, it meant that they were bastard children or a mangy, undignified person. Dem’s were fightin’ words, and usually it ended up in some kind of gunfight. Knowing about the treeing cur will help you understand how that word came about, and also how valuable they were – and still are – to hunters around the world.

1. They are in a class by themselves.

One of the ironic characteristics about the treeing cur is that while they were originally maligned because they are not the product of human intervention breeding, they have been bred specifically to chase animals up trees to make it easier for their hunter-masters to find. Not every cur is a treeing cur, so despite what is considered to be common knowledge, the treeing cur has a very specific purpose.

2. There are two classes of treeing curs.

There is the general class of curs, who have not been bred for treeing purposes, and two other classes. You can think of it as being super-sized, as the smaller version of treeing curs are known as Feists, while the larger, mainly North American curs are known as the true treeing curs. The smaller variety will pursue smaller game, though some of the breeds have very aggressive tendencies and may be brave enough to pursue much larger game.

3. Treeing cur’s ancestry was originally used to keep unwanted cattle from wandering into their master’s herd.

At first this might seem to be a bit odd, but it actually makes sense. Farmer made their living from the quality of their food, and allowing wandering cattle to breed with the farmer’s could set off a genetic disaster not seen until a couple of generations down the road. Curs were found to be great at noticing the presence of intruders and driving them off by biting at their ankles.

4. More than half of the Treeing Cur breed are Coonhounds.

If you see the name of the dog end with “coonhound” there is a greater than chance you have a treeing dog. Though it sounds like a name that has its origins from people who live in hilly country, coonhounds aptly are named as raccoons are about the right size of game (or vermin) treeing curs of any size can successfully run up a tree.

5. They are superior to British hunting dogs.

This is what the colonists had learned as they first used the recommended British hunting dog breeds. It didn’t take long for the colonists to realize that the recommended breeds would either lose track of the game or would become bored and stop tracking game that would jump up into a tree. The treeing cur was soon discovered, and the rest is history.

6. They are not to be confused with mutts or mongrels.

This may be a finer point to many people, but mutts and mongrels were specifically bred to perform a specific duty. Humans would mix breeds with a specific purpose for the mutt or mongrel. Treeing curs, or curs in general, were the result of a hands-off breeding approach, letting nature take its course, so to speak.

7. The treeing Cur is among 9 cur breeds officially recognized by the National Kennel Club. The other 8 are listed here:

The basic argument against the cur breed was that because they were so mixed they didn’t meet the standards to be considered for inclusion into the club. But breeders made their case that there are specific personality and physical characteristics that distinguish them from other breeds. However, these may be the only cur breeds accepted in the foreseeable future.

8. They are very noisy dogs.

It may be obvious to many people, but the fact that the treeing cur is used to find and corner game means that by nature they will bark their heads off until their master arrives. Bringing one into your home means that you will have a four legged alarm every time they see or hear something – until you go and turn the alarm off.

9. Bloodhounds were intentionally introduced into the treeing cur breeding lines.

The Bloodhound is renowned for its ability to sniff out just about anything. One problem with the British hunting breeds is that it would lose the scent of the game once it scurried up the tree. Since there were no restrictions on the genetic purity of curs, bloodhounds could be introduced to create a breed with a keener sense of smell.

You’re barking up the wrong tree.

This common saying came directly from the treeing cur as a hunter. While we would all like to think that there is a % success rate with the curs finding their prey, the reality is different. So, when dogs would be incessantly barking up a tree where the game wasn’t (or had jumped to another tree) it was clear they had been barking up the wrong tree.

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Treeing Cur

Scenthound Group

The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.

Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.

Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


The Cur breeds were developed in remote and rural parts of the United States. Cur breeders had little interest in standardizing the looks of their dogs - they were only interested in performance. Most Cur breeders were not well off and so they required a dog that could serve multiple purposes: hunter, guardian, and stock dog. The result was the Treeing Cur, which is the most varied in size and colors of the Cur breeds. The Treeing Cur is primarily used to hunt squirrel, raccoon, and all types of big game.

