Saturday, October 29, 2011

We Identify Lucky's Breed!

Eurika!  After 2 years of speculating, we finally identified Lucky Lucy's breed!  I can't explain why this is so exciting, to know your dog is something more than just a "mixed breed dog".  She is, in fact, 100% or very close to 100%, a


A male version of Lucky
Yep, and the breed is recognized by United Kennel Club, National Kennel Club, Continental Kennel Club, and several others, not yet including the AKC, where she is not even listed in their Foundation Stock.  Here's a web page full of supposedly Blackmouth Cur photos, and while Lucky's ears don't droop as much as some, and she's more lanky than others, some have longer, narrower snouts, and they come in different colors than her "red", but for the most part she fits the profile.  In fact, this Dog MaMa thinks my dog is just a tad more beautiful than the majority of these other curs precisely because her ears are more perky, her body type more square than long, and her snout less tapered, and she's a solid color.  There are quite a few pictured that look pretty much like her, like this photo (left).

They say the black mouth doesn't refer to the black mask, but to the black pigmented lips and inner mouth.  Some BMC's don't have black on their faces. Well shuckins, why don't the breeders select for that distinctive black mask and develop a specific breed that looks exactly like Lucky?  Everyone think's she's gorgeous.

Lucky's long legs, sitting beside Maxie on our
backyard A-frame, checking out the birds.
Many have speculated that Lucky is part Pit Bull, part Rhodesian Ridgeback, part Boxer, part this, part that -- like all dogs are mixes of other dogs, but now we KNOW she's also an established breed with established traits: a sheep and cattle herding dog, a boar/bear/raccoon hunting dog that fearlessly and relentlessly attacks and kills medium size game, a useful tracking dog, gentle and fiercely loyal to humans, good guard dog, needs daily exercise and a firm handler, is very biddable, lives 12-16 years on average, few health problems, medium size (40-60 lbs), requires no grooming and little bathing (natural oils protect coat and skin), bays and yodels (I've heard her do that a time or two, including when she dreams), can climb trees, and is a jumping fool.  She fits into the Herding class, the Tracking class, and the Hunting class.  The breed is known for excellent eyesight, which she also has.  Here's a writeup on her traits from the American Blackmouth Cur Association.  She fits this perfectly.

Lucky's very distinctive spike.
They didn't mention BMC's having a spike on their heads, which Lucky has.  I haven't run across ANY breed that has a spike, only the Rhodesian which has the reverse flow of hair on the ridge along their backbone, and she has the Rhodesian's somewhat lanky legs and gambling gate as well.  So maybe there's a spot of Rhodesian somewhere in her lineage.

They didn't mention BMC's being expert armadillo killers, either, which she certainly is, having killed several who dared to nest under our house.  But they did say BMC's are popular in Texas, and from reading the book Texas, I know the settlers there had a terrible armadillo problem and her skills would have been noticed and widely prized.

The "southern" aspect comes from the short single layer coat, medium size, and long legs suited to running on flatter terrain, supposedly originating in either Tennessee or Mississippi.  "Northern" curs evolved or were bred to have thicker, longer coats to protect them from the cold, stocker bodies for hunting larger prey (like bears) and thicker bones and bigger feet to handle the mountainous terrain, the most famous example being Old Yeller from the Walt Disney movie.  I well remember loving that movie and that dog.

Lucky at 1 year old, 40 lbs.
Cur has come to mean "mutt" or "mix" from the British royalty's attempt to distinguish their fancy bred pets and sporting dogs from the working farm dog.  But that was not the word's original meaning.  Leave it to the Brits to be uppity!  I can't tell you how many people I've run across that have told me "If Lucky isn't a breed, she should be."  She is so lithe, solid, sure footed, smart, loyal.  It's beautiful to watch her move.  The BMC is a hound that has been selectively bred, just like other cur breeds - Bluetick, Catahoula, etc.  They are all "working dogs" -- used for herding, hunting, protection.

BMC Folk Art Dog
Here are a few websites of BMC breeders, with more photos:

These breeders need to get on the ball and get the BMC listed in the AKC's Foundation Stock, Miscellaneous Class, which is the first step towards getting a breed recognized by AKC.

And, in keeping with the Papillon Paraphranalia I love to collect, there seems to be a bit of BMC Paraphranalia out there as well.  Here's what I've seen so far:

So, now that I know who/what she is, will I be taking a new training tack, involving Lucky in herding, tracking and lure coursing?  We barely have our feet wet in agility and barely enough time for that.  Lure coursing, is not much of a challenge for me in that it doesn't require much of the handler -- just set her there and turn her loose.  The tracking book I bought once turned me off immediately, saying one has to lay track EVERY DAY to properly train a tracking dog.  I can't make that commitment (but some of my tracking friends say they just do it spring and fall, and not every day, and still get titles). And I don't know any cattle farmers.  So now, what shall I do with her?  I must admit, it's exciting when Lucky  takes off after a lure or bosses some goats around.  But can she compete and get these titles with AKC, enrolled only as a "mixed breed"? I'll have to check that out.

In a few hours we go for our CGC test.  I'll report on that later.

Upwards and onward!

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I was excited to see this post about your BMC. I have one, too. Picked up a stray in North Carolina and brought him home - now realize he needs wide open spaces to run like a greyhound, is very high energy, not to mention extremely bright and needs to have a 'job'. I'd really like to get him herding cattle at some point. Got him involved briefly in a class that was 2 sessions dock diving (he's a great swimmer), 2 sessions weight pulling, 2 sessions flyball and 2 sessions agility. If I had enough money, I would have this dog involved in classes all the time.