Treeing Cur

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Treeing Cur
Ricardas Oginskas /

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 1998, 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.


Treeing Cur Large Photo
Ricardas Oginskas /

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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