The Treeing Cur was recognized by UKC on November 1,

General Appearance

The Treeing Cur is a powerful, agile tree dog of small to medium size. The body is just slightly longer than tall. Legs are long enough to allow the dog to move quickly and with agility in rough terrain. The head is broad with a moderate stop, and a muzzle slightly shorter than the length of skull. Ears are drop and the tail is straight, set low, and of any length, including a natural bob. The coat is dense but close fitting. The Treeing Cur should be evaluated as a working dog, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog’s ability to work. Scars should neither be penalized nor regarded as proof of a dog’s working abilities.


The Treeing Cur is a fast, hard hunter that finds game using its eyes, ears and nose. They may be open, semi-open, or silent on track with a good change at the tree. Treeing Curs are alert and easily trained. In addition to being outstanding tree dogs, they are also good watchdogs and excellent family companions.


The head is broad but proportionate to the size of the body. When viewed from the side, the muzzle is slightly shorter than the skull and joined by a definite stop. The planes of the skull and muzzle are parallel.


The skull is flat and broad, tapering slightly toward the muzzle. Cheeks are muscular and prominent.


The muzzle is slightly shorter than the skull, moderately broad with a well-defined underjaw. Lips are tight with no flews, and are darkly pigmented.


The Treeing Cur has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.

Disqualifications: Overshot or undershot bite.


Nose is square with well-opened nostrils. Pigment can black or pink in color.


Eyes are medium to large in size, set wide apart with inner and outer corners on the same horizontal line. Brown eye color is preferred but yellow, green, or blue is acceptable. Eye rims are tight and black.


Drop ears, of short to medium length, wide at the base, and set high.

Disqualification: Erect ears.


The neck is slightly arched, strong, very well muscled, and of moderate length. The neck gradually widens from the nape and blends smoothly into the shoulders.


Shoulders are well laid back. The upper arm is long and wide, and forms an apparent degree angle with the shoulder blade.


The forelegs are well muscled with strong bone. The elbows are set close to the body, but able to move freely in action. The pasterns are short, powerful, straight, and flexible.


A properly proportioned Treeing Cur is just slightly longer than tall. Back is broad, strong, of moderate length, and level, blending into a muscular, slightly arched loin with slight to moderate tuck up. The ribs extend well back and are well sprung out from the spine, then curving down and inward to form a deep body. The brisket extends to the elbow. Viewed from the front, the chest between the forelegs is muscular and well filled. This is a dog bred for stamina and faults should be penalized to the degree that they detract from that goal.


The hindquarters are strong and muscular. The bone, angulation, and musculature of the hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters.


The stifles are well bent, and the hocks are well let down. When the dog is standing, the short, strong rear pasterns are perpendicular to the ground, and viewed from the rear, parallel to one another.


The Treeing Cur has a cat foot, of moderate size, compact and well arched. Pads are large, tough, and well cushioned.


The tail is set low and either naturally bobbed or of any length.


The outer coat is short to medium in length, and may be smooth or rough in texture. Undercoat is short, dense, and soft.


Any color, color pattern or combination of colors is acceptable.

Disqualification: Albinism.

Height and Weight

Height ranges between 18 to 24 inches. Weight is 30 to 60 pounds, proportionate to height. Treeing Curs are working dogs and should be presented in hard, muscular condition.


Treeing Cur gait is smooth and effortless, with good reach of forequarters. Rear quarters have strong driving power, with hocks fully extending. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward center line of balance.


(A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a bench show/conformation event, and must be reported to UKC.)
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.
Viciousness or extreme shyness.
Erect ears.
Overshot bite. Undershot bite.

The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears.

