Curs and Catahoula Leopards, the Cow-Hog Dogs
There are a number of Curs such as the Black Mouth Cur, the Florida Cur, Catahoula Leopard Cur (the sometimes merle patterned cur) and the Yellow Black Mouth Cur. For the most part they are best described as Fred Gibson’s charming yellow bob-tailed dog in Old Yeller. Curs are rugged, muscular dogs with short, smooth coats and hanging ears.
Rough terrain and nearly wild livestock often presented difficult stock-handling conditions the in American South, requiring particularly tough men and dogs. Several types of lean, quick dogs with strong heading and hunting instincts were developed in the 19th century to track and gather wild cattle and hogs in dense brush country. Many strains of curs were bred by individual families or in a particular region; the Catahoula Leopard dog is an example of a type that has continued to this day. Another example is the dog Fred Gibson wrote about in his classic book, Old Yeller. It is believed Curs stem from a mix of hounds and herders. They can hunt, trail, drive, and corral wild cattle and hogs. they tend to work better in packs or pairs. Any strays will be worked back into the herd by the dogs. they have a way of getting cattle to follow by aggravating the cows.
Although a lot of these dogs are strong “catch” dogs, many are headers and “lead” dogs. Curs tease, bay, and run ahead to lead cattle rather than driving them. Lead dogs are especially effective for handling singles and hogs. the dogs aggravate the maverick by barking and snapping at the animal until it charges. Once the animal goes for the dog(s), the dog stays ahead of the charging animal and leads it. If the animal stops following, the dogs teases until it follows again. The dog then lures the animal towards the catch pens.
Handling wild cattle is different than handling other types of cattle. Feral cattle have survival instincts similar to deer or elk. An outlaw cow or bull that has run in the brush or swamps for several years is clever at maintaining its independent status. Cattle will hide in the brush and briar thickets and have even been known to lie down in the water with only a nose sticking out. It takes an experienced dog and cowboy to find such an animal let alone round it up.
To learn more about training Curs, the Cow-Hog Dogs please refer to the book, Stockdog Savvy (Alpine Publications) by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor. Stockdog Savvy is a practical and useful handbook for ranchers as well as the hobbyist. If you want to learn to train stockdogs for farm and ranch work in the real world or for competition, this is the book for you. Almost 300 pages illustrated with diagrams and how-to photographs galore!
Stockdog Savvy also gives trainers, clinicians and judges an overview of many different herding dogs and types of livestock. It is the quintessential guide to owning, training, trialing, working or caring for your stockdog.
Additionally, people who don’t have access to livestock can teach all the basic herding commands through play training. Herding skills taught in a game format are fun activities to keep dogs in the city mentally and physically fit.
The Table of Contents:
Frontispiece: Just a Stockdog Story
Foreword by Ernie Hartnagle
1 – HERDING DOGS
2 – WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A HERDING DOG
3 – PREPARING YOUR PUPPY
4 – LAYING THE FOUNDATION
5 – GETTING STARTED
6 – INTRODUCING A DOG TO STOCK
7 – MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR DOG’S TALENT
8 – DEVELOPING A USEFUL DOG
9 – THE OUTRUN
10 – DRIVING SKILLS
11 – BALANCE AND PENNING
12 – FOCUS ON SORTING
13 – BOUNDARY TRAINING FOR TENDING DOGS
14 – BASIC STOCKMANSHIP
15 – WORKING LARGE FLOCKS AND HERDS
16 – THE RANCH DOG
17– TRAINING ANIMALS
18 – POULTRY
19 – SHEEP
20 – GOATS
21 – CATTLE
22 – KEEPING LIVESTOCK
23 – THE TRIAL DOG
24 – TRIAL PROGRAMS
25 – WHAT JUDGES LOOK FOR
26 – OTHER ELEMENTS OF WORKING STOCKDOGS
Appendix -– BREED PROFILES
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Copyright © 2009 – 2010 by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor.
All Rights Reserved.