Saturday, February 25, 2012

And Here I Thought I Knew You

We were recently told that our dog, who we have loved and described for seven years as a mutt, is actually probably not a mutt.

She is more likely a Cur, which is a term that used to mean mutt, but when paired with other terms means not a mutt, or not in the sense of mutt that most people are used to hearing about. With me so far?

We'd suspected it after seeing a photo of a dog that looked identical to ours and finding out it was a Mountain Cur, and then it was confirmed by a new doctor at our veterinary office, who took one look at her and pronounced, "Oh! She's a Blackmouth Cur."

Curs, whether they be Mountain Curs or Blackmouth Curs or InsertDescriptionHere Curs are apparently dogs that were bred by people who didn't have the inclination or means to breed other well known breeds, and our pup, according to the vet, is almost assuredly a Blackmouth Cur. A check of her mouth and looking at a couple of web photos of Blackmouth Curs that look startlingly like her drove the idea home.

Our dog:

Blackmouthed Cur:

Here is the "sales" photo of our dog - the one that was listed on the adoption site:

And here is the Mountain Cur photo that started it all, the one that looks so much like our dog:


Finding this out is a little like having your grandmother's old doily covered table handed down to you, and then you have a dinner party and a guest informs you that actually, the table is an antique Stickley. Or more accurately, an antique middle-of-the-road-breed, like Pottery Barn in one hundred years.


We told all this to our dog, and she raised her snout knowingly and walked off with a bit of a huff. While this behavior also may have been because it was time to feed her dinner, I really think it was her way of saying, "Of course. I've listened to you describe me as a mutt for seven years and I still loved you, but really: did you think I was without breeding? Of all of us in this house, you thought I was the one without papers? Interesting."

There really was no need for her to get snooty about it. The place we adopted her from had also asserted that she was half Labrador Retriever, and if there was a dog further away from possession of any Lab DNA I have yet to meet it. So we were only working with what we were told.

So. We are the proud parents of, apparently, a Blackmouth Cur, who acts remarkably like a mutt and never bit us in stuck up frustration or otherwise gave us pause to think she was anything but. I think my husband, who is all about the value brand, may be a bit out of sorts over it. I can imagine our trip to adopt our next dog, with my husband asking for written reassurance that the dog of our choice has no elitest value whatsoever, and pondering whether or not Lands' End offers any sort of puppy that we might want to consider.

I will remind him that Curs are working dogs. Bred by working people. Very middle of the road. Barely an entry on Wikipedia. Nothing to panic about.

And often mistaken for mutts.

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