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Treeing Cur

Dog breed

Treeing Cur
OriginUnited States
Height 18–24 inches (46–61&#;cm)
Weight 30–60 pounds (14–27&#;kg)
Coat Double coat with short- to medium-length, smooth or rough outer coat and short, soft, dense undercoat. Coat should be short and close.
Color Any color, color pattern, or combination of colors acceptable.
Life&#;span years.
Dog (domestic dog)

The Treeing Cur is a breed of dog that originated in the mid-west of the United States. It was first recognized by United Kennel Club on November 1, , due to the efforts of Alex and Ray Kovac. "Most Cur breeders were not well off and so they required a dog that could serve multiple purposes: hunter, guardian, and stock dog. The result was the Treeing Cur, which is the most varied in size and colors of the Cur breeds", according to United Kennel Club. They are primarily used to tree squirrels, raccoons, opossum, wild boar, bears, mountain lion, bobcat as well as to hunt big game.[1]


Treeing curs have no restrictions on color or markings like other registered coonhounds and scenthounds this allows breeders to breed for ability and not be restricted by color standards. There is also no proven link between color or markings to hunting or working ability.


Treeing curs are medium-sized dogs known for their speed and agility in rough terrain. Their build is athletic and without major conformational faults. Their build and size can range greatly, because of the nature of the registration requirements of the treeing cur according to United Kennel Club "Most Cur breeders were not well off and so they required a dog that could serve multiple purposes: hunter, guardian, and stock dog. The result was the Treeing Cur, which is the most varied in size and colors of the Cur breeds." They are known for having a tail that is occasionally naturally bobbed but mostly artificially docked, Long tails are also acceptable. The ears should be natural and floppy, not erect. The dog should have a smooth athletic gait. The coat should be dense and close, and all colors except albinos are acceptable. The dog is built for stamina and should look like a working dog - in the United Kennel Club standard, scars are not penalized, nor used as a mark of a dog's working ability.[1]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Mountain Cur Squirrel Dog Training Live Squirrel

Treeing Cur

A dog of any colour, Treeing Cur dogs do not all look alike. What they do have in common, is a well-muscled and robust body, a short to medium length coat and pendulous ears that hang close to their cheeks. The Treeing Cur has been bred to have many functions, including that of a family pet, a property guardian and a hunting dog. Even today, on a good number of farms in the southern states of the USA, the Treeing Cur carries out all three of these purposes.

The Treeing Cur is undeniably a hard-working dog that gets the job done with gusto. They have a spirited nature and always approach a task with enthusiasm. Through the years, they have been prized for their stamina and courage when on the hunt. With a natural suspicion of strangers and an eagerness to defend their territory, the Treeing Cur makes a sensible choice for a guard dog.

About & History

While the term ‘cur dog’ has commonly been used as a reference to a dog without pedigree, nowadays ‘cur dogs’ are widely recognised as a group of purebred dogs from the southern states of America. These dogs have been bred for a hunting purpose and there are quite a variety of them, including the Black Mouth Cur, Camus Cur and, of course, the Treeing Cur.

The Treeing Cur is often touted as the most versatile of all the many Cur breeds. Traditionally owned by those that were not well off, this was a dog that offered bang for your buck. As well as an all-round hunter, the Treeing Cur is an accomplished stock dog and a property guardian, making it the ideal choice for a multi-purpose farm dog. Of course, to be the ideal farmyard dog, it was essential that only the good-tempered Treeing Curs were bred from, and this is known to be a breed that gets on well with all the family.

When it comes to hunting, this dog is not fussy, pursuing a wide variety of quarry, including squirrels, bobcats, possums and even bear. Their hunting ability is paramount and is more important to breeders than their general conformation, appearance or coat colour. Due to this, there is a massive physical variation within the breed.

In , the UKC finally accepted the Treeing Cur within their scent hound group. Many credit the breeders, Alex and Ray Kovac, as being the driving force behind the recognition of this breed.


