The American Leopard Hound, formerly called the Leopard Cur is among the oldest breeds of tree dogs. These dogs are best known for their hunting abilities because they are coonhounds or scent hounds. If you are longing for a dog that has the potential of an efficient hunter, read on to get to know more about the Leopard Cur.
The breed has an unclear origin but historians believe that it originally came from Native America and the French and Spanish conquistadors brought these dogs to the United States hundreds of years ago. These dogs excel in tree-minded games; hence they were originally used for tracking a wide range of species like raccoons, squirrels, and bobcats.
“Cur” is a short term used during the 13th century and translates to “curdogge” in Middle English. It is a German or Norse term that is synonymous to growling. It’s used for this breed as it often growls when herding or when notifying their owners about an approaching prey.
There are a number of breeds that belong to the cur dog category and the American Leopard Hound is just one of them. The Canadian Cur, the Camus Cur, the Mountain View Cur, and the Blue Lacy are other examples of cur dogs.
The Leopard Cur first received its recognition from the United Kennel Club in 1998. During the early 2000s, the organization modified the name of the breed to the American Leopard Hound for it to be able to join events created for hunting dogs from the hound group.
The breed is not entitled for registration under the American Kennel Club but it belongs to the club’s Foundation Stock Service group or breeds that were approved to continue to develop. Like any breed from this group and those recognized by the AKC, the Leopard Cur is entitled to join the club’s sporting events.
The American Leopard Hound has expressive and round eyes that are usually yellow or brown in color. You can find some with blue eyes for one or both eyes. It has dropped ears, a large head, and a medium-length muzzle.
A Leopard Hound can be easily identified with its muscular and long built. It is actually long rather than tall. It has a broad and strong back and has a strong-driving rear quarter. Some dogs have a docked tail and cropped ears and these are considered legal in the United States, although not allowed in some countries.
This breed can grow from medium to large and weighs 35 to 75 pounds on average. It stands 21 to 27 inches in height. These dogs have round and wide-set eyes that are either yellow or brown, They may also have blue eyes and like other dogs, can have different-colored eyes or have Heterochromia.
They have three different patterns but they come in nine colors. You can see some of them in solid color but there are also some in leopard or in brindle patterns. Brindle is an often sought-after coat color in Leopard Curs because it looks like tiger stripes.
Leopard Curs can be great family pets because the majority of them are known for their attached nature and loyalty to their owners. They also have a natural instinct to protect the people around them, especially the kids. They can be exceptionally good at fighting because they were even used to go against large animals back in the day.
The United Kennel Club noted viciousness or extreme shyness as one of the disqualifications of the breed. When a dog is disqualified, it will not be eligible for placement in a bench show or conformation event.
If you want a pet that is easy to train, you cannot go wrong with the Leopard Cur. The breed is among the most intelligent breeds you can find so expect your training sessions to be easy for both you and your pet. It is also ideal for joining bench shows and conformation events for canines.
The Leopard Cur has a double coat but it is not very difficult to groom, like what many people assume. The top coat is usually rough, while the undercoat consists of fine hair strands. You only need to brush the coat occasionally to get rid of the dead hair. Bathing should be done when needed and is not required often.
If you have a Leopard Cur puppy, do the grooming more gently because the pup’s coat is softer and shorter. A grooming mitt is ideal for dogs with short coats. But because the Leopard Cur has a bit course tough coat, you might need a bristle brush to groom more effectively.
As a hunting and working dog, it is needless to say this dog is such a bundle of energy. If it’s your first time owning a Leopard Cur, work with a nutritionist vet to get some advice on the best type of food for this breed. It’s possible your dog is sensitive to a range of foods, so better work with an expert especially if you exclusively give dry dog food but would like to switch to a raw diet.
A good rule of thumb in buying dog food is to ensure it is made of high-quality proteins. All dogs, regardless if they are working dogs or not, thrive on a high-protein diet. You would want to add a little fat to fuel up your dog’s body. This is such an active breed and needs a well-balanced diet to continue his role as a working dog.
If you have an active family with a large yard, this dog can be a perfect addition to your brood. This breed is such an energy ball and requires lots of exercise to thrive. They are so efficient at tracking things that they can smell preys even if they are miles away.
It will be great if you have a secured fence so your buddy could run around or enjoy some play time with you. You may want to reconsider adopting this breed if you live in an apartment or cannot accompany your pet for daily walks. Apart from physical exercises, these dogs also benefit from mental stimulation.
If you don’t know where to start, you may want to begin with dog games that can be bought online, like doggie puzzles and toys. It’s important that your dog gets something to do, so he will be kept occupied especially when you have to leave him at home for a while.
The American Leopard Hound lives 12-15 years on average and is considered generally healthy. This dog does not really have a number of serious issues but the commonly seen problems among them include the following:
- Hip dysplasia – a common problem of medium to large dog breeds, it occurs when the hip socket is abnormally formed, causing pain in its advanced stage. Canine hip dysplasia is usually hereditary but there are studies suggesting that the environment could also play a role. It’s also advisable to neuter the dog only when it reached its full developmental maturity. Doing the castration too early puts the dog at higher risk of developing hip dysplasia.
- Deafness – this is among the minor issues of the Leopard Cur but this is considered a disqualification in the breed. Some dogs only become deaf temporarily while some suffer from a total loss of hearing in one or both ears. There are many possible causes to it apart from the fact that it can be inherited. There are dogs that become deaf after suffering an ear infection, trauma, or having blocked ear canals.
- Cryptorchidism – it’s also considered a disqualification, based on the dog’s breed standard. This happens when a dog’s testes did not descend by the eighth week. In normal circumstances, it is supposed to descend as early as 10 days of age. It is among the common congenital defects in purebred dogs and an inherited trait. When a dog has cryptorchidism, it should no longer be bred and it should be castrated or neutered.
When buying this breed, make sure you are working with a reliable breeder. Good breeders will put the parents on tests to guarantee their buyers that their dogs are free of any health concern that can be passed on to the offspring. Dogs that are more prone to a number of diseases are often because of bad breeding.
American Leopard Hounds or Leopard Curs are recommended for pet parents who already have experience with handling working dogs. They are active and need a large yard for their daily physical activities. Grooming, on the other hand, is not hard at all despite their wiry coating. Brushing and bathing are not recommended to be done often.