When we discuss the appearance of the Treeing Cur, we do so in general terms, as there is a huge variability from individual to individual. The Treeing Cur should typically be a small to medium dog with an athletic body that exhibits no exaggerated features. Their head should be wide though in proportion to their body. They have a prominent stop and a muzzle that is shorter than their skull. The Treeing Cur has tight lips and teeth that meet in a scissors bite. Their nose may be black or pink but always has wide nostrils. Their eyes should be well-spaced apart, and while they may be a number of colours, a brown shade is preferred in the show ring.

While ear shape varies somewhat within the breed, they must have pendulous ears that are a small to medium size. Their tapering neck is well-muscled and leads smoothly to the shoulders. Their limbs are particularly strong, though lithe enough to allow for an effortless gait when on the move. The rectangular body of the Treeing Cur is composed of a solid, straight back with a broad chest and well-sprung ribs. Their feet are described as ‘cat-like’ and should have a good arch to them. Their tail can be of any length and a natural bob-tail is not uncommon.

The Treeing Cur has a double coat. The top coat may be harsh or soft and can be a multitude of lengths though is never overly long. Their thick undercoat is soft to the touch. Fur may be any colour at all and all patterns and markings are acceptable. Only albino dogs are not permitted in the show ring.

Broadly speaking, the Treeing Cur should measure from 45cm to 60cm and will weigh between 14kg and 28kg. Regardless of size, this should be a lean and powerful dog.

Character & Temperament

A real ‘dog’s dog’, the Treeing Cur has a mind of its own and isn’t afraid to let you know about it! While there is no doubt that this is a dedicated and hard-working canine, the Treeing Cur is not a breed that will follow every task set to it unblinkingly. This strong-willed character can be quite independent, though does have an eagerness to please their owner.

A tough and courageous hunter, the Treeing Cur won’t show hesitation when hunting and will face its prey without hesitation. They are efficient and skilful when they work, using their stamina and speed to their advantage. The word ‘treeing’ in their name comes from their ability to chase prey up a tree and keep it there until the hunter arrives to deal with it.

Territorial and protective of their family, the Treeing Cur has been used for many years as a property guardian. They can show potential aggression towards strangers, as well as to unknown canines. Despite this, with good socialisation, this dog can learn to live as a pleasant family pet who listens well to its master.


A natural born hunter, the Treeing Cur instinctively knows how to find a scent, trace it and then pursue its prey until it is up a tree. With little training, this breed will know how to transfer information about the hunt to both its pack mates and its master; its melodious barking acting as a primitive means of communication.

Without clear direction, the Treeing Cur has a propensity to be overly protective and needs firm guidance, indicating what is acceptable within the household. Aggressive tendencies or acting uneasy around friends of the family should be discouraged – a task that requires plenty of committed training from an early age.

Quick to learn and very responsive, an experienced trainer should find that the Treeing Cur is a pleasant dog to handle and will learn quickly. They have a desire to make their trainer happy – a trait that makes for a particularly good student.


Most Treeing Cur owners will tell you that their dog is remarkably fit and healthy, rarely suffering from a day’s sickness in its life. There are just a couple of conditions to be aware of, and both involve their ears.

Ear Infections

The ears of the Treeing Cur hang down, meaning that the canals may retain moisture and do not have good air-flow going through them. This can predispose the dog to infections. Cleaning the ears weekly can help to prevent these infections from occurring.


BAER testing may be carried out on a dog that is suspected of being deaf. This test is carried out by a vet and will be able to detect the dog’s hearing by monitoring their brain activity while they listen to noises (usually clicks).

Puppies are typically tested at 6 weeks old. It is critically important to know if a puppy is completely deaf, as this pup should not be used to work, but rather should be kept as a household pet that is not allowed out unsupervised or off leash. Sadly, many deaf dogs die from road traffic accidents every year, as they are unable to hear the oncoming vehicle.

Exercise and Activity Levels

An hour of daily activity alone will not be enough for these high tempo dogs who need at least 90 minutes of exercise to keep them happy. They love to run, swim and play and will never refuse an opportunity to tag along on a hunting trip or a family hike. They relish their time spent outdoors – though once they’ve burned off all of their energy for the day are more than content to sit by the fire for a well-earned rest.

These smart critters also need some sort of mental activity to keep them stimulated, whether it be in the form of scent work, canine puzzles or obedience classes. Simply letting them out for a run each day is unlikely to keep their brain ticking over and may result in a certain level of frustration. Equally, they should be allowed to interact with other dogs and people, as they very much like to socialise.


The short double-coat of the Treeing Cur may be brushed once weekly. This is a routine that should start from puppyhood. Place the young dog on a sturdy table to signal that grooming is not a game and to prevent them from running away.

Have one person holding them while the other brushes. Ensure they feel comfortable and encourage them with kind words and treats. Continue this ritual weekly, using it as a good opportunity to perform any other required grooming tasks, such as ear cleans or claw clips.

Famous Treeing Curs

Despite their big heart and go-getter attitude, there are currently no famous Treeing Cur dogs.


At this moment in time, there are no established Treeing Cur cross-breeds.

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Cur treeing

Treeing Cur

Treeing Cur is a breed of medium-sized dogs that show excellent treeing ability when used for hunting raccoons, squirrels, wild boars, opossum, mountain lions, bobcats, and bears. These powerful working dogs come with a broad head, slightly short muzzle, drop ears, low-set tail, and long legs that help in moving quickly in rough terrain.

Treeing Cur Pictures

Quick Information

CoatShort/medium, smooth/rough outer coat, short, dense, soft undercoat
ColorAny color including black, red, and brindle
Breed TypeMixed breed
CategoryCurs, Scenthound, Working Dog
Lifespan years
Weight lbs
Height inches
TemperamentAthletic, intelligent, alert, dauntless
Good with ChildrenYes
BarkingOccasional, excessive when hunting
Country Originated inUSA
Competitive Registration/Qualification InformationDRA, UKC, NKC

Treeing Cur Video: Treeing a Squirrel


Several Cur breeds including the Treeing Cur originated in the rural areas of the United States. Instead of standardizing their looks, breeders wanted to focus on their performance and developed dogs that could be used for hunting, watching, and guarding.

The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in

Temperament and Behavior

Described as one of the toughest and most agile treeing dogs, the Treeing Cur is a courageous hunter that uses its eyes, nose, and ears to track game. When on pursuit, it may bark or remain silent.

Aside from its outstanding treeing abilities, it makes an excellent family companion. It has a natural desire to please and can do anything for its master. It gets along well with other dogs in the family if raised with them. However, this breed needs firm leadership; otherwise, it would become over-protective and aggressive.


Being an energetic working dog, the Treeing Cur needs plenty of regular activities. Brisk walking or jogging helps it in maintaining good health when not hunting. It loves running free and playing interactive games in the yard.
Its short or medium hairs require occasional brushing for the removal of loose fur. To avoid drying out its skin, bathe when necessary. Use hemostats for removing excess hair in its ear canal and nail clippers for trimming its toenails.
Although these dogs have few genetic conditions, some individuals may suffer from deafness, blindness, and albinism.


As an intelligent and responsive working dog, the Treeing Cur can easily learn what their handlers teach them.

Socialization: Start socializing your Treeing Cur puppy by bringing it to your friends’ houses so that it can interact with your friends and their dogs. Take your pup on walks and encourage positive interaction with other people. Make sure the dogs it socializes with are vaccinated against roundworm, ticks, fleas, and mites.

Preparing for the hunt: When your pup is of months old, begin training with dead squirrels, or hides and tails of a squirrel.  Reward it with treats when it retrieves the decoy and starts barking. You can also use a live squirrel trapped in a cage, setting it in an elevated position. Once its curiosity increases, it will move closer and check the squirrel out. When it starts barking, reward it with treats.


A nutritious diet consisting of a balanced proportion of carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat would help in maintaining good health.

Treeing Cur - Wag